I grew up middle-class to poor-ish, and I remember my mum telling me how embarrassed and guilty she felt whenever she saw me and my brother standing in front of the glass window of Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), looking at people eating. I can still remember the moment, like I was there myself.
- that delicious looking fried chicken in the paper basket
- the steam that rose up from the heat of the freshly fried chicken
- the coleslaw and mashed potatoes
- the droplets that formed on cups of the drinks looked so refreshing
I was just hungry and greedy, and fast food restaurants like McDonald’s and KFC were a luxury.
I…learnt to not ask for my parents what they couldn’t afford.
I learnt to “make do” with what they could afford.
…because I dont want to see the look of embarrassment and guilt on their faces.
I didnt know how to put it to words when I was young, but I could tell that money was both a frustration and pain to them, and that they did their best. So I didnt want to make it any harder by putting on “stupid demands” on them.
After all, I was just a kid right.
I love my parents and I dont want them to suffer.
I told myself that I would study what they could afford, and do what we could afford.
And that, was a trap with a silver lining.
The trap is:
- starting to think of living within my (and my parents means)
- not asking or yearning for more and suppressing my desire for more, for fear of making my parents feel bad
This is a good way of surviving, and just live with it, but the biggest issue of this was that I would just be a floater and learn to say “what to do, it is what it is” instead of pushing to learn and grow and think of how to get what I want.
The silver lining
The biggest upside of picking up this habit is that I gain this…patience sort of non-chalance, where I dont get too hung up on losses or potential losses. This has taught me that even if I had to
- cut losses
as long as it will bring me closer to my overall medium and long term goal, it is fine.
It kept me from wallowing in self pity or blaming others, and instead, learn that there are “losses amongst wins, and as long the wins are greater than the losses” it is profitable.
I’m 40 years old this year, and have long decided to not live within my means. I do not need to be a billionaire to be happy, but boy I want to not worry about money so I’ve not just read books, but I’ve put to action consistently since I was an occupational therapy student in 2002.
That’s 20 years ago worth of tried-and-tested wisdom.
Here’s the two things that you need to do consistently to become rich (or richer) beyond your normal life.
Step 1: Build a cash / profit surplus
The easy way to do this is by cutting back on expenses that you dont care about. Maybe you spend $500+ a month on frivolous stuff that you couldnt care less about, such as
- $8 bubble tea x 20 cups a month = $160
- top of the line internet $100 a month when at $50 a month one will do = $50
- buying clothings / accessories / stuff that you will not wear and throw away = $300
- insert whatever shit you spend on that you dont care = another $300 maybe
That itself is $810 a month.
If you can carve out $810 a month, that’s plenty for the next step.
For others, maybe you’re tight financially already, and cant squeeze out anymore. If that’s you, then you need to earn more, and earning more is my favorite game anyway.
- start a side hustle: walk dogs, baby sit, give tuition
- start an online business
The biggest 3 upsides on earning more? Number 1: you learn and grow so much more than sitting down watching netflix. Number 2: you will meet more people who may end up being clients, friends or even loved ones and Number 3: there is no earning limit.
Step 2: Invest the profits
Take at least half of the profits to invest into boring, slow investments that you understand, such as
- dividend stocks
- REITs (real estate investment trusts)
- rental properties
these will provide cashflow which you can reinvest.
The other portion, put into higher risk speculative growth assets such as
- growth / tech stocks
- cryptocurrency such as bitcoin, ethereum, cronos coin, RVP
The goal of high growth speculative investments is to grow your investments 10-100x, which you can then route some profits into boring slow investments. Of course higher risk growth investments can go south too, so do your due diligence.
Dont stop there
Like any good boxers, to win, just a single 1-2 isn’t enough to win.
If you want to win, you will have to practice like mad over years. You will have to compete, and throw thousands of punchs and even take beatings, but you know what.
Champions dont stop there.
You keep going, after after your first beatdown loss.
You keep going, after winning your first break.
I’m the founder and writer here at NigelChua.com; as well as serial entrepreneur, therapy business entrepreneur, digital entrepreneur, investor and also happy husband, father and Christian.
Started and sold off a business for 7-figures; built another 7-figure one and growing it further, plus building/investing into other businesses and investments as well as advisory works.
Nowadays I share and teach entrepreneurship, financial independence, retiring early as well as building and living a life you love.