How to have more than enough money and never worry about lack of money…ever.

You can marry someone rich, or buy lottery or hope to chance upon a biiiiiiig bagga money…

NOT!

  1. I do not believe in marrying someone for their money. That’s so transactional and superficial; the person who’s rich will likely be able to see through you as well, unless they plan to be transactional and superficial too.
  2. 70% of people who buy lottery….lose all their lottery money. It’s not surprising, because lottery winners did not learn money mindset and strategies to keep (growing) their money.
  3. Chancing upon a big bag of money is similar to buying lottery, but the chances are waaaaaaay lower.
  4. Bonus: maybe you may inherit a good inheritance, and good for you, that’s similar to #2 winning the lottery.

These 3 methods dont really work if you wanna get rich, but if you’re wanting to become and stay rich, and dont mind some work and effort to learn as well as are patient, you can likely get richer than you are today.

I feel that the word “richer” is overrated, I’d focus first on building enough investment that will increase in value over time (coastFIRE) and then towards leanFIRE where the returns of my investment can cover my living expenses. Freedom over wealth of money first.

3 key concepts:

Earning more

This is the key foundation to accelerate getting rich. Cashflow will allow you to

  • have a decent living (roof over head, utilities, food on table, pleasures)
  • save

Starting / growing a business (including online businesses) will also

  • provide value to your clients
  • meet more people
  • grow professionally and personally
  • increase earning

Saving more

If earning more is a powerful skill to have, saving more is the supporting skill that’s vital to create that surplus cash, which is an underrated skill but equally important one that both provides

  • safety net in terms of rainy day funds and more importantly
  • warchest to invest

(Re)investing more

Investing and reinvesting your savings, without losing the principal amount is the third and equally important skill to learn. Here you will learn and apply concepts of

  • return on investment
  • compound interest
  • internal returns rate
  • dividend yield
  • profitability

Basically, investing for passive income is investing into investments that will provide you a minimum of 4-10% returns year-on-year; using what you need form that returns and reinvesting as much as possible.

Done over a period of time, it’d compound well into growing your base money.

$10 investments anyone can and MUST afford (Part 1)

I allocate 80% of my savings into stable passive income cash paying assets such as dividend stocks, but I allocate 20% to higher risk higher return stuff.

Many of these high-risk-high-return stuff can be affordable to speculate / invest in

Crypto

I’ve been speculating into blockchain projects such as Bitcoin and Ethereum since 2017; and it can be very volatile. The nice thing about crypto is that you can buy in fractions.

For example, as of today, Ethereum is about USD $1,200 for an entire ETH, BUT you can own 0.01 of ETH at $12 as well, and slowly work your way up to buying more ETH over a period of time.

I use crypto.com app as my main crypto platform because it’s so convenient when it’s on my phone. It takes time to register and for them to do KYC (know your customer) process, so register there as soon as you can.

Stocks

I mentioned earlier that 80% of my savings are invested into passive income assets such as dividend stocks, and you can also purchase fractional stocks from your stock broker.

As I’m kinda lazy, I still use my traditional stock broker Lim & Tan =)

Domain names

This…is a painful area for me, because sometimes I want a specific domain name and someone has bought it and is squatting on it, and even trying to make me spend thousands of dollars for it. Do you know how much a domain name cost to buy?

If it’s from a standard registrar, you can buy one for about $10 bucks man…but a very popular wanted domain name, it can fetch a pretty penny.

How much?

crypto.com‘s $12M domain name purchase is an anomaly of course, but you can see how entrepreneurs and businesses can be willing to spend a good shiny penny on a good domain name.

Of course…you need to be good at picking potential buyable domain names, which can be hard. I use this platform to purchase my domain names.

How much is enough to retire (your leanFIRE or coastFIRE number)

CoastFIRE and leanFIRE are very different in nature, and I’ll cover them separately, and then you decide which camp you fall under.

LeanFIRE

This financial independence retire early approach takes a “leaner” way of lifestyle to save enough money and retire as soon as possible. Mostly, you will choose to live very, very minimally and save/invest the rest, and your retirement will be more frugal overall. This gets you to retire earlier than most (late 20s or 30s) BUT you trade-off with a smaller investment portfolio due to less time involved.

LeanFIRE approach may mean that the passive income from your portfolio may not allow you lavish lifestyle (so no expensive cars / holidays / spendings) ie retire earlier frugal lifestyle.

The average number to calculate leanFIRE is to take your annual expenses and multiply that by 25.

So if your monthly spend is $3000, then annually you spend $3000 x 12 = $36,000. 25x of this will be $900,000. Assuming you

  • save and invest $1,000 a month into 6% returns per year stable assets
  • reinvest that 6% every year

You can reach your target $900,000 in 28.5 years.

This is a common strategy for people who are wired to retire earlier and/or have overall lower spending expenses than  other households for example people who have no kids / single, senior citizens, living in tiny homes / vans etc.

LeanFIRE is generally about being willing to live simpler in retirement, and people who follow this approach usually try to live on less than $50,000 per year or lesser. They would be okay / willing to

  • move to a lower cost of living area
  • spend less on travel or experiences
  • cut back or simplify food and transport expenses

CoastFIRE

Financial independence, retiring early can be very tough for young people to save a large chunk of money upfront, especially when cost of living is higher now no matter where you go. LeanFIRE can take many, many years to achieve (even the example above is a good 28.5 years). CoastFIRE on the other hand, is another alternative.

The difference between coastFIRE and normal FIRE is that with normal, traditional fire, you have more than enough passive income from your passive income investments to cover your daily expenses. You’re “there”. CoastFIRE is more about the beginning or earlier journey of FIRE, and you focus on

Frontloading your coastFIRE number which will let you achieve FIRE in X years.

I gave an earlier coastFIRE example with Jake here.

The two top principles of coastFIRE are:

  1. you will still need to work to cover the basic living expenses BUT
  2. you no longer have to worry about saving money and investing for retirement

Because you frontload the coastFIRE investment amount as early as possible AND let compounded investment return work hard for you over a period of time (usually the time you choose to retire).

Example, say 25-year old Jane has saved $100,000 and wants to retire at 55. Assuming Jane doesn’t spend much, around $2,800 a month (total $33,600 per year) and Jane’s money grows at 6% per year, she will have $574,349.12 by 55. 6% of $574,349 is $34,460.94. Jane would have achieved her coastFIRE number at age 25.

If I’m 35 want coastFIRE and retire with $1 million at 65, and say I’ve $200,000 to invest. Assuming annual returns of 6%, with the 6% reinvested over 40 years, I would have achieved it

within 28 years, by then I’ll be 63 years old. 2 years early.

Thing about this coastFIRE approach is that I will still have to work to cover living expenses as my investment work its compounding over time, but I will be on point for retirement without needing to add any extra savings – this is what it means to

coast into retirement

Of course, knowing myself, I will want more buffer, so I will top up / add in additional monies over the years to grow the principle more, and this will lead to

  • shaving off the years to hit $1M but more importantly
  • I’d have a larger (and more defensive) amount above $1M for buffers

What I like about coastFIRE is that it takes a lot of mental stress away from the get-go, and I can choose to work simpler or less hours at my work, knowing and having confidence that I can retire at X amount and years which is working for me. This is the biggest benefit in my opinion. To add on to that, secondary benefits are less sacrifices upfront:

  • no longer have to be stressed by counting dollars for vacations or big spends or small spends
  • dont have to choosing higher yielding projects with a lot more stress or tolerate rubbish people at work
  • even if I lose my job, I can choose a simple low paying job to pay the daily expenses and I’ll “still be okay”

This allows me to enjoy the journey of life more.

CoastFIRE first then slowly work towards leanFIRE then FIRE

It’s true, this idea of financial independence, retire early can be such a big idea that we start to shut down cos we get overwhelmed right? Here’s how I do it.

I call it the eat-the-elephant-one-bite-a-time method.

The “normal” FIRE means that you have enough passive income from your passive income investments to cover all your living expenses, and it can take quite a chunk of money and time to get here; but for us who are just beginning, let me introduce you the idea of

CoastFIRE

Yeah, it was nice to find out that there’s different stages of financial independence retire early, which makes sense once you think about it. After all, no one “suddenly” becomes financially independent retire early right?

Lol, so true but I didnt think about it earlier?

So coastFIRE is basically an early stage milestone for financial independence retire early dudes (and dudettes). The goal at this point is so save very, very aggressively as early as possible so that you can invest aggressively such that the compound interest of your investment will carry you all the way towards retirement.

To break down coastFIRE is 3 steps:

  1. is saving to investi as much as possible as early as possible
  2. reinvest the compound interest over a period of time
  3. to achieve financial independence / retirement at a particular time

CoastFIRE calculation example

Say an example of person A, let’s call him Jake. Jake is 24 this year, and he wants the usual:

  • passive income
  • retire early

He calculates and finds that he “just” needs $72,000 a year to retire. In today’s number’s that’s actually decent, around $6,000 per month to spend. Working backwards, assuming a standard 6% return per year, $72,000 / 6% = $1,200,000.00. That’s a big chunk of change, but he knows that he has time on his side, which takes off stress.

Two approaches to coastFIRE

CoastFIRE math

Save like mad and find $279,590 and put into a stable investment that will provide 6% return on investment; and reinvest every year for 25 years.

What I really really like about this approach is that it FRONTLOADS everything: once off $279,590 and let the interest keep compounding and growing by itself. Jake will save like mad and earn as much as he can, then frontload the entire $279,590 ONCE OFF and then just leave it be.

The amount will compound and keep compounding and after 25 years, Jake would 49, and he would have $1.2M in his account.

Every year, he can draw out from the 6% which translates to about $72K/year. If he can draw out less, then more can be compounded for the next year.

During this 25 years, he of course must work to sustain his day to day, but he can look forward for a pay day in 25 years time with confidence. This method frontloads a lot, but at the same time, offloads financial strain from the early stage.

Jake can keep adding to this amount in the meantime to either shave off years needed to hit the coastFIRE amount, or have more than enough at the end of the 25 years.

Risks or downsides to coastFIRE and how to manage

  1. Risk of investment tanking. What if the % returns drop?
  2. What if he loses his job?
  3. Investor as the risk: what if he sells early due to something happening (medical, mental issue, fraud etc)

As you can see, coastFIRE is a very powerful long term stress reliever, but there are a few risk/weak points as I mention above. There are workarounds for these potential risks, as I write in orange.

  1. Risk of investment tanking. What if the % returns drop? Jake should buffer at least 20% in the total invested amount AND instead of fully withdrawing 6% yearly, to instead only draw 3-4% to allow compounding to account for inflation, market downturns and growth. Only invest in very stable asset classes such as global ETFs or index funds
  2. What if he loses his job? This isn’t the biggest issue in my opinion, especially after Jake has front loaded the entire coastFIRE amount needed to grow in X years. Even if he takes a basic job to survive or for less stress, the model will work.
  3. Investor as the risk: what if he sells early due to something happening (medical, mental issue, fraud etc). This is very advanced and much more complex stuff, and I have thought about it, The only workaround for this from my current understanding is to create a trust and place the entire amount with specific instruction and conditions into it. The biggest risk of any investor is himself, and it’s the investor’s responsibility to not only protect his investment from others but also from screwing it up himself. It costs money to create and maintain a trust fund, which will need to be paid from the returns of the investment, so this will need to be computed as well.

Why financial independence or retire early at all?

Someone asked in a group chat just the other day when I was sharing about passive income, retiring early and financial independence, and my immediate response in my head was: why not?

Why not have passive income? Why not be able to retire early?

I dont get tired of speaking about this at all, and I’ve been sharing and saying this for years now, since 2009. Passive income is still relevant today, perhaps even moreso than ever before.

Especially

  • during 2020 – 2022 during the COVID lockdowns and fears and lots of job losses and changes
  • 2022’s Russian’s parasitic, invasive war of Ukraine
  • ?future

Passive income isn’t complex. It’s a necessity of life.

With so many different case uses and benefits, because everyone’s preferences and needs are different right? Me, I will work less and spend more time with family and pursuing / doing projects that matter to me including more time in nigelchua.com and video making. Maybe hire personal trainers and nutritionists to improve my and family health.

For others it may be

  • retiring their partners or parents
  • spending time with sick or elderly parents
  • having (more) kids
  • being able to NOT put down their sick pets
  • travel the world
  • maybe move to another part of the world (vanlife, anyone?)
  • volunteer
  • finally have the mental bandwidth to meet people, date and maybe even marry
  • focus on your first love, be it acting, drawing, writing, baking – whatever

There’s so many more examples of what one can do with passive income and retiring earlier.

Surely there’s downsides to passive income?

Of course there’s some downsides, such as

  • maybe you’d start to have people sticking to you cos you have money (and they want money from you)
  • maybe you’d get bored
  • maybe…traveling and the beach was boring after all

Who knows? You then have the luxury of time to explore and find out what you dislike, what you like and want more of, which is still a net positive in my books.

And that what keeps me going and sharing this message again and again to those who will hear.

Side hustle idea #4 you can start this week

My rule to quick fast side hustle ideas:

  1. Low barrier for entry: doesnt require you to buy equipment that costs more than $1K
  2. No special skill: doesnt require you to study years for a license, the skill needs to be learnable in hours
  3. Recurring: something that the clients will need on a recurring basis, 1/2/3/4x per month
  4. Scalable: not hard to hire someone to train and do the job

Today’s idea: home cleaning

  1. Low barrier for entry: clients who pay for home washing usually ALREADY have the equipments in their own home, be it mops, brooms, etc available. You may bring your own and charge them extra too, such as mop, broom, floor wash etc
  2. No special skill: You DONT need to train or study years to learn how to clean a home – start with your own home, and a couple of your pal’s places.
  3. Recurring: 100% recurring business, possibly even 1/2/3/4/more times per month, depending on how clean they want their places to be
  4. Scalable: It’s definitely easy to hire and train technicians to clean homes for your clients; plus there’s lots of people would be happy to work for you as employees as you deal with growing the business and acquiring more clients. Bonus: there’s a lot more things you can do: ironing, compound eg power washing, grass cutting, commercial properties, moving in/out cleaning, pre-festival cleaning etc

Warning: as homes are very “open concept”, there’s always risks of misunderstandings such as you could have spent 2 hours making their toilets clean but they’d rather you clean their hall — so sharp communication is key.

How to get your first 3 house cleaning client?

This is the key to get your business started, and you can definitely just start off on weekends to keep your day job. Some ways you can start getting clients and leads:

  1. Look at your neighbourhood, and start there. Knock on your neighbourhood doors and tell them directly: “Hey it’s me, my name is ____ and I live in this neighbourhood. I am starting a home cleaning business and my rate is $X. Would you be happy for me to do that for your home / room / office this week?”
  2. You can offer a bundle discount for more hours.
  3. Message a bunch of your closest buddies and ask them to refer someone, something like this: “hey, I’ve started a home cleaning business and I’m looking for clients who wants to go back to clean homes, can you please refer a neighbour who’d love that? Sweeten this deal by offering a special deal to them for example: refer x number of clients and I’ll clean your room/home for free this month.
  4. Do the same on social media.
  5. Location bundle, if you already have a client scheduled for a date, reach out to the neighbours in the area and let them know that you have a client appointment on that date/time, and if anyone would want a session, then you’d be happy to do a bundle discount since you’re already in the area.

There’s more ways to grow your side hustle too, but start with these.

Weekend side hustle idea #3 that you can start this weekend

My rule to quick fast side hustle ideas:

  1. Low barrier for entry: doesnt require you to buy equipment that costs more than $1K
  2. No special skill: doesnt require you to study years for a license, the skill needs to be learnable in hours
  3. Recurring: something that the clients will need on a recurring basis, 1/2/3/4x per month
  4. Scalable: not hard to hire someone to train and do the job

Today’s idea: car washing & waxing

  1. Low barrier for entry: car washing needs very little items – at least 1-2 pails, water, car wash detergent that costs less than $20, and cloth (or rags). Level up your services with car waxing and vacuuming the interior. Combined, they would cost less than $300, and you can provide THREE services this weekend.
  2. No special skill: You DONT need to train or study years to learn how to wash, wax and vacuum a car. Clean your own and some friends’ cars, and you’ve experienced.
  3. Recurring: 100% recurring business, possibly even 1/2/3/4 times per month, depending on how muddy the grounds were and how sparkly and clean they want their cars.
  4. Scalable: It’s definitely easy to hire and train technicians to wash, wax and vacuum cars for your clients; yes, lots of people would be happy to work for you as employees as you deal with growing the business and acquiring more clients. Bonus: there’s a lot more things you can do: motorbikes, vespa, vans, trucks, RV – so many possibilities!

How to get your first 3 car wash, wax and vacuum client?

This is the key to get your business started, and you can definitely just start off on weekends to keep your day job. Some ways you can start getting clients and leads:

  1. Look at your neighbourhood, and start there. Knock on your neighbourhood doors and tell them directly: “Hey it’s me, my name is ____ and I live in this neighbourhood. I am starting a car wash, wax and vacuuming business and my rate is $X. Would you be happy for me to do that for your car this week?” You can offer a bundle of 3 services for discount.
  2. Message a bunch of your closest buddies and ask them to refer someone, something like this: “hey, I’ve started a car wash/wax/vacuum business and I’m looking for clients who wants sparkly and clean cars, can you please refer a neighbour who’d love that? Sweeten this deal by offering a special deal to them for example: refer x number of clients and I’ll wash/wax/vacuum your car for free this month.
  3. Do the same on social media.
  4. Location bundle, if you already have a client scheduled for a date, reach out to the neighbours in the area and let them know that you have a client appointment on that date/time, and if anyone would want a session, then you’d be happy to do a bundle discount since you’re already in the area.

There’s more ways to grow your side hustle too, but start with these.

Quick side hustle idea that make money #2 (that’s low cost and profitable)

My rule to quick fast side hustle ideas:

  1. Low barrier for entry: doesnt require you to buy equipment that costs more than $1K
  2. No special skill: doesnt require you to study years for a license, the skill needs to be learnable in hours
  3. Recurring: something that the clients will need on a recurring basis, 1/2/3/4x per month
  4. Scalable: not hard to hire someone to train and do the job

Today’s idea: power washing

  1. Low barrier for entry: this corded power washer costs less than 2 nice dinners and you’re in business baby (we’re talking less than $200 bucks) which you can make back in at least 2 power washing driveways jobs.
  2. No special skill: power washing is also one that DEFINITELY don’t require a license or years of training – start by power washing your own porch and driveway, and a couple of friends to get the hang of it, and you’re good to go already.
  3. Recurring: This is definitely a recurring business, porches and driveways get dirty again and again, probably need around 1-2 power washes a month.
  4. Scalable: It’s definitely easy to hire and train technicians to power wash for your clients; yes, people would be happy to work for you as employees as you deal with growing the business and acquiring more clients. Bonus: there’s a lot more things power washing can do, such as washing walls, carpets, cars etc.

How to get your first 3 power washing client?

This is the key to get your business started, and you can definitely just start off on weekends to keep your day job. Some ways you can start getting clients and leads:

  1. Message a bunch of your closest buddies and ask them to refer someone, something like this: “hey, I’ve started a power washing business and I’m looking for clients who wants clean driveways and porches, can you please refer a neighbour who’d love that? Sweeten this deal by offering a special deal to them for example: refer x number of clients and I’ll power wash your driveway for free this month.
  2. Do the same on social media.
  3. Knock on your neighbourhood doors and tell them directly: “Hey it’s me, my name is ____ and I live in this neighbourhood. I am starting a power washing business and my rate is $X. Would you be happy for me to power wash your driveway/porch/wall/etc this month?” You can offer to power wash a segment of their porch to show them a beautiful before-after.
  4. Initial your business name on the ground as a signature, with approval from your client (you can offer them a discount for this)
  5. Location bundle, if you already have a client scheduled for a date, reach out to the neighbours in the area and let them know that you have a power washing client appointment on that date/time, and if anyone would want a session, then you’d be happy to do a bundle discount since you’re already in the area.

There’s more ways to grow your side hustle too, but start with these.

Rich rule #4: work your money hard

I dont believe in eating all my yearly profits and income. That’s like the apple farmer selling every single apple tree – it’d make more sense to sell the apples for money, and take the seeds of the best 20% of apples to plant better and better apple trees.

Right?

In the same vein, I take every dollar that I save from my businesses and investments as an employee, and as my employee, I have just one job for them: to work harder and harder for me to produce more money.

That $1 needs to either earn

  • $0.05
  • $0.15
  • or double to $1

every, single year, year in, year out.

Let’s relook at that again.

  • $1 making $0.05 = 5% returns
  • $1 making $0.15 = 15% returns
  • $1 doubling to $2 = 100% returns

At scale, say for example $100,000

  • 5% returns is $5,000 + original $100,000
  • 15% returns is $15,000 + original $100,000
  • 100% return is $100,000 + original $100,000

And I hadnt even touched on reinvesting the returns, which will make my mind go blurry mad with excitement.

Get your stuff to pay for your lifestyle???

Let me show you a typical example.

  1. John Doe, who earns $4000/month. He spends it all with some 5% savings, and he’s pretty happy of his progress. It’s not shabby, and he’s content. In a good month, he can save more, around 10%. In about 10 years, he’s socked away some $24,000.
  2. Jane Doe, who also earns $4000 a month. She decides to save a little more so she can invest 30% of her income every month into dividend stocks. She follows some of the tricks of the trade I share here in nigelchua.com. In 10 years, assuming the dividend stocks pay out average 7% per year and she reinvests every single dividend, she’d have $241,210.81. That’s already 10X of John. 7% per year on this means if she stops working, she’d continue to receive $16,884.7567 per year in dividend.

Which sounds sexier?

I dont know bout you, but I really really like #2’s approach better.

I can budget to spend at least 50% of my dividends on frivolous purchases, and reinvest the difference.

Maybe even take some of the dividends to start an online business.