I am Raymond Gabriel, I am…
A serial entrepreneur with companies specialising in various fields from marketing consultancy, strategic management, social entrepreneurship and recently Createwills, a fintech company. I am also an author who has published books on financial literacy and entrepreneurship.
1. What is your best investment and worst investment?
My best investment was in Apple a few years ago. After a share split, I made a 40% return on investment.
I invest a lot in education. In the last five years, I have been studying trends and disruption in technology businesses, and this enabled me to build my latest business, a disruptive tech company focusing on digital wills which are doing well. Investing in education is really critical if you want to grow your wealth, like reading, learning and growing your knowledge is a must for wealth creation.
My worst investment was the first property I bought. It was a condominium in Cheras named Changkat View, which I bought for RM140,000. In the late 90s, there were houses in Sri Hartamas going for sale for RM150,000 and houses for sale in USJ Subang for the same price. I bought the condo because it was supposed to come with a golf membership. I valued the lifestyle offered instead of returns, which was a big mistake when investing. Needless to say, the houses in Sri Hartamas and USJ went up in value, whereas the developer for the condo got into problems that they never really recovered from. I never got my money’s worth from that investment and since then I’ve learnt to never prioritise lifestyle over ROIs when investing.
2. What was your first-ever investment? (and how did that go)
I started my first business when I was 21 years old, it started doing well and gave me cash in the 90s, and I was earning around RM20,000 a month. Unfortunately, I took that cash and made my biggest mistake of investing approximately RM250,000 in a company in the Energy Sector. That was at the age of 25, which around the same time, I bought the condo that I’ve mentioned. The partners were crooks and I lost RM300,000. I had to rebuild my income and my first business, in order to pay off debt and loans that I co-signed for. It was a difficult 7 years that I had to go through to recover. But it gave me a purpose to educate others in finance and that’s what I do through my social business for more than 16 years.
3. Your investment no-nos (why not and what happened)
- Never invest in what others tell you to, invest in what suits you.
- Understand your risk level and appetite (I have a template for this in my book ‘Money Quotient’). The level of risk varies for different people. Some people may be able to lose RM100,000 and recover from it, but you may not be able to. Hence, you have to know about your situation and your risk level.
- Understand your rights in an investment, and read the fine print to know whether it’s legal or not, and who’s behind it (I wrote about 13 things you need to know about an investment before you make the decision to invest).
I think these things have helped me to protect my friends and family from a lot of scams.
4. What are you investing for?
I started my Social Business, to give back to others and to make a profit. My Social Business or Social Enterprise as some people call it, is called People System. I co-own it with another partner and it gives us both good cash flow. We trained a team to lead and manage it.
Moreover, I am also an angel investor, so I invest in companies, mainly in tech. I have also started tech companies besides other businesses that I own. I invest in shares, bitcoin, unit trusts, property and other things.
My context for wealth creation is for wealth distribution – I want to leave an impact footprint not just for myself, but to use my wealth to make a difference in other people’s lives. Imagine if all of us put aside a part of our wealth to benefit others who are less fortunate, we as a human race can actually solve and eradicate poverty from Earth. I am investing for my financial future, but also at the same time focusing on giving back to others, especially those in marginalised groups.
5. Raymond’s investment philosophy and approach
- Never invest in anything that you don’t understand, even if it’s really cool-looking.
- Understand how an investment works and how it helps to earn money before you put in any money.
- Never follow a Herd Mentality, just because everyone is following a trend doesn’t mean that the trend is for you.
- Understand a Mixed Basket Philosophy and spread your investment into low-risk, mid-risk and high-risk portfolios in ratios that make sense to you.
- Do research and watch trends until you’re comfortable enough to understand how the investment works.
- Have a purpose for wealth creation, so that you don’t work with greed as motivation.
Lifestyle and Habits determine savings, savings determine how much capital you have, capital determines what you can invest in and creates wealth, for yourself and for you to distribute.
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