|Sun, Dec 09, 2007
The Sunday Times
Financial trainer banks on experience from running six businesses LIFE can present plenty of challenges but few people have dealt with ones so traumatic as those Mr Abuayubul Ansari faced 13 years ago.Mr Abuayubul, now 35, was driving his parents from Johor Baru to Penang when their car hit the road divider and his parents were flung out. His father died on the spot and his mother three months later. Mr Abuayubul suffered back injuries but fortunately recovered after 20 days.
With four younger siblings, then aged seven to 19, to support and no relatives to turn to, he had to rely on himself to get their lives back on track.
His parents had been running a sundry shop business and had debts of a few thousand dollars.
Mr Abuayubul was then 22 and doing a diploma course in Singapore. He quit his studies and returned to Johor Baru where he sold nasi lemak. But one job was not enough. So he travelled daily to Singapore to work at Newton Hawker Centre for $40 a shift.
Mr Abuayubul, who has been dabbling in stocks since he was 19, had a stock portfolio worth almost $100,000, and with cash so desperately needed, he sold everything.
Things started improving. His food business expanded and he even managed to put a brother through medical school in Britain.
Before long, he was venturing into businesses such as sports accessories, gifts and books. He also bought shophouses in Johor Baru to rent out.
His strategy was partly influenced by wealth guru Robert Kiyosaki’s concept of building passive income. But not all the six businesses he started turned to gold.
In 2003, he set up NowAsia, which trains people in entrepreneurship, financial literacy, personal development and Internet marketing.
Mr Abuayubul is head of the Young Entrepreneurs Club and vice-president of the Young Entrepreneurs Network of the Singapore Malay Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Q What are your money habits?
A I had a very bad habit of never recording all my expenses. Now, my savings are always three months’ worth of monthly expenses.
Q What financial planning have you done?
A I follow a formula I call the ‘bucket system’, something I learnt from wealth guru Anthony Robbins. I am a short-term, high-risk investor. About 30 per cent of my investments is channelled into the stock markets in Singapore and the United States – what I consider my short-term growth bucket – with returns of 5 to 20 per cent per annum.
I go for penny stocks such as Goldtron. I’m an active trader and I pick stocks that are in the top losses list and sell them fast. I’m able to generate an average of $2,000 a month.
Sixty per cent of my investments are in a few businesses that I started, with returns of about 20 per cent a year. The remaining 10 per cent of investments are in my long-term growth bucket, which comprises property investments including land.
Q What about insurance planning?
A In 1992, I bought a life policy that comes with a sum assured of RM1 million (S$433,000). It required me to pay premiums for only eight years. I also have an insurance plan for each of my three children with a monthly premium of $100 per plan.
Q What property investments do you have?
A I have property in Malaysia and India. I bought a few acres of land near Chennai for less than $10,000.
I have three double-storey shophouses in Johor Baru. The first was bought in 1994 and cost RM450,000. I’m renting it out for RM 3,800 a month. My food business is run from this shophouse and it is giving me a monthly income stream of RM4,000.
In 1995, I bought another shophouse for RM180,000; it is rented out for RM2,500. I bought my third shophouse for RM237,000 and it is rented out for RM2,500. I also have a house in Skudai Baru which I bought for RM60,000 in 1995 and is now worth RM200,000. I have a 1,000 sq ft apartment in Skudai that was bought for RM28,000 and is now worth RM60,000.
Q How did you get interested in investing?
A When I was helping to sell newspapers at my uncle’s shop in Singapore after my O levels, there was an elderly man who would always come to the shop and read newspapers without buying them.
We started talking and he told me the back pages helped a lot of people to make money. Those were the stock listing pages and I insisted on learning about investing. I started by investing in a Clob share – one lot of Esso shares worth $2,300. In eight months, I had built a portfolio worth about $100,000 through contra trading.
Q What has been a bad investment?
A My worst investment was a double-storey shophouse in Malaysia which I bought for RM180,000 and sold for RM140,000.
Also, I lost about $70,000 in my sport accessories and gift shops.
Q Your best investment?
A I have attended many seminars and workshops on wealth building and self-development. I have invested more than $40,000 in attending different kinds of seminars. In return, I have learnt so many things that made me invest in a few businesses and also create new businesses.
I am a director of an interior design firm in Kuala Lumpur and a manpower agency in Johor Baru.
Q What’s your retirement plan?
A I will retire only when I die. I enjoy what I am doing now. I want to travel and share my experiences with people, which I believe can have a positive impact on their lives.
Q And your home is…?
A I have a double-storey house in Johor Baru. In Singapore, I live in a rented 1,200 sq ft apartment in Red Hill.
Q And your car is…?
A My car is a BMW.T series – bus, MRT, walk and also taxi.