He puts his money where his business is

PHOTO: He puts his money where his business is

At first glance, Mr Darryl Loh may seem like a mild-mannered type.

But the 32-year-old property agent sheepishly admits that he wasn't always so.

He was a rebellious boy who used to frustrate his parents and would not do as he was told.

"They would ask me to be good and sit down or do my homework and I wouldn't listen to them."

Nowadays, the relationship with his parents is plain sailing but Mr Loh says he is still a rebel when it comes to investing his money.

"(When it comes to investments) I don't normally do what everyone else is doing... I would also say I make decisions about what to invest in very quickly. You could say I'm a bit of an impromptu investor.

"But at the same time, I'm also quick to weigh up the risks and whether I'll be able to accept them and if the risks justify the returns."

When it comes to investments, Mr Loh's focus is heavily influenced by his work in the property sector, with real estate making up the bulk of his portfolio.

He graduated from the Singapore Institute of Management with a degree in information systems and management in 2007. He lives with his fiancee Samantha Zhuang, 24.

Q: Are you a spender or a saver?

I would consider myself more of a saver. Whenever I close a sale and get a commission, I always think about how I can invest that money. About 80 per cent of what I earn will go towards my investments.

I consider my property investments as my savings plan and I make sure every dollar I save works hard for me.

The mortgage I pay can be considered my monthly savings and the rental profit and eventual capital gains are the growth on these savings.

I've estimated that I get around 8 to 10 per cent return on the money I've put into the properties, far more than what I would get from a simple savings account.

Q: How much do you charge to your credit cards every month?

I spend about $2,000 to $3,000 on my credit card now, mostly on personal expenses and for my properties.

Q: What financial planning have you done for yourself?

Mainly, my investments have been in real estate. They make up about 95 per cent of my investment portfolio but I also have some medical insurance and savings plans.

As an agent, property investments are what I'm good at, and I also feel that I can see my money invested in property grow the fastest within the same period of time as compared with other types of investments.

Q: Moneywise, what were your growing-up years like?

I come from a middle-income family; we're reasonably well-off but not wealthy. My parents were thrifty but their first priority was to make sure their children had everything they needed growing up.

The only financial advice my parents gave me when I was younger was not to spend frivolously but I would still spend all the allowance they gave.

I didn't have the concept of saving until I entered national service.

Q: How did you get interested in investing?

After working in my first job for a year, I realised I really wanted to be financially independent and that it wasn't going to happen if I was working in a normal desk-bound job.

So I began finding out more about how to invest through books, friends and online discussions.

I started my investment journey by buying technology stocks. I made some money when I bought $15,000 worth of Apple's stock at US$56 per share in 2006 and sold it a year later at US$160.

At the peak of the market in about 2007, I had about US$100,000 (S$124,000) invested in several technology stocks and I estimate I've made around US$50,000 to US$70,000 from my trades.

Q: What property do you own?

The One North Residences apartment that I live in now was bought in 2011 for $878,000.

I also co-invested with some friends and my mother to buy two other apartments in Zion Road and Tiong Bahru.

My most recent property purchase was a 1,152 sq ft condo unit in Ang Mo Kio which I purchased for $900,000 with my fiancee earlier this year.

Q: What's the most extravagant thing you have bought?

It would have to be a full suspension bicycle I bought for $1,800 when I was 18.

My father had given me $2,000 while he was based overseas for work and I spent most of it on the bicycle because I liked how it looked.

I used it a few times but I regret buying it because I realised I could have put the money to better use.

Q: What's your retirement plan?

I'm not sure exactly what my plan for retirement will be but I believe that it will involve working or setting up a business based on my passion. I might even become a diving instructor or a dive photographer.

Q: Home is now...

A 614 sq ft studio at One North Residences that I share with my fiancee.

Q: I drive...

A yellow Honda S2000. I bought it second-hand last year for $120,000 including certificate of entitlement.

cherlim@sph.com.sg


Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.