But nothing has ever came easy for this Johorean – at the age of 18, she left school and worked as a bus ticket attendant to help her single mother support her siblings.
“When people talk about financial security, what they are really talking about is a 9 to 5 job and the steady climb up the corporate ladder. I was bought by that idea too – I started off as an accounting assistant when I was 20. I had to work doubly hard as I did not have a degree – I bulldozed through 14-hour workdays and attended classes during the weekend for my professional accounting papers,” shared Sammi.
The starting point
In 2015, after working for 7 years as an accountant, she reached a tipping point when she realized that she was not being valued for the amount of work she puts in after being repeatedly rejected for a promotion and pay raises.
It was also during this period where she met fellow property investor, Tan Ching Sen during a self-development course. She is now her close friend. Sen introduced her to the idea of generating passive income through property investments.
She then quit her job and took Sen’s advice in building a career in property investment.
Sen signed her up for Michael Tan’s ‘Get Started in Property Investment With No Money Down’ seminar immediately after – and the rest they say is history. The course taught Sammi how to get started with property investment in the sub-sale market and the tips she gleaned have helped cement her investment philosophies.
She bought her first property in October 2015; a subsale apartment in Johor Bahru worth RM230,000 using her own savings and with some financial help from a few friends. Her subsequent two investments are also secondary apartments in JB – all which she is now renting out.
Taking things a step further, Sammi moved on to investing in primary properties after attending a workshop by property flipping queen, Rachel Lim. Her latest acquisition is four terrace house units in Johor.
Bumps on the road
You will think that being an accountant would guarantee healthy financial habits, but it is not always the case. Sammi initially signed up for a credit card in 2010 to help pay for her tuition fees, however, temptation got the better of her. She racked up RM25,000 in credit card debts after a few years of compulsive spending on clothes, health supplements and electronic gadgets.
Deciding one day that she needed help, she enrolled into AKPK‘s special debt management programme end of 2012. After 2 years, Sammi managed to settle all of her outstanding amounts.
Encouraging other Gen-Ys out there who are in a financial fix to seek help from AKPK, she said, “It was the best decision I ever made – The programme forced me to deal with my debts. The AKPK officers structured a plan for me to slowly pay off my debts, which were converted into a term loan, i.e. the 17-18% interest payment went down to 9.5%”.
Also, many have the misconception that if they get into the AKPK programme, a bad record will permanently stain their CCRIS report. Nonetheless, Sammi assures that once all your debts are settled, the banks will issue a Letter of Discharge and your CCRIS slate will be wiped clean.
The silver lining of her experience was that it taught Sammi to be frugal with her money and the importance of budgeting, practices which she now holds steadfast.
Sammi will continue to accumulate her rental property portfolio to generate passive income. Quoting her mum, “Make hay when the sun shines!”
This article was first published in the iProperty.com Malaysia July 2016 Magazine. Get your copy from selected news stands or view the magazine online for free at www.iproperty.com.my/magazine. Better yet, order a discounted subscription by putting in your details in the form below!