Honestly, I wish I could say that I’m a maverick in investing. But, I’m not. 

Personally, I come from a working class family, where I was encouraged to finish school and get a job. I was not groomed to be an investor or a fund manager. To me, my initial exposure to the world of investing had been relatively unpleasant as my father lost his capital in stocks due to the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997. 

But, I acknowledged one thing. 

If I want to be financially successful, I have to replace my inherent mindsets and thoughts on money to ones that are adopted by the rich. I cannot operate like a working class. Hence, I need a reboot in my mindset when it comes to finances, which includes my thinking about the subject of investing. 

Years later, I now enjoy investing as it becomes easier. Along the way, I’ve learnt to overcome my limitations and made progress as an investor. Here, I found out that today, many people are still being held back by limiting beliefs that prevent them from building long-term sustainable wealth via investing. 

Hence, I would like to share the top 4 mindsets that people have when it comes to investing and put in some notes and pointers on my views on these mindsets candidly. Hopefully, they are helpful to you as you progress towards becoming a much savvier investor in the future. 

Mindset #1: I Don’t Have Money to Invest

Well, so did I. 

I wasn’t handed RM 100,000 or more in seed capital to start a portfolio. When I was in my early 20s, I had little knowledge, skill, experiences and cash to invest. Conventionally, I could have just brushed off the idea of investing as it would be more practical to only think about it when I have money in the future. 

But, that was not the case for me. 

As I didn’t have much cash, I started off with investment books. I was proactive. Soon, I learnt that most rich people did not start off with lots of money. Instead of a reason to not invest, to these rich people, they use their lack of money as a motivation to raise capital so that they could invest to build wealth. Their lack is a driver towards becoming financially successful. 

So, is a lack of money your reason for not investing? 

Or, can a lack of money be a catalyst to raise capital so that you can invest? 

Hence, if you have an issue with a lack of capital, I think it is a good start to shift your thinking from one that makes this an excuse for not investing to one which is more proactive. If you start to be more motivated in raising capital, I’m pretty confident that you will find dozens of ways to make it, either through increasing your income or reducing your expenses. 

With that, let’s move onto: 

Mindset #2: Investing is Risky 

I hate to lose money. 

Take stocks as an example. Today, I may buy a stock for RM 10,000. But, if I wish to sell it off one year later, I would not know how much money I would get back at that point in time. This is a form of uncertainty and could cause some to fear, to be anxious and to avoid investing altogether. Some prefer to put their money into FDs as they are confident that they would not lose their capital in the short run. 

But, is putting money into FDs a long-term solution to store wealth? 

Personally, I realize that piling FDs without learning how to invest is detrimental to my personal wealth for the long run. This is because the cash that I hold onto today is not exactly money but fiat currencies that lose purchasing power in the long term on a gradual basis. Do you think RM 10,000 in 10 years from now will be worth more than RM 10,000 today? 

Therefore, investing is no longer a subject of interest. 

Rather, it is a matter of financial survival. Hence, instead of allowing investment risks to be a reason not to invest, I believe it is best for me to learn how to grow my wealth via investing. I need to build my capabilities as an investor. Therefore to me, the more I grow as an investor, the less risky investing is to me. I find this to be a lot better than just merely stashing cash into FDs. 

Thus, instead of avoidance, I choose to learn how to mitigate investment risks. 

Mindset #3: I Don’t Have Time to Invest 

To some, this could be valid. 

But in reality, we all have 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. So, I suppose this is dependent on your life goals and outlook in terms of finances. For most of us, it is possible for us to trade time for money or for other things which could add to our pleasure and purpose in life. As such, if you don’t have time to invest, it can mean that this time allocated on investing can be better spent elsewhere to get a better reward and outcome for it. 

So, it is not a question on time but an issue of the purpose of investing. 

I can’t say for all. While many people invest to make money, I invest to buy time as time is a more precious commodity to me than money. Investing is likened to finding robots that earn income without my involvement in it. Without robots, I have to work hard physically to support myself financially. This is active income. Today, some of my bills are paid for by income generated by my robots. That, to me, is passive income and I find this to be very liberating. 

The more robots I have in my portfolio, the freer I become. 

Learning to invest is like learning how to drive a car. Once I know how to drive, I could go on road trips, driving to all states in Peninsula Malaysia and beyond on my own accord. I could travel from Kuala Lumpur to Penang in 4 hours by car. In my opinion, driving is more convenient, practical, and liberating as compared to walking, cycling, and taking a bus, train, or taxi combined. As such, not knowing how to invest is like traveling to Penang by foot. 

I would rather spend time learning to invest to travel further in my financial life. 

Mindset #4: I’m Not Good in Investing

But really, who is in the first place? 

All geniuses began with 1+1 and progressed from it. This is similar to investing. I wish that I knew what I know and I had what I have today when I first began. As you can see, that is not reality. Today, what I know and what I have is a product, which is years in the making and not instantaneous. Along the way, I have made costly mistakes and gained lessons and experiences from them. 

So, I won’t say that I’m born a genius. But, I would say that I didn’t let my errors stop me from investing. Rather, I kept an attitude of learning when investing. As such, I believe that the key contributing success factor is not so much on smarts and intelligence but on one’s attitude for continuous improvement. 

The investor is more important than the investment. 

So, if you incurred losses from your past investments, are you a bad investor? In my opinion, if you allow your losses to become your identity, obviously, you will see yourself as a bad investor, which is not healthy. Now, here is a secret. I think a good investor is not one who always profits from his investments but one that handles his mistakes in a more positive manner. 

Mistakes and losses present investors a chance to learn and grow in capabilities of investing. I could make better investment decisions today, because of losses I had incurred in the past. Mistakes are not identities but are part of progress for us to grow to become savvier investors in the future. 


Why invest? 

Personally, I believe investing is an integral part to my financial survivability and learning to invest is an efficient way to build and sustain my personal wealth for the long-term. I choose to work on my investment capabilities gradually as I see this to be significant in my financial life. 

If you possess any of the four mindsets above, you have a choice. 

First, you may continue to possess these mindsets. But, there will be trade-offs. It is like choosing not to learn how to drive a car. You can always take a bus ride, a train, Grab your way around or walk. Nothing wrong with not knowing how to drive. You just have to accept the fact that you have one less option to travel. 

Alternatively, you may reflect on them and make necessary changes. Over here, if you decide to do so, you may want to set a time frame of 1-2 years to learn it, overcome it and practice the fine art of investing. After 1-2 years, you will come to learn that investing will become easier over time, especially if you had built a working system that enables you to invest better. 

Such a system could serve you for decades or even for a lifetime.

Here, if you wish to learn more on the art of stock investing, here’s a free training you can attend:

Link: How to Build a Stock Portfolio that Pays Increasing Dividends?

Ian Tai
Ian Tai

Financial Content Machine. Dividend Investor. Produced 500+ Financial Articles featured in KCLau.com in Malaysia and the Fifth Person, Value Invest Asia, and Small Cap Asia in Singapore. Regular Host and Presenter of a Weekly Financial Webinar with KCLau.com. Co-Founded DividendVault.com, an online membership site that empowers retail investors to build a stock portfolio that pays rising dividends year after year in Malaysia and Singapore.

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