Growing Wealth Through Investing
with the Sassy Investor
The money journey is a long road for some. We know that it’s best to pay off debt as fast as possible, but then what? Do you know where to start saving for retirement, a home or other big value goals?
I reached out to Michelle Hung, an Chartered Financial Analyst and advisor in Ontario, and asked her some questions. My questions are in bold, and her answers follow.
Who is Michelle Hung?
Michelle Hung is the founder of the Sassy Investor. An advocate for financial literacy, she is on a mission to spread the word on the on the importance of financial independence and how to achieve it. She graduated from the University of Waterloo in 2008 with a Bachelor’s of Mathematics, with a specialization in Finance.
She spent seven years working in investment banking and venture capital in Toronto. Through her experience in advising companies in capital raising, mergers & acquisitions, and initial public offerings, she has a rich understanding of capital markets and how it all ties in with the average investor. In 2014, she obtained the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation, a globally recognized investment management credential.
What does your designation of being a Chartered Financial Analyst represent?
The CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) is a globally recognized investment management designation that holds its charterholders to one of the highest fiduciary standards in the world.
Do you often work with new investors?
Yes, I teach women, specifically, how to invest, step-by-step, what they need to know and what they need to do to be able to build and manage their own investment portfolio.
What is the first area you suggest new investors start with?
I always say, you have to start with YOU. That is, looking at:
- What you owe
- What you own
- What you make
- What you spend
- So you finally get to what you want
It starts with looking at one’s personal finances because there are a few things they’d have to tackle before starting to invest, like clearing consumer debt. Then they’d have to look at what they want and when they want it, because money being allocated to an upcoming wedding in a year, for example, will not be invested, but instead, put into a high-interest savings account.
What advice do you have for people who are starting late?
It’s never too late. Too late is never starting! Many people over-estimate their age and when they should start investing, and then give up. I’ve had people in their early 30s believe they were starting too late. There are solutions for every age, every stage in life – they just need to seek good advice.
It’s never too late to start investing.There are solutions for every age, every stage in life – they just need to seek good advice. - Michelle Hung, The Savvy Investor Click To Tweet
Do you believe in paying off debt before investing?
Yes, particularly consumer debt (credit card debts), or any debts that bear a high interest rate.
Do you recommend using real estate as an investment vehicle?
It depends on your situation. To throw all of your eggs in one basket, like real estate, is not smart. Real estate has its risks and many people see it as the only solution to wealth building, but it’s not the case.
I bought my first house in university and rented it out to students and I discovered how labour-intensive it was! And then when I was selling it, I had to bear all of the carrying costs while it was being listed and shown to potential buyers.
On the other hand, there are alternative solutions to adding real estate into your portfolio mix, and that is investing in REITs (real-estate investment trusts), where you get the exposure to real estate, both commercial and residential, but you don’t need to be a landlord and fork out your labour and tons of cash.
What else do you recommend for new investors?
Diversify geographically. North Americans tend to have a “self-centred” mentality where we only deem Canada/ US as the only “safe” countries. Imagine, you’re American, get paid in US dollars, your employer is American and maybe you get some stock-options or bonus pegged to the performance of your employer – it’s a huge bet on your home country, especially if your investment portfolio is comprised of American companies as well! No single country is immune from an economic downturn, so it’s important to diversify geographically.
Countries like Belgium, Switzerland, Singapore, Japan, Panama – we embrace travelling to these countries, so why not invest in them as well? Each country offers a different type of economy and adding that to your portfolio mix can have some great benefits, like when the markets at home experience volatility from political issues, for example.
How can people reach you? Are you on social media?
You can reach me on:
Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/sassyinvestor/
Also, stay tuned for my book coming out this winter!
Thank you, Michelle, for sharing these important words with our readers. It’s critical to know it’s never too late to start, no matter what your age is. Hopefully we will get a chance to talk to Michelle again when her new book is out!
If you are interested in real estate investing, I recommend:
New to TFSAs and RRSPs? Check out my e-Book on Amazon:
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