Archive for December, 2012

Set Yourself Free by Yap Ming Hui

December 17th, 2012

Are you a Malaysian middle class? What is Malaysian middle class?
Does a Malaysian middle class person simply means you are not poor and you are not rich? What is the actual definition?

Of course, middle class Malaysian represents the larger majority of the citizens of Malaysia. This includes most of the working professionals and the mass affluent. They are those with a monthly income between RM5,000 and RM20,000 (source).

This is the group of people that are most likely to get stuck in the rat race of accumulating money, myself included.
Who does not want to be rich and wealthy? Or at the very least, know that you can be financially free and be able to retire comfortably without the worries of being able to survive financially in your remaining years?

Set Yourself Free is a book by a Malaysian, Yap Ming Hui, on how to optimise your money and become wealthy with minimum effort and risk.
This book addresses the reasons why millions of Middle Class Malaysians fail to make that simple leap to achieve financial freedom.

About Author
Yap Ming Hui is an Independent Financial Advisor (IFA).
He is also the author of five other financial books:

  • You Can’t Manage Your Money: Especially When You’re Rich
  • Maximise What You’ve Got: No Matter How Much you Have Now
  • MaxWealth: How To Maximise Your Wealth Beyond Investment Returns
  • Family Office: The Super Rich’s Secret to Wealth Maximisation
  • The Roadmap to Financial Freedom: The Ultimate Guide to Achieve Financial Freedom

Yap is the Founder and Managing Director of Whitman Independent Advisors Sdn Bhd, a leading independent financial advisory firm in Malaysia which specialises in helping clients achieve financial freedom and become wealthy by optimising their money. Whitman is a licensed financial advisory company by the Securities Commission and Bank Negara Malaysia.

He has also appeared in the national television and radio sharing financial tips and views. Besides that, he also has written financial related topics and hosted columns in national prints while being interviewed by broadcast media.

The Book

The book is written in a simple-to-understand manner, as the target readers are middle class Malaysians. No technical jargon but common financial terms that even students can understand.

The books starts from the definition of middle class Malaysians and generalizes the people to six category (can be seen from the book cover).
The categories are Poor, Middle Class, Rich, Self Sufficient, Financially Free and finally the Wealthy.
These categories are also grouped as Money-making and Money-optimisation. Throughout the book, Yap advocates on money optimisation, the path from middle class to wealthy is to be financially free instead of taking the rich route.

It then highlights the reasons why most people will not achieve financial freedom.
Even though we may think we are doing our finances right, there are many things that will come along in our life and derail our journey to financial freedom.

Yap uses many examples of real-life scenarios and easy to understand graphs, so that the readers could understand the effect of actions taken that would affect their net-worth and the age when they could retire.

The early chapters of the book highlights the problems people face that affects their road to financial freedom.
The remaining chapters (over half of them) educates the reader about the role of Independent Financial Advisor as well as how having an IFA will benefit you to being financially free and ultimately be wealthy.

Marvin’s Take
I actually came across the existence of this book from a news article – Help for the middle class.

However, being my usual self of doubting “marketing” and “sales” articles, I am almost certain that the author will try to sell something with his book.

So eventually, I got hold of the book and found out that I am not wrong but not fully right either. 🙂

Firstly, the book does highlight in general what are the problems that will impede the middle class from heading the road to financial freedom, but this is merely half of the content.
However, I am almost certain, most people would know the basic stuff of saving and investing, but most also will not be having enough information about how to reach the goals and if they are moving to the right direction. The examples especially the graphs with some simulation provided in this book, helps a lot in this area.

Then most of the chapters in this book talks about having the Independent Financial Advisor to help you optimize your finances so that eventually you get to be financially free and ultimately wealthy.

There are many things that I agree and especially that having a IFA is like a coordinator that relieves off your burden to look into all aspects of personal finances. One example given is an insurance agent is actually in conflict with their clients as they actually earns by commissions. The more being sold to the client, the more commission earned, but are they really optimized for the client?
IFA on the other hand, is said to be working together with the client, instead of earning from commissions, that might be for certain parties, they target to increase their client’s net worth, and probably get a certain percentage from that.
However, in my opinion, it is still possible for a IFA to be biased towards certain parties and to help sell products for certain parties.

Although the book is a target for middle class, but the idea that I get from the book is that to engage the services of a IFA, or probably from the author’s company, one would need a current net worth of RM 1 or 2 million at the very least.
I’m not sure how many middle class Malaysians can have that.

All in all, the book is a good read to reflect upon myself and to correct the ways I am taking to be financially free and be able to retire comfortably in the future.
It also introduces the services of IFA in greater detail than being just the “money consultant for the rich”.

Here’s a 15 minutes video of the interview with Yap Ming Hui on this book with Bernama.

I could probably name myself an Independent Book Reviewer, what do you think? 🙂
Read my unbiased book reviews here.

Books, Good To Know, Malaysia, Money Matters, Review , , ,