The Money Master – Review and Giveaway
There are some very good reasons to become your own Money Master – so read on about how to become a Money Master in this latest book review and giveaway.
Why become a Money Master?
Based on the results from a past survey I posted on this site, from the Ontario Securities Commission’s Investor Advisory Panel, the results paint a rather poor picture about the advice some small- and medium-sized portfolio investors obtain from their financial advisor. It’s actually downright terrible.
Based on the data I read:
- 43% of investors did not believe they obtained any educational advice.
- Almost one-third of respondents (31%) were unable to say whether their advisor had spoken to them about planning for retirement, education or buying a home. (That’s insane…)
- Only one-fifth had received any advice about budgeting or debt management.
Paying for financial advice, barely getting anything in return, and suffering the financial consequences – that doesn’t sound like a great deal to me.
Whether you become your own DIY Money Master – like I claimed you strongly consider in this post – or you just want to be better off financially than before, I have another good book for you to check out.
The Money Master
I had the good fortune of meeting author, real estate investor and speaker Sandy Yong at the largest personal finance conference of its kind in Washington D.C. known as FINCON19 a couple of years back.
Sandy was kind to reach out recently and offer me multiple copies (like six (6)!) of her book The Money Master: Inside Secrets On How To Make Your Money Grow and Stay Safe to giveaway – to help you master money, how to make it grow, how to keep it safe, and much more.
Read on about our Q&A together and what inspires Sandy about money.
Sandy, welcome to the site and thanks for this multi-copy book giveaway!
Thanks Mark for taking the time to read my book and interview me. I’m happy to share my experiences and expertise with your loyal audience.
Your book started off with guidance about how to train your brain to have a millionaire mindset even if you don’t have a huge salary. Can you explain to readers why that is so important for any financial journey?
Individuals who are able to amass a (multi) million-dollar portfolio are able to do so because often-times they have taught themselves a different way to think and act that aligns with those who are wealthy. Just because you earn a large salary doesn’t mean you’re automatically good with money. Interestingly enough, those who are earning a modest salary find creative ways to make ends meet and save for their future. At the end of the day, it’s not how much you earn, but how much you save.
Try these three simple steps:
First, You need to believe that you are deserving of amassing $X that you want in your life. It’s all about the law of attraction. I say daily affirmations and it’s really interesting how the universe responds back to you. Basically, an affirmation is when you say to yourself out loud “I am ______”. It is saying something that you want to happen to you but in the present tense. For example, you could say “I am building a 7-figure investment portfolio that allows me to be financially independent and go on vacation every year”. So be careful what you wish for, because it may come true!
Second, start to develop the habits of the wealthy. If you keep living paycheque to paycheque, then you’ll be running on the hamster wheel forever. Take some time to reflect on your current situation and what your desired lifestyle will look like. Then map out a plan to get yourself there. Of course, things won’t happen overnight. But if you incorporate small daily habits, over time it can make a big difference to your financial future. For example, compounding interest can work for you or against you. If you want it to work for you, you would invest your money in the stock market over a long period of time and watch your money grow gradually year after year with dividends (or even better – DRIPs!) and an annual rate of return. However, if you want it to work against you, you would rack up your credit card bill, pay the minimum balance and have the interest rates snowball into a nightmare of neverending credit card debt.
Third, find ways to create multiple streams of income. It’s much easier to build wealth when you have more than one source of income. Millionaires have an average of seven streams of income. Plus, it gives you a wider safety net. Especially during the pandemic, many people faced job losses and relied on government assistance. Think about your talents and passions. See if it is something you can turn into a side hustle that pays you an additional income stream. From being a freelancer, selling your art on Etsy, affiliate marketing, or even dog-walking, there are endless ways for you to earn extra cash to grow your net worth. You never know, it could turn into a full-time business where it allows you to leave your full-time job.
Chapter 5 was a refreshing read in The Money Master: what women have never been told about personal finance. Can you share a few insights and some of the inspiration for this part of the book?
There are studies that show that women have less confidence than men when it comes to investing. This is unfortunate considering the fact that women tend to live longer than men while earning less than men and therefore save less than men. This compounding effect can really hamper a woman’s retirement lifestyle. Yet, studies also show that women tend to make better investors than men! Once they create a financial plan, they tend to stick with it and not chase after hot stocks. It’s really beneficial for women to start investing in the stock market if they haven’t started yet because they can succeed once they learn the basics.
Moreover, women tend to hand off the financial bookkeeping to their husbands. This comes back to haunt them later in life if in the event, they go through a divorce or their spouse passes away. Thus, leaving them in a state of taking over their family’s finances when they are in emotional turmoil. It’s quite depressing but it is the reality of what many women face when it could have been prevented. I believe that both parties should be jointly involved in their family finances so that both can understand each other and know how to manage their money.
In my personal experience, I found that when it came to investing, my male coworkers and friends would be really interested in talking to me about it. While I could talk for hours about personal finance, I found it rather shocking that barely any of my female coworkers or friends would have the same enthusiasm about it. It made me wonder why this was so, which led me to write my book so that I could educate female millennials on how they can create wealth through investing in the stock market, real estate or start their own business. I hope that I can help more women start their investing journey so that they can achieve financial independence.
I read Chapter 8 with great interest – I enjoy monitoring my financial portfolio and having my money work for me. What are your favourite ways for the average Canadian to build wealth? Beyond your guidance, can you share how you’re investing now – what do you personally own and why?
I believe that the average Canadian can build wealth by leveraging the stock market. You don’t need a lot of money to get started and once you see the money growing in your portfolio, it can be very motivating to keep building it. Mind you, the stock market does fluctuate on a regular basis so it can be a test of your emotions and willpower to ensure you don’t go off track. Also, with so many apps out there, it’s getting easier for adults to get their feet wet in the stock market. However, it is important to understand the difference between investing versus trading. Studies show that people who try to beat the market, most of them tend to fail. So make sure that you don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
For the past dozen years that I have been investing in the stock market, my portfolio has remained relatively the same with plain vanilla funds. I keep it fairly simple – diversifying it with Canadian/US/International index funds. Sprinkled with some Berkshire Hathaway (since I’m a big fan of Warren Buffett!) and a Canadian Banks ETF (they pay nice dividends). To top it off, I have my very experimental and speculative bitcoin ETF which only takes up 1% of my portfolio. At least I don’t have to feel any FOMO and I can still sleep at night if the fund tanks! I rebalance every 6 months and I love watching the dividends rolling in. It’s a financial strategy that matches my risk tolerance and experience level. It is on pace for me and my husband to reach financial independence within the next 8 years (hopefully sooner!).
My husband, Albert Ho, and I are real estate investors focusing on owning condo properties and renting them to long-term tenants. We have two units in Toronto and another pre-construction in downtown Kitchener. We enjoy being landlords as it keeps us on our toes! You never know what problems will arise – big or small. It definitely requires more time and capital and it’s easy to make mistakes. We split our responsibilities and we help to ensure that we keep our tenants happy and provide them with good living conditions.
Seeing that the Canadian housing market has been very hot the past few years, we have enjoyed watching our property values increase over time. However, we were affected by the pandemic where one of our tenants moved up north and we had to decrease our rent in order to find suitable tenants. It will take some time to get back to the pre-covid rents that we charged before.
You dedicated an entire chapter to real estate. What are your current thoughts on any housing crisis Sandy, and what tactics can everyday Canadians who are looking to get into the real estate market take?
If you aren’t living with a partner/spouse, consider joining forces with a family member or friend so that you can combine your down payment together and live together under the same roof. When you live with a roommate, it gives you more buying power and you get to split the costs of all the household expenses.
You can also research up-and-coming neighbourhoods. This means that new stores and restaurants will be popping up around the area. You may even see a local library or recreation centre being built. It’s a great way to see the gentrification of a local community. It may not have all the services close by, but over time you’ll see infrastructure improvements that will boost your property value. Plus, it means you don’t have to keep up with the Joneses!
Another strategy is to expand your geographical search and look into other cities. With the pandemic, many workers have been able to transition from the office to working remotely. This gives them the flexibility to live in other cities or towns. The bonus is that you can find a larger home that can cost less than living in a big metropolitan area.
If you don’t mind giving up the front lawn or backyard, purchasing a condo may be a good idea for you. The good thing is that they tend to be more affordable than houses. One of the benefits of living in a condo is that you have access to amenities such as a 24/7 concierge service, gym, swimming pool, billiards room, party room to name a few. You also don’t have to worry about mowing the lawn or shovelling the snow as some condos will provide that service for you based on the monthly maintenance fees you pay.
As a follow-up question, what’s your take on buying vs. renting. Is renting continuing to throw money away and why or why not?
I used to believe that renting was a waste of money. I guess it’s something my Asian parent’s generation would often say to us. But times have changed and so has the housing landscape. With the housing crisis Canadians are facing, I think that for many, it’s the only way for them to afford housing.
You’ll want to consider if renting is right for you based on your current financial situation, whether you want to be a homeowner and where you want to live. Renting provides you with the flexibility to move to a different city more easily than when you own a home. Also, renting may allow you to live in a nicer neighbourhood than buying a property. Not only that, but when it comes to home repairs, as a renter you can let your landlord handle those headaches. Being a homeowner comes with many responsibilities. Therefore, even if you have the financial means to buy a home, ask yourself if you want to be the one in charge of maintaining it.
In Toronto, you see the average detached house costs well over a million dollars. That would mean a minimum down payment of $200,000! That doesn’t even factor in closing costs, commissions, land transfer tax, mortgage payments, utilities, maintenance, property taxes, legal fees and so on. Unless you have stellar savings habits, or you received some family assistance/inheritance, or have multiple income streams, it can be very challenging for many Canadians to save this amount of money for a house and retirement.
We see on the news, about half of Canadians are still living paycheque to paycheque. Unfortunately, the reality is that many of them will never become homeowners in their lifetime. Hopefully, the federal government will be able to make housing more affordable and cool the market. Otherwise, it will keep heating up and more people will be priced out of the market.
Lastly, Sandy if the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that things change and can change drastically when you least expect it. What final words of wisdom do you have to help Canadians disaster-proof their life, encourage them to take time for their mental wellness, while ensuring they are making the most out of today when tomorrow might be unknown?
First and foremost, you’ve probably heard this before, but be sure to have an emergency savings fund. It should be in an accessible bank account where you can get cash easily. It should cover a minimum of six months’ worth of expenses. However, given the circumstances we are in, it would be wise to boost that to nine months to a year’s worth of expenses. You never know when life will throw lemons at you such as when you need to make a home repair, car maintenance, or job loss.
Beware of sophisticated scams. These days scammers are becoming smarter and taking money from innocent victims. Be careful of suspicious emails, text messages and links that could try to take your personal contact information. Cryptocurrency scams are especially on the rise. Do thorough research and conduct background checks before you hand over your money to a company as they may be a wolf in sheep’s clothing. If it sounds too good to be true – it probably is.
Another way to protect yourself is to have insurance. Whether medical, dental, life, home and auto, there are countless options out there for you and your family to get adequate coverage. Your health is important and if you find yourself needing treatment, it can be very costly. Also, knock on wood that you don’t ever need to use life insurance, but it’s good to have it especially if you have dependents. With natural disasters happening or with wear and tear, you may need to tap into your home and auto insurance at some point. Take a pulse on all your insurance coverages and double-check that they provide sufficient coverage based on your current situation.
Although it can be a tough conversation to have, it’s important to have the proper documentation for when you pass on. Having a Will and Power of Attorney in place will help out your loved ones substantially. A Will helps to determine who gets what after you pass away. It can be a major headache if you don’t have one in place and can drag out the legal process for years. Also, a Power of Attorney can be appointed in the event you are unable to make your own decisions and that person can be your representative. Please seek a lawyer or legal professional if you need help with your legal affairs.
Finally, the pandemic has put a toll on people’s mental health. Not being able to see friends, family and coworkers for an extended period of time, Canadians have felt isolated and anxiety levels have risen. As a mental health advocate, some of the things that I did to boost my mental well-being included: meditation, journaling, discovering different parks and trails, exercising, and connecting with family and friends via video calls. If you need help, please visit CAMH’s Pandemic Resources.
Great stuff Sandy. Thanks for your time on my site, sharing your insights, and offering up so many copies of your popular book The Money Master to giveaway.
Folks, Sandy certainly walks the talk.
As part of her book sales, related to that link above, Sandy proudly partners with CAMH (The Centre of Addiction and Mental Health) such that she donates $2 from every single book sale to assist this charity with mental health research. Awesome.
Sandy will be following comments on my site and answer any reader questions over the coming weeks if/when you have questions for her. If you want to get in touch with Sandy about any speaking engagements, feel free to leave a comment for her here as well 😊
You can find Sandy at the following channels including following her on Twitter like I do!
Good luck with the giveaway, enter to win, and I hope this book helps you become your own Money Master in time.
Enter The Money Master Giveaway Below!