I am Jan Wong, I am…
An online strategist, entrepreneur and youth advocate that started at the age of 17. Since then, I’ve started 8 businesses in various industries and now am the founder and CEO of OpenMinds, helping hundreds of brands make sense of marketing technology. I made the Forbes 30 Under 30 list in 2017, spoke twice at TEDx, became a keynote speaker at multiple conferences globally, a part-time lecturer, mentored startups and corporate innovation teams within the region. Recently I have also published my first book for students and entrepreneurs entitled, Building Your Digital Net Worth.
1. What is your best investment and worst investment?
My best investment has always been towards myself. I believe that if you fail to invest in yourself, it doesn’t make sense in investing in anything else; and that means investing in your own wellbeing, growth and mindset. After all, investing is all about having the right mindset and more often than not, “getting rich” is not the right one to have. In relation to that, my best investment has been with my company OpenMinds that I’ve bootstrapped since the beginning, investing and reinvesting not just money but also time. As with any investment, it has risks, its fair share of ups and downs, takes time and knowledge to maintain it… it has been 8 years since! On the flip side, my worst investment has to be in a startup company that I misplaced my trust in the founder where he demonstrated initial passion and drive that quickly fizzled, followed by him disappearing into thin air (completely unreachable even with his parents).
2. What was your first-ever investment (and how did that go)?
My first investment was in an investment-linked insurance product that was offered by a bank. I went into it without fully understanding what it entailed and what it was for and regretted right after and went to have it cancelled.
3. Your investment no-nos (why not and what happened)
Don’t invest in something that you have no idea about, or something with an objective that does not align with what you are looking for. For example, a startup or company if you’re looking for a quick return, a high risk unit trust profile if your best interest is in increasing your savings, or an investment-linked insurance product that has a fixed cash out term if you require fluidity in your cash. Jumping unto the investment bandwagon blindly could cost you hefty losses or benefits that are not aligned to your goals. So do your research, know the product you’re about to invest in, evaluate your goals, seek clarification, consider the possibility of losing your investment, and then decide if it’s a risk you are willing to take.
4. What are you investing for?
As an entrepreneur I’m often torn from 3 angles when it comes to investment: investing into my own business for control, investing into other businesses because of potential, and investing into something that is more grounded and has better stability. These are primarily motivated by me wanting to build a sustainable line of income that is not dependent on the hours I clock daily, and that I can have access to funds immediately should I need them for emergencies or that holiday.
5. Jan’s investment philosophy and approach
Be clear with why you are investing in the first place and what level of risk can you bear. Is it for business scale? Career growth? Health? Lifestyle? What will happen if you would lose everything that you’ve invested, can you deal with that? I only invest what I can afford to lose, and while that isn’t much, I have a clear understanding that investments are meant to help and not to cripple me, and it is not a gamble where you go ‘all in’ only to put yourself in a volatile state. Don’t be charmed by big ‘promised’ returns or investment trends!
About “This is How I Invest” – As Fi Life’s motto is “Buy Term (Term Life Insurance) & Invest the Rest”, this series features how different personalities “Invest the Rest.”
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