This article was both a cumulation of philosophy after writing on NigelChua.com for so long, as well as sparked by Kyith's The Wealthy Formula – How Average People Can Build Sustainable Wealth, and my approach is similar to his.
Kyith is way more detail-oriented than me in terms of numbers (when you click on the link above, and read his article on investing for the long term, you will see lots of numbers and graphs to illustrate his points) and his article/approach seems to be more focused on maximizing returns on investing, which is great for people who lean more into numbers and investing.
My approach is a little more "lazy" and general, in a sense it's a lifestyle way of building and living a passive income way of life, with more emphasis on building both online and offline businesses to make more to invest more.
Ready? Let's get started.
Before the full article below (a monster length article), I would like to first ask you to define what is your Passive Income Lifestyle. Just 4 quick questions:
Question 1: How much would you need a month, passively, for your Passive Income Lifestyle?
Question 2: How much time do you have to achieve this?
Question 3: How much do you earn per month/year now?
Question 4: What is your entrepreneurial-investment risk appetite?
These questions are the predetermining factors of how you can build your Passive Income Lifestyle.
I wasn't born to a rich family.
We are a passionate and loving family, but we are far from rich. This is the reason why I try my level best to not ask for more pocket money from a young age, and as soon as I could get a bursary to support my own education and lifestyle, I took it.
I was 20 years old then.
My parents helped me pay my diploma and degree fees which I am very grateful for, as one-third of the success that I have was due the clinical skills that I garnered from there that propelled me to where I am today.
2005 - 2008, I worked as an occupational therapist in a local hospital, drawing not more than $2000 in monthly salary. It was during this time that I seriously looked at my monthly salary chits, looked at my long term outcome if I decided to stay as an employee, and I knew would never be financially free that way.
In 2008, I left my employee job, and in my first year of hustling freelance, I made close to $5000 every month.
Since 2008, my hustling has evolved from freelancing to serve private healthcare organizations, to an agency managing a team of freelancers, to a small clinic for 2 clinicians, to a medium sized clinic in a single location, to finally where I am, larger clinic in multiple locations. In my spare time, I manage my Passive Income Internet Businesses (PIIB) and Passive Income Investing (PII) to build my Passive Income Lifestyle.
I think I should be able to financially retire by 45 years old, where I can afford to not hustle as hard, and have more options HOW I want to live the second half of my life. Conservatively, I am moving slowly towards my goal.
Many have asked me how did I build my wealth for me to reach to where I am, which I believe that many people can do as well.
I don't like to rely on luck on chances as much as I can, as I prefer predictability. And when you study the ways to build wealth, there is usually no complicated magic bullet.
The way to build wealth and your Passive Income Lifestyle is fairly straightforward, simple even - it's not rocket science, but it is scientific in nature. And because IT IS scientific in nature, that means that a Passive Income Lifestyle is within your reach.
Building a wealthy and Passive Income Lifestyle is just a balance of the CEO method:
I call these Three the Trinity Of Passive Income Lifestyle, which sounds wicked sexy, but truly, they're really the three items above. That's the holy grail that people seek, and when they see it, they either don't believe as it's too easy (not sexy enough and go looking for a "harder/unattainable" goal) or they catch it.
This is my lifestyle approach and Ultimate Guide To The Passive Income Lifestyle.
Note that it's aggressively cutting down UNNECESSARY expenses, not becoming a scrooge and nickel-and-diming everything.
Yes, if/when you're very tight, every cent matters; but I take that way of life as very time consuming and overly focused on nickels and dimes. I prefer to have big wins where it matters, and sort of ignore the small stuff.
I wrote a short article on optimizing your spending here, which essentially covered about
Of course, to not spend more than what you earn actively or passively.
So all of us start with about the same, average amount of privileges in life - some more, some life. We all roughly went through the same education system, and looking at the general trends - most of us work towards having a degree or masters from university.
So if we all or more or less the same, then what differentiates?
The first and foremost contrallables are their spending patterns. Some element of opportunity comes into play, but I'd rather focus on what I can control first.
The ones with Passive Income Lifestyle Goals or just plain wiser/long term:
SO...LOSER NIGEL. TELL ME, HOW MUCH DOES YOUR SPENDING AFFECT THE WEALTH AND PASSIVE INCOME LIFESTYLE YOU BUILD OVER TIME? CASE STUDY.
Yes, I've been called "weak" and "loser" for having a dedication and focus on building my Passive Income Lifestyle since 2008, because when I earned much lesser then, and dedicate much to investing and reinvesting into my business, I didn't spend much eating or socializing.
I'm a bit atypical because I took the path of the entrepreneur, but let me give you a case study had I chosen to stay as an employee
So assuming that I can only put aside 10% per year of my disposable income, which is $2240 annually for 32 years to build my wealth, and though I have pay increment, and I do not increase this $2240 per year, and my wealth grows at 0% per year.
When I reach 55 years old (32 years), I would have amassed $71680.00.
Could I have done better?
What happens if I curb my spending, spend lesser, be a bit more frugal, and say I could save 30% (trying to be realistic here). 30% means $6720 per year, for 32 years to build my wealth. And I don't top up each time I get an increment - it's a flat $6720 per year, for 32 years.
That'd be $215040.00 after 32 years.
So you notice that I
By increasing my funding % rate to building my wealth from 10% to 30%, I grew my 32-year-fund to $215040 from $71680.
Hmm, I don't think that'd be enough.
Next question, if I was frugal from beginning, wouldn't future spending increase? How much more frugal can you go? Is it even sustainable?
So if I put aside 30% of my disposable income, I'm left with 70% to spend which is $19600 per year, which is $1633.33 per month. But we have to factor in a conservative annual 3% salary increment which can go to all future spending needs that increases with time.
If we factor this in:
I know, I know, the numbers are terrible - but please note, these are actual numbers of my actual payslip then - and it's hardly surprising why I went to make my own Passive Income Lifestyle happen (when you pay attention to details like this, you'd get enough information and evidence for you to make your own decisions). This was true during then for healthcare practitioners in public practice, and they'd likely have revised it since then but I don't follow trend - I still believe in creating my own wealth and Passive Income Lifestyle.
At this point. the learning lesson is that you have a choice in optimizing how much you spend, so you can put more and more into passive income businesses and investments towards your Passive Income Lifestyle. It is doable. Spending less matters - the less you spend means the more you can channel your money to building passive income streams.
I've said this before - optimizing your spending is very good, and is the foundation of any Passive Income Lifestyle portfolio...but the problem is that there is only so much you can optimize or save.
Look, if I earn a net disposable income of $22400 per year, how much can I save? 30% per year is still $6720 per year. And if I try to do more, I think I'll get more and more bitter/frustrated/sad with living a poor life, despite having the vision and goal of the Passive Income Lifestyle.
I also want to live like a normal individual, as normal as I can get.
So that's why I decided that I needed to hustle and build my own business, and build my own financial destiny. I knew that I would never get rich if I stayed where I was, so I took the plunge then
Two ways of going about this:
The internet has made information and knowledge easily accessible and available, and have increased the ways we can build upon our understandings and knowledge and enhance our existing skills, not to mention learning new skills. It has also increased the available opportunities that we can find to supplement our incomes from our main job.
Hustling On The Side
Some of us that are working, we may find that we have more time than we thought. Or some of you are stay at home mums or wives. We can definitely put the freedom into efforts to creating and building side businesses - I recommend Passive Income Internet Businesses (PIIB) such as blogs where you can sell advertising space, affiliate programs, drop ship business - there is so much opportunities out there on the internet, and you can work from home (I extol PIIB because of its flexibility, low cost due to no rent/employees etc and scalability - global customers).
Or you can pick up your part time university jobs by giving tuition to 2 -3 students for about $400 - $600 per student per month. That's an additional $1200 to $1800 per month, every month.
So let's go back to my case study where I put 30% of my disposable income which makes out to be $6720 per year, and 50% of my annual increment, where my increments are 3% per year - after 32 years, I'd have $215040.
What happens if I became more hardworking and enterprising/entrepreneurial on the side, and I pay attention to my interest areas and create an additional passive income stream?
Yes, it may be temporary (or permanent), but let's give it a go.
So, back to my case study again:
That'd total to be $12720 per year, and after 32 years, it'd be $12720 x 32 = $407040 instead of the earlier $215040. That's 189.3% higher than before.
Of course, if/when my income from my work goes up and/or the income from my side business goes up, I can definitely save a lot more than before.
I'd like to highlight this: side income businesses HAVE NO LIMIT to their growth. It's not like a job/employment where your income is contingent on promotions and increments (tends to be linear); in businesses, the growth can be exponential eg 2x, 5x, 10x or more.
Of course, there is a risk to this - if I start to deviate from my main job and my main job suffers - it is a problem. However, on the other hand, let's say if I manage to build my side job well, and it develops to something more than $500 per month.
It may grow a lot.
You can see because I didn't earn much - this side income really made a large difference in my wealth pooling, more than doubling my savings.
You'll find that when you spend less and earn more, you WILL have more more to fund your Passive Income Lifestyle Vehicles. I generally categorize my Passive Income Lifestyle Vehicles into 2 broad categories:
Up to now, I've only covered on low risk and basic level savings. Savings are extremely low risk and the returns will correspond with low risks, which also tends to be low.
If you spend less and earn more, you will have more money to fund your wealth building.
So once you've made the decision to
The next step is to: optimize your savings and earnings by investing for passive income
First and foremost, you'd have to decide
So my general approach to the Passive Income Lifestyle is this:
And repeating the above until the dividend stocks pay me six figures per years in dividends.
So, back to my case study again:
That'd total to be $12720 per year, and after 32 years, it'd be $12720 x 32 = $407040. That means that after 32 years, I'd have $407040 in cold hard cash in the bank.
Sure, that amount sounds ok.
WAIT A MINUTE.
Say I decided to invest in dividend stocks, which herein means that I get to inject $12720 per year for 32 years. My dividend stocks have shown to have an average ROI of 5% per year, plus I reinvest all the dividends, so that'd mean financially:
By 32 years, I'd have $1,005,691.17, instead of the $407040.
And how this works is generally by
So 32 years later, once I have $1,005,691.17, assuming a 5% dividends, and instead of reinvesting the dividends, I decide to use the dividends for my retirement.
5% of $1,005,691.17 = $50284.55 per annum
That'd mean that per month = $50284.55 / 12 months = $4190.38 per month
That's not too shabby, based on today's costs (factoring inflation after 32 years, things would be more expensive by then) BUT it's much better than what I have if I just saved.
Imagine that. Same amounts but very different outcomes: +247.1% difference.
So you'd realize that this model works with the following variables:
(Savings + Earnings) x Investing x Years = Passive Income
Basically my overarching process:
Why Dividend Stocks Compared To Other Investments?
There are literally HUNDREDS or thousands of investment opportunities out there in the world, so different strokes for different folks, but after thinking about it and experimenting with this, I prefer dividend stock investing because:
WHAT MATTERS MOST WHEN YOU BUILD YOUR PASSIVE INCOME LIFESTYLE
Of the three
All three are important.
You can never save into riches or a rich lifestyle. Yes, cutting out unnecessary expenses is important as a baseline and focus, but it's a baseline. It's important to plug the leaks first in the boat.
Making more money is akin to building/buying a larger boat and motor: you can go faster and further in a more stable manner.
Investing is akin to anticipating that your boat may spoil, so you buy a larger and more stable fleet of boats where you can use over time.
FUND AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE INTO YOUR PASSIVE INCOME MACHINES
50% or more? Isn't that drastic? Won't I live miserably?
Readers of NigelChua.com know that I do not condone living a poorly and miserable life. I prefer to live a rich, free and passive income lifestyle BUT I do not condone wasting money.
I am ALL for spending money on things that are meaningful and you love, so if you wanna spend thousands on bags, shoes, travels, and if you have the means to do so, great! Or if you want me to show you how to make money from your businesses and investments to fund these, let me show you how.
My approach in life is to live a good, rich and passive income life without having to nickel-dime everything.
But for those "who aren't there yet", I am showing you how through this article. You can do it, and I highly recommend you start this process. Remember, the more you can save and the earlier you can invest, the faster you can live off your dividends and on a passive income lifestyle.
That's why I say that the purely savings approach is a very, very, very slow process. And it'd largely depend on how much/when you'd like to complete your Passive Income Lifestyle. If that is something that you cannot do, then, I'll recommend that you embark on building or acquiring skills that can help you to earn more such as Passive Income Internet Businesses (PIIB) to earn more and Passive Income Investing (PII) so that you get better rates of returns.
The fact of the matter is the speed of when you reach Passive Income Lifestyle depends largely on (1) how early you start, (2) how much you put in, and (3) which approach you take PIIB and/or PII. If you fund late/little into a pure savings account - it'd be a very, very slow process. If you decide to start early, pump in as much as you can - it'd be very accelerated. In fact, the fastest way is to build Passive Income Internet Businesses - they have an element of risk, but if they work, you can be very well financially rewarded.
Personally, I blend both
because I enjoy building and growing businesses and serving customers and readers and helping them grow - that's why I will keep building and growing businesses - I like it. And as I enjoy what I do serving, and it is profitable, and usually, because we try our level best to do above and beyond, our business tends to grow fairly well, in terms of the quality of our services, our customers and our profits.
And since we live quite frugally (I often joke with my wife that we live like refugees) - I want our surplus to work hard for us, and that's why I take the time and effort into building my Passive Income Investing skills, to build our Passive Income Investment portfolio.
On top of that, I want my businesses to be passive in nature so I am not restricted to a particular office or country, and I can be wherever I want to be (usually, with my loved ones) - what I want is the option and flexibility to spend time doing things that matter to me. More importantly, it's structured this way so that if I should die unexpectedly, the business can run and continue without me (this is responsible).
On this blog, I write extensively about the two Passive Income Machines that I do, and I would like to advise you that they are not mutually exclusive to each other. In fact, they enhance and complete my Passive Income Lifestyle - I'm pretty sure having them both will enhance yours as well.
Other than reaching your wealth goals earlier, there is one added benefit of funding more to wealth building, and that is reaching financial independence despite not being so sophisticated when it comes to wealth building.
Building a passive income lifestyle is simple and straightforward enough. Do not complicate things. The general approach is just this:
No luck required. No gambling. No guesswork. Just plain ol' boring stuff.
And boring works.
The hardest thing to do is:
Today is the first day of 2017, and in the blink of an eye, 2017 will be over. Like how 2016 just went away. One year from now, where will you be financially in your passive income journey?
Let me know what you think in the comments below, I read every single post.