Definition of an Oxymoron:

It is words or phrases of figure of speech that is self-contradicting.

Let me give you some really good examples: ‘Wise Fool’, ‘Jumbo Shrimp’, ‘Only Choice’, ‘Open Secret’, and ‘Honest Politicians’.

In the world of personal finance, there are many financial oxymorons which are commonly used on a daily basis. They are, in most cases, used unconsciously as their true definitions are not fully comprehended or appreciated. Here, I would list down 5 financial oxymorons and from them, I would explain the differences in mindset between the rich and the rest of the population.

#1: Save Money

Regrettably, money cannot be saved. Let me explain.

For most of us, we view our Ringgit as money. Frankly speaking, the view is one that is seriously flawed. Ringgit is a fiat currency and it is designed to deplete in value over the long-term. True money, like gold, has the ability to hold its value for as long as … eternity.

Here is a brief history lesson on our currency. It was first introduced in 1967 as the Malaysian Dollar with a ‘fixed’ valuation of RM 3.06 per US Dollar. In those days, gold price is ‘fixed’ at M$ 107.13 per ounce, no volatility. Fast forward to end-2018, gold is priced at RM 5,319.93 per ounce, close to 50 times the initial valuation of the Malaysian Dollar 50 years.

Question: ‘Will gold price increase by another 50 times in another 50 years?’ Is it plausible? I don’t have a crystal ball. But, suffice to say, I believe, the price of gold would not stay at RM 5,000 per ounce for the next 50 years for Ringgit is a currency designed to rot in value. Hence, hoarding Ringgit for the long run may not be a sound advice to anyone who wants to be rich and wealthy.

#2: Mutual Fund  

In general, mutual funds are not ‘mutual’ in terms of their risks and rewards if we compare between mutual fund companies and their investors.

For instance, let’s say, you are interested to invest in a particular mutual fund.

You would invest 100% of your capital, take on 100% of the risks associated to the fund, but would enjoy less than 100% of the profits… if you make any from your mutual fund in the future.

Meanwhile, from the perspective of mutual fund companies, they would make money from you as soon as you invested your money with them and as long as you remain invested with them. If your fund made money, the company makes more money. If your fund lost money, the company makes lesser money. Thus, in any event, good or bad results from your investment, these companies make money.

Therefore, I find the term ‘mutual fund’ oxymoronic.

Am I saying mutual fund companies are scammers? Nope. Instead, I believe the difference between owners of mutual fund companies and millions of investors who invested with them is – The Rich invest for cash flow. The others aim to get capital gains. Capital Gain investors always pour money to Cash Flow investors.

#3: Good Debt

Conventionally, being indebted is, more often than not, a bad thing. As I write, there are millions who believe that a main aspect to financial freedom is being debt-free and sincerely aspire to be debt-free in the future. I believe, if you are into being debt-free, I am totally supportive of your aspirations.

However, in contrary, being debt-free is not a sound financial advice to anyone who wants to be rich and wealthy. This is because they have accumulated a lot of Good Debt, millions and even billions of them.

Yes, there is such a thing called ‘Good Debt’. It is a type of debt that makes one richer. For instance, a mortgage to finance the purchase of a tenanted property is a form of good debt because the interest portion of your mortgage is paid by your tenant and the property itself may appreciate in value over time or, at the very least, holds its value. Meanwhile, a ‘Bad Debt’, like credit card debt, is one that makes a person poorer.

If you cannot accept the concept of ‘Good Debt’, no worries! You would not be poor, but, you would just forfeited yourself a ticket to become ultra-rich.

Here is a ridiculous but real example. Let’s say, Sunway Pyramid is worth RM 3 billion today. Would an investor pay 100% cash to buy up the shopping mall or would he purchase it via debt? Clearly, I am stating the obvious and my point is to share with you:

– There is such a thing as ‘Good Debt’ and ‘Bad Debt’.

– The Poor became poor with ‘Bad Debt’.

– The Middle-Income aspires to be Debt-Free.

– The Rich uses more ‘Good Debt’ to become Ultra-Rich.

#4: Job Security

Conventionally, many believed job security is equivalent to financial security. It is a viewpoint soon fading away. Millions woke up and realised that a job alone is insufficient to secure one’s financial future. Here is the main issue:  

Today, many felt insecure financially as they depend solely on their day job for income to pay for endless months of commitments such as a mortgage, credit card bills, car loans, insurance,… etc. There is a fear especially when they felt a possibility of losing their current job and have low confidence in replacing their source of income quickly upon their job loss.

Question: ‘What should I do if I have one job and many commitments?’ Here, I don’t have a magical pill but … isn’t logical to have multiple sources of income to pay for multiple commitments a month?

Hence, a viable method of elevating your financial position is to build yourself a list of new sources of regular income. They may include:

– Rental Income from Tenanted Properties.

– Dividend Income from Dividend-Paying Stocks.

– Business Income from Profitable Business Ventures.

– Royalty Income from Books, Videos, Photos, Ideas, Innovations … etc.

They are all easier said than done. I know and it takes one who is really sincere to invest their time, effort, and money to learn and master one of the above to really build a brand new source of income. There is no magic pill which propels one towards financial success in the short term. Oops …

But, here is a good news. If you really master any one of the stated above, you will enter a ‘new world’ where you would experience a major improvement in your financial life and this improvement is ‘more or less’ permanent likened to a kid who have learnt how to ride a bike. The kid can’t possibly unlearn how to ride a bike as the skill is now inherently his.

That brings greater level of financial security than just hanging onto one job.

#5: High-Risk Investors

The phrase ‘High-Risk Investors’ is commonly used by mutual fund salespeople to brand anyone who is ‘cool’ about parting ways with his money if his venture or attempt to make money fails in the future. Thus, stock investors are viewed to be ‘High-Risk investors’, real estate investors are ‘Moderate-Risk Investors’, and a saver who places all his money in fixed deposits are ‘Low-Risk Investors’.

I believe, that view is inaccurate and a form of stereotype.  

In contrary, investing is not risky. By nature, investors are risk-averse and quite conservative with money. Commonly, the most profitable investors made their money from investments that are of ‘High-Returns’ but ‘Low-Risks’.

For instance, many believe ‘investing’ is risky as they are thinking about capital gains only and nothing else. They are, in fact, not investing but speculating and gambling. This is because they are betting on something which may or may not happen in the future, thus, involving some degree of uncertainty.

Whereas, for real investors, they would go for consistent cash flows from their investments, even if they believe that their investments would grow in value in the future. Why? This is because cash flows would significantly reduce the risks of an investment.

For instance, how do Warren Buffett make his billions? Did he speculate stocks or do active stock trading? Nope. His portfolio is filled with businesses that are cash cows. Second, how is it possible for investors to buy properties one after another? One of the answers lies in the ability to earn rental income from their existing properties. So, for both of them, what if the value of their investments drop in the future?

Well, at least, they’ll receive their cash flows from their investments while they wait for their value to recover in the future. In fact, real investors would love it if the market crashes as they are able to buy more investments which produce cash flows at a greater discount.

Conclusion:

In short, I hope that you’ll learn a couple of differences in mindset between the rich and the rest. Here, I’ll make a list of them as stated below:

– The Rich don’t Save Money. They convert it to Investments that hold Value.

– Mutual Fund Companies are Cash Cows to the Rich.

– The Rich uses Good Debt to get Richer.

– The Rich has Multiple Sources of Income.

– The Rich are Conservative Investors.



Ian Tai
Ian Tai

Ian Tai is the founder of Bursaking.com.my, a platform that empowers retail investors to build wealth through ownership of fundamentally solid stocks. It is an essential tool that sifts out stocks that grow profits consistently from a database of over 900+ stocks listed mainly in Malaysia.

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