Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-Shing shares some of his money wisdom, outlining an inspirational five-year plan to improve one’s lot in life
This article is translated from the original Chinese by Edmund Ng at CeoConnectz.
Suppose your monthly income is only RMB 2,000, you can live well. I can help you put money into five sets of funds. The first $600, second $400, third $300, fourth $200, fifth $500.
The first set of funds is used for living expenses. It’s a simple way of living and you can only be assigned to less than twenty dollars a day. A daily breakfast of vermicelli, an egg and a cup of milk. For lunch just have a simple set lunch, a snack and a fruit. For dinner go to your kitchen and cook your own meals that consist of two vegetables dishes and a glass of milk before bedtime. For one month the food cost is probably $500-$600. When you are young, the body will not have too many problems for a few years with this way of living.
Second set of funds: To make friends, expand your interpersonal circle. This will make you well off. Your phone bills can be budgeted at RMB 100. You can buy your friends 2 lunches a month, each at $150. Who should you buy lunch for? Always remember to buy lunch for people who are more knowledgeable than you, richer than you or people who have helped you in your career. Make sure you do that every month. After one year, your circle of friends should have generated tremendous value for you. Your reputation, influence, added value will be clearly recognized. You’ll also enhance your image of being good and generous.
Third set of funds: To learn. Monthly spend about RMB 50 to RMB 100 to buy books. Because you don’t have a lot of money, you should pay attention to learning. When you buy the books, read them carefully and learn the lessons and strategies that is being taught in the book. Each book, after reading them, put them into your own language to tell the stories. Sharing with others can improve your credibility and enhance the affinity. Also save up $200 per month to attend a training course. When you have higher income or additional savings, try to participate in more advanced training. When you participate in good training, not only do you learn good knowledge, you also get to meet like-minded friends who are not easy to come by.
Fourth set of funds: Use it for holidays overseas. Reward yourself by traveling at least once a year. Continue to grow from the experience of life. Stay in youth hostels to save cost. In a few years you would have travelled to many countries and have different experiences. Use that experience to recharge yourself so that you’ll continually have passion in your work.
Fifth set of funds: Invest. Save the $500 in your bank and grow it as your initial startup capital. The capital can then be used to do a small business. Small business is safe. Go to wholesalers and look for products to sell. Even if you lose money, you will not lose too much money. However, when you start earning money, it will boost your confidence and courage and have a whole new learning experience of running a small business. Earn more and you can then begin to buy long-term investment plans and get long-term security on your financial wealth being of yourself and your families. So that no matter what happens, there will be adequate funds and the quality of life will not decline.
Well, after struggling for a year and if your second year salary is still RMB 2,000, then that means you have not grown as a person. You should be really ashamed of yourself. Do yourself a favour and go to the supermarket and buy the hardest tofu. Take it and smash it on your head because you deserve that.
If your monthly income is at RMB 3,000, you must still work very hard. You must try to find a part time job. It will be great to find part time sales jobs. Doing sales is challenging, but it is the fastest way for you to acquire the art of selling and this is a very deep skill that you will be able to carry it for the rest of your career. All successful entrepreneurs are good sales people. They have the ability to sell their dream and visions. You’ll also meet many people that will be of value to you in the later part of your career. Once you’re in sales, you will also learn what sells and what not. Use the sensitivity of detecting market sentiments as a platform for running your business and in the identification of product winners in the future.
Try to buy minimal clothes and shoes. You can buy them all you want when you’re rich. Save your money and buy some gift for your loved ones and tell them your plans and your financial goals. Tell them why you are so thrifty. Tell them your efforts, direction and your dreams.
Businessmen everywhere need help. Offer yourself to do part time for any kind of opportunities. This will help to hone your will and improve your skills. You will start to develop eloquence and soon, you’ll be closer to your financial goals. By the second year, your income should be increased to at least RMB 5,000. Minimum it should be RMB 3,000, otherwise you would not be able to keep up with inflation.
No matter how much you earn, always remember to divide it into five parts proportionately. Always make yourself useful. Increase your investment in networking. When you increase your social investment, expand your network of contacts, your income also grows proportionately. Increase your investment in learning, strengthen your self confidence, increase investment in holidays, expand your horizons and increase investment in the future, and that will ultimately increase your income.
Maintain this balance and gradually you will begin to have a lot of surplus. This is a virtuous circle of life plans. Your body will start to get better and better as you get more nutrition and care. Friends will be aplenty and you will start to make more valuable connections at the same time. You will then have the conditions to participate in very high-end training and eventually you’ll be exposed to bigger projects, bigger opportunities. Soon, you will be able to gradually realize your various dreams, the need to buy your own house, car, and to prepare an adequate education fund for your child’s future.
Life can be designed. Career can be planned. Happiness can be prepared. You should start planning now. When you are poor, spend less time at home and more time outside. When you are rich, stay at home more and less outside. This is the art of living. When you are poor, spend money on others. When you’re rich, spend money on yourself. Many people are doing the opposite.
When you are poor, be good to others. Don’t be calculative. When you are rich, you must learn to let others be good to you. You have to learn to be good to yourself better. When you are poor, you have to throw yourself out in the open and let people make good use of you. When you are rich, you have to conserve yourself well and don’t let people easily make use of you. These are the intricate ways of life that many people don’t understand.
When you are poor, spend money so that people can see it. When you are rich, do not show off. Just silently spend the money on yourself. When you are poor, you must be generous. When you are rich, you must not be seen as a spendthrift. Your life would have come full circle and reach its basics. There will be tranquility at this stage.
There is nothing wrong with being young. You do not need to be afraid of being poor. You need to know how to invest in yourself and increase your wisdom and stature. You need to know what is important in life and what is worth investing in. You also need to know what you should avoid and not spend your money on. This is the essence of discipline. Try to avoid spending money on clothing, but buy a selective number of items that have class. Try to eat less outside. If you were to eat outside, do make sure you buy lunches or dinners and foot the bill. When buying people dinner, make sure you buy dinners for people who have bigger dreams than you, and work harder than you.
Once your livelihood is no longer an issue, use the remainder of your money to pursue your dreams. Spread your wings and dare to dream! Make sure you live an extraordinary life!
Famous theory from Harvard: The difference of a person’s fate is decided from what a person spends in his free time between 20:00 to 22:00 . Use these two hours to learn, think and participate in meaningful lectures or discussion. If you persist for several years, success will come knocking on your doors.
No matter how much you earn, remember to split your salary into five parts. Take care of your body so that it will still be in good shape. Invest in your social circle so that you will constantly meet new people where you can learn new knowledge from. Expanding your network will also have an important impact in how much you earn eventually. Travel every year and expand your horizons. Also keep abreast with the latest developments in the industry. If you follow this plan diligently, you will soon see big surplus in your funds.
Whatever happened in the past is over. Do not dwell on past mistakes. There’s no point crying over spilt milk. Everybody makes mistakes. It’s what you learn from the mistakes, and promising yourself not to repeat those mistakes that matters. When you miss opportunities, don’t dwell on it, as there are always new opportunities on the horizon.
Being able to smile when being slightly misunderstood is good upbringing. When you’re wronged and you smile with calmness, it is generosity. When you’re being taken advantage of and you can smile, you’re being open-minded. When you are helpless and you can do a philosophical smile, you’re in a calm state. When you’re in distress and you can laugh out loud, you’re being generous. When you’re looked down and you can calmly smile, you’re being confident. When you’re being jilted in relationships and you can smile it off, you’re being suave.
There are many people who are struggling to make ends meet. It doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor. There are lessons for all to learn from Li Ka Shing.