This is a pretty inspiring story for school teacher Andrew Hallam, a self-made millionaire investor in Singapore.
Here’s some of his simple personal finance principles which we all could relate to.
- Drawing a middle class wage, he had become a debt-free millionaire in late 30s because of his investment portfolio. He paid his own educational expenses, and did not inherited a penny from anyone.
- Now 41, he teaches English at the Singapore American School and his financial outlook includes a respect for restrained spending.
- He valued money from the beginning because he didn’t have a lot. (How many of us does anyway right? Yet some people spend more money psychologically, citing excuses of such behaviour as “therapeutic” because they “didnt’ have a lot”)
- He added that increased wealth, beyond a certain level, doesn’t add to happiness. (True! Just think of the days when you were still an undergraduate versus now)
- The earlier one starts investing, the better, he thinks. “Be happy when markets are falling if you’re young”.He made money after market plunges such as after the 9/11 attacks, when the Iraq war broke out, and after the 2008/2009 global financial crisis. His portfolio is worth US$1.4 million
- He believes that “the average college-educated person in Canada, America and Europe” lacks basic financial education. (Malaysia too, Mr Hallam)
- He mentioned that for the most part, most of the people who are not financially literate were being taken advantage of, by the financial advisory industry. (Also by all financial institutions as well. Ensure you know the basics of personal finance concepts, and ask questions!)
- He points out, that hidden fees in financial products erode investors’ profits. “Advisers get paid well when you buy actively managed mutual funds aka unit trusts. (That is why, you got to be calculative of your investment cost rather than looking at the returns alone)
- For someone who likes the challenge of investing and watching his money grow, an added challenge for Mr Hallam is: “How can you actually use money to enrich your life and your soul?” The answer, for him, is to selectively give his money away. For example, he helps others by giving to organisations in Cambodia and India, which help people build a living for themselves. (I have not reached this level yet, but I start small by donations to World Vision)
Final quote from Mr Hallam