How I Invest My Money as a Self-Employed Person (Detailed Breakdown!)

Where do I invest my money?

In this article, I want to talk a little bit about the breakdown of my (boring) investment portfolio. I’ll also shed some info on the asset classes involved and what I want to improve or refine further. 

By the end, I’ll share some of my core investing mindsets (or principles, whatever you wanna call them) that I follow closely in my decision-making process.

Have a good read!

Now, a few caveats…

1. The market is dynamic (so is life). Our financial priorities change as we grow older. Hence, I am pretty sure how I invest today will evolve along with time and my priorities in life. 

2. The focus of this discussion will be on my long-term investment portfolio. This means that invested assets will be focused 100% on achieving my financial goal (Financial Independence, or FI). 

They will not be cashed out for other purposes other than portfolio rebalancing. 

3. Money allocated for savings and emergencies will NOT be included in this discussion. This is because there is a high chance that these monies will be used for purposes other than to achieve my financial goals. 

Read my articles on savings and emergency funds HERE and HERE

4. Money allocated for short-term trading will not be included in this discussion. The nature & purpose between trading and investing are extremely different and there is no reason for me to add them to this discussion.

With that in mind, please approach this post with a pinch of salt. Your investment approach and style should be aligned with your own priorities in life, risk profile, and more. 

Do consult a licensed financial planner if you are serious about building your own investment portfolio. I am also working with my personal financial planner and have written about my experience HERE

No Money Lah’s Investment Portfolio + Breakdown Discussion – June 2020

#1 Cash in Hand for Investment Purposes

There are a few reasons why 40% of my portfolio is in the form of cash.

Reason #1: Risk of income fluctuation as a self-employed. 

There are certain months where my income may be less than my intended average figure. 

Hence, at this point in time (June), I have a 3-months cash buffer allocated for my monthly investment routine as you’ll read in this article.

Reason #2: Cash reserved for different opportunities.

We never know what’ll happen in the market tomorrow. 

Especially in this current market condition, I have extra cash reserved to take advantage of any opportunities that may come knocking on the doorstep. 

#2 Stock Market (REITs) – Active Income Investing

How I Invest: Every month, barring nothing special happens, I will pump a specific sum of money into my selected REITs.

When it comes to the stock market, I focus particularly on Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs)

This is the part of my investing routine where I am involved actively to research and study what to invest.

The reasons why I focus on REITs are because REITs’ volatility is generally milder relative to other sectors in the market, and I like the idea of consistent dividend payout from REITs (something like collecting rent as a landlord). 

Simply put, REITs are my niche and it is a sector that I can utilize my thought process & analysis skills with high competence to generate alpha (edge).

What I’d like to refine further: Starting to expose myself more to foreign REITs (ie. Singapore, HK & US REITs) for the 2nd half of 2020.

Note: Click photo to access this article.


p.s. I am often asked if I feel ‘sayang’ for missing out on all the hot headline stocks. To be honest, I don’t.

For one, I do not have time to study these companies for long-term investment. Secondly, the moment you see a stock appear on the headline, you are probably way too late to join the game.

I focus on my niche and strength, and will not touch something that I am not familiar with. 

#3 Robo-Advisors (StashAway + Wahed) – Automated Passive Investing

How I Invest: Monthly automated debit order.

Yes, I am aware of the risk of overconcentration by just investing in REITs. 

Hence, I am also passively invested in robo-advisors like StashAway and Wahed to diversify my portfolio into ETFs of various industries and other asset classes (ie. Bond, Commodities, Sukuk). 

In terms of risk profile, I am mainly focusing on medium-risk portfolios from both platforms (StashAway: 14% Risk Index, Wahed: Medium Risk Profile).

The beauty of robo-advisors is that I can invest passively at a reasonably lower cost than conventional unit trusts. 

What I’d like to refine further: Nothing.

p.s. Use my: StashAway Referral Code and get 50% off your management fees for 6 months, as well as Wahed Referral Code (Code: YIXCHI1) and get RM10 bonus fund!

Note: Click photo to access this article. 

#4 PRS – Passive Investing

Just to take advantage of tax and government’s previous incentive.

Note: Click photo to access article

#5 Gold – Monthly manual debit order

How I Invest: Manual debit via HelloGold’s Smart Savers program

Personally, I think of Gold as a wealth preservation asset and a correlation hedge against overall market volatility. 

The reason why I choose to stick with HelloGold is that it allows me to be extremely flexible with the purchase amount, whereas other platforms have a minimum purchase of 1g. 

What I’d like to refine further: Increase monthly allocation in Gold, and start to have exposure in Silver in line with the increment of my income in the near future.

Note: Click photo to access article

#6 EPF – Passive Investing

How I Invest: Monthly manual debit order

EPF is an interesting matter to me as a self-employed. This is because unlike normal employment where there is a standard to how much you and your employer will contribute to your EPF, I have to manage my own EPF account.

This is done by opening my own EPF i-Saraan account and manage my own EPF contribution.

What I’d like to refine further: Increase monthly allocation in line with the increment of my income in the near future.

#7 Bitcoin – Not adding any positions 

Presently, most of my bitcoin positions are my unsold positions during my purchase in mid-2017.

They are relatively small as I was lucky enough to sell off the majority of my position nearly at the height of bitcoin’s $20,000 peak by the end of 2017.

That said, I am also eyeing to start increasing my holding on digital currencies moving forward. Just gotta dive in and do some research first.

What I’d like to refine further: Do deeper research into digital currencies.

#8 ASNB – No Luck

Seriously, if you can get your hands on Amanah Saham Fixed Price Funds, get it. 

The consistency of return and the nature of ASNB unit price (fixed at RM1.00/unit) makes it a no-brainer if you are looking to invest passively.

Unfortunately, I never really got much luck to get many units since I’ve written my piece on Amanah Saham last year *sigh*

Note: Click photo to access article.

Context: My Situation

I am 26 this year. As a self-employed, I run this blog and actively organize live REIT Income Investing coaching sessions – both of which I have a lot of fun doing.

In my downtime prior to Covid-19, I am also an International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) certified table tennis coach (though that stream of income is no more today).

More importantly, I am also passionately working behind the scene to become a full-time funded trader (*fingers crossed*). This part of my life requires a dedicated post, but suffice to say it is a very challenging, yet exciting journey.

I am single and currently living with my family (it’s a blessing). Hence, I am able to reduce my living expenses significantly which enables me to pursue my goals wholeheartedly, while maintaining a respectable savings ratio.

All in all, my situation is likely going to be very different from many people, as I do not have a fixed monthly income. 

Financially, my situation requires me to be extremely disciplined with money. It also pushed me to think 2 to 3 steps ahead in terms of my income streams, which is why you’ll see things like cash buffer in place for my monthly investment routines.

My Investing Mindset + Approaches

1. Create a disciplined financial and investing routine. For me, I review my financials and investments every month-end, so I am always aware of my financial state. 

2. Take time to discover your investment style. Not everyone has the time & commitment to pick individual stocks. Not everyone can invest in volatile businesses. Everyone is different. 

For me, a hybrid routine of active REIT income investing coupled with low-cost passive investing makes the most sense to my personality, time, and commitment. 

3. Foundational skills like how to analyze a financial report is a MUST in active investing. I think there’s really no shortcut here. 

4. A stock investing plan without an exit strategy is NOT a plan. Market and businesses are too dynamic to buy and hold forever. 

5. 99% of headlines are mostly for entertainment purposes. Until you know what you are looking for, headlines and news can be extremely overwhelming. 

p.s. I don’t really care about the hottest stock in town. 

6. Leverage on technology. Low-cost passive investing platforms like StashAway and Wahed helped complement my investment routine so I am always diversified in other industries. 

7. Avoid investing with borrowed money. I avoid leveraged accounts and invest only with the money I have (ie. Cash Upfront account on Rakuten Trade).

8. Learn to make independent investment decisions. I use various resources to help me gather insights, but ultimately, I make my own investment decisions. 

Nothing helps me improve more than taking ownership of how I invest my own wealth. 

9. Focus on the process – keep learning and stay humble. Whenever I feel like I know everything, the market will prove me otherwise. A little humility goes a long way in the market. 

10. In the long run, successful financial goals and investing depend on one’s habits, mindset, and skillsets. And yes, it’ll take time. 

No Money Lah’s Verdict

Oh my, this is a long article! Thanks for reading till the end, and hopefully you find this post an insightful one!

Ultimately, it is crucial for us to acknowledge that investing is a very personal matter. How I invest will likely be very different from you, and there is really no right or wrong approach here.

Either way, personal finance and investing is a life-long journey. Our money and investment routine have to evolve as we step into different stages of life.

Hence, keep learning, stay humble.

p.s. Curious, where do you invest your money in? Feel free to share with me at the comment section below! 

Talk soon! :)

This is an article that I’ve always wanted to write about. In fact, I have several drafts for this topic, yet I never really landed on an approach to this article.

Big thanks to Mr-Stingy’s article on 'How I Invest My Own Money' (check it out!), which has helped me decide how I should approach this topic. You can also check out a similar topic from Ringgit Oh Ringgit HERE.

You Might be Interested: What'd I do If I Were to Start Investing All Over Again?

5 MUST-KNOW Terminologies Before You Invest in REITs

Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) are essentially companies that operate and/or manage real estates. REITs are especially well-received among long-term investors that are looking for a reliable passive income stream.

To invest in REITs is identical to typical stock investment – you buy their shares through your stock broker.

That said, here are 5 terminologies that you HAVE TO know before investing in REITs:

(1) Distribution/Distribution Per Unit (DPU)

Distribution is one of the MOST IMPORTANT elements in REIT investing. Essentially, distribution refers to the total amount of money that a REIT is paying back to its investors at the end of every quarter or Financial Year (FY).

As such, take the total distribution of a REIT and divide by the total number of shares of a REIT, and you will get the Distribution Per Unit – a.k.a. the total amount of distribution you will get as one unitholder of a share in the particular REIT.


DPU details of SunREIT (Source: i3investor)

(2) Dividend Yield

Compared to Distribution/Distribution Per Unit, Dividend Yield is much more familiar to people.

In short, Dividend Yield is derived from Distribution Per Unit (DPU) – by dividing DPU with the price per unit of a REIT.

From the example above, the Dividend Yield of SunREIT for its latest four quarters is:

Dividend Yield of SunREIT

(3) Net Asset Value (NAV)/Net Asset Value Per Unit (NAVPU)

Net Asset Value shows the total worth of the net assets of a REIT.

When divided by the total shares (or units issued) of a REIT, you will get the value of Net Asset Value Per Unit (NAVPU), a.k.a. the total value of the net asset of a REIT per share.

NAVPU is very useful to determine if a REIT is undervalued or overvalued. As an example, if the price of a REIT is less than NAVPU, it shows that a REIT is currently market-priced at a value less than the worth of the net asset of the REIT (undervalued).


YTL REIT market price: RM1.34 vs NAVPU (or NAPS) of RM1.6059. (Source: i3investor)

(4) Gearing

Gearing refers to the leverage of a REIT. Essentially, it refers to how much is the total debt of a REIT in relative to its total asset.

Generally, a REIT is legally required to maintain a Gearing of 50% or less.

Source: YTL REIT 4Q FY2019 Quarterly Report

(5) Occupancy Rate

Occupancy rate is extremely crucial to determine if a REIT is going to earn money. Simply put, the more tenants that occupy a REIT's property, the higher the occupancy rate of the property.

Generally, we should want to look for REITs that have a high occupancy rate for their real estate portfolio:

Mid Valley and The Gardens have more than 95% occupancy rate. (Source: IGB REIT FY2018 Annual Report)

No Money Lah’s Verdict:

So that’s it! Here are 5 terminologies that you MUST KNOW while investing in REITs. While this is a short and simple article, yet if you are new to REITs, I definitely hope that you find this article informative!

If you find this article useful, do share this article out to benefit more people around you! Also, do check out my articles on WHY you should invest in REITs, and the different TYPES of REITs in the market (and why they matter!)

6 Types of REITs and WHY THEY MATTER

Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs), are essentially companies that own and/or operates income-generating real estates. As an example, Mid Valley and The Gardens are operated by IGB REIT, and from the profit earned (mainly through rental), REITs pay their investors in the form of dividends.

That said, in this article, I want to dive deeper into the types of REITs in the market, and why knowing this is important in your REIT investing decision.

Essentially, there are 6 kinds of REITs that you will find in the listed market (a.k.a. REITs that are purchasable in the Malaysian stock market):


(1) Retail REIT (eg. KIP REIT, IGB REIT – Mid Valley, The Gardens)

Retail REITs, as the name suggest, are REITs that own and operates malls and shop lots.

In other words, Retail REITs’ revenue comes from renting the space of their properties to retail tenants (eg. Nike, G2000, llao llao and more).


If a Retail REIT owns a mall that is located at a prime area, they’ll generally attract crowd which would translate to 3 things: (a) Low tenant turnover, (b) Ability to command higher rental, and (c) Relatively stable revenue stream.


That said, the economic condition would generally impact the revenue growth of Retail REITs. Logically speaking, consumption will drop in a bad economic condition and it will impact Retail REITs’ revenue negatively.

IGB REIT owns and runs Mid Valley and The Gardens.

(2) Office REIT (eg. MQ REIT, UOA REIT)

Office REITs are REITs that mainly own and operates office buildings.

Some of the common tenants of Office REITs are mainly from the financial services sector and MNCs.


Office REITs that have office buildings in prime areas are able to command higher rental, BUT…


Excess supply of office buildings are leading to (a) Less sticky tenants and (b) Price wars among office spaces.

Also, Office REITs will also be impacted negatively by bad economic condition.

UOA REIT owns and runs office buildings.

(3) Hospitality REIT (eg. YTL REIT)

Hospitality REITs are NOT REITs that own and operate hospitals.

Instead, Hospitality REITs are REITs that manage hotels and residential buildings. As an example, YTL REIT owns the JW Marriott hotel (in Malaysia and Australia) and the iconic Majestic Hotel in KL.


Hospitality REITs can benefit from the rise of the tourism sector of the country, as well as currency drop that would lead to our country being a more attractive tourist-friendly country.


Highly impacted by global economic growth. A dull economic scenario would impact the tourism sector badly and in turn, lead to less revenue for the hospitality industry.

Majestic Hotel is owned by YTL REIT

(4) Industrial REIT (eg. Atrium REIT)

Industrial REITs are REITs that own and operate properties like warehouses and factory spaces.


Industrial REITs have little need to spend property maintenance or fancy designs relative to other REITs, which translates to lower operating expenses.


(a) Most heavily affected by economic downturns, as factory operations and inventory storage, would be cut to a minimum during a downturn. (b) Limited rental hike potential due to a similar business model.

Atrium REIT

(5) Healthcare REIT (eg. Al-Aqar REIT – KPJ Hospitals and Specialist Centres)

Healthcare REITs are REITs that own and operate hospitals and healthcare services properties.


No matter the economic condition, Healthcare REITs would, generally, be an excellent defensive hedge as people will need healthcare services no matter the economic condition.


Limited expansion opportunity within its own properties (eg. Long term lease agreement that reduces revenue upside), unless opting for acquisitions of new or existing healthcare properties.

Al-Aqar REIT is the only listed Healthcare REIT in Malaysia

(6) Mixed REIT (eg. SunREIT – Sunway Pyramid, Sunway Tower & Axis REIT)

Mixed REITs are generally, REITs that own and operates real estates of different nature.

As an example, SunREIT has a portfolio of properties ranging from retail malls, offices, hotels, healthcare, and warehouses.


Highly diversified range of properties. More resilient to various market fluctuation and economic conditions.


Exposed to all kind of risks brought by owning a different kind of REITs.

SunREIT has an impressive portfolio of diversified properties.

Which type of REITs should You Invest In?

Based on the type of REITs introduced above, which are the REITs that you should consider investing in?

Generally, while REITs are relatively stable compared to conventional stock investing, REITs do have different risk profiles depending on their nature:

As an example, if you were to invest in Healthcare REITs for their nature of being more stable during various economic conditions, you should (generally) expect a lower yield compared to other REITs as Healthcare REITs have a lower potential for revenue growth.

On the other hand, if you were to invest in Industrial REITs, you should (theoretically) expect a higher yield as a compensation for the relative risks involved while investing in Industrial REITs.

Risk vs Expected Yield among Different REITs


That said, the actual yield of your REIT investments may or may not reflect the ideal scenario given existing market volatility and actual business performance of REITs – but since we are discussing purely on the nature of the respective REITs themselves, I think a necessary conceptual understanding is still value-adding to you.

No Money Lah’s Verdict

So that’s it – the 6 types of REITs that you will find in the market. I hope this article has been informative for you, and if you are new to REITs, give you a more in-depth understanding of REITs.

In short, not all REITs are made the same and different REITs should be studied at with a slightly different lens depending on their nature.

REIT, in my opinion, is definitely a great choice that you can seriously consider should you are looking for a solid passive income and long-term investment to fulfill your financial goals in life

In the coming articles, I will share with you the terminologies that you should know in REIT Investing and an overview of all listed REITs in Malaysia.

Stay tuned!

Introduction: REITs and Why Invest in Them?

As a kid, two of my most visited shopping malls are Mid Valley and Sunway Pyramid. While both are without doubt huge malls, an experience stood out the most while I visited these malls every time as a kid: it was pretty damn hard to look for a parking space!

Wouldn’t it be amazing if you can own part of these crowd-magnet malls, or get a share out of their profit?

Well, in a way, you can!

Today, I would like to talk about Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT), a personal favorite subject of mine.

Can you guess how much is the monthly rental of a little kiosk like this in Mid Valley? (Source: Mid Valley)

(1) What are REITs?

Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) are companies that own and/or operate real estate. Publicly listed REITs are traded just like any stocks listed in the stock market, making it very easy to invest in REITs.

Some of the more well-known real estates that are part of Malaysia REITs portfolio include Sunway Pyramid (SunREIT), Mid Valley (IGB REIT), The Gardens (IGB REIT), KPJ Hospitals and Specialist Centers (Al-Aqar REIT), Pavilion (PavREIT), JW Marriott hotel (YTL REIT) and more.

In short, REITs are great investment instrument for those who wish to own or profit from popular and profitable real estates – where others spend and consume on these places, you profit from them.

Source: Sunway City

(2) How do REITs make money?

To recap, REITs are companies that own and/or operate real estate. When it comes to real estate, it is not hard to understand the underlying business model of REITs – a.k.a. How do REITs make money?

Mainly, REITs make money through rental income from the real estates that they own and/or operate.

As an example, IGB REIT’s income is derived from the rental collected from its tenants for both Mid Valley and The Gardens Mall.

(3) Why Invest in REITs? – the Pros of REIT Investment

REITs are especially well-received among people longing for long-term investment for some of the reasons below:

a. High proportion of Income Distribution

In order to be qualified as a REIT, companies are required to pay out at least 90% of its net income as dividend to their investors.

Which lead me to my second point…

b. Attractive Dividend Yield – making it a great passive income stream

Due to the dividend payout nature of REITs, dividend yield from REITs is generally better than typical stocks dividend in the market.

In general, Malaysian REITs yield a decent 5% – 7% dividend on a yearly basis. Aside from that, should investors time their entry point properly, they are also able to enjoy growth from capital appreciation as well. (eg. Buy at RM1.00/unit. A price rise to RM1.20 will make up to 20% capital growth for investors)

Yield Performance of REITs vs other instruments.
Sources: Respective instruments' official page, CEIC Data

c. Relatively less risky than typical stock investments

REIT investment is also relatively less risky compared to typical stock investments due to most REIT’s business model that lock in tenants for at least 1 – 3 years, ensuring a relatively stable income stream for REITs.

REITs volatility in comparison to the market. (Source:

(4) Cons & Risks of Investing in REITs

a. Less capital growth opportunity

Due to its nature of being more stable in relative to typical stock investments, REITs growth in revenue and profit is often predictable, making it less exciting for short-term speculators and traders to speculate the REIT sector.

In other words, REITs growth are more likely supported by its fundamental business growth – making REITs an answer for those who seek long-term investment opportunities, but not so much for short-term speculators and traders.

b. Exposure to Market Fluctuation

Unlike conventional real estate investment, publicly listed REITs are also constantly exposed to a certain degree of market fluctuation due to its nature of being listed in the stock market.

Meaning, regardless of the fundamental stability of a REIT business, REITs are still prone to a certain degree of price fluctuation in the market.

c. Change in Portfolios’ Fundamental

Similar to conventional real estate investment, REITs also have the risk of having a strong income-producing real estate turning otherwise due to changes in market demand or fundamentals.

As an example, Sungei Wang Plaza (CMMT) and Subang Parade (Hektar REIT) used to be the to-go malls in the 90s, yet the rise of more attractive malls eventually replaced their glory.

Subang Parade - once known as the longest shopping mall in Southeast Asia. (Source: Subang Parade Official Facebook Page)

(5) How to Invest in REITs?

There are both private (Alpha REIT) and public-listed REITs (eg. SunREIT, IGB REIT, Axis REIT, YTL REIT) in Malaysia.

Generally, the easiest and most common way for one to invest in REITs is through the stock market, as there is where one can find publicly-listed REITs to invest in.

No Money Lah’s Verdict

Personally, I find REIT investment relatively simple to understand and work around, due to its business model that is (most of the time) straightforward.

In a way, REITs allow retail investors to invest in a portfolio of income-generating real estates, while enjoying the convenience of participation of the stock market. (eg. Buy and sell as instantly as you please, unlike conventional real estate/property transactions)

With that in mind, I believe that there is no harm to have REITs in your investment portfolio.

In the coming posts, I will dive into the different type of REITs and an overview of REITs in Malaysia, so stay tuned!

Do you invest in REITs? If you do, what REITs have you been investing lately? Would love to hear from you!

p.s. REITs are my personal favorite when it comes to long-term investment due to its decent dividend and simple-to-understand business model.

Compounding Effect: The Art of Getting Rich

Let’s say you were given an option to choose between taking RM3 million (RM3,000,000) in cash this very instant and a single cent (RM0.01) that doubles in value every day for 31 days, which option would you choose?


RM3 million vs a single cent that would double in value. Which one would you choose?

The Incredible Story of a Compounding Penny

When I first encountered this question in a book, picking RM3 million seemed like a no-brainer. After all, how would a single cent make any difference in my bank account?

Now, let’s say I eventually chose to take RM3 million in cash, and my friend, Jack, chose the latter:


Day-5: I would feel sorry for Jack because he only has 16 cents (RM0.16) compared to my gigantic RM3 million.

Day-10: I would be laughing at Jack because he only managed to accumulate RM5.12 in his pocket.

Day-20: With only 11 days left, Jack has only RM5,243 with him compared to my RM3 million. In that instant, it is easy to dismiss and conclude that Jack has made a poor decision in life.

However, it is not until the final days of the 31-days bet that we finally witness the magic of a doubling cent.

Day-29: Jack has managed to accumulate RM2.7 million. Close enough, but still lesser than my RM3 million.

Then, by Day-30, Jack finally surpassed me and accumulated RM5.3 million on hand. Finally, on Day-31, Jack won the month-long bet by making RM10.7 million (vs my RM3 million) merely from a single cent that doubles in value.


This would have put me into shame and regret with my decision, but more importantly, we see why being consistent over time is so crucial.


Compounding Effect, given time, is incredibly powerful.

How did Warren Buffett Become So Rich?

It may seem crazy how a single cent that doubles in value can grow into such extend given consistency and time.

This is the Power of Compounding Effect. It is the idea that given time, with the consistency in effort (eg. Investments, Habits), the payoff will eventually compound and return to us in an exponential rate (as seen in the previous chart).

Warren Buffett, one of the richest figure in the world, built his wealth mainly via interest from the companies that he invested in. At age 56, his net worth was $1.4 billion. If this looks like a lot to you, his wealth grew more than 1000% to $17 billion by the age of 66!

If you observe the image below carefully, you will realize that the vast majority Warren Buffett’s fortune is acquired later in life. In fact, it is the power of compounding that triggered such an exploding growth, very much alike with the story of the Compounding Penny above.


The shape of Buffett's fortune growth. Isn't it similar to the graph above?

Great. So What Does That Mean for You and Me?

(1) Positive behaviors and habits, no matter how small they are, given time, will become a formidable push of success via Compounding Effect:

Hence, start now

You may not see the immediate effect of jogging 2km daily, but you will be surprised by how healthy your life will become if done consistently.

You may not become financially free right after learning new investing knowledge, but you will be surprised by how continuous learning will lead you to your goals if done consistently.

You may not become rich instantly after investing, but you will be surprised by how an RM1,000 investment into the right company can grow by more than 470% in 30 years (at a conservative 6% dividend return a year) if you have the patience to let your wealth grow via Compounding Effect.

Again, start now.


(2) The idea behind Compounding Effect is simple and powerful. And it can work both ways:

You could either take control and work consistently towards your life and financial goals from now on, OR you could choose to do, well, nothing.

Taking charge of your life with consistent life and money habits may not be the most comfortable option at the beginning (well, isn't that always the case with making changes in life?). But given time, persistence and the right strategies, your path to success is only a matter of time:

A matter of time before momentum takes off and the power of compounding effect starts rewarding you with exponential returns.

On the contrary, sticking with your current life and financial status with no intention to improve may be the best option at the moment. After all, we ain’t have time for this, right?

But if you choose to do so, just do not regret with the fact that mediocrity will always be part of your life. Period.

The Conversation Between 2 of the Richest Men on Earth

Jeff Bezos once had a conversation with Warren Buffett, and I think this conversation would bring a very on-point end to this article. The conversation went on like this:

Simple words, amazing wisdom.

Now that you understand the Art of Getting Rich, here are 4 Financial Goals in life and how to achieve them! 

Learn how I build PASSIVE INCOME in the stock market with MINIMAL RISK!

4 Ultimate Financial Goals in Life & How to Achieve Them

Look, you are now a working adult with a decent monthly income. However, no matter what you how hard you work every month, your money in the bank doesn’t seem to grow much, at least not at the extent you desire.

They (the society) says that you got to have a house by 30, and you are looking to marry the girl of your life by the age as well. Damn, what about the expenses with having kids after that?

Where will all this money come from?

You see, many of us know the importance of money. However, only a few know how to manage money.

Coincidentally, the people that know how to manage money are the ones are financially better off in life. Heck, they may not even earn as much as you every month, but they are wealthier than you in the end.

Why is it so?

One of the reason is that they have clear and precise financial goals, and they work towards it with commitment and discipline no matter their current financial condition.

If you want to make the most out of your hard-earned money, here are 4 ultimate financial goals in life that you got to strive to achieve:

Level 1: Financial Stability

To achieve any sort of financial successes in life, you must first aim to achieve Financial Stability.

Essentially, you have attained Financial Stability when:

  • Your existing liquid assets* are 6 times your monthly expenses, and,
  • You have life and hospitalization insurance to cover you and/or your family’s expenses should anything happen to you.

 In short, attaining Financial Stability will give you peace of mind knowing that your current lifestyle is in good hands should unexpected events such as retrenchment and accidents happen to you.

How to achieve Financial Stability?

Step 1: Identify your current monthly expenses.

Step 2: Identify your current status of liquid assets.

Step 3: Identify the total liquid assets needed to cover your monthly expenses for 6 months. (6 x Monthly Expenses – Current Liquid Assets)

Step 4: Commit to save at least 10% - 20% of your net income every month to fill up the differences.

Step 5: Identify how long you will take to achieve Financial Stability given your saving commitment:

Step 6: Last but not least, make sure you have enough insurance coverage for you and your family members!

*Liquid assets are things such as cash or assets that can be readily converted into cash. (eg. Fixed Deposit, Stocks, Unit Trusts)


Financial Stability is the first financial goal that you have to strive to achieve in life.

Level 2: Financial Security

Financial Security is the level of wealth where you have attained income-generating assets and investments to generate passive income enough to cover your most basic expenses.

At this level, you can stop working and still live a very basic lifestyle. It also means that if you continue to work, all your active income will go towards building other income streams and investments and this will further compound your overall asset value.

A list of basic expenses is:

  • Personal/family expenses (eg. Food, groceries)
  • House and car loans
  • Transportation (eg. Petrol, Touch & Go)
  • Utilities (eg. Water and electricity bill, phone bill)
  • Credit card interest repayment
  • Insurance premium

How to achieve Financial Security?

Step 1: Identify your basic expenses (monthly) and multiply by 12 months to find out your basic expenses per year.

Step 2: Identify your current passive income per month. How much more do you need to fill in the balance to cover your basic expenses?

Step 3: Think of all the potential income streams and income-generating assets that could generate the passive income needed to cover your basic expenses.

Step 4: Execute and build those income streams and assets.

As an example, you could focus on building your passive income via intellectual properties (eg. Books, Courses) and investment in dividend-generating stocks (eg. REITs). As a rule of thumb, focus on building at least 3 – 5 streams of income-generating assets.


Financial Security is where your passive income is enough to cover your monthly basic expenses.

Level 3: Financial Freedom

You have achieved Financial Freedom when your level of passive income is able to sustain your current lifestyle. This may include things like going for vacation abroad once every year and a decent birthday meal for your loved ones a few times a year.

Achieving Financial Freedom is one of the most enlightening moment in life, as you continue working not because you have to, but because you choose to do so.

Again, depending on your lifestyle (how you spend), you may achieve Financial Freedom earlier or later than others. Hence, to achieve Financial Freedom, it is also essential for you to cut down unnecessary expenses.

How to achieve Financial Freedom?

Once you have built at least 3 – 5 income-generating assets and achieve Financial Security (Level 2), you have to learn how to scale them to influence more potential customers and increase your return.

As an example, if you have written a book, now you can write an e-book or online course to teach people your knowledge. Having your products online have a higher scalability factor that could reach out to more potential customers.

Likewise, you could start a YouTube channel or blog to reach out to more customers within your niche area.


Financial Freedom comes next after Financial Security, where your passive income can pay for your current lifestyle.

Level 4: Financial Abundance

Financial Abundance is a level higher compared to Financial Freedom. It is a stage where your passive income is able to sustain your dream life. This is the level that is achieved by people such as Warren Buffett and Bill Gates.

How to achieve Financial Abundance?

As the popular saying goes: In general, every millionaire has an average of 7 income streams. Hence, it is essential for you to expand your income streams in order to achieve Financial Abundance.

Some of it may include investments into high-yield businesses and stocks, high scalability online business, investments into real estate, network marketing and more.


Financial Abundance is the final stage of financial goals. This is where people like Warren Buffett and Bill Gates stand.

Financial Plan to Achieve Financial Security, Financial Freedom and Financial Abundance

An example below is a template that you can use to plan your financial goals.

Remember, while some income-generating assets do need certain capital to start, many can be started without much capital in hand. The most important thing is to just START and give your 101% in effort.

Also, do note that income-generating assets that produce passive income does domean that you got to sit there and wait for the money to flow in. In general, most passive income streams require your attention and utmost effort to build and sustain, especially during the early years.



A template that you can use to design your plan to build various income-generating assets.

No Money Lah’s Verdict

So here you go! To ensure financial success in life, here are 4 financial goals that you should strive to attain, stage by stage.

Before we part ways in this article, do understand that no one stage is easier to achieve that the other. Do not feel depressed if you haven’t achieved any of these goals yet (I myself is working towards Level 1 too!).

Rather, let's devise plans and call-to-actions to make sure we commit and work towards these goals!

I wish you an amazing financial journey and I look forward to hear your financial success stories some day in the future!

Learn how I build PASSIVE INCOME in the stock market with MINIMAL RISK!

p.s. This post is inspired by Adam Khoo's book 'Secrets of Self-Made Millionaires'. You can get this book at any local bookstores near you.

4 Key Differences Between Investing in REIT and Rental Property

One of the most amazing thing when it comes to real estate investment is its versatility. As such, 2 of the most common ways to invest in real estate are through investing in Rental Property and Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) in the stock market.

If you are not familiar with REITs, just imagine yourself buying into shares of companies that own and manage real estate as their primary business activity.

Some REITs specialize in one specific asset class (eg. YTL REIT in hospitality) while some diversify into multiple asset classes (eg. Sun REIT in retail, hospitality and office space).

While both methods of investment allow investors to gain exposure in the real estate market, it is like comparing apples and oranges. Owning rental property represents direct ownership while investing in REITs is characterized by owning shares in a company whose sole purpose is to manage a portfolio of real estate assets.

In this article, let’s explore 4 key differences between both methods of real estate investment:

(1) Low Barrier of Entry (REIT) vs The Power of Leverage (Rental Property)


With a minimum lot size of 100 units, almost anyone can afford to gain exposure in real estate by investing in REITs. As an example, at RM1.19/unit, one could start to invest in YTL REIT at just RM119 (RM1.19 x 100 units).

Rental Property:

Most often, one that intends to purchase a rental property would be eligible for 80% - 90% loan on the total value of the property. This means that one could purchase a property with just 10% to 20% of the total property value. If done right, it will enable one to leverage his/her wealth effectively.

As an example, if I were to invest in an RM200,000 rental property, I would just have to pay an upfront payment of RM20,000 and reap the gains of the entire asset appreciating over time.

Profiting in real estate via REITs and Rental Property

(2) Capital Appreciation + Dividend (REIT) vs Capital Appreciation + Rental (Rental Property)

So, how do REIT and rental property investors profit from their investment?


Typically, REIT investors could expect to earn through the price appreciation of REIT in the market, while enjoying dividend paid by REIT companies (normally by every quarter of the year).

REIT investing in Malaysia is especially attractive to long-term investors as it consistently returns an annual dividend yield between 5% - 7%, which is more than the return of most structured financial derivatives in Malaysia (eg. Fixed Deposit).

Rental Property:

On the other hand, investors of rental property would benefit from capital appreciation as well, while enjoying rental payment from their tenants which will help service their loans.

Not only that, with the rise of platform such as Airbnb, many are also making a fortune by converting their properties to accommodate to these platforms.

(3) No Fuss in Management (REIT) vs Direct Control (Rental Property)


Investing in REIT means you are investing in a real estate business that is managed by professionals and field experts. In other words, the management team will oversee rent collection, property maintenance and acquisition decision in the business.

If you wish to earn passive income in the real estate business without much post-purchase issues, REIT is definitely a great option to consider.

Rental Property:

For many investors, having full control and outright ownership of their investment assets are of utmost importance.

In this case, one can decide what kind of property to invest in and when to sell those properties. Besides that, one makes all the decisions from how much rent to charge, the design of the property and more.

In short, if you own a rental property, you have full control over the asset, including the effort to maintain the condition of the property and rent collection from the tenants.

REITs are businesses that own and manage real estate portfolios. As an example, Majestic Hotel KL is owned by YTL REIT.

(4) Liquid & Diversified (REIT) vs Building Tangible Asset (Rental Property)


Owning a REIT share is just like owning any other share in the market.

This means that you can buy and sell-off your REIT shares during the weekdays at any active trading hours. Not only that, this flexibility also means that you can afford to make mistakes and still recover at minimal losses (because all you have to pay is a minimal amount of commission when you sell).

Investing in REIT also allows one to diversify to different asset classes easily due to its low barrier of entry. As an example, at the very minimum, I can invest in YTL REIT (hospitality assets) at just RM119 (RM1.19 x 100 units) and KIP REIT (retail assets) at just RM80 (RM0.80 x 100 units).

Rental Property:

While owning rental property might not provide the liquidity and flexibility in diversification, one is continuously building ownership in a tangible asset (asset that has a physical form) when investing in rental property.

Owning tangible assets such as rental property will give you the ability to refinance your property over time and use the proceeds to purchase additional assets to grow your portfolio.

No Money Lah’s Verdict:

For me, REIT and rental property investing should not be an ‘either-or’ discussion, but rather two type of real estate investments that should be practiced by everyone. As mentioned above, both methods of real estate investment offer their pros and cons and varying degrees of risk and reward.

Young adults with low initial capital should look into investing in REITs to gain some real estate exposure, while using the gains to venture into rental properties. On the other hand, experienced rental property owners should also look into REITs investing as a means to ensure capital liquidity in their real estate investments.

Learn how I build PASSIVE INCOME in the stock market with MINIMAL RISK!

Budget 2019: 5 Things About The Newly Announced Airport REIT!

Airport REIT.

Well, I definitely did not see it coming.

In the presentation of Budget 2019 by Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng today, he announced the establishment Airport REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust). If you have been following No Money Lah’s REIT investment articles, you must at least be a little intrigued by this so-called Airport REIT.

Without further ado, let’s dive straight into it!

(1) Background & Aim

Airport REIT is established as a plan under the 3rd strategy of Budget 2019: To Increase the Government’s Revenue.

As announced by the Finance Minister, the establishment of the Airport REIT is to collect at least RM4 billion from the sales of 30% equity of the REIT to qualified financial institutions and investors (fingers crossed that retail investors are included).

Aside from that, the management of Airport REIT would also be able to liquidate its units of shares to fund airport expansion and improvement initiatives, especially airports with overcapacity issues.

Interesting fact: The Airport REIT is, in fact, the first airport-focused REIT in the world! (fact-checked and according to the Budget announcement. Do correct me if I am wrong!)

(2) Revenue Generation

How will Airport REIT generate its income?

According to the announcement, the REIT’s revenue will come mainly from the users/consumer fees collected by Malaysia Airport Holdings Bhd (MAHB).

The details and structure of the fees are not disclosed, though.

(3) Execution Plan

In terms of the final execution, Airport REIT will be established officially after the details regarding the fees-revenue structure and assets under management are determined and finalized.

(4) Impact

The establishment of Airport REIT is hoped to achieve 2 main purposes:

  • To reduce the government’s burden in financing airports’ expansion projects
  • To ensure the role of MAHB as a light asset operator remain intact without the need for huge debt-piling and capital investments.

(5) Further Suggestions

Aside from the 4 main points shared above, the Finance Minister has also suggested for hospitals and rail projects to mirror Airport REIT’s investment and funding structure.

No Money Lah’s verdict:

Personally, I would wait for more details to be announced and I look forward to see the assets that will be included under Airport REIT’s portfolio.


So, what do you think about the introduction of Airport REIT in the market? Would you invest in it if the REIT is open to retail investors like ourselves?

Share with me your thoughts under the comment section below, and I cannot wait to hear from you!


Yi Xuan

KIP REIT Review (2018): 7 Things About The Highest Dividend-Paying REIT in Malaysia!

KIP REIT is a relatively new player in the scene of Malaysian REIT. It was listed in Bursa on 6th February 2017. In this article, I am going to present an in-depth analysis of KIP REIT and share my thoughts on this up and rising REIT.

1. Background

KIP REIT is a Malaysia REIT that focuses on the neighborhood and community-centric retail assets. Unlike many REITs with retail assets located in major big cities (eg. Sunway Pyramid by SunREIT & Mid Valley by IGB REIT), KIP REIT’s retail assets are located close to communities at developing and suburban towns.

2. Business Structure and Portfolio Analysis

KIP REIT’s retail assets are all concentrated within the central and southern region of Semenanjung Malaysia, namely the state of Selangor, Negeri Sembilan, Melaka, and Johor.

Source: KIP REIT FY2018 Annual Report

In terms of business structure, it has a portfolio consisting of 5 KiP Marts and 1 KiP Mall.

KIP REIT's Business Portfolio

In FY2018, KIP REIT’s biggest source of revenue contribution comes from KiP Mart Masai (26.21%), follows by KiP Mart Tampoi (25.86%) and KiP Mall Bangi (24.03%).

Source: KIP REIT FY2018 Annual Report

For a retail REIT, occupancy rate is an important indicator of how well the business is and would perform. Below is a comparison of the assets’ occupancy rate for FY2017 and FY2018:

Source: KIP REIT FY2018 Annual Report

Every KIP REIT’s retail assets recorded an increase in average occupancy rate, except for KiP Mart Kota Tinggi and KiP Mart Melaka. To improve the occupancy rate of KiP Mart Melaka, the management has sourced 20,000 square feet of its area to a permanent operator. With this, KiP Mart Melaka’s occupancy rate will further increase to about 80%.

3. Overall Financial Performance, Debt Status

KIP REIT earnings come mainly from rental income and other smaller business activities such as the rental of its promotional area to other parties.

In FY2018, KIP REIT recorded a total revenue of RM62.77 million. As it was listed in Bursa on the Q3 of its FY2017, we can only effectively compare its Q4 financial data. Here is the breakdown of KIP REIT’s revenue for FY2017 and FY2018:

Source: KIP REIT FY2018 Annual Report (*Figure is only effective for 2 months of Q3 instead of 3 months since KIP REIT was listed in the middle of Q3 in its FY2017.)

In its short period of enlistment, it is hard to evaluate the financial performance of KIP REIT. As such, we will return to check on its financial performance in the near future.

For FY2018, KIP REIT recorded a gearing ratio of 15%, which is way below many listed Malaysian REITs. This means that there is a lot of room for the company to acquire capital to expand its business.

4. Dividend Yield

For FY2018, KIP REIT recorded at Distribution Per Unit (DPU) of 6.83 sen, which translates to a Dividend Yield of 8.72% (base on the closing price of the last day of FY2018). This put the yield of KIP REIT as the highest among Malaysian REITs at the time of writing.

5. Income Visibility & Potential Acquisitions

For KIP REIT, having a stable tenancy renewal is vital in keeping the business running. For tenancies due on FY2018 and FY2019, KIP REIT has managed to renew the tenancies with most of its tenants, as shown below:

Source: KIP REIT FY2018 Annual Report

As an extra, below is KIP REIT’s Tenancy Expiry Profile:

Source: KIP REIT FY2018 Annual Report

In terms of acquisition, KIP REIT is exploring the possibility to acquire 5 more KiP retail assets, namely KiP Mall Kota Warisan, KiP Mart Sendayan, KiP Mart Sungai Buloh, KiP Mart Kuantan and KiP Mart Sungai Petani.

With the release of KIP REIT’s latest Q1 FY2019 report, it is also revealed that it is currently working on the acquisition of AEON Kinta City Mall, Ipoh which will contribute a gross yield of 7.8%/annum to the company.

6. Current Valuation

At a closing price of RM0.83/unit (19th October 2018), KIP REIT still has a space for potential upside as it is well below its Net Asset Value Per Unit (NAVPU) of RM1.003/unit.

7. Potential Risk

One major risk that KIP REIT is facing is the problem of mediocre occupancy rate in its assets such as KiP Mart Melaka (69.1%), KiP Mart Senawang (80.6%) and KiP Mall Bangi (83.3%). For me, 85% is the benchmark of a decent occupancy rate for retail assets.

In fact, KiP Mart Bangi as KIP REIT’s largest asset in terms of lettable area (260,046 square feet) only managed to generate 24% of the company’s revenue in FY2018. This is in comparison to KiP Mart Masai (247,990 square feet) and KiP Mart Tampoi (163,587 square feet) that respectively contributed 26.21% and 25.86% of the company’s revenue.

No Money Lah’s Verdict

KIP REIT caught my eye at first as it generates generous dividend to its investors. With its niche in owning community-centric malls in suburban towns and its low gearing (more space for acquisition), this new retail REIT will be observed closely on my REIT watchlist.

p.s. This article is purely a review of the company’s fundamental status and DOES NOT serve as a buy recommendation. 

Always wanted to learn to invest but do not know where to start? No Money Lah provides personal coaching sessions and investing workshops for individuals, organizations, and communities to learn practical investing techniques and knowledge!

YTL REIT Review (2018): Know This 7 Things Before Investing in YTL REIT!

YTL REIT is a Malaysian REIT that stands on its very own niche in the industry. In this article, I am going to present an in-depth analysis of YTL REIT and share my thoughts on this company as an investment.

1. Background

YTL REIT is a Malaysia REIT that runs purely on hotel and hospitality-related assets. As such, it is a pure hospitality REIT in Malaysia that owns iconic investment assets such as JW Marriott Hotel Kuala Lumpur and The Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur, among many.

YTL REIT is also one of the few Malaysian REITs that owns a diverse portfolio of assets in foreign countries. As of the latest financial year ended 2018 (FY2018), YTL REIT’s Australia portfolio has been contributing near to 72% of total revenue, followed by 24.9% from their Malaysia portfolio and 3.3% from their Japan portfolio.

Source: YTL REIT FY2018 Annual Report

2. Portfolio Breakdown

(1) Malaysia Portfolio

In Malaysia, YTL REIT owns 10 hotel and hospitality assets.  The company leases them out on a fixed lease basis to ensure income stability. As such, these assets are: JW Marriott Hotel KL, The Majestic Hotel KL, The Ritz-Carlton KL Hotel, The Ritz-Carlton KL Suite, Vistana KL, Vistana Penang, Vistana Kuantan, Pangkor Laut Resort, Tanjong Jara Resort, and the Cameron Highland Resort.

The question is, how did their Malaysian portfolio perform over the years?

Pretty consistent, actually. In fact, revenue for the past 4 financial years (2014 – 2017) has been rising steadily. In FY2018, there is a significant increase in revenue as YTL REIT has completed the acquisition for The Majestic Hotel KL and it provided a boost of income to the company.

Source: YTL REIT Annual Reports

(2) Japan Portfolio

YTL REIT owns Hilton Niseko Village located in Hokkaido, Japan. Like its Malaysian portfolio, it operates under a fixed lease basis to ensure a stable return for the company.

Over the past 5 financial years, the company’s business in Japan has produced steadily rising revenue for the company thanks to Hilton Niseko Village’s reputation as one of the most well-known ski resorts in Japan.

Source: YTL REIT Annual Reports

On 14th August 2018, a proposed acquisition is announced by YTL REIT for the acquisition of The Green Leaf Niseko Village for 6.0 billion Yen (equivalent to RM222.5 million, based on an exchange rate of 100 Yen : RM3.7078)

Upon completion of the Proposed Acquisition, it will be leased out for a lease period of 30 years, with an option granted to the vendor to renew the lease for a further term of 30 years.

With an initial annual rental payment for 315 million Yen for the first 5 years with a step-up provision of 5% every 5 years, this will ensure an increase in revenue contribution to the company from its Japanese portfolio.

(3) Australia Portfolio

Unlike the investment assets from Malaysia and Japan, YTL REIT profits directly from the operation of their investment assets in Australia.

With the likes of Sydney Harbour Marriott, Brisbane Marriott and Melbourne Marriott, YTL REIT has been enjoying stable and consistent revenue growth for the past few financial years.

Source: YTL REIT Annual Reports

Occupancy rate is an important benchmark for real estate operation and performance. In FY2018, Sydney Harbour Marriott has enjoyed an average occupancy rate of 89.31% while Melbourne Marriott followed closely at an average of 87.09% and Brisbane Marriott at 85.06%.

3. Overall Financial Performance & Debt Status

Thanks to the steady performance of its portfolios, YTL REIT has registered a healthy revenue growth for the past 5 financial years.

Source: YTL REIT FY2018 Annual Report

For FY2018, YTL REIT recorded a gearing ratio at 37%, which is a respectable number among Malaysian REITs. This translates to a healthy borrowing status within the company.

4. Dividend Yield

Distribution per unit (DPU) for the past 5 financial years for investors was at its highest in FY2014 (8.46 sen) and remained between 7.8 sen to 8.08 sen for the following financial years.

For FY2018, YTL REIT paid a DPU of 7.868 sen, which translates to a Dividend Yield of 6.84% (base on the closing price of the last day of FY2018). This put the yield of YTL REIT well above famous Malaysian REITs such as SunREIT and IGB REIT.

5. Income Visibility

For a big chunk of its business (Malaysia & Japan portfolios), YTL REIT obtains its profit from leasing its investment assets to various operators and collect a fixed lease. This mitigates the fluctuation of potential low seasons in its hotel businesses and ensures a stable income flow for the company.

Below is a compilation of the lease details of YTL REIT’s investment assets:

Source: YTL REIT FY2018 Annual Report

The table above shown a healthy lease expiry period, and this ensures stability in income source at least for the next 5 financial years.

6. Current Valuation

At a closing price of RM1.24/unit (5th October 2018), YTL REIT is close to its 52-Weeks high of RM1.28/unit. That being said, YTL REIT still has a space for potential upside as it is well below its Net Asset Value Per Unit (NAVPU) of RM1.595/unit.

7. Potential Risks

One of the major risk that YTL REIT may face is interest rate risk. With a 20% to 80% fixed-floating debt interest structure, YTL REIT is exposed to the risk of potential interest hikes in the economy. A hike in interest rate will increase the operating expenses of the business and impact its earnings.

Another risk faced by YTL REIT in its business is forex risk. With near to 72% of revenue contribution from its Australian business, any fluctuation in foreign exchange between the Malaysian Ringgit and the Aussie Dollar will impact their earnings as well.

No Money Lah’s Verdict

I’ve long looked into YTL REIT as one of the better REIT investment for passive income purpose in Malaysia.

Its track record in income stability and manageable gearing (despite running a seasonality inclined hotel business), coupled with a decent dividend yield in comparison to the other Malaysian REITs make YTL REIT a good REIT to invest in for capital appreciation and passive dividend income.

p.s. This article is purely a review of the company's fundamental status and DOES NOT serve as a buy recommendation. 

Always wanted to learn to invest but do not know where to start? No Money Lah provides personal coaching sessions and investing workshops for individuals, organizations, and communities to learn practical investing techniques and knowledge!