Invest in your career

IN the book, Rich Dad Poor Dad, Robert Kiyosaki said if you want to be rich you must become either an investor or a business owner – and Faizul Ridzuan naively believed him, took the plunge and everything worked out to where he is today.

He quit his computer science job to become a salesperson selling credit cards on the street with no salary because Kiyosaki said in order to own a business, you must know how to sell.

“I got conned big time and was literally throwing away my degree. I was naive at 24 years old but that nine months, I thought I learned how to sell and my English became a lot better.

“Then I got an offer from a bank to work as a management trainee and realised there were employees making tens of thousands a month. And the other thing Kiyosaki said was to invest, and property is the safest if you don't have a lot of money.

“I started looking for properties and bought my first with my first salary. I was careful because I knew I wasn’t rich and I don’t have much. I knew if I bought the wrong one, it will be the end of me so I made sure I bought the best possible. One thing led to another and my second property gave me the break and motivation to do this on a bigger scale.

“My monthly instalment was RM700 and rental was RM2,400. I was paid RM2,800 at that point of time and to get RM1,500 clean from one property is something. If I have 10 of these, I literally don’t have to work,” Faizul said.

Faizul often gives talks and Open University Malaysia approached him because they wanted someone who had a degree but did something else in the end. Unlike most of your get rich scheme gurus, Faizul tells people to keep their jobs and invest on the side which is sufficient to make them millionaires 20 to 30 years down the road.

“Some people like their jobs, and that is fine, continue doing that. More importantly, given the income you get from your job, start buying assets. The idea is to buy something that pays itself. My philosophy and methodology revolves around buying four properties and within 20 years, getting someone else to pay for it.

“If your tenant can pay (rental) for the next 20 years, naturally, if you buy something worth RM500,000 today you should have RM15,000 to RM20,000 passive income per month, and over 20 years, an asset value of RM5 million. For a lot of people that is sufficient for a comfortable retirement,” he said.

But how viable is this? Faizul said that is the difference between doing it with and without the knowledge. There are certain tips and tricks you need to apply. Doing it is not a big problem. The key is to do it correctly.

“The whole idea is buying the right property that is going to serve you as an asset rather than a liability. If you want to go far and do well, make sure you have the right knowledge before you buy. Luck is where opportunity meets preparation.

“There will be a day when a good deal will drop into your lap, but if you don't have the knowledge, you won’t know that it is a good deal. Even if you know and have the knowledge, if you are not prepared, you cannot even buy it,” he said.

Faizul was an employee, self-employed, investor and now, running his own business. By far, being a business owner is the most difficult thing he has done; not everyone is born to do entrepreneurship.

“I was doing reasonably okay as an employee but at the end of the day, I wasn’t happy. So I decided to do what I want to do. After all, there’s no point having all the money and properties if you cannot do what you like to do most. I like building things, to educate and make a difference in people’s lives,” he said.

He added that he wants to raise financial awareness. He wants people to be much smarter with money, to be able to live a decent retirement life, and to be able to do what he is doing today.

“I work because I want to work, and not because I have to work. My objective is to have RM100,000 in monthly passive income during my retirement so I can establish my own foundation to help poor and needy people.

“What they need might be a RM2,000 start-up capital, and some form of accounting and marketing knowledge. They can then run a business which gives them RM3,000 to RM5,000 a month and they can put their kids to school.

“It is putting help where it is warranted. But everything has to be self-sustaining,” he said.