From Credit Card Debt to Owning Six Houses

24 12 2009

This is a guest post by Sayeed, a senior manager in one of the multi-national corporation in Penang. Sayeed is an experienced property investor. Here, he shares his financial journey with you, unselfishly.

The journey for my financial world have been a tough one, after graduating we (my wife and I) got into huge debts, simply because a few mistakes :

1. We got married a year after graduation, the wedding cost was much higher than we can afford, so loans and credit card debts started to pile.

2. Purchase a house (was not a mistake) but at a wrong place where the appreciation was not great and we went on to renovate for huge $$, again more personal loans +credit card debts.

3. We didn’t have a clue about income and expenses, as long as it was within our salary its okay.

4. We had our 1st baby girl, again we were clueless about the $$ we need to set aside for the expenses of a baby.

Looks very foolish and maybe some of you are thinking, which planet we came from. How can we be so stupid? Well, first, I wouldn’t put up excuses of why we were like that, or lack of financial knowledge. We had big dreams and were pushing hard to achieve them when we were not really ready yet. That’s not all, then we have had our 5th mistake – this is a classic.
Five major financial mistakes

In midst of all the financial woes, we were struggling badly. One of our office mates saw us and asked us if we would be interested to make some additional income while keeping our current job….OH YES…that’s what we wanted.

He came to our house and ask us this question “What would you like to achieve in the next 5 years?”, the rest is history, 6 years we spend slogging and working hard in network marketing, we spend more than we made, (not the network marketing’s mistake, but we weren’t selling products to make money). After 6 years, we were exactly where we started. ZERO base.
Strategies to turn the situation around

Nothing to cry about, we regroup ourselves, rethinks of strategies: (from our lessons learnt by putting our pride a side for a while)

1. Resolve our finance loans and stop all our credit cards transactions, buy everything cash.

2. Sell our property and make money, invest in cheaper units and stay there until we are back up (downsize ourselves)

3. Plan our bill before going out to purchase groceries.

4. Focus on career instead of MLM to grow higher in corporate, only to earn more so that can have more income.

5. Help out some part time work with translations, tuition etc to make additional income.

6. Stay at home – at in laws house during weekend and eat at home.

7. Start to pay ourselves (saving) every month from our monthly salary…start with minimum as we could move up to 10%.

All these ideas came out with few simple activities:

a) Keep our dream intact, but 1st keep a short term goal and a 5 year plan.

b) Read a lot of books (I mean a lot).- started with Robert Kiyosaki…Azizi Ali…Milan Doshi…Peter Yee…now, KCLau.

c) Strategize our short term goals and then put a time line to it.

d) Monitor our account statements, income and balance sheet.
Magnificent Results

The results: (what we achieve in the last 6 years of planning).

1. Promotions in career, I still work but in a higher management as a Senior Manager. My wife left her job as a manager and went into her passion business earning similar to her “job” income monthly.

2. We have 6 properties, 3 of those rented, 2 currently in construction (for appreciation) and 1 we stay in

3. Our savings have reached 6 digits past 1 year.

4. Total net worth is 890K as of Nov 2009. (asset : properties, mutual fund, savings ASBN & business investment)

5. Total net saving monthly (income – expenses) is 15% without taking into consideration my wife business income.

Now we are focusing on the next 5 year plan:

Net worth 2.5M with target of saving accounts alone $1M.

Of course it didn’t simply worked out for us, there were mini strategies that we worked on and move towards this direction, while keeping our jobs. Here I am writing to give hope to those who are in financial crisis today, that you too can succeed, with effective planning.



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