I learnt the concept of cashflow from Robert Kiyosaki’s rich dad poor dad, and since 2003, I’d learnt again and again how important cashflow truly is. I try as best as possible to create streams and streams of positive cash flow into my bank accounts.
Like the example I gave earlier, on smart money tactics, I immediately split money into different baskets with specific functions. An example if my income is $5000/month, I will take out 20%, which is $1000/month to be put into assets that will pay me regularly be it
This will be an every-month-process, and I’ll do this month-in-month out. Let me extrapolate on the example above.
Year 01: Every month $1000 x 12 months = $12K. At 5% ROI, my dividend would be $600
Year 02: Every month $1000 x 12 months = $12K + $12K. At 5% ROI, my dividend would be $1200
Year 03: Every month $1000 x 12 months = $12K + $24K. At 5% ROI, my dividend would be $1800
Year 04: Every month $1000 x 12 months = $12K + $36K. At 5% ROI, my dividend would be $2400
Year 05: Every month $1000 x 12 months = $12K + $48K. At 5% ROI, my dividend would be $3000
Year 10: Every month $1000 x 12 months = $12K + $108K. At 5% ROI, my dividend would be $6000
Year 20: Every month $1000 x 12 months = $12K + $228K. At 5% ROI, my dividend would be $12000
Year 30: Every month $1000 x 12 months = $12K + $348K. At 5% ROI, my dividend would be $18000
And I hadnt even calculated if I
increased the amount I put in every month as my pay goes up / business grows
reinvest the dividends
The name of the game is to keep investing into cashflowing assets again and again.
You’d have a regular income be it from employment and/or entrepreneurship. It’s an ongoing thing, which you can split into
spending (essentials and luxuries)
You’d be looking to keep increasing your monthly take home and bonuses by increasing your skills, experience and responsibilities over a period of time.
Always trying to increase the amounts saved and for investing every month.
You’d try to squeeze out as much into savings and investments which you can then use for mid and long term investing
Prioritize safe investing approach
80%+ into conservative and “safe-ish” investments such as
broad based index funds
public listed dividend stocks
Conservative and safer investments usually brings about conservative and safe-ish returns, between 5-10%. Which is pretty decent, and I gear it this way because the bulk of my hard earned money shouldnt be gambled – it’s meant to work like a machine, day-in-day-out to increase its returns and value to me.
20% into higher risk, higher return
growth / tech stocks such as Apple, Google, Alibaba, Netflix, Facebook (Meta), SEA etc
cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Cronos, and so many other blockchain projects
some % into low caps
Growth / tech stocks and cryptocurrency / blockchain projects are pretty similar: they do very well in bull markets with lots of money, but conversely, they can get punished and pummelled badly in bear and down markets. Same goes for low cap which is the highest risk of them all, but with the highest potential returns too.
The goal is a balance trinity flowchart of getting richer by
constant earning more
constant saving more
constantly investing and reinvesting more into conservative and higher return investments
Rinse and repeat until you reach your desired amounts, and even then, dont stop – keep going.
Someone asked me, how to invest safely into the stock market?
I find that easiest (and probably the safest) way of investing into stock market is by keeping it really simple, so:
broad-based index funds
dollar-cost-average over time
time in the market
Broad-based index funds
These type of index funds are good because they tend to have very little asset management fees (1); and over time, market grows as a whole (2). So by investing into the entire market keeps you well diversified and little management fees doesnt erode the returns you get.
One thing you’d see in most AUM (assets under management) investment companies are that they take / skim off 1-2%+ of all returns, be it good or bad market. So in a good market, if you get an 8% return, they’re taking up to 25% on your returns. In a bad market, if you already lose 13%, they’re gonna take an additional 2% from your portfolio.
Broad-based index funds takes away these expenses and keep you invested into the market as a whole.
Dollar-cost-average over time
Also known as “DCA”, this is one of the best ways to invest:
carve a % budget of your income that goes directly into investment(s) of your choice on a monthly basis
Doesn’t matter if it’s higher price or lower price, by doing this over a period of time, you’d get an average aggregate price which will likely be much better than trying to get a lump sum and entering the market.
Time in the market
This is a continuation of dollar-cost-averaging, and time in the market (invested) is always more powerful than trying to time the market (be it investing or cashing out), because it removes the overthinking and other investor psychology that can mess around with your investing approach.
One of the most powerful thing about property or real estate investing is that you can harness the power of leverage; also known as “debt”. Banks and financial institutions looooooooove property, so they’re often very willing to loan you money to finance your property purchase. How much they can (and will) loan you will depend on
how much net earning and debts you have
the value of the property
They will be willing to loan you more based on the % of the value of the property.
Practical: people gonna live some place
Rental properties aren’t some complicated rocket science stuff.
People will need a place to live
People will need a place to work
That pretty much sums up rental property investing. Of course you will need to consider nuances such as size, location and amenities etc, but those 2 points above is key.
Tax benefits (depending on your country)
This one can be tricky, depending on your country’s tax laws, and since I’m no accountant nor lawyer, I cannot advise on this. But there are often tax breaks and incentives, that’s tied to mortgage loans that you can consider; as well as expenses that you can attribute as legit (of course it needs to be legit eh) business expenses.
Bonus Point: refinancing magic
One bonus point on refinancing is this: if your property increases in value (they call this capital appreciation), you can actually “pull” out the value in cash by refinancing your mortgage loan…and use the money to buy another rental property. This is on top of rental markets going up and you not only get more rental yield too. Nifty huh.
There are two very very polarizing camps when it comes to this question of property-versus-stocks, and I’ve seen it personally.
Property people swear by real estate only and dislike the market fluctuations of stocks
Stocks people love stocks (think of people like Warren Buffett or Bogle)
So, which is better?
Lets talk about pros and cons
physical: easy to understand and rent out
leverage: banks are willing to loan you to finance real estate (based on your income) up to 80%
tends to appreciate in time (especially good locations)
tends to be good store of value (especially in good locations and countries/cities)
high start up costs: 20% of a $1M property is $200K…and if banks not willing to loan, are you gonna pay in cash?
local (versus buying a REIT that has buildings across multiple countries)
illiquid: you cant decide to sell your property today and have that money in your bank account – it may take weeks or months (as well as fees from broker, lawyer, etc)
risk of defaulting or nasty tenants trashing the place or not paying rent
easy to enter: you can start buying in fractions (even as low as $100)
more “passive” – no managing tenants, fixing leaks etc
regulated, so tends to be fairly stable
you can leverage this too (but i dont recommend, scary stuff)
more opportunities, such as options, trading, stop loss functions etc
market fluctuations can cause price to swing up and down
Cryptocurrency and blockchain is a type of growth/tech stocks, so there’s lots of risk and volatility but potential at the same time.
The third kind: hybrid
You dont have to pick EITHER real estate or stocks – you can do both. It really depends on your preference. I understand both’s pros and cons and I currently am more into cryptocurrency for quick capital appreciations as well as dividend stocks for cashflow. That’s me, at 40 years of age today.
I will consider porting to a more long term and low fees approach of
pure index (passive)
index + bonds (passive)
index + dividend stocks (passive with a little work for dividend stocks)
index + dividend stocks + bonds (passive with a little work for dividend stocks)
The only thing about property management is that it tends to link with more work and expenses such as
property manager if I want it to be more passive
property agents / brokers
bank interest fees and mortgage loans
If I want to go “off-grid”, a pure stock approach would be easier for me. But if want to play with leverage and grow net wealth actively, then real estate will be the way. Who knows, I may do both.
Dont let this topic of property-versus-stocks stop you from taking action. The real answer and issue is taking consistent action on it. Choose something that works for you, and go for it.
The “easiest” way to explain passive income is to compare it to what it’s not, in this case, the opposite of passive income is typically getting paid dollars for your efforts and hours. Most employees are paid active incomes, and if they ever get laid off or too sick to work, this type of active income stops. ie active income is paid or payable only when you turn up and work.
Passive income is income that is paid to you regardless of
you turning up to work
you putting in more or less work (in some cases, some passive income can increase with more works and efforts, I’ll cover this in a bit)
And this is the main reason why I like passive income and most of what I do is geared towards
increasing the amount of passive income streams
increasing the amount of passive income paid
decrease the amount of recurring expenses whenever possible
How does passive income work?
Generally passive income is made by building or acquiring assets or businesses that provides value even if you’re not there. Examples are:
rental homes where tenants can use and live even if you’re not there
businesses with employees that can serve customers even when you’re not there
online businesses that uses technology to provide value eg information
How to generate passive income
There are 2 very broad ways of generating passive income: build or buy assets that generate you passive income and they are:
Buying assets that can generate you passive income.
Assets are anything that can and does make you money without you working it.
One of the simplest examples are buying dividend stocks, such as REITs, ETFs or business trusts, and in turn, they will pay you a percent of their profits every 3, 6 or 12 months. These dividends can vary from 1% per year to high levels of 8-10%.
Dont just choose high-paying dividend stocks only, because dividend payouts need to make sense and be sustainable.
Other assets you can buy to generate you passive income:
intellectual properties such as rights of songs, books / ebooks
The easiest is generally dividend stocks because it’s the least amount of direct work (most passive, in that sense).
The 3 problems with buying assets for passive income
you need a lot of it to generate a meaningful amount to sustain yourself (moreso if you have dependents)
that’d mean more money and/or more time to accumulate
rental properties can be illiquid (hard or slow to sell); stock prices can fluctuate
even that being said, I am still happy with my dividend stocks. In Singapore, dividends are non-taxable so it’s really delicious when it gets banked directly into my personal bank account. If prices drop, I just buy more =)
Building assets is the key to wealth and passive income
The fastest way to wealth and more passive income is learning how to build assets, for 2 reasons:
If you can build assets that put more and more passive income in your bank account, that’d directly and immediately add to your passive income bottomline, and this is very valuable, leading to
#2 Buyers who will pay premium for your assets
Say you build a business (online or offline) that can pay your $1000/month – do you know that there will be buyers that will pay a good 40-50x of that monthly net profit?
a business that makes net $1000/month you may be able to sell for $40,000
a business that makes net $5000/month you may be able to sell for $200,000
Which you can then take the sales proceeds to buy more passive income stuff instead AND then build more passive income assets.
How to build your passive income lifestyle, beginning today
The passive income lifestyle is a lifestyle where your passive income, be it passive rental income, passive dividend income, passive business income; is more than your living expenses.
It is a very, very nice place to be in, and not only does every passive income feels so nice, it also works to lifts up so much of my pressure. Frankly, there are a lot of ways that can lead you to the passive income lifestyle (so many investment vehicles, types, opportunities), but I dont want to create more work or complexities for myself.
To me, it has to be “true” passive and simple to maintain, so I simplified the basic passive income lifestyle concept to be boring but systematic:
have a steady day job
save as much as possible
invest aggressively into dividend stocks that pay you at least 7.5% per year (ideally 10% and above) consistently
reinvest majority of dividends
until your portfolio’s yearly dividend passive income is same or more than your yearly living expenses.
The 3 biggest factors that will impact your passive income portfolio
how much you can invest regularly (this depends on how much you earn and spend)
how much is the rate of return of your passive income (ideally 10% per year but 7.5% is decent)
Time plays the most powerful compounding effect. Albert Einstein quipped, saying that compound interest is the 8th wonder of the world, and I agree.
Compound interest, simplified
Compound interest is basically how your money grow with interest return + time.
Let me show you a basic example: say you can invest $10,000 a year ($833.33 a month) into a dividend stock that returns you 10% per annum; and you reinvest every dividend return.
Year 1: Invest $10,000 + 10% = $11,000 end of year
Year 2: Invest $10,000 + $11,000 from previous year + 10% = $23,100
Year 3: Invest $10,000 + $23,100 from previous year + 10% = $36,410
Year 4: Invest $10,000 + $36,410 from previous year + 10% = $51,051
Year 10: $159,310.50
Year 15: $317,597.73
Year 25: $983,077.21
Year 50: $11,634,429.65
Instead of plain saving $10,000 x 50 years = $500,000; you can get a much bigger amount with compounding interest.
Start your basic passive income lifestyle today
Save as much as you can
Start investing into dividend stocks that gives at least 7.5% per year
Continue investing and reinvesting the dividends
It takes time for compounding effect to work its magic, and the more time you have, the more it’d work wondrously in your favor…but conversely, the less time you have, the more obvious the shortfall. Eg a person who has 40 years to invest has a lot more time-based benefits compared to someone who only has 10, and that’s why because I dont have high earning capacity as high income professions such as doctors, I knew I needed to start a business to level up.
If you want to level up to earn more, retire faster
Then you gotta earn more.
For most people who have time on their side and have a good chunk to invest monthly, they can take their time to invest regularly, ie dollar-cost-average (DCA) into stable dividend stocks. It is a good way. I take this approach one level up with my businesses which serves to help me accelerate my earning rate (it’s fun and complex too ehehe)
Quick money side hustles
These include the low-hanging fruits of app-based works such as
driving for Uber, Lyft, Grab
sending items with DoorDash or similar
pet walking / baby sitting
These are the kind of work that can help you earn an extra $50-100+ a day on your schedule, as part of your routine.
Learn high income skills
High income skills are skills and work that are higher value, such as
property agents / realtors
copywriters / direct sales
trade skills such as plumbing, electrical
and can typically earn you $100k/year.
Scale up businesses
Scaling up a business means to grow, hire and delegate, but before we go there, let me first say that it’s not always a necessity. It’s wayyyy more complex and difficult, but of course, has the most potential. Not everyone is keen or hungry to scale up businesses, and that is fine.
An example of scaling up a physical business is if you’re a realtor, you can consider recruiting a team of 5-10+ sales agents under your belt, where you then train them and lead them to grow their own businesses under your business. The upside is that you can multiply your income exponentially…when done right.
When done wrong, it can mean you working 24/7, tired and burnt out. Or lose money.
Normally, I recommend people to either do something low-hanging such as the quick small wins type or building a $100k+ per year freelancing business, because it’s less complex. If you want to do something that can scale, you can consider starting a blogging business where it can cost a few hundred bucks a year on the side.
Blogging is a publishing business where it can become a powerful passive income business with scale, but it does take a lot of time (at least a minimum of 2 years+) for it to take traction, build followers etc. The goal is to build a good enough following who likes what you write and do, and then monetize by display ads and creating products that help your followers.
I use this platform to learn how to build my profitable blogging business.
Invest the profits from businesses and side gigs into dividend stocks
The profits I use to invest into dividend stocks (mainly as core) as well as some into high-risk-high-growth investments such as crypto. Profits from high-risk-high-growth investments are taken out to decrease risk and invest into more dividend stocks and pay for primary home.