Car firm boss shifts gears on money

Car firm boss shifts gears on money

A few years ago, it wouldn't be unusual to find Ms Valerie Tan shopping in high-end stores, driving flashy sports cars and living the high life in general.

While fast cars are still a favourite of hers, the 39-year-old entrepreneur now takes a more austere approach towards her finances.

"I used to be a spendthrift... But now, I always tell my two girls that shopping is restricted to window shopping and we have to save money.

"Financially, we're quite comfortable but I think it's important to teach them the value of a dollar. They need to know money doesn't come easy and if they want to spend it, they have to work for it."

Her financial situation now is a far cry from what she went through as a child. Growing up in a single-parent household, Ms Tan was always aware of how tight the family's finances were.

Fuelled by an urge to find a better way to support her family, she started a used car business at 21, with start-up capital of $100,000.

"It was a rough start... because of the limited capital, we didn't have many cars to sell.

"I remember competitors coming up to me and telling me I wouldn't survive. I had only four very old cars at that time and I was up against other firms that had 50 cars.

"I also had staff who left me because they didn't believe my business would make it. I don't blame them, there were times I didn't think I would make it either but I still stuck with it."

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