Seminars

Seminars are an awesome place to go learn about financial freedom. Most of them always start off with the importance of financial freedom, so it’s never a bad thing to go for some of them. Most of them also have motivational segments which constantly remind you your goals whenever you get distracted during the process.

Ratpack believes strongly in attending these seminars and purchasing the courses/products ONLY when you’ve figured out the best method for you to attain financial freedom. There are plenty of methods of achieve financial freedom. Don’t let anyone or any method narrow your vision of travelling this journey. For instance, some people may prefer stock trading, while others may prefer to build businesses and sell them. It’s all according to one’s perception of ‘Financial Freedom’, and there’s no one hard and fast rule to get there.

We won’t showcase the name of the seminar we attended (to avoid advertising for them) but we had fun, and even have pictures to show!

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Don’t be shy in getting some guys in Ratpack to ‘pei’ you go to the seminars! We’re all open-minded individuals, and as long as time allows, we’ll be more than willing to check out the seminars with you.

Until then,

Peace out

Theodoric

Key to Financial Freedom

The key to financial freedom is to obtain passive income > expenses. This post adds value to the idea of passive income and where to obtain it.

There’s several ways to go about to obtain this kind of passive income. These are opinions garnered from several books I read and from having my own experience ( and my parents’ experiences for the case of property ) earning from each of the below passive income sources.

Firstly, I personally believe that one of the best sources of passive income is rental yield from property investment. However, to be able to amass a capital large enough to make a downpayment for a property will take ages if we are to work in a job.

Secondly, we could obtain a relatively stable passive income from dividend yielding stocks, such as REITs which gives approx. 6% returns per year. However once again, we would need to have a 6 figure capital to be able to depend on this form of passive income. Dividend returns for most stocks are often very low.

Lastly, one of the most risk free ways to build a passive income is from building business. In a business, how much effort you put in is how much you will get out of it initially. But eventually you own a system which works for you. There are opportunities out there that allow you to start up a business with relatively low capital. Not only its a good experience, it allows you to learn the fundamentals of looking at financial numbers. You might have noticed that almost anything out there is related to business ( i.e you invest in companies in the stock market, you invest in properties, which are built by big developers who see a potential in a piece of land ). Hence, all successful and wealthy people have a decent amount of knowledge in businesses and have basic literacy in cashflow statements and balance sheets.

In summary, my approach is to take steps to start acquiring cashflow generating assets. I believe that hands-on experience is the best teacher. I learn about how the stock market works by investing a sum of money I’m comfortable with it.  I learn the fundamentals of  a business by being involved in one.

One cannot test the depth of a river without having one leg inside it, or just by listening to what others say. Keeping an open mind to take on opportunities which can lead you to acquire cashflow generating assets could eventually open up a path which leads to your financial freedom.

Would you be ready to take action when an opportunity presents itself?

Cheers,
Thomas Wu

Trading is NOT the only way!

It has come to my attention that most people equate financial freedom to earning big money in the stock market/forex/etc. Once again, I emphasise that views expressed here are merely the writer’s opinions and should not be taken as any form of strict professional advice.

An accurate representation of me after every trade.

All I want to say that after many months of demo trading, research and watching friends live trade (yes, I admit to not participating in any live trading myself), I found out that trading wasn’t my thing. Reasons being:

1. There is a time commitment. When I traded in forex, there was a need to constantly check back with the pips I’ve bought. It was psychologically difficult to ‘buy and forget’ for me. It was difficult to stop constantly checking my trades, Even out of the house.

2. The psychological battle was immensely hard. It’s definitely not easy to keep your cool as the value of your units go down in the hopes of it rising up. It takes a lot of faith and belief in your trading methods to do an actual trade.

3. LOTS of homework to be done. True, not like there isn’t any investment that doesn’t need prior research, but to trade in stocks and shares require a huge amount of dedication before even investing.

4. Unit trusts. Although alleviating the need to do the research, the returns aren’t high and the time frame is long.

 

 

 

My point here is not to emphasise that trading is bad, but that there are plenty of other ways to invest your money. Don’t limit yourself to just trading in markets. Here are some examples:

 

1. INVESTING. There is a huge difference in trading and investing. Trading involves buying low and selling high, coupled with constant monitoring of the market (or getting someone to monitor it for you). Investing refers to taking your money and investing in a business, be it an Initial Public Offering (IPO) or during the early potential stages of the company. The money is then left for a few years (decades even) before withdrawing it. Of course, plenty of homework must be done and you must trust the company you’re investing in.

2. PROPERTY. This is a double-edged sword, where it’s easy to earn a comfortable passive income from investing in property but coupled with the risks of insurance, poor tenant management, high captial required and depreciation of property (refer to Singapore property cooling measures). However, withgood property brokers and managers and a bit of homework done, investing in property is and has always been a good way to create the passive income needed for retirement.

3. BUSINESSES. Creating your own business is one of the best ways to become your own boss and generate passive income. However, statistics show that 9 out of 10 businesses fail in the first 5 years, and even so most of these businesses that survive are only barely able to cover costs. However, with the right motivation and effort, businesses can prove to become very powerful tools to push towards the dream of financial freedom.

I’m not saying these are the only ways to earn the money to retire. There are definitely plenty of other ways to do so, especially in this changing Information Age that we live in. Further examples include creating Mobile Apps, investment banking and also staring in Youtube. With all that said, keep and open mind. Someone’s method of getting rich need not necessarily equate to the best method for you to become rich.

Peace out,

Theodoric

The Facts of Your Money

In this post, I am going to show everyone some facts and trends of the Singapore economy. Then you would know why financial education is important!

Money as a consistently depreciating currency
 
 I am sure many of us would have heard of Inflation, and we know it, either from listening to the older generation ranting about how coffee could be bought in a matter of cents, or from comparing with our food prices a decade ago. Here is inflation in greater detail.
 
 The graph below shows the general trend and the rate of inflation from 1985 up till today:
singapore-inflation-cpi
Singapore uses a weighting to measure inflation as follows:
Housing  25%
Food 22%
Transport 16%
Education 7%
Health 6%
Communication 5%
Clothing and footwear 3%
Recreation,alcohol and tobacco 16%
 Notice how much housing, food and transport plays in the weighting of inflation? What does this mean for us? On top of food and transport as a necessity,  Inflation impacts our lives in a BIG way because all of us would need to own a house in future and we would take the hardest hit!
Can you see that inflation is indeed an unstoppable trend? An alarming fact to know is that, if you have a dollar today, taking inflation at a fair average of 4% per year would mean that your dollar will have the SAME VALUE as $2.20 after 20 years. In other words,  the value of money you are holding at this moment would be more than halved after 20 years! Money never stops losing its value.
The irony between what we know and do.
 
I think many of us know inflation at our fingertips already, but it is surprising that few understands it. Note that Knowing and Understanding are very different entities. If one understands the impacts of inflation, one would have the skills to MITIGATE its effects on one’s life by TAKING ACTION to maintain one’s purchasing power.
However, many of us do not really know what to do with our money. Most of us spend what we need to spend, and save what we need to save. And you’re right, we put our savings in the bank because its the safest haven. But wait, is it still that safe? I’m telling you its a outright NO.
This graph illustrates the interest rates offered by banks from 1990 to today.
singapore-interest-rate
What did you discover? Did you notice that the trendline is consistently falling? More horrendous is the fact that interest rates have fell to near zero for the past 2 years! This rate is most likely gonna stay for 2 more years because US has pledged to keep it that way since it wants to stimulate the devastated economy after the 2009 Global Financial Crisis. Most banks are just paying you a pathetic 0.05-0.1% interest per annum for keeping your money with them. If you do the math, you are ‘earning’ a NEGATIVE rate of return of 4%-0.1% = 3.9% per annum. Isn’t this shocking?  Banks would never tell you the truth about the real rate of return you are making for putting money with them, because they are out to make money from the financially illiterate. The financially educated people call it legal daylight robbery! The bank isn’t a safe place to put money after all, as it is taking advantage of your financial ignorance.
Where should my money go?
 
If you happen to be worried and want to know about what to do with the money you are holding now, I congratulate you. You have taken the first step to understanding what financial knowledge is all about. The key to wealth is investing. Investing in itself is a BIG topic and I am not going to touch this concept for now because the main objective here is to let you first understand that you need to take action to protect your money.
Closing Statements
 
The lack of money is the root of all evil. – Mark Twain
 
The younger you adopt the mindset of an investor, the less financial worries you have in life. I hope this post had served to give some of you a nudge and I certainly look forward to sharing my new post next week.  Do check back here for important information, as I assure you that our team would do our part on imparting the right knowledge to you and fulfill our mission.
Cheers,
RATpack