Recently, Yap Ming Hui, MD of Whitman Independent Advisors Sdn Bhd, an SC-licensed financial planning firm, launched ‘Financial Freedom Investing’, his seventh book. Through his writings, Yap shares how average Malaysians can grow their retirement assets and attain financial freedom with a higher degree of certainty. This is executed with Yap’s SRB Standard, which I’ll explain in this article.

I spent almost a week reading Yap’s work, and from it, I gathered five key talking points that I found interesting. In this write-up, I will expound on them and conclude with my views on their effectiveness and suitability in assisting us to become financially free.

They are:

Talking Point 1: Greed and Incompetence 

They seem to be the common theme of ‘Financial Freedom Investing’. In the book, Yap shared many stories of how the rich, the affluent, the well-to-do, and the high-income professionals have either incurred losses or failed to optimise their wealth from investing in different investment products. They include stocks, real estate, unit trusts, ETFs, cryptos, gold and even unregulated schemes. These financial losses mainly stemmed from the following: 

1. Greed: A desire to obtain quick and unrealistic returns. 

2. Fear: Concerns of financial losses due to a wrong investment decision. 

3. No Holding Power: Investing without consideration of financial liquidity. 

4. Incompetence: Inability to tell a good investment from a bad investment. 

From Yap’s stories, I believe readers can take heed and avoid investing in pitfalls detrimental to their financial health. Doing so is already half the battle won, especially for those who is serious to attain financial freedom. 

Talking Point 2: Invest Objectively, Not Conveniently. 

Instead of sales pitches and hype, in his book, Yap strongly emphasised that we should make investment decisions holistically after taking into account our current and desired financial positions, life goals, beliefs, and so on. This allows us to be more objective in investing, limiting the tendency to make ad-hoc and emotional investment decisions, which can be convenient but often result in unnecessary losses. 

Understandably, drawing up holistic financial plan and knowing what we want to accomplish in life might not be the most exciting part of investing, especially for those who want a piece of the action quickly. But sincerely, this process is vital if we intend to build a sizable portfolio worth 6, 7 or even 8 figures. It is easier to invest big and sustain it with a plan or structure. 

In this sense, I favour Yap’s work and believe we should all adopt this attitude of objectivity in investing. 

Talking Point 3: The SRB Framework of Investing 

In the earlier pages of his book, Yap detailed three strict criteria for choosing an investment, which is known as the SRB Standard. Basically, it is the acronym for Safe (S), Rises (R) and Best-of-Breed (B). According to him, Safe is about the test of regulation, underlying assets, and a trustee structure of an investment. Rises refer to an overall increase in value in the long-term. Meanwhile, Best-of-Breed is about choosing the best performer within the same asset class. 

To his criteria, here is my take: 

If readers follow such strict criteria, they could shield themselves from losses arising from unregulated schemes and scams. So, there is no worries of a total loss of capital due to fraud and malicious operations. Certainly, the criteria include a focus on the underlying assets of the investments, however, very little was mentioned about valuation. Possibly, this is due to him focusing on using professional managers through unit trusts than DIY, which bring us to our next talking point. 

Talking Point 4: Unit Trusts 

Many readers may find Yap has a positive and strong emphasis on unit trust as a vehicle to build a diversified portfolio to achieve financial freedom. According to him, unit trust is a good investment vehicle to help one to diversify his investment money across various asset classes globally, namely equities, bonds, money market, REITS, commodities and more. In addition, a portfolio of globally diversified unit trust funds is one of the primary vehicles that meet the SRB framework, as introduced in his book.  

As a financial educator and a value investor in stocks and real estate, I built my wealth, not through the unit trust route. But for laypeople who find it too troublesome and challenging to evaluate stocks and properties, unit trust is the best investment option. Of course, I would wish for Yap to elaborate on how his SRB framework could be applied in more case studies and expound on their specific attributes, strengths and roles objectively in achieving financial freedom in his book. 

Well, to some extent, Yap did, and this leads us to the following: 

Talking Point 5: Investment Case Studies

In the last section of Yap’s book, he wrote many investment case studies and offered his invaluable views and opinions to them extensively. 

These case studies include various schemes on land-banking, gold and oil palm, conventional vehicles such as PRS and EPF i-Invest and newer asset classes such as cryptos, robo-advisors, ETFs, CFDs and P2P platforms. Yap has included many stories of failures due to greed and an absence of due diligence. I do applaud Yap’s efforts in sharing his viewpoints and experience on these vehicles. 

While such stories are educational, I think it would be more interesting if Yap included both success and failure stories of Malaysians investing in various investments. For instance, he can offer two stories on how different individuals have different returns from applying different investment strategies on the same investment. If Yap could offer such contrasting stories, I’m sure readers can learn not just ‘what not to do’ but also the formula for successful investing. 

Conclusion: Will This Book Make You Financially Free? 

Overall, Yap is sincere and has placed significant effort into writing this book. To reiterate, Yap’s book is highly educational and suitable for Malaysian investors, and I’m optimistic that you will be more aware of how people suffer unnecessary losses from various investing mistakes. Knowing them helps you preserve not only your capital but also your profits or gains from suitable investments. Hence, they are helpful towards building and sustaining your financial wealth. 

Win this New Book by Posting a Comment Below

Do you want to win a copy of this book? We will send a free copy to the top TWO commenters on this post. To participate, write at least three sentences about what financial freedom means to you. Please post it in the comment section below.

The contest ends on 14 February 2023, 11.59 PM.
We will contact the winners on 15 February.

By the way, you can find this book at major bookstores, or get it online at:

To your financial success!

Update 15 Feb 2023: Winners of the book

Please be informed that the winners are Teong Siew Meng and Eliza. Kindly look for our email to receive the prize. Congratulations!
And thanks everybody for participating and providing your views. We all learn from each other.


Personal finance author and trainer

    54 replies to "5 Key Highlights of Financial Freedom Investing by Yap Ming Hui"

    • Aizah

      Financial freedom means freedom of doing things that you love anywhere and any time, while helping a lot people achieving similar goals

    • TWZ

      Financial freedom means having enough wealth to cover one’s living cost without worrying about job security and amount of money. This can be done by planning, saving and investing. With power of compounding interest, eventually the passive income surpasses the active income and meet one’s living cost and requirement, therefore the person have the freedom to pursue other interest and hobbies. For me ultimately, I would like to have this freedom to spend time with my parents, kids without much worry on the financial.

    • Teong Siew Meng

      Financial freedom usually means having enough savings, financial investments, and cash on hand to afford the kind of life we desire for ourselves and our families. It means growing savings that enable us to retire or pursue the career we want without being driven by earning a set salary each year. Financial freedom means our money is working for us rather than the other way around.

      My next steps to achieve financial freedom:
      1) Create a fully-funded emergency fund: There is no financial freedom without a fallback option, which is where my emergency fund comes into play by saving at least 3 months — if not 6-12 — of expenses into a high-yield savings account before starting to invest or making any unnecessary large purchases.
      2) Pay down debt: Financial freedom is hard to reach when I am still tied to debt payments, which is why paying off debt is so important (especially if it’s high-interest consumer debt, like personal loan).
      3) Define my goals: When I know I am standing on a strong financial foundation, get clear on my goals and my vision for a financially free life. Is it investing $X a year? Is it taking that trip? Is it taking care of a loved one? Remember, this is up to me.
      4) Make a plan: With my goals in mind, map out a plan that gets me on the road to financial freedom.

      It’s a wholly individualised approach to personal finance, and it’s likely the one with the biggest payoff. When I am financially free, I’ll be able to do what I want while knowing I am in good hands, now and in the future.

    • Mohan George

      Financial Freedom is a an experience of being free from crippling debts That can squeaze our peace of mind and is worse than a migraine. It is all related to money freedom and having having the lifestyles and being in the state of worry free freedom. Everyone wants it but can be beyond the reach of most.

    • shahrir hashim

      What it means by Financial Freedom

      To be able to move around at any time feeling secured with a peace of mind knowing that your assets are safe as to where it is and your basic needs are being taken care of till the end of your days in this life , and eventually your kins will be able to enjoy the extras that you have left behind for them.

    • Sk

      Achieving financial freedom means having enough passive income to cover your living expenses without relying on a traditional job. Here are some steps you can take to work towards financial freedom:

      Create a budget: Start by understanding your current spending and create a budget that ensures you are spending less than you earn. This will help you save and invest more.

      Pay off debt: High-interest debt, such as credit card debt, can be a significant burden on your finances. Prioritize paying off this debt first so that you can free up more money to save and invest.

      Increase your savings rate: Aim to save as much of your income as possible. Consider ways to increase your income, such as getting a higher-paying job or starting a side hustle.

      Invest in passive income-generating assets: Invest in assets that produce passive income, such as rental properties, dividend-paying stocks, or a successful business. This passive income can eventually replace your traditional job income and provide you with financial freedom.

      Diversify your investments: Diversifying your investments can help you manage risk and increase your chances of building wealth over time.

      Live below your means: One of the most important habits for building wealth is to spend less than you earn and save and invest the difference. This allows you to gradually accumulate wealth over time.

      Be patient: Achieving financial freedom takes time and effort, and it’s important to be patient and persistent. Focus on building a strong foundation of savings and investments, and avoid making impulsive financial decisions.

      Remember, financial freedom is not an overnight achievement, but a long-term goal that requires discipline, planning, and hard work. By following these steps, you can work towards financial independence and the peace of mind that comes with it.

    • Chan Chee Kin

      Financial Freedom – whenever you put your hands into your pocket, you will always have enough money to buy the things you need (not want). Financial freedom – to have enough money to donate to the less fortunate. Financial freedom – to have enough money to give back to the society.

    • Aainaa

      Financial freedom allows me to have 6 months vacation, twice a year.

    • Kelvin Tan

      Financial freedom is when you can carry out your hobbies without time and money constraints. You shall wake up naturally when you want to in the morning instead of relying on alarm clock. Nothing is to border you on your children’s education funds as it is well allocated for. You have also had the will written and your assets allocated to your descendants to your wish and insurance plans purchased to cover your medical bills. You will also have a healthy body and mindset to enjoy with what you want to do, such as travelling and having nice food with your loved ones and friends. With a healthy body and clear mindset, you shall have a group of retired friends to mingle with and plan for the next trip of holidays for relaxation and broadening your knowledge. Your time is occupied, relaxingly and productively with each of your involvement.

    • Eliza

      To me, financial freedom means I had achieved independence from the financial or monetary rat race. In other words, I have the financial means to sustain the lifestyle that I desire, having passive income from my investment or savings, being able to afford my favorite past times such as traveling and home decoration and lastly, being free from the worries of financial woes no matter what is the current economic situation. I do understand that financial freedom means different things to different people due to our requirements, lifestyle and life desires. However, the ability to live comfortably without being worried about financial difficulties at all is a dream for many people. For me, a dream remains a dream unless we work towards achieving our goals. Hence, to achieve my financial freedom, I understand the investment options, take action by diversifying my short, mid and long investments, never succumb to excessive greed, learn from the experts like @KC Lau and plan my retirement plan the day I started my first income.

    • JH

      Financial Freedom – Live the life you want with absolute financial certainty and without financial worries.
      Rules of Financial Freedom
      Rule 1: Invest what you understand
      Rule 2: Dont forget rule number 1


      Financial Freedom is when you have peace of mind, having tons of money is not all the choice. But having moeny with passive income through property and long term investment have helped alleviate digging deep into the pocket. Learning from Yap and Lau and getting the right insurance, how to secure the unit trust in the early days have helped assisted the safety net. With this book release, I am sure it will further strengthen need to review and if valid for actions to be taken. I am honestly looking forward to a copy of the book and hopefully a game changer.

    • shah

      Financial freedom for me is when you do something that generate money and that something is your passion.

    • Koay Chun Yan

      financial freedom for me is doing passionate activities , spend precious time with family members and friends without worrying about trade time for footing the monthly bills. At the same time, we can expand our social circles or help other peoples to be great and win over their life by conveying the same knowledge for them to take control of their life.

    • Pamela Chan

      During the 3 years pandemic, many investment gurus seemed to claim that their investment strategies/books can help one makes lots of monies. I really need to read yours to determine whether it is workable!

    • eric chin

      financial freedom to me is
      1) able to continue living on current lifestyle with passive income
      2) able to contribute financial assistance/donation to needy community whenever there is a need
      3) able to travel to places of interesting with family without worrying much on financial health


      1.For me, financial freedom means achieving a situation whereby I invest in a well diversified, regulated portfolio of asset classes like stocks, REITs, bonds, real properties will continue to generate increasing and sustainable cash flow as long as I live. 2.I will start to invest a fixed amount EARLY and regularly every month irrespective of market highs or lows. 3.I must know what to invest, when to invest(when the asset class is undervalued), asset allocation according to market conditions. 3.I must also know when to sell an asset whenever it is overvalued.

    • henry

      Financial Freedom means that you can expenses what you want at any time anywhere without worries and a lot of consideration.

    • Foo

      Financial freedom means that I have enough money to support my family and cover my living expenses without having to actively work for income. This allows me to pursue my dreams, such as volunteering, traveling the world, or any other interests, without worrying about financial stress. Financial freedom gives me the ability to make choices and control my life, rather than being controlled by my finances.


      To be successful Financial freedom we need to have following :
      1 ) Basic investment knowledge such as financial goals , investment portfolio , projected return , time horizon , risk management , asset allocation and etc
      2 ) Investment platform .
      3 ) Patience , mentality & attitude .
      Through ” Whitman ” one stop investment platform , strategies & guidance , we can easily achieve the Financial Freedom we need . Solve investment problem one by one and ” Whitman ” is a reputable investment platform . Thank you webinal at KCLau

    • Jason Tan

      FF is freedom to live the way I want, go and be where I want, when I want. Don’t compare, at the end of the day, you do not need that much.

      With FF, comes huge responsibility. Should be referred to as Financial Enlightenment. I think what KC, Ian and everybody else out there who is trying to impart their knowledge and know how are doing a great service to humanity. One can’t call oneself free of anything when others around are suffering.

      I think to start them young is important, Hope schools and tertiary education centres will make them compulsory life skills to teach at the very least the basics tools of investing, delay gratifications and importance of building relations.


      Financial freedom to me is being able to live comfortably doing things which pleases me. I don’t need to work for other people to earn a living and being able to enjoy my life the way I like. I don’t have any debt and my savings and passive income can sustain my chosen lifestyle.

    • Jay Chua

      What Financial Freedom means to me?

      1. Money flow to me instead of me chasing money, even when I sleep.

      2. Waking up with a smile, knowing I have all the free time for my family and friends.

      3. Able to be a Rich Dad and guide others to be financially free.

    • Molly Lim

      To me financial freedom means having the choice to choose whether when, how, where and what I want to work with the passive income flowing in irregardless if I am working or holidaying, and having the disposable income higher than my debt.


      Financial freedom is everything. Go for it by all means.


      Financial freedom is everything. Go for it by all means.

    • Connie Chan Leng Ching

      What Financial Freedom Means To You .
      1 It means , my passive income is good enough to take care of my living expenses until i die.
      2 It means , I work because i choose to , not because i am forced to.
      3 It means , i don’t buy not becuase i can’t afford it , i don’t buy becuase it is not what i want.

    • Victor Tan

      Financial freedom to me means having the financial resources and stability to live life on my own terms without being burdened by debt or financial worries. It means having control over my income and expenses, and having the ability to make choices that align with my values, goals, and aspirations. This includes having a steady stream of passive income, enough savings to cover emergencies, and being able to live comfortably without having to worry about financial insecurity. Financial freedom allows individuals to focus on what truly matters in life and pursue their passions and interests without the stress of financial strain. Overall, financial freedom means having a sense of security and peace of mind, which is essential for a fulfilling life.

    • Mustafa

      What kind of financial freedom that really means to you..?
      Thank you for your kind point of view.


      To me, Financial freedom seems like something that is very unachievable and unrealistic in the world today, where inflation hits all-time high. Food and other living cost are increasing rapidly. Would like to read this book on how we can achieve it without having to worry about active income.

    • cheah kang chuan

      Got money to help myself, my family and the needed.

    • JJ Tan

      i love your writing and i have been following your writing regularly.

    • Lee Kim Foong

      Financial Freedom for me means having passive income, investment, and saving to pay for my living expenses and allow to afford many of my life goals. It is the ability to spend my money and time as I like. I no longer have to work for money, and instead, let my money works for me.

    • Chris Siow

      What Financial freedom means to me.

      1. The day when I don’t have to work to find active income.
      2. I have all the time and can choose how I want to spend them to my likings
      3.Doing what I actually love and not what I have to do to find active income.

    • Koay

      FF is a situation when your money is sufficient for your lifestyle expenses until your last day. This can be achieved with a mixture of instruments with passive and active income. Besides that, we have to keep on learning new income-generation instruments with the fast-changing markets such as crypto-investment, new asset class, etc with correct leveraging management and make our money generation with fun and safe.

    • J

      Financial freedom means you gain control over your time. Time is limited whereas money is unlimited. Why do I say that? If you can live till 200 years old, your wealth can be compounded tremendously. The great equalizer is time. Gain back your time, you can choose to continue to work to challenge yourself. You can choose to pursue your purpose in life. You can choose to work on meaningful projects. You can have the freedom to choose.

    • Fazrul Ruslan

      Financial freedom is a must!

    • Jia

      Financial freedom means that
      – the balance sheet under my responsibility is sound, enabling me to
      – live the life of my choosing, so that I am
      – free to serve and love others.

    • sumathi

      Financial Freedom is where I can sleep peacefully and not think about money. Being financial freedom is unlimited in the choices I make. I must love money and money must love me in order for me to have financial freedom

    • Yeoh WF

      Financial Freedom for me is freedom to trade my time for money only if I want to, not because I have to. This will enable me to spend my time the way i want to with family and to realize my dreams and passions. Financial Freedom will also enable me to help those around me who are less fortunate. Helping to educate friends on financial matters is so important as the level of financial literacy in Malaysia is very low.

    • Brandon Fu

      Financial literacy is not just important, it is an essential life skills that everyone should know.

    • Sk

      Financial Freedom for me mean that our passive income is more than our daily expenses. But the problem is the silent killer that everyone faced is inflation. Therefore, we need to make sure that we are focusing on build or create a money making machine no matter in what kind of economy especially in Pandemic time. Everyone tend to reduced our daily expenses, but not putting effort on create multiple source of income. We cannot have the mindset of 9-5 mentality. We should have the mindset of become an entrepreneur to take control of our life to create the income that we want. Maybe can find a mentor, couching program related to your field & etc. Invest/leveraging/partnering with someone who have the expertise in the industry. Focus on value creating (create community) not on materialistic. Collaboration is the key of success. Nowadays things are changing pretty fast, if we cannot adopt one day we will disqualified in the market. Life is crucial, we have to understand the game plan. In short, reduce your desire on materialistic (luxury lifestyle), focus more on assets/wealth building.
      Thank you.

    • Ping Chee Choy

      Financial freedom perspective can be different for different people. Let face it, human are greedy by nature, they will never be satisfied with what they have. Once we have enough to survive for the next 10 years we would think of how to get more to cover for the next 10 years and so on. So we are always worry about not enough money.

    • Shalini

      Financial freedom to me is about handling life without money worries, as we have built sufficient passive income and less debts or no debts. FF is critical for me to truly enjoy what i want from the life. The earlier FF, the better.

    • ADAM

      As a huge admirer of Charlie Munger, I can do no further than quoting him on this topic.

      “I did not intend to get rich. I wanted to get independent, I just overshot…”

      He also said getting the first 100k is crucial and one must achieved it by all (legal) means. After getting the 100k, you will have enough seed money to enjoy meaningful investment return.

      Charlie has given both short term and long term targets to achieve. For medium term however, it involves tireless learning on sound investment strategies to allocate our capital smartly. Through time, the compounding effect of our capital and knowledge kicks in and we are all set to become financially free.

      Lastly, it is guaranteed that there will be many temptations and so-called shortcuts throughout the FI journey, so always be rational and discipline.

    • Alex Yeap

      Financial freedom means having the ability to do (almost) anything I want, whenever I want, for how ever long I want, with whoever I want to do it with, and without the constraint of having to worry about the financial concerns or costs of doing so. It is like having the freedom to choose to perform my heart’s vocation rather than being restricted to doing menial job functions mainly to pay my monthly bills. I get to work on my passion and being happy while doing so.

    • Ceci

      Financial Freedom means that you no need to worries about daily expenses due to you already have enough or surplus passive income to cater it. I do agreed that many finance book will emphasis the problem but for solution part will provide with very high level. We need more the story of successful from ordinary people to become finance freedom and technical or steps to archive the financial freedom. In my view via Unit Trust may be one of the option that generate earning if done this in 20 years ago but not the best option. I had many friend now invest unit trust so far still in red profile ?

    • Shaun Mitchell Beltran

      Financial freedom will be a struggle for some and easy for others. The main point is that we will need to think about at some point in our lives. Knowing this starting point is key for most and that gives us the drive and thirst to seek out knowledge on how to achieve it.

      I see most know they lack the knowledge. I did too and therefore I share what I know so they can have that same thirst for knowledge that I do.

    • Eugene

      Yes I want

    • Jordan

      Thanks KC for the wonderful review. Spending without burden especially big purchase for me is a financial freedom. Besides, financial freedom gives would provide really owning your time especially during others working hour in weekdays. Lastly, eat whatever you want to eat without calculating when buying Zhap fan/mixed rice. Haha

      • Lim

        Really true. We need zhap fan freedom. Haha

      • Gordon

        I really need to own my time as my asset instead of selling them as trade item to those employer. Financial freedom is really crucial to take back time ownership


      Financial freedom for me refers to a situation where me and family has enough passive income to cover our daily living expenses and maintain our desired lifestyle, without relying on traditional forms of income(aka 9-5 job, since im a salaryman). This could be achieve when I have sufficient savings and some investments(dividends). The goal of financial freedom is to allow me to live comfortably and securely in retirement, without having to worry about money.

      • Azrul

        Going through days without worry about money is really one of financial freedom.

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