Achieving financial freedom in Singapore

Dear SG Wealth Builder,

Sorry to message you out of the blue (you may consider to publish my email but kindly oblique my name and email).
 I am 37 as of this year and I am a civil servant (which means I cannot do part time jobs or start a business) who have difficulty achieving financial stability.

The only good thing now is that I am not in debt (finally), apart from the $10,000 medical bills incurred recently (I have a exclusion for heart) which I am paying $300 per month interest free.

I tried reading all your posts from day 1 and more or less understand your objectives and purpose of the blog. 

I am a person whom is very keen on being financially free in time to come and hope I can do it via investment. (one of the ways if i choose not to leave this current employment). 

However,  being an engineering student from polytechnic, I find it hard to kick-start my investment journey and often feel lost. Are you able to recommend me some books or what kind of topic I can look for before I can understand how this whole investment thing come about and how can I start doing it as time is definitely not on my side as I am approaching 40? 

A concerned ‘father of one’

I received the above email a couple of weeks ago and had made the necessary editorial changes before publishing the content. Personally, I can empathize with the writer as I am a young father as well and is able to relate to his anxiety to achieve financial freedom in Singapore. After all, everything is so expensive here and if you don’t invest your monies or develop passive income streams as early as possible, your current income may be able to provide a good quality of life for your family.

So, always strive to make your money work hard for you, while at the same time, you also work hard for money.

It is never too late to start investing, but of course starting early will give you a better head start as wisdom is gained through investment experiences at different life stages. Also, we should have a holistic approach when it comes to building wealth. It is important to note that a successful wealth builder should have individual financial framework consisting of protection, career, investment, property and cash.

As you can see, investment is just one of the components in the framework but since the reader is keen to know how to gain knowledge in investing, I shall share my thoughts and insights on this topic. As usual, I would like to highlight that I am not providing any kind of financial advices here as I am not a qualified financial planner. Any form of investments carry risk, so readers should engage a licensed financial adviser to assess if they are suitable to invest in such products

Building wealth through stocks
The stock market offers unlimited opportunities for investors and traders to make money. However, to build wealth through stock investments, you need to think like an owner and focus on the company’s fundamentals. You look out for the competitive advantages, valuation and the acceptable level of safety margin. Based on these parameters, you then assess whether the rate of return justified your investment capitals. The following three investment books would provide readers valuable insights on how to become a better investor:


Why Moats Matter: The Morningstar Approach to Stock Investing

By: Heather Brilliant and Elizabeth Collins
Economic moats—or sustainable competitive advantages—protect companies from competitors. Legendary investor Warren Buffett devised the economic moat concept. Morningstar has made it the foundation of a successful stock-investing philosophy.
The book provides a fundamental framework for successful long-term investing. The book helps investors answer two key questions: How can investors identify a great business, and when should investors buy that business to maximize return? Using fundamental moat and valuation analysis has led to superior risk-adjusted returns and made Morningstar analysts some of the industry’s top stock-pickers. In this book, Morningstar shares the ins and outs of its moat-driven investment philosophy, which readers can use to identify great stock picks for their own portfolios.

By: Peter Mallouk
Investing can be a tricky act with ever-changing variables and market dilemmas. While some investors struggle and make irreversible mistakes, some profit. This book will discuss investment techniques that improve performance over time, the importance of disciplined investment management, and the common mistakes made by professionals and every day investors.The mistakes include:

  • Mistake #1 – Fighting the Market
  • Mistake #2 – Active Trading
  • Mistake #3 – Misunderstanding Performance
  • Mistake #4 – Letting Yourself Get in the Way
  • Mistake #5 – Not Having an Endgame
Written by wealth management expert Peter Mallouk, The Five Mistakes Every Investor Makes and How to Avoid Them provides a workable framework that will lead investors in the right direction and provide a roadmap that they can follow for a lifetime.


By: Taylor Larimore, Mel Lindauer and Michael LeBoeuf with a Foreword by John C. Bogle
The Boglehead’s Guide to Investing is a DIY handbook that espouses the sage investment wisdom of John C. Bogle. This witty and wonderful book offers contrarian advice that provides the first step on the road to investment success, illustrating how relying on typical “common sense” is destined to leave you poorer. This updated edition includes new information on a variety of investment topics. With warnings and principles both precisely accurate and grandly counterintuitive, the Boglehead authors show you how to:
  • Choose a sound financial lifestyle and diversify your portfolio
  • Start early, invest regularly, and know what you’re buying
  • Preserve your buying power, keeping costs and taxes low
  • Throw out the “good” advice that leads to investment failure
Investors looking to succeed long-term will find expert guidance, sound advice, and a little irreverent humor in The Boglehead’s Guide to Investing.

Building Wealth through Gold Bullion
In my opinion, one of the biggest mistakes made by investors is the lack diversification across different assets. Although tt is true that you can make more money by focusing on one investment asset class such as stocks or currency trading, you are also exposed to higher risks. So if you are just starting to learn how to invest, don’t channel all your funds into one form of asset. Make sure that you set aside a portion of money on a different asset class, such as gold.

Now, the next question is whether to buy physical gold or paper gold. According to Nick Barisheff’s $10,000 Gold, the only safe way to own gold is through the purchase of physical bullion. Arguing why gold price will soar to over $10,000 per ounce, he proves the case by applying the same principles and analysis that investors would undertake in any investment due diligence. $10,000 Gold is a positive book that reminds readers that they as individuals can have a positive financial future no matter what governments, Wall Street or foreign powers do.

For the individual investor, the benefits of owning gold are substantial, yet gold continues to be misunderstood. This book reveals the myths and offers them a course of action, Readers will learn how to think independently about gold, money and the geopolitics that affect its price. $10,000 Gold will provide readers a refreshing insight and a welcome relief in a time of financial turmoil. $10,000 Gold is now available. For more information, visit the publisher’s website at

Building Wealth through Property 
To be a successful wealth builder in property investments, you must acquire the right knowledge. Simply put, if you know what you don’t know, you can always avoid the potential pitfalls by seeking help and guidance from others. But if you don’t know what you don’t know, then you are likely to lose money in the property game. Property Soul’s No B.S. Guide to Property Investment – Dirty Truths and Profitable Secrets to Building Wealth through Properties” contains all the secret ingredients for successful property investments and is written in the Singapore context.

The paperback can be purchased online at
The ebook can also be ordered online at

To better understand the art of property investments, it is always good to attend courses to internalize the values that are espoused in the book. To this end, Property Soul is conducting a 1-day workshop on Buying My First Private Property 1-Day Workshop.

First-time property buyers often ask questions about ‘when can I buy’, ‘what to buy’ and ‘how to buy’. When you are about to buy the most expensive item you pay for in your life, you better get it right. This one-day workshop offers you countless smart tips to buy your first property, saving you tons of money from making costly mistakes in property investment.

“Rich people constantly learn and grow. Poor people think they already know.”- T. Harv Eker

Workshop details Date   : January 24, 2015 (Saturday)
Time   : 9.30 a.m. to 4.30 p.m.
Venue : National Library
Trainer: Property Soul, Author of No B.S. Guide to Property Investment
Fee     : Member – $299 (1 pax), $499 (2 pax)
Non-Member – $449 (1 pax), $799 (2 pax)

Target Audience
1. First-time buyers of private properties
2. Aspiring property investors

Topics covered:
Morning Session
1. Understanding the key concepts of money, wealth and financial management
2. How to speed up your savings to buy that first property
3. Exercise – Improving my finances in 90 days
4. Successful tips to buy properties at a young age
5. Affordability – Am I ready to buy it now?
6. Setting your property investment goals
7. Exercise – Make your step-by-step property investment plan
8. Group Discussion – How to avoid falling prey to property scams and traps

Afternoon Session
9. Where to find properties suitable for first-time buyers
10. Why some cheap properties are cheap for a reason
11. How to spot the gems in cheap properties
12. Exercise – Calculating return of an investment property
13. Dealing with property agents of the sellers
14. Driving out competition to bag your target property
15. How to master negotiation techniques in property purchase
16. Role play – Negotiate successfully to buy at a bargain
17. What to expect from Offer to Purchase to Sale Completion
18. Getting the most of housing loans
19. Tips of engaging a conveyancing lawyer
20. Quiz – Everything you should know buying your first property
(Note: Strictly NO marketing of local or overseas properties, property-related products or services.)

About the trainer
Property Soul is a property enthusiast who bought her first condominium unit for rent since 2002. In the next 4½ years, she built up a portfolio of five private properties. By 2008, its total value had more than doubled. In 2010 and 2011, she sold four of the properties, realizing a net profit of 80 to 120 percent.

In 2010, she set up a personal blog to share her experiences as a property investor and to exchange ideas with fellow investors on accumulating wealth through properties. In April 2014, she published her first book No B.S. Guide to Property Investment. The first print was sold out in bookstores within 8 weeks’ time. The book was a bestseller in Kinokuniya and Times bookstores.

Property Soul is also the founder of Property Club Singapore – a neutral platform for the learning and networking of like-minded private property buyers, investors and owners. Seminars, talks, workshops and networking sessions are organized regularly.

Payment can be made by one of the methods below:
1. By bank transfer to DBS Bank Current Account number 066-902-8008.
2. By crossed cheque made payable to “PROPERTY CLUB SINGAPORE PTE LTD”.
Mail to Choa Chu Kang Central Post Office, PO Box 251, Singapore 916839.
3. By paypal (add 4% paypal service charge).

For members, please log in and register here.

Magically yours,
SG Wealth Builder

Leave a Reply