Going From Zero/Where You Are...To Financial Independence...To Early Retirement to Becoming rich and free

Yoz and howdy!

If this is the first time we meet, my name is Nigel. I'm the big-picture-guy that believes (and does) the Trinity Of FIRE:

  1. Earning More
  2. Saving More
  3. Investing More

who is on-the-way to early retirement. We're not there yet, but we're optimizing much with me taking a sabbatical from December 2017 till today to explore other interests, write some books; spending more time with the kids (the missus is still busy with her new physical therapy business) and to overall live a happier and less-stressful life.

How we did this is a combination of building a therapy business from 2008 to 2014, selling it in 2015 and exiting the business at the end of 2017. Along the way, we don't really spend much on travels or decadent luxuries, instead focusing on simpler happiness which doesn't really involve buying branded goods/car/bags/shit to impress.

We did ok, during that 2008-2017, with the money from selling of the business and our salaries, we averaged having made about $10K combined per month ($10K combined x 12 months x 10 years = $1.2M over 10 years combined).

It's not a big amount, but because we kept our costs low and don't have frivolous/luxurious purchases and having paid off our flat, it decreased our financial stresses and burdens to be able to have kids and for me to be able to take a sabbatical to explore interests and spend time with family.

It was after we do this that we realized that we have a life that's "a little less stressful and a little more independent" and many people with even higher incomes, are still stuck and needing to work till 50, 60 or older ages.

At this point in time on 18th October 2018, NigelChua is a sort-of old site, with having more than 700+ articles, but it took me 9 years to decide and focus this site to revolve around:

  • FIRE: financial independence and retiring early by
  • Saving More, Earning More and Investing More

It is my hope that NigelChua contains the information you need to get up to speed quickly and start your own passive income strategy and portfolios safely and confidently.

You know what, building and living a passive income lifestyle – it's not a walk in a park or a bed of roses…it's catchy, sexy and everyone looks for it but it's not easy.

It is a lot of hard work, focus, dedication and determination.

The reason for it is because it takes time, from years to decades.

You see, success doesn't happen overnight, but I do know that having a good mentor who has done what you'd like to do can definitely help get you in the right direction – and that's why I'm here. I'm here mainly to guide, not through commands and hype or false information, but rather through example, honesty, and transparency.

Let’s start at the very beginning with the good 'ol definitions:

Passive Income Lifestyle: Some Definitions

Assets = properties (physical or intellectual), investments, businesses, stocks/shares that creates positive cashflow (income) to owner(s) pockets/bank accounts

Liability = anything that takes money out of your pocket/bank accounts

Expenses = anything that takes money out of your pocket/bank accounts with 2 general classifications:

  • Mandatory/Necessity: Food, shelter, education, transportation, insurance etc
  • Luxury & Discretionary: Branded goods, travels/holidays, eating at fancy places (anything that is not mandatory/necessary), top-of-line cars/watches/etc

FIRE = financial independence and early retirement

Financial Independence = when passive income equals or is more than expenses/costs of living

Dividends = a sum of money paid regularly (typically annually) by a company to its shareholders out of its profits (or reserves)

Interests = money paid regularly at a particular rate for the use of money lent, or for delaying the repayment of a debt

Earning More = the act or focus on increasing one's ability to earn income (active or passive)

Saving More = the act or focus on increasing the amount one is above to save from income

Investing More = the act or focus on increasing the amount allocated to investing

Passive Income = income that is earned without any full active engagement, earned passively or automatically via assets that can be real estate (rent), royalties (royalties), businesses (dividends and interests) and shareholding (dividends) by buying/building once, and then collecting payment for prolonged period of time. In some cases, there is costs to maintain eg property tax, business tax etc before any dividends/interests can be paid.

Positive Cashflow = means that there is a positive, surplus cash flowing into your bank accounts/pocket/wallet

Passive Cashflow = which means that we focus on building/accumulating assets (see below) that provides us passive income, which in turn means that they're as non-active as possible.

Serendipity = the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way

let's begin

Without realizing it, now looking back, I realized that I've been sharing this message of:

  • saving as much you can
  • earning as much you can
  • investing as much you can

...since 2009.

Most of the advise that I hear and read in common blogs, books and forums seem to say that:

  • life is hard and hardship is like that for those not born with silver spoon (fortune)
  • that you need to defer living to grind and for 40+ years and then retire at 60s or 70s and then you retire to enjoy your remaining years/decades
  • you need to chase for coupons, discounts and mark-downs
  • save the heck out your salary for your kids college and education costs
  • and whatever balance that's left from your salary to a super annuation/401K/whatever it is your government has in store for you (in Singapore it's called CPF - Central Provident Fund).

And of course, pray like made that nothing goes wrong or you don't come across psycho-bosses and psycho-colleagues...so that you may have a small chance of having some savings to enjoy a short retirement.

my idea and advice?

Hmm - there are some some shred of truths there, but there is a better way.

A much, much, much better way.

Most of readers, be it in middle-class or lower, tends to have a lot of Financial Bleeds On Unnecessary Shit, and I hope that by learning to see the facts and truth in this statement, you may be able to cut your expenses and save a lot more.

Perhaps, saving from 40-80% of your income.

Is it a dream or delusion?

Nope, not at all.

Look, I don't want to live like a miserable pile of "I cant spend on anything", but what I'm saying is that to:

  • Don't spend shit on things you don't even care about or doesn't make a difference eg

    a) fastest internet that is $100/month compared to not-so-fast internet that is $25/month...which you may not even feel the difference

    b) to not buy expensive gadgets like the latest phones/laptops/toys which you don't use until it breaks...like...what's the point gathering phones and laptops and toys that you don't use eventually?

    c) buying branded stuff like luxury bags and cars and places to impress people who don't give two shits about what you wear or do?

    There are so many more examples, but these 3 will do for now.

  • Save the difference to invest in dividend stocks that pays you ongoing dividends which you can either reinvest or spend it, 100% guilt free*.

*This guilt-free thing is a very, very powerful and liberating feeling and security, that when you know that any of the stuff you want to spend on has been covered by and is covered by dividends or interests your assets get for you - one of the best feelings in the world.

what happens when you can save more of your income?

Saving much less money than you bring is the #1 pre-requisite to financial independence and retiring early. If you can't do this, it doesn't matter how much you can make, if you cant save for the life of you.

But if you can save, say 50% of your take home page at 20 years old, you'd have enough socked away to retire and live off your dividends between 36-40 years old. If you already have assets now, it will be even faster. In fact, if you can save 75% of your income, you may only need to work less than 10 years.

In fact, if you do cut your living expenses such that your dividends are more than your living expenses, you are practically financially independent/secure.

Let that sink in.

Most people cannot the idea of "being financially independent or secure" - it's foreign and it seems mystical, airy-fairy and dreamy.

Look, it's not mystical, it's freaking maths ok.

Here, a simple example: if you manage to sock away say $500K after years/decades into dividend stocks, and say you conservatively get 4% return per year, that'd mean that:

  • your dividends per year = 4% of $500K = $20,000
  • which means you have passive income of $20K/year or $1,666.67/month

If your living expenses on a yearly basis is less than $20K, you need not go to work anymore, assuming your living expenses do not go up and/or your dividend rate of 4% doesn't disappear or go down (if you select conservative and defensive ones, this is rare to happen).

Of course, you can tweak the maths to change according to your needs, wants, wishes, hopes, goals, current income and lifestyle.

There is no mysticim or magic involved, it's just plain maths.

See my shocking and truly simple maths of how to retire early in Singapore (or anyplace in the world). There is no magic involved - we just saved more than 50+% of our monies without realizing it, and after 10 years, after selling the business, we realized that we can semi-retire and explore other interests in our lives, and be more present with kids.

how the f can you save so much????

Hmm.

I try not to complicate things, and try to focus on sustainable stuff. We decided to be pragmatic and:

  • don't spend on things that don't make money for us eg bags/cars/toys/phones
  • don't chase holidays and getaways to "escape" the pain of work/existence (we were blessed to create a business we loved)
  • don't chase "looking good" or "trying to impress"
  • don't chase trying to feel good by buying shit
  • don't chase convenience

In fact, what we did focus on:

  • downpaying and paying off our flat (this is 50-50%, we can also taken the money to invest in dividend stocks that pays 5% to pay the mortgage that was 2.6% interest) because it offloads our mind and chest
  • avoided onboarding more debt (I couldn't care for leverage and 'good debt')
  • serving our customers well to grow the business ethically and profitably
  • finding happiness in the small stuff, like being together and doing things together, reading
  • doing what we do well, and to enjoy doing them

Just by doing this, you can live and lead a much better life than those who focus on trying to impress others, convenience, and those who follow the advice of the financially illiterate group of the middle-class of Singapore/Malaysia/United States/UK and other rich countries.

Happiness can come from many sources, but not one of these sources involves:

  • eating/buying cars/toys/bags to impress/feel good
  • going on escape-holidays to come back to existence

Sustainable and real happiness, in my opinion, can't be bought that way.

It doesn't matter what you read in magazines, blogs, TV, radio or people tell you, this is just the truth of the matter. You won't become a laughing-stock or an outcast, in fact, this perspective will make you a hero and heroine amongst your family and friends.

Focusing on FIRE (financial independence and retiring early) isn't just for specific groups of people - hundreds of thousands if not millions of people are improving and fixing their financial and personal lives.

The faster and earlier you can accept this, the sooner you will become financially independent and have the option to retire early. Or you can be financially independent and choose to work for fun.

Does that sound too dreamy, far-away and philosophical?

Fine, fine.

The general, high-level Key Performance Indicators (KPI) to FIRE to me is:

  • Saving More
  • Earning More (and Saving Even More)
  • Investing More (and Reinvesting The Dividends)

However, if you need very practical solutions, here are some:

  1. Live as close as you can to your work place
  2. If you need to move to another city to achieve #1 and you can uproot, consider.
  3. Don't borrow money to buy shit like watches, cars, "investments".
  4. Walk or cycle to work or wherever, whenever you can.
  5. Cut down food wastage and high grocery bills
  6. Kill the urge to buy expensive toys like phones and laptops
  7. Downgrade your internet plan and your mobile plan (you wont tell the difference, trust me)
  8. If you are parents, there are a LOT of non-expensive activities that are meaningful to them (and perhaps to you)
  9. Move, walk, cycle, run more.
  10. Laugh at convenience. In fact, learn a skill and patience to fix things.
  11. Look at the bright side of life.

The above should be able to decrease at least 25-50++% of your current expenses. If you keep at it and keep optimizing, you should be able to save 50-75% of what you make (this is especially so for those with above average incomes).

I note that it is harder for those with high fixed costs eg those who already signed themselves to high payment contract for homes, cars, whatever - for you, if you can remove unnecessary ones that you can do without eg expensive cars/toys/laptops - pay them off or sell them off. Expensive homes can be sold to be downgraded too.

But what do I do with all the money i saved?

You invest it.

  1. Index funds or defensive dividend stocks
  2. Pay off your own home
  3. In rental properties if you like local real estate

And any other sources that you come across that you're interested in. My preferred mode is 1 and 2, because it's so much easier and simpler (I'm a tad lazy lol). We don't like debt, hence we decided to pay that off early (less than 9 years to pay off), and dividends from dividend stocks are wired directly to our bank accounts.

It's still fun to "discover" dividends in our bank accounts (yes, this part feels like magic, like money doesn't run out).

How long will the money last?

Well if you can get at least 25x (I prefer 30x) your annual spending saved up and working for you, you can be assured that it's enough to live off for the rest of your life.

Don't over-analyze nor worry about the details, just start the saving for now, and experience and watch first-hand how your life changes for the better and your financial worries about surviving and safety just clears up.

This website isn't really focused on financial nuts-and-bolts (not nitty gritty on stock evaluations and nitty gritty) but moreso about general finance, savings and investing for cash flow for FIRE (financial independence and retiring early).

Trust yourself and trust this profound simplicity. I've no courses to sell to you - I do this because it's good, and I think it'd change your life (as it did mine).

So welcome - I'm glad you're here, and let's get started. For long time readers, thank you for being here, and you are who and why that keeps me going, so let's keep going together.

for those who are interested, you can and should monetise your spare time and hobbies:

Since 2008 I've done a lot of research and collected a lot of data and spoke to hundreds if not thousands of individuals starting their own Passive Income Lifestyle journey, and I understand how excited, scared and nervous that you feel, all at the same time.

I also know that sometimes you're not exactly sure what to do first.

Before you start going full steam ahead, I'd love the opportunity to share with you some of the exclusive content and instruction for those of you who wants to build your Passive Income Lifestyle in a safer, more structured and systematic way.

So whenever I share with someone about WA, I almost always start by saying that it's not a money-making-scheme, it's not an easy passive way to becoming rich and neither is it a pyramid scam.

So what is Wealthy Affiliate?

Wealthy Affiliate University is first and foremost an online business community as well as a marketing centre.

Please, if you think you will start minting/making/printing money by simply joining WA - think again, OR just walk away - it doesn't work that way.

This is likely the biggest difference between Wealthy Affiliate and all the other make money online programs - WA doesn't sell hype and false promises; WA doesn't promise to make you rich with a few clicks or overnight, and they definitely don't promise you a shortcut to overnight thousands of dollars.

And I'm glad for that.

They instead promise to teach, train, educate, support and show you how to build your online business.

If you are willing to start, learn, refine, grow and run a successful business, please keep reading the my full Wealthy Affiliate review here, or visit Wealthy Affiliate directly.

Solo Build It

Solo Build It!

Previously known as Site Build It (SBI), it was rebranded/renamed to Solo Build It (SBI) in January 2017. They have a very useful and powerful Action Guide (AG) that taught me step by step; and a supportive forum.

I’ve been using SBI since 2008, and I’ve been very happy with my SBI-powered physiotherapy site generating 6-figures revenue attracting clients online.

Read my review on SBI here.

Visit SBI main page here.

I Appreciate You!

I just wanted to finish by saying that I’m here for you, not only as a guide while you begin or continue your Passive Income Lifestyle journey but also as a friend.

I do my best to respond to all emails (it’s getting tougher as this blog gains in popularity, but I will always do my best to respond!). I love to think that I'm special…just like every one of you are.

I just work hard, work smart, preservere and do my best to make my family, friends and followers' lives better.

Thank you so much for your support. And if you’ve made it this far, I’d love for you to come say hi to me on my personal Facebook Page.

I’ll definitely respond, and I look forward to meeting you! Cheers!

Talk soon!

 

Nigel

Where to next?

Head to Home Page

Start with these:

  1. Start Here
  2. FIRE Manifesto
  3. FIRE 101 and
  4. The Passive Income Lifestyle Framework.

They are my recommended to start with articles that ties in the entire framework, philosophy and working model of FIRE Lifestyle

Save-Earn-Invest More Articles

  1. Ruthlessly Cull Unnecessary Expenses
  2. Respect The $10s
  3. Small Tweaks To More $10s
  4. $150K+ By 35 - Reality Or Delusion?
  5. Start An Online Side Hustle With Solo Build It
  6. Start Investing For Passive Dividend Income In Just 3 Days
  7. How To Retire With $3 Million
  8. Invest To Spend On Luxury & Liabilities (Whatever You Want*)
  9. Shocking Maths Of Early Retirement (It's Less Than You Think)

See more Save, Earn & Invest More articles here.

Others

  1. Contact me by email at (even just to say hi) at nigel@nigelchua.com
  2. See the latest articles and updates at the blog
  3. Check out my resource page to see the tools I use
  4. See my top two resources for online business below: Wealthy Affiliate (left) and Solo Build It (right) - both have very specific strengths and functions

Wealthy affiliate: #1 to learn how to build profitable wordpress online businesses

Wealthy Affiliate is my recommended for WordPress online businesses.

I've been a premium member of Wealthy Affiliate since 2015 and there are a number of pros to be with them, which you can read at my Wealthy Affiliate review here.

One of my favorite points of WA is that they have a try-before-you-buy forever-free membership which you can sign up here for free. No credit card needed.

solo build it (sbi): #1 for offline businesses local search engine ranking, traffic and lead generation

Solo Build It (SBI) is my #1 tool for local search engine optimization (SEO) domination as well for online marketing which I've been using since 2010 personally for multiple projects.

Read why I chose Solo Build It...

...and more importantly, why I still stay with Solo Build It (SBI) till today and use them exclusively for all my SEO, traffic and e-lead generation.


Back To Top