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Make the most of your money

Mr Alvin Chow started a financial education company with some partners to teach people about money and investing.
Mr Alvin Chow started a financial education company with some partners to teach people about money and investing.PHOTO: ALVIN CHOW
Mr Alvin Chow and his team remove the hype about investments and money in their lessons.
Mr Alvin Chow and his team remove the hype about investments and money in their lessons.PHOTO: ALVIN CHOW
The participants in the courses conducted by Mr Chow and his tearm like it that they do not do hard selling or push for any sales.
The participants in the courses conducted by Mr Chow and his tearm like it that they do not do hard selling or push for any sales.PHOTO: ALVIN CHOW
Through their financial literacy courses, Mr Chow and his team hope to bust the myths about money and investments.
Through their financial literacy courses, Mr Chow and his team hope to bust the myths about money and investments. PHOTO: ALVIN CHOW

Millennials are making their mark across the world, realising their aspirations in ways that previous generations might not have thought of. Our series, Big Plans Take Time, explores how the young take bold steps to achieve their dreams. Arul John speaks to our 21st profile, value investor Alvin Chow, also known as Dr Wealth. He shares how he turned his negative experience into a quest to teach others about financial literacy.

Hero to zero

As a youth, Mr Chow, 35, used to spend all his allowance and had no savings.

He says: “In 2007, my parents had to sell the house because their CPF savings have been wiped out and they didn't have enough cash to repay the mortgage loan for another 15 years.”

That a lifetime of hard work could be so easily wasted because his parents were not financially literate marked a turning point in his life.

That spurred Mr Chow to learn to be financially literate and take care of his money. He saved his money and started to invest it in various portfolios.

But his initial dabble in the stock market led to him losing $100,000. He then turned away from chasing shortcuts and learnt how renowned investors such as Warren Buffett and Walter Schloss built their portfolios.

In 2014, the mechanical engineering graduate left his job as a Republic of Singapore Air Force regular and started a financial education company with a few partners. He wanted to share what he had learnt in the past 11 years so that others could be financially literate and make better investment decisions.

Keeping it simple

Mr Chow distils his investment advice into six points:

  • Be sceptical when it comes to anything related to finance.
  • Don’t predict the future when risking your money.
  • Invest with meaningful stakes, but not enough to bankrupt you.
  • Don’t be afraid to sell earlier than others because you cannot sell at the top.
  • Long-term investing doesn’t mean you need to stick to the same investment after you were proven wrong.
  • Don’t hog wealth. Spend meaningfully by buying more experiences instead of things.

He acknowledges that some find the subject of financial literacy boring, while others are more negative as they associate it with fluff pieces and get-rich quick schemes.


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But Mr Chow feels that getting serious about financial literacy becomes more timely when people are in tertiary studies or after they receive their first pay cheque.

Financial myth buster

Mr Chow hopes that he and his team will be able to bust some prevalent investment myths, help participants change their paradigms, and look at investing or managing their finances in a new light.

He says: “Our participants like our honest and sincere sharing. The most striking feedback from them is that we do not hype.

“We are bad at selling, especially when we compare ourselves to other trainers in the market. But that is what some of our customers like us for.

"They like it that we don't sugarcoat and overpromise potential returns or hide risks to push for more sales.”

He hopes that the graduates from their courses put what they have learnt to good use.

“The graduate must do the work as we cannot do it for them,” he says.

Mr Chow and the rest of the Dr Wealth team enjoy their work. He says: “Teaching forces me to articulate my thoughts and in turn, reinforces my understanding. I am still learning every day and improving as an investor."