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I am Khoo Hsu Chuang and This is How I Invest (and Insure)

Published 03 Dec 2021

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By Fi Life Team
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  1. What’s your day job?

    I am a financial journalist and casual entrepreneur / investor.

  2. What’s your best investment?

    My best Investment was my financial education. I started at 23 years old and am still learning the ropes 27 years later. After numerous mistakes I still only consider myself a Level 1-2 investor (out of 10) in an investing world that is evolving at the same speed as the Internet (Editor’s note: Chuang is too modest, we would rate him 7 out of 10)

  3. What’s your worst investment?

    My worst Investment was not starting earlier in equities. Initially, I focused on property but today I place much greater emphasis on liquidity, yields and rates of return, which naturally led me to equities.

    As a rule, I shun unit trusts and other structured products which have lots of middlemen, which drives up costs and return hurdles.

    I am also (very recently) now looking closely at the crypto space.

  4. What was your first-ever investment (and how did that go)?

    My first Investment was my apartment. I bought it below-market through an agent with whom I had a good relationship (who offered it to me first) and sold it at a 3x profit 13 years later. (Editor’s note: Sweet!)

  5. Any investment no-nos?

    First, Obtaining poor quality advice from disingenuous sources. Second, fear of failure. Both of which can be disastrous.

    Unfortunately, there are lots of people aiming to ‘farm’ the novice investor early on, hoping to ‘lock them in’ for the long-term. They do not have your best interests at heart, and the only ones retiring early are them, not you.

    This happened to me in my 20s when an ex-colleague of my mom began selling unit trusts and approached me. He advised me to pre-sign a bunch of switching documents (between bond and equity funds) but the only one benefiting was him. After 7 years, my return was just 44%. That was when he got a nice earful from me and the end of my business.

  6. What are you investing for?

    I invest for my lifestyle and believe it or not, for intellectual satisfaction.

  7. What’s your investment philosophy/approach?

    Safe, consistent returns with manageable growth and income primarily and a small allocation for outsized returns.

    My portfolio contains mainly large and mega-cap local and foreign stocks in technology and conglomerates with good ongoing growth prospects.

    Income comes from REITS and banks while growth comes from new areas like ASEAN e-commerce and energy storage.

  8. What about insurance?

    I insure myself and my family with conventional products - life and medical Insurance, having bought them much earlier mainly for medical protection.

    Looking back, I should not have agreed to incorporate a so-called ‘investment’ portion in my insurance but hindsight is 2020: at the time, I was young, ignorant and poorly advised!

    Now I know: coverage should be specifically medical or life. Never, ever bundled.

  9. What would you do differently finance-wise if we could turn back time?

    So many mistakes!

    I should have bought tech (e.g. Amazon, Microsoft, Apple) much earlier, should have been more financially disciplined at a younger age and more recently, missed averting the property slump, which started in 2014 and is still ongoing.

    Of and of course, diversifying away from the Ringgit -- for obvious reasons.

    The positive side is that investing is a lifetime pursuit, so I have the future to look forward to!

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About “This is How I Invest” - As Fi Life’s motto is “Buy Term (Term Life Insurance) & Invest the Rest”, this series features how different personalities “Invest the Rest.”

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