Mr Kyith Ng, 37, knows what it means to get by on a monthly budget of about $300 — a national serviceman recruit’s allowance in 1999. He even managed to save part of that.
Although today, he is a successful IT operations and support engineer at a public-listed company, bread-and-butter concerns occupied most of his youth. Then, his contractor father and homemaker mother could not count on a stable household income to raise their family of four.
When the Asian financial crisis hit in 1997, jobs dried up, leaving the family to get by on just their savings. This triggered his decision to stop taking pocket money from his parents and subsist solely on what he earned.
Mr Ng recalls: “I stopped taking pocket money. My parents did not share with me how problematic it was, but when I realised my dad was not getting any work, it was a challenge just to see if I could stop taking pocket money.
“A year before coming out to work in 2003, reality started hitting hard. My seniors told me the majority of their cohort couldn't find a job. So, my perception about the world changed. Fear set in.”
He started a blog, faithfully documenting his investment journey over 13 years. His entries included topics such as: “How Does the Perfect REIT Look Like in the Eyes Of Experienced Investors”, “The Wealthy Formula – How You Can Build Sustainable Wealth” and how to analyse an airline stock.
Mr Ng started focusing on active stock investing, dividend investing, building up wealth, and addressed issues of financial security and independence.
“Some of my best work is found in Building your Wealth Foundation. It is a bit philosophical, and lets readers in on the mathematics and philosophy that makes them look at how wealth is built in another way,” he says.
Today, his blog has over 100,000 page views a month. Annually, it generates in advertising dollars, about double what he was making during national service. Plus, his monthly cash flow from his investment portfolio is 10 times that recruit’s allowance.
To date, his most popular blog entry is Best Singapore Short Term Savings Account for 2018.
Mr Ng says: “Short-term savings is a popular topic because in Singapore, most people build their wealth primarily through properties and short-term savings. That is the harsh reality.”
He also documents his own personal investments, including his gains and losses in a detailed spreadsheet. Although not Instagram worthy, his blog has nonetheless, grown into a powerful platform for learning, sharing, discussion and even making new friends.
A financial blog for his peers
What topics does the blog cover?
My blog covers active stock investing, dividend investing, building up your wealth in general, financial security and independence.
What tone of voice does it use to couch its points?
It’s a first-person perspective since I am the only writer here. And it’s more of my personal interaction on the subject.
What sort of feedback have you received?
That my content triggered readers to look at building wealth, financial independence and money in different ways.
What’s the most gratifying thing about maintaining it?
The most gratifying thing is that you make new friends through the blog. Money is a topic that is seldom discussed on a personal level, and people on a personal level, complain about the lack of it, not the actual nuance of tackling it.
Through this blog, you find online peers that became good friends because we all have an outlet to discuss these things. The most profitable part of the blog isn't the amount your blog earns. That is peanuts compared to the smart folks who have humbled me by presenting their separate theses that tell me I missed out on something. That probably saves me thousands to tens of thousands per year. And that compounds.
What are your upcoming plans for the blog?
Not much. I asked myself if I would continue writing. I would if I still like it, and there isn't a better hobby than this. As long as I have an audience I would try to write something that provides value to them.