At Dr Wealth, Christopher Ng Wai Chung teaches his students investment strategies designed to allow a single person to retire within 5-8 years.
Christopher Ng, aged 44 currently: Has passed the Chartered Financial Analyst exams 1,2, and 3, and has also earned a Masters in Applied Finance from NUS. Plus, a law degree from SMU.Since he retired at 39 with a passive income of $8-$11k a month, we felt he was eminently qualified to teach others how to do the same.
The problem though, with most people, is that they think attending his class is a one way shortcut to early retirement.
It is not.
As with all things educational, knowledge is taught, but practise must be borne by the student.
Rules must still be fulfilled. These are the rules.
|Rule #1 – Invest Early, Maintain Your Discipline and Stay Focused
In order to buy vastly greater quantities of good quality stocks that paid sustainable, consistent dividends, Chris had to find a way to make more money and save more money.
He took on weekend duties at his first job, working Saturdays and Sundays for months on end.
As a result, he earned 50% more than his peers did.
He also went vegetarian instead of eating 3 meats and 2 vegetables per meal. This is not even accounting for his other aggressive saving habits.
While painful, this allowed Chris to both earn more money AND save more money. He was spending only 20-30% of his 150% take home pay.
This translated to him being able to own far more dividend-paying stocks than people his age.
Over time, as his dividends and his accumulated stocks grew in size and quantity, his dividends snowballed rapidly.
Such is the power of compound interest.
My point though is that Chris, throughout his years of graduate life, and working life, never saw fit to go insane with his spending.
How many of us can say the same?
He never once blew $5,000 on a trip to Japan.
He stayed humble. Worked extra hard. And plowed everything he made via dividends back into the stock market.
In other words, Chris started investing early.
He maintained discipline in saving and spending.
And he stayed focused on his investing outcome.
|Rule #2 – Develop Your Investment Knowledge
It was two years before Christopher would enlist in the army. 1991.
An insurance agent at the time approached Christopher’s mother, assuring her that his policy would payout in the event Chris passed away. The promise was that the plan would pay for itself in perpetuity after 8-10 years.
Elated, Christopher’s mother bought the policy, assured that she wouldn’t have to pay premiums past Chris’s exit from the army.
This failed to be true.
Premiums continued to be demanded of Chris’s mother long after the plan was promised to pay for itself.
The insurance agency simply said that the underlying performance of the fund had failed to meet its target and it would continue requesting premiums for the foreseeable future.
Enraged, bitter, and feeling deceived, they allowed the policy to just deduct its own premiums against the invested cash.
They lost approximately $10,000 doing that.
Determined to never allow his financials to be in the hands of another person ever again, Chris embarked on what was to become a lifelong journey of learning.
He took and passed the Chartered Financial Analyst exams 1,2, and 3 then went on to get a Masters in Applied Finance from NUS.
From there, Chris moved towards books on investing like:
- What Works On Wall Street by James P. O’Shaughnessy
- Factor Based Investing by Andrew L Berkin and Larry E Swedroe
Shortly after quitting his work, Chris returned to school, his love of academia drawing him towards being a lawyer.
He was accepted by SMU, enrolled, graduated successfully, and passed the bar exam last year in 2018.
He blogs frequently and engages readers frequently. He never accepts his own view as the absolute answer.
Through it all, the one constant I have seen him embody is that he never fails to keep learning.
He always seeks to expand his knowledge or deepen his understanding of all things.
An invaluable trait for any investor. And an especially critical one for you if you ever desire to be successful in retiring early.
|Rule #3 – Act with Logic, Even in the Face of a Bear Market
Do you have the ability to stay invested in a bear market?
If questioned now, most people will say “of course! Markets will always rebound!”.
Hindsight is always perfect when you have nothing on the line to lose.
Christopher Ng Wai Chung was focused enough and committed enough to continue plowing his entire salary into the stock markets throughout 2007-2009.
If you want to imagine what that’s like, imagine plowing in your entire salary and then watching all of it deplete 2-3% a day, and close to 50% over months.
Christopher was different from most people.
He happily (almost suicidally) plowed his entire pay cheque into the markets.
Colleagues called him nuts. Friends called him insane.
He never budged. Never wavered. Never allowed a single shred of emotion to control what he knew to be true.
The greatest recession in the 2000s represented to him the only time he could pick up great stocks for excellent prices.
He knew that the longest recession had lasted approximately 756 days, and they were well over the half-way point by the point his friends had been laughing at him.
A year later as the markets rebounded, what Christopher had lost in the markets amounting to a Mercedes-Benz came back to him in an amount that could have bought him a Maserati.
It’s one thing to be able to ignore stock market crashes.
It’s a whole different ball game to be able to both ignore it, keep a clear head, focus on opportunities, and dive in relentlessly.
That’s what separates the good investors from the great.
Learn to see what stock market crashes are: A Great Global Sale for the value hunters and the more financially literate. And a slaughterhouse for those who are emotionally driven investors.
Christopher knew that rule.
That’s why he came out way on top of the 2007-2009 stock market bloodbath.
|The above are excerpts from an article first published on Dr Wealth website, where you can sign up for a free sneak preview of Christopher Ng's "Early Retirement Masterclass".