It’s always best to start investing 5 years ago. Agree?

This article was first published in August 2016 issue of Ivory Living.

besttimebuyNot too long ago, a friend posted the image on the left. It was ‘liked’ by many and I think we should all remind ourselves again. Regret is good if we learnt something from it. Else, it’s just nothing but regret. Let me start by telling you a real life regret that I have many years ago when I was buying a condominium in Tanjung Tokong Penang. As I was already familiar with condominium and its potential, I booked a unit within an hour. The sales person was happy as she had an ‘easy’ buyer. It was The Peak Residences and the price I bought was LESS THAN RM300 per sq ft. Oh yeah, it came with two car parks even if it’s front and back. After one week, my brother-in-law bought a unit and I actually called up the PIC and inquired about the availability. There were still available units in Block B going for just slightly over RM300 per sq ft. I told my wife and we had a few sleepless nights thinking about all the possibilities. We decided not to proceed in the end. If only I had proceeded to buy and struggled a bit I would have two units of The Peak Residences at around RM300 per sq ft. The price has doubled today.

Honestly, this is a positive end. What if after my wife and I bought the second unit, one of us got retrenched? What if the property market crashed as predicted by many of my friends when we were buying our unit? We would need to pay for the unit we were staying plus two more condo units which may not fetch positive rental returns! Selling would have been tough too. Yes, all these may happen too and not just the positive ending ones. That’s why there’s no need to regret. Today, I continue to scout for good opportunities and would still be very careful and would still NOT buy two units regardless of how confidence I am.

I love stocks and I normally buy stocks which people would normally look at me with a strange look. Many years ago, I bought Vitrox, a small Malaysian company based in Penang. I knew some of the people working inside and they work extremely hard and some even stay behind for OTs and even during weekends. The CEO himself is involved in many charitable work and I believe this is a good leader. Pricing wise, it was only 67 cents when I first started. In other words, 1,000 units would only be RM670. Since I believed in my personal assessment, I continued buying the shares up to a point that I felt that if I were to buy any further, it would be extremely dangerous. I refrained from touching my ’emergency funds’ or even sold my property to fund it. I felt diversification was important. In other words, I should have somein property and some in stocks. Well, Vitrox suddenly jumped due to successive good results and today, it’s trading at RM3.56 (20th May 2016). IF ONLY I had bought more then, the profits would have been enough to cover down payments of more properties! However, what if the world market collapsed? We should think about investing and not ‘gambling.’

My parents bought insurance to ‘protect’ me when I was younger. When I started working, I increased what they bought. When I got married, I increased the amount I bought. I added in a medical card despite my company covering me with a medical card. I bought insurance for my two children too. It has been smooth sailing for me all these years and I am so glad I have not claimed much from all the coverage I bought. Should I regret that I have wasted a lot of money because if I did not buy them, perhaps I would have had more money for travelling, a new smartphone or perhaps upgrade the current car I drive? Seriously, what if something did happen?

Dear fellow investors,, there’s little need to regret what we did or what we did not do. Personally, the most important thing is always to understand what we should do and make a decision to do it. Anyone without sufficient business experience but starting a business would most probably fail. This is the same as buying a property without even checking what’s the current value and what would be the risks involved. Simply following a friend does not work. For stocks, when everyone is buying, the prices would have shot up very high and we may be the last one to buy and the first one to lose money when the market crashes. Do our own analysis and buy with the understanding that the market may suddenly crash. Look at past history and we would know it might happen again. Seriously, the best time to buy anything may be 20 years ago. The second best time is today. Please do not wait another 20 years but please be very careful too. Happy investing.

written in June 2016

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