By Sherry Koh
19 properties in Malaysia.
1 property in Singapore.
Properties worth more than RM22 million (S$9.4 million).
Five-figure positive cash flow.
Those figures belong to Milan Doshi, a property and stock investment guru who have made his millions over a course of more than 20 years.
In his recent Property Intensive workshop, Doshi posted an interesting question, "Which would you rather be? A debt-free beggar or a financially free billionaire?"
For most people, the answer would be the latter but they might be doing the opposite, which is to earn as much as possible to pay off debts.
Doshi highlighted that the old school of thinking is to not borrow money or borrow as little as possible and return it soonest possible. His thinking is, "The more you borrow, the richer you get."
He also advises investors to analyse the advisor before analysing the advice. For example, one might make the mistake of taking financial advice from people who sell investment products rather from successful investors.
He also said that it is likened to getting advice from university professors who might not have personally put the theories they teach to the test in the real life situations.
He also said not to be deceived by looks as some people who are poorly dressed are rich and vice versa, which explains why Doshi was simply dressed in a t-shirt and pants.
These are some highlights from a handout that Doshi shared in his property intensive preview.
Have a firm idea on your financial goals.
Otherwise, you won't know which direction to head to.
Some examples of financial goals include knowing the number of properties to invest in, your desired passive income, investment strategies you want to apply, and so on.
Individuals who are less than 35 years old should focus on maximising their earning potential as they are at the prime of earning age.
Invest in low-risk commercial properties that give high returns of over 8% per annum, with low entry costs.
For beginners, it's advisable to start investing in apartments of condominiums.
This is because it's easy to achieve zero or positive cash flow every month, as compared to landed house.
When you get married, don't buy a dream home right away.
Instead, it makes more sense to buy an investment property and rent a home for the first 10 to 15 years of your married life.
Instead of buying costly high-end residential properties, you could invest in commercial properties.
This will give the best of both rental returns and capital appreciation.
It's always worthwhile to pay a premium and buy the best properties in great locations.
Savvy investors creatively buy one property a year or even one every few months with little or no-money-down.
Most people's financial goal is to retire debt-free at age 65.
Smart investors aim to retire at age 45 or earlier, by accumulating good debts of at least RM3 million via property investments.
You focus on hitting a certain net worth instead of generating passive income.
For example, when you retire debt-free, you must have RM1.8 million in fixed deposit at 2% per annum in order to get RM3,000 per month.
Instead, one might be able to get the same amount of passive income by investing RM500,000 in properties.