Today, I’m happy to introduce to you a friend of mine by the name of Kenny Chia! He’s a young man with a bright mind that breaks all conventional wisdom about savings and investments.
Here’s a short CNBC interview video of his co-founder Aloysius Lee, sharing some tips on how the young can start to save and invest.
This video caught my attention and I immediately got on the phone with Kenny to ask if he’s up to do a quick interview.
In this article, we’ll be talking about the importance of financial literacy and how the young can start to save and invest early.
1) Hey Kenny! Thanks for taking this interview! So tell us, what are you currently doing now and what’s the latest project you’re working on?
Hey Ranford, thanks for having me! I’m awaiting matriculation into National University of Singapore where I’ll be doing my Bachelor in Business Administration. In the meantime, I am working on TLS with my partner Aloysius. The both of us started in 2015.
2) Interesting… Tell us more about TLS!
TLS stands for “The Little Snowball”. It is a financial website/blog that mainly focuses on personal finance and stock investing. Our philosophy is “with the right knowledge and temperament, investing can be a highly profitable venture with relatively low risk”.
Our mission is “to educate and empower individuals to take charge of their finances and snowball their way to financial freedom”. We aim to accomplish our mission by writing useful articles as well as conducting investing workshops.
3) On a side note, how did “The Little Snowball” come about? I find this name really cute…
I got the inspiration from reading a biography on Warren Buffett, one of the most successful investors of our time who started investing when he was eleven and has since accumulated a net worth of USD$74.8 billion at the age of 86 solely by investing. The title of the biography was “The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life”, written by Alice Schroeder.
The title struck a chord within me as I could see that investing was akin to gathering snow (capital) and rolling it down the hill through the passage of time (compounding). As the snowball rolls down the hill, it gathers more snow along the way and exponentially increases in size. Eventually, one will end up with an enormous snowball at the bottom of the hill.
The word “Little” holds two meanings for us, the first being our size. Jack Ma once said “Small is Beautiful”. We see the beauty of being small because it means that we are versatile.
We know that being small allows us to understand and connect with our audience who have just started investing. You can’t invest the same way an institutional investor does due to limitations of being a retail investor and we understand that.
Secondly is our mindset. Being “Little” means that no matter how big our snowball becomes, we still think as though we are small, always thinking how to grow bigger!
4) What were some of the challenges faced when you first started out and how did you overcome them?
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” – African Proverb.
I believe we’re still starting out!
We faced many challenges, even before deciding to start TLS together. Those were internal challenges; we were our greatest enemy. We feared failure, wasting our time and resources, absence of demand from the marketplace, criticism, etc. However, we overcame those inner demons by supporting one another and tackling every fear and doubt objectively.
In the end, we realised that things aren’t so bad after all; we had everything to gain and nothing to lose. Time was on our side.
When we decided to start TLS, that’s where the external challenges began. One of the key challenges we faced was sourcing for a venue to conduct our workshops. We looked around and found many suitable venues. However, they were very expensive to rent and would be uneconomical to do so.
Then I got a random idea, why don’t I just turn my room into a classroom? So I went about budgeting for a whiteboard, tables, chairs, paint for the walls, etc. Turns out, the renovation would only cost less than a thousand! I promptly went ahead with the renovation.
Now, we have a proper classroom to conduct our workshops in and need not pay expensive rent.
The only drawback is… I now sleep on the floor!
5) Why do the young need to save and invest early? Won’t they be saving/investing with their parent’s money?
Simply because financial freedom is easier and cheaper if they start early.
For example, Alfred and Ben is aged 20 and 40 respectively. They both want to retire with $1 million at the age of 60. Assuming a rate of return of 10% per annum, Alfred only needs to invest $158 per month till he is 60 to reach $1 million. However, Ben would need to invest $1,317 per month just to achieve the same results. Alfred would have only invested $76,000 in capital while Ben invested $316,000 in capital to achieve $1 million.
Time was on Alfred’s side, time is on young people’s side!
6) Why are you passionate about promoting financial literacy for the young?
I’m passionate about the subject matter and I see massive untapped potential in our youths.
Besides, in today’s economic environment, investing is a vital skill everyone needs to have in order to retire early or at all.
7) What are three quick tips for the young to start saving and investing early?
Save first, spend what’s left. Most people spend first and save what’s left. Problem is, there’s often nothing left!
Have a budget. Record every single purchase you make, review them monthly and challenge yourself to reduce your expenses.
Have a mentor. Learn from someone whom you know have been investing profitably over many years.
8) What’s the biggest milestone TLS intends to achieve in 2017?
We aim to achieve 100% growth in subscribers for TLS.
9) In your own words, what does it mean to “Love the Life You Live and Live the Life You Love”?
To me, it’s about playing the hand you were dealt with to the best of your abilities and make the most of out every moment.
One of the key lessons I’ve learned when I was in the financial industry is the importance of financial planning. Kenny takes it a step further to advocate about financial literacy, specifically for youths. He’s able to take something so complex and make it simple for them to understand. I think this shows the depth of understanding he has for this topic and how well he has already grasp these concepts.
Thanks Kenny for sharing with us your knowledge and I wish you and Aloysius success in building your snowman! Continue to inspire the young to save and invest early, all the best! 😀
Co-founder of TLS
Kenny Chia is an Equity Fund Manager & Educator. He will be pursing an undergraduate course (Business Administration) in National University of Singapore (NUS). Kenny is also a recipient of the NUS Merit Scholarship.
Kenny graduated from Singapore Polytechnic (SP) with a Diploma in Banking and Financial Services (Merit) with a Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 3.961 out of 4 and was awarded the DBS-POSB Silver Medal and GIC Prize. During his study in SP, he was awarded the SP Scholarship for all three years, been on the school’s Honour Roll for all six semesters and was appointed as the President of the Diploma in Banking and Finance Chapter.
Currently managing multiple portfolios worth six-figures in aggregate, Kenny combines value-growth investing strategies from Warren Buffett and Peter Lynch, along with his 15-Point Checklist Methodology to achieve above average returns. He strongly believes that in today’s economic and political climate, investing is a vital skill everyone needs to have in order to achieve financial freedom and retire early.
The Little Snowball is a financial blog that mainly focuses on personal finance and stock investing. The Little Snowball also conducts investing workshops aimed at equipping individuals with the right knowledge and temperament to invest profitably in stocks.
The Little Snowball is co-founded by Kenny Chia and Aloysius Lee.