First Investment Stories from Personal Finance Experts Episode Three

Your very first investment can be boring.

This is what Azizi Ali and Amy Sipagal admitted when they graciously replied to contribute to this First Investment Stories series.

Or it could be an unconventional “investment” as told by Ching.

But it does not matter because I could see yet another similarity from their testimonials – Start Early, even if it means Starting Small.

Celine said she started investing while she was 13 years old – an age of onset puberty where most are most interested in the opposite gender than anything. Thank you, Celine because you have just set a new benchmark of “starting early”. 🙂


Azizi Ali first investment

I invested RM10,000 in Amanah Saham Nasional when it was first launched in the early 1980s. I did not know much about investments then and so decided to stick with something safe. It turned out to be a super investment as the return for the first two years was 20% and 18% respectively!

The better answer is that I started to make really big money as soon as I educated myself on investments. More importantly, the knowledge enabled me to repeat the process over and over again, without having to depend on luck or others.

Azizi Ali – Malaysia’s #1 financial speaker, author and millionaires coach. Also a pilot, publisher and property investor – or to put it succinctly an all-round entrepreneur.


jonathan quek asia youngest coachWell… Although I’ve always been known as a gold & silver advocator, my first profitable investment was not precious metals. Instead, my first profitable investment on my 21st Birthday was Close-Ended Fund.

I’ve always been an admirer of Warren Buffett & he is an investor whom I model. Since then, I’ve been learning about value investing. When I got to know Mr. Tan Teng Boo’s iCapital’s newsletter, it got me interested in learning about macro-economics & also good stocks around the region. At that point of time, I was 19, turning 20.

I started investing in stock & shares on my 21st birthday, a year plus after reading books & magazines. When my dad asked me what I wanted for my 21st birthday, I told him that I wanted stock. I bought 2 lots at RM1.26.

Jonathan Quek, Asia’s Youngest Wealth Coach. “Impacting Lives Through Money & Wealth Intelligence”


My very first profitable “investment” was actually an entrepreneurial endeavour – I “invested” and “sold” parking lots!

Here’s the story:

Ching Lee iMoneyBack in uni, I was a poor student. I lived in Melbourne’s city centre, and rent was expensive (it still is actually). I needed to figure out a way to make extra pocket money. i started to look around for job / investment opportunities, but there weren’t many. And then I noticed something – people that drive to the city pay around A$15 to A$20 a day in parking, and most student apartments come equipped with car parks. I did the math – as a working professional that drive to the city, parking would cost you on average A$300 to A$400 a month.

It didn’t take me long before I started to approach students that rent apartments with parking lot – offering them between A$150 to A$200 a month and in turn “renting” the parking lots to working professionals for A$250 – A$300. I was making on average a clean A$50 to A$100 per month per parking lot. That was fun, but it did require some hard work. Lesson: look around for pockets of opportunities, particularly in “markets” where there’s inefficiencies (in this case, working class can’t locate cheap parking lots, while students with parking lots can’t locate working class who would be willing to pay for high rent)

I noticed after finishing my story that you might actually be after a traditional investment (e.g. shares / property etc) – my first profitable one was an ETF investment (my favourite). I bought it at the lows of 2008/2009 crisis – invested around A$1500 (this was while i was still in australia) – and I still hold it (now the investment is worth around $1800 – $2000). Not spectacular, but it’s a profit nonetheless.

Ching, CEO & founder of, Malaysia’s money comparison website  offering you free and independent comparisons for financial products (eg loans, cards etc).

In short, iMoney gathers information from providers across Malaysia in one website to make life easy for fellow Malaysians.

I started my first investment when I was about 13-14 years old, and it was into unit trust investment. One main reasons was my mum was an agent. Also, at that point of time, unit trust funds were new in the market. It also need small layouts and managed by expert. At that age, I am of course clueless about the market and hence, it is best to leave it in the hands of professional. I started with RM1k to RM2k, if I am not mistaken. I followed the theory of

Celine Tan

ringgit cost averaging, where I will put in money every month (the savings from my pocket money). Larger amount will be placed whenever I received extra money, either from birthday, xmas or chinese new year. By age 16, my total savings ran up to about RM15k. And, during that time, it was during the 1997/98 crisis. My mum helped me do some switching of funds and when the market recovered in 1999/2000, my investment actually more than doubled. The savings and profits of more than RM30k were in time for me to buy a kancil for my college traveling (which I am still driving today). So, I have been grateful with my investments especially into unit trust all these while. [This is what I could remember, I couldn’t remember the exact details on how the investment was plough in]

I made a similar investment when I started university, and it was with another fund house. The fund house was a boutique fund house and rather new in the market. But, the fund performed well. In less than 5 years, it doubled as well.

Having said that, times have changed, I guess, the kind of returns that I experienced is difficult to experience nowadays. I guess we now experience “diminishing returns”. Anyhow, just to share with you, the first doubling of money was with Pacific Dana Aman, while the second experience was with HwangDBS Select Opportunity.

Celine Tan, CFP, ex-Senior Writer for Personal Money at The Edge Communications.

Celine’s Specialties

Personal investment analysis, Personal risk management analysis, Comprehensive financial planning, Debt management analysis, Dealing with personal finance calculation; Contemplating writing in all these areas plus writing profiles for individuals


When LCF first requested a story from me, I ignored his request because I don’t regard myself as a personal finance expert.  My spouse and I are just one of the regular people out there who learned through mistakes and trial and error.  Well, this is the second time LCF has requested for a short personal account regarding successful investing.

My first profitable investment is actually ASB (Amanah Saham Bumiputera).  I know it is boring but I seriously recommend young working adults to start investing in ASB as soon as they get their first paycheck.  I started with a Amy Sipagalsmall amount but kept topping up the amount every year until the account was full.  Now, the amount has grown from 4 digits to 6 digits without much effort.  It only took some discipline to set aside a certain amount of money each year for putting into the account.  If I don’t touch the money, I hope to see it grow to 7 digits in 10 years time.

This is an effortless investment and I didn’t lose any sleep over it from the beginning.  I truly believe that starting young and with just a small amount of money is something everyone can do.  Compounding over a period of time helps the money to grow.

I started with a few thousand and it grew to abt 100K +  but I took out the money to start building my house. Then I started to top-up the acct again using all my bonuses, overtime pay, allowance (including hubby’s) and eventually it was full. So, I can’t give the time period. This would definitely vary for every individual. That was the only time I took out the money and never touched it again.

Amy Sipagal is the co-author of the books “Teaching Your Kids About Money” and “Top 93 Personal Finance FAQs in Malaysia” with KC Lau

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First Investment Stories from Personal Finance Experts Episode 1

First Investment Stories from Personal Finance Experts Episode 2

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