Ahh... youth. For us millennials, its the time when we're all starting to work, earn a monthly income, and enjoy life! We have no responsibilities, no commitments, no pressure. We have all the time in the world and this is the best time when we can party, and enjoy our youth to the fullest.
Then, time comes creeping up. Slowly. Silently. Next thing you know, you're in debt trying to pay off your credit card bills and student loan, you're living on paycheck to paycheck, and you have plans on getting married, but all you have is RM2500 in your bank account. Also, you can't continue to afford feeding your pet octopus rubies every week.
At some point in our lives, we will all come to the realization that living in the present is not what is all hyped up to be. Mine came last year, when my manager at that time threatened my job security, dangling my salary up in the air. I felt helpless and that's when I knew I will never allow anyone to have that kind of power over me again. I wanted to be financially free, with multiple sources of income, never depending on anyone again.
No matter where you start, or how much you're making, anyone can invest and grow their wealth - with the right attitude. Here's why you should start ASAP, even when you're broke.
1. It helps you develop the right discipline - for life
Too often, I find that most of my peers tend to live off their monthly paycheck, waiting in anxiety for the next one to come, before spending it all in the blink of an eye. I do admit, however, that the current economy is tough, with the rising costs and stagnant growth of income, anybody could go broke.
But with the right habit and discipline, anyone can grow their wealth, no matter how small you start. I remember as a teen, I've always wanted to own a red Mini Cooper S (still do, actually). I'd keep every single allowance I've collected and even worked part time for it until I eventually accumulated a saving capital of 5-figures. Even though I was bad at accounting, I still made sure I wrote down every single cent that goes into my hidden stash and how much I took out. I trusted no one.
Unfortunately, I was very financially illiterate and I knew nothing about growing my wealth. By the time I went into college, I spent on useless stuff recklessly and nearly spent away most of my savings.
But here's the thing. If a teenager, who hardly earns a thing could save up to that much of a capital, why can't you? By developing a certain level of discipline, you will find that you're increasing your net worth every day - even if you're putting aside RM100 a month.
2. You can make as many mistakes as you can
There's a huge advantage when time is on your side; mistakes are more forgiving on you. Take for example, you lost RM10,000 at 28. With your youth and employability, you'll still be able to bounce back as compared to a retiree at 60.
I remember losing RM3000 over a mistake I made once. At that time, that was A LOT to me and I felt so bad about it. But when I look back at it now, I prefer to see it as a valuable lesson worth RM3000. Plus, as you fail more in life, you gain invaluable experiences no money or courses could ever give you. By the time you're at your prime at 30, you'd already be a pro in the game.
3. No commitments
For most of us in our 20's, I assume that we don't have much commitments in life; no spouse, no kids, no mortgage, etc. When you live for yourself, this is the absolute best time for you to develop yourself and grow your wealth. Why? Because nobody depends on you and so you are able to dedicate more of your income to your savings and wealth.
Once you start having a family, your time and money is needed to sustain them. If you've never grown your wealth before, this would be even more difficult for you. Of course, having a family is one of the reasons why you'd wanna grow your wealth, but that's why its always best to start young, when you can fail with no pressure. What's there to lose anyway?
4. You may lose out on opportunity costs
So you're young and broke. There's no way you can possibly invest, so might as well save whatever you can and put it into the bank account as a fixed deposit so there's NO WAY you can lose money, right?
Yes and no.
Thing is, you may not necessarily lose your money, but in time, you can certainly lose out in the value of your money. Why? Inflation, that's why. If you think about it, the value of our money tends to depreciate over the years. Take for example, RM100. Back then, you can shop for a whole trolley full of groceries. Now what can you buy at the store for just RM100? Maybe cat treats, and some milk if you're lucky.
With the annual inflation rate in Malaysia since the 70's, it increases by 3.65% on average. That's way more than you can hope for even from a fixed deposit account, let alone a savings account. By staying out of the game of investment young, you're certainly losing out. In fact, you're potentially losing money that way.
5. You learn to be tough as nails
Investing is scary. Nobody who has ever gotten into it thinks that its gonna be easy. But it takes balls to have the courage to take the first steps forward. Once you have that going, you build your confidence, and should you ever face the down times, you know you'll be able to pick yourself up and soldier on.
I was never a gambler. I hate taking risks and I've always had the fear of losing. Every Chinese New Year, I'm always the first to opt out of the gambling games and prefer to watch my cousins play. "Well," said my dad. "Obviously, you're not very interested in winning either."
And that really clicked in my head. If I wanted to win, I need to take risks, even if there's a potential of losing. So that's what got me started in the world of investments.
Want to get started in investing but don't know where to start? I'll share my experience on what I did to get started in my next write up, so stay tuned!
In the meantime, test your financial literacy here. Apparently, two-thirds of the world can't pass this simple 5-question test. Let's see how Malaysia fares and let me know how you did!
I don't talk to a lot of people about it, but since I've been out of touch with that world for a while, I thought I'd finally talk about it. I was a pole dancer.
I mean, I personally think there's nothing wrong with being a pole dancer, but its the stigma that comes along with it and the assumption that all pole dancers are seductive and a sex goddess. Ok, slightly true, but they're not slutty or immoral.
I generally like the challenge that comes with pole fitness and I really admire the grace and art that goes hand in hand with it. Pole dancing is by far the hardest thing I've ever done, and it has seriously challenged my upper body and core. Can you imagine doing all that while making it look effortless and graceful? Yeah, I don't think so.
How it All Began
So it all started when my cousin was getting married. Naturally, as part of the bridal party, we decided to throw a bachelorette party and we wanted it to be extra naugt- I mean, fun.
I've been doing my research on ideas and things we can do to make it extra special until I came across this blog that did a pole dancing party for a hen party. Now that sounds fun!
So I found this place in Bangsar called Bobbi's Pole Studio and found out that they do a special private party for hen parties at RM130 per person at that time, for a group of at least 6 people! So we signed up for it.
I seriously had so much fun! At first, we were all so stiff and awkward, but thanks to the encouragement of our gorgeous instructor, Saintly (her stage name), we learned to be more comfortable with our bodies and feel sexy!
After learning a short and simple routine of a lap dance and pole, we got into our costumes and props provided by the studio and we had a mini performance! The photo session was pretty fun too and it was a completely different experience.
I love the layout of the place too. Its so Burlesque and very understated from the outside. But once you're inside, you're greeted with long, red curtains, plush sofas and velvet carpets. It really felt like a place where you can let your alter ego out to play.
I started joining the actual classes back in April 2017. When I first started working and made my first salary. I often take the train and bring my own lunch on top of living with my family, so I could afford the classes here. Classes in Bobbi's costs a little less than RM300 a month.
The reason why I decided to give pole a try was because I was getting tired of the same routine I do in the gym; weights and cardio. Sometimes, I just needed a little change in scenery that gets me excited about something new in fitness again, and because I felt challenged the first time, I wanted to see how I felt about pole fitness.
One of the first few things I learnt about pole is that our outfits (bikini and 7 inch stiletto shoes) has its functionality. The reason why you can't perform as well in full clothing is because you need to be able to stick to your pole and get a good grip from your abs, to your thighs. Clothes will get in your way and you won't be able to grip properly, so less is more.
As for the shoes, not only does it help in terms of showmanship, these shoes help protect your toes when you land after doing a stunt on the pole and it helps you to slide on the floor better. On top of that, the particular brand we're wearing (Pleaser Shoes) is designed specifically for dancing!
If you're a regular high heeled girl like yours truly, you would notice right away that these shoes are super comfortable despite its height. The thick cushioning in the shoes absorbs the impact, and the soles are rubber and very easy to grip on the floor. No slipping and sliding for sure. They're every pole dancer's best friend.
Be Confident & Sexy!
One thing I love about Pole is that there is no discrimination of bodies here; you can be old or young, fat or thin, etc and you will always be accepted for who you are. I like the support of the women here who encourages one another to be confident in their own skins and have that right to feel like the sex goddess they really are.
Every term, we have a show night, where students get to perform a routine from what they've learnt before. On my first term, I did a strip tease to the song 'Where You Belong' by The Weeknd and performed it on my best friend, Melissa. Our relationship has never been more special. Haha!
Needless to say, it has definitely helped spice things up in the bedroom with my partner at that time. Most of the time, I hardly even get to finish even half of my routine before he throws me on the bed.
I stopped taking up Pole early this year because I decided to save my income for my investment portfolio. Although I got a new job with significant income increase, I still felt that I should look to the future in the long term. Hopefully when I diversify my income, I will install a pole in my woman cave and take up Pole once again.
For now, my performance will be strictly within closed doors for the next lucky guy ;)
I feel like I should really pick up from the last time I used to blog in college. Those who knows me now would probably get the impression that I'm a fitness freak and always have been. To those who knew me way back, they would know that I was a completely different person then.
With that, I thought I'd share on how I started my fitness journey and what kept me going all this while, and I hope this could inspire some people to take the first step forward someday.
Before I remotely got interested in fitness, I was always known as the child who had a pretty face, but was unfortunately fat. Growing up, that was what I was always labelled and I grew to accept it. I didn't think I deserved to look good, nor did I even dream that I could wear nice things that could draw attention to myself. I just didn't think I was pretty enough to deserve it.
That's me in the middle, age 15, on a holiday in Phuket, Thailand.
Despite being constantly called the chubby one, it never bothered me too much until one day at a rosary gathering among our church group. So there was this aunty who was known to have a sharp tongue. She says whatever she wants to say, she does what ever she wants to do, regardless of what people think of her. They don't think of her too well.
Anyway, it was the end of the rosary session and as usual, there is bound to be food at the end of it. At that time, I had a heavy dinner so I didn't have much of an appetite. So when somebody offered me to eat, I politely declined to which the aunty said, "Yeah, better not la. You're becoming too fat." and somebody chuckled.
That's how it all started. She then went on and on about what I can do to lose weight and constantly criticized my big tummy, or my chubby face. It just continued until somebody decided to leave. We were in a room full of adults and nobody said anything but just listened to her the whole time talking about me.
It was and is the most horrible night of my life. I remembered crying for a week because I felt so worthless and ugly. I didn't want to go to school for a day or two because I was so depressed and to this day, it has really made a dent in me.
Fast forward to a few years later. I was 17 at that time, on a student exchange program in Italy. It was there where I truly learned to appreciate the beauty of all bodies there.
As you can see, my host sister comes from a large family. Whenever we're going out, I always see that she makes sure she dresses to the nines; from the most stylish clothes to the most elaborate makeup. I thought she looked gorgeous.
Most of the girls were quite surprised at how plain I was then. Because everybody there makes it a point to look their best no matter where they are. It was there that the people said I was beautiful. Wherever I went. Complete strangers would call me beautiful, even though I thought I was far from it.
After coming back from Italy, I decided to learn how to look my best no matter what the occasion and that has built my confidence a little. Just a little.
One day, I fell in love but like any young love, it was bound to end quickly. I thought he was the source of my true happiness but now I was left alone (I know, SO cliche. What was I thinking?)
It took me about a year to finally pull myself together and I knew I needed a distraction. One that could make me a better person and make me happy again. A project.
I remembered the lowest days when I was mocked for being fat and I decided that that was what I wanted to change in myself. I wanted to lose weight and have a slim body! (Also, in my pettiness, I really wanted to be my ex's hottest ex girlfriend)
I'm ashamed to admit it, but I was a cardio bunny.
Of course, I didn't know where to start or what are the first steps to losing weight. Naturally, I just went for the easiest thing which was the treadmill. And I hated it.
To this day, I still don't enjoy being on the treadmill. Its so boring and uneventful to me. Eventually, I took up swimming until one day I had an injury to my foot where I had to do a surgery so I could neither swim nor run on the treadmill for a while.
I was doing so well at that point; I stopped eating carbs and cut my intake to half. I was steadily losing weight and made great progress. I couldn't just stop right there and wait to heal.
That's when I discovered Pilates on YouTube. More specifically, that's when I discovered Blogilates.
I first discovered her through a beauty vlogger on YouTube. What I liked about her the most was how positive she was and so encouraging. Pilates wasn't the most strenuous exercise for my injured foot, so I thought I'd give it a try.
Boy was I challenged! Even though the exercises are injury friendly, it wasn't easy either. The more I followed her videos, the more addicted I became to that feeling of muscle soreness and waking up to a stiff butt.
More than just the exercises, I felt that I was working out with a friend, a friend who was so full of energy and positivity, it really rubbed off on me. Which is why I HIGHLY recommend that if you're a first timer to the world of fitness, get a good trainer or a partner to keep you going and to guide you on your first steps to swoleness.
As I moved forward in my fitness journey, I always pushed myself to new challenges; from learning how to lift weights, to doing scary stuff like headstands. My greatest achievement so far was to be able to do 200 burpees in a row. Not bad for a cardio phobe like myself!
What Kept Me Going?
Now, like most people who joined the gym after new year's resolution hoo haa, I too have faced the temptations of just 'taking a break' or 'getting back into it another time'. Whenever I have those thoughts, I always ask myself, "Why did I start? Who am I doing this for?"
And that's when I'm always reminded of that day in the rosary group; a young 15 year old girl being mocked for her chubby figure among a group of adults. If I could turn back time, I would give her a hug and tell her that she's beautiful and I would never let her down.
I am responsible for my own happiness. People may come and go, some who has even enhanced my happiness, but no matter what, I alone have the power to feel beautiful and happy.
And that's what kept me going. To this day, I always try to challenge myself to achieve new levels and it really gives me a sense of purpose.
To those who are waiting to take the first steps in your fitness journey, I say just do it! You may stumble around a bit, but you will find your way. Have a purpose and a goal to keep you going, and I promise you that it'll change your life for the better.
Anne is the author and founder of this blog. She likes to write about current issues, travels, food and the general struggles of a millennial.