Stocks too risky for this businessman

PHOTO: Stocks too risky for this businessman

You will not find businessman Adrian Han touching stocks - an investment he regards as intangible and risky.

The general manager of bathroom fixtures and accessories firm Sansei Singapura avoids dabbling in the share market after his family's bad experiences.

"My dad tried out stocks in the 1990s and got burnt during the Asian financial crisis," he recalled.

"About a decade later, my elder brother lost money too when the recent global financial crisis hit the market.

"Logic doesn't always apply to market movements as they are often driven by emotion and speculation, and I am not comfortable with putting my money into what I can't have a good grasp of."

He is, however, open to taking calculated risks when it comes to something he knows very well - growing Sansei's business.

Mr Han, 32, a mechanical engineering graduate and an avid golfer, said he was blessed that he never had to worry about his personal finances.

In the 1970s, his father, now 64, co-founded both Sansei and construction business Magnificent Seven Corp.

The companies are now helmed by Mr Han and his elder brother Christopher respectively.

An incident more than 20 years ago left a deep impression on him.

"I was considered a fat kid and loved food," he said with a laugh.

"And there was once, I had spent all my allowance and had no money to buy my favourite fish cake, which cost 25 cents. That feeling of having zero financial capability made me realise the importance of saving money."

Since getting married in 2010 and becoming a father a year later, Mr Han's focus has been on investing his personal wealth in products that offer adequate protection.

Q: Are you a spender or a saver?

I'm a mix of both and make it a point to save at least 30 per cent of my income, which can come in handy during emergencies.

The bulk of my spending goes to paying premiums on the insurance policies I've taken up as well as golf - a sport which I love.

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

I don't like carrying a lot of cash and won't have more than $300 in my wallet at any one time. So I charge between $2,000 and $3,000 a month to my cards on average.

Although I have six cards, most of my spending is charged to two of them. The rest are used for discounts on petrol, groceries or points which offset some of the premiums on my insurance-linked products.

Q: What financial planning have you done for yourself?

I ensure that I spend within my means and that discipline is an important yet simple part of financial planning.

I prefer products which offer a higher return than regular savings in a bank, and provide protection.

So I've bought an endowment policy for myself and another one for my son even before he was born. It's like Daddy and Mummy's gift to him which he can encash years later.

I also hope to grow Sansei, the bathroom products business which I'm running.

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

My parents often told me and my elder brother, "Money is very hard to earn", and that has resonated with us.

During the school term, I would get $2.50 a week in primary school and $10 a week in secondary school. If I failed to manage my funds and overspent on Transformers, Tamiya cars and comics, I would have to wait till the next Monday for my allowance.

But our parents would occasionally give us some extra money if we were well behaved or did well in school. But I didn't fare well in the academic department.

Q: How did you get interested in investing?

My parents first broached the subject of insurance before I entered national service. I had also heard many stories from my peers about how people were financially burdened due to hefty hospital bills.

Therefore, I value protection as it ensures that my loved ones will be well taken care of and won't have to struggle with too much debt.

Q: What property do you own?

In 2011, my wife and I bought a two-bedder condominium unit in River Valley for about $1.2 million.

We picked a ready-built project so that we could use the rental income to service the loan repayments.

We have been living with my parents in their home.

Q: What is the most extravagant thing you have bought?

A two-tone Rolex watch, which I bought earlier this year for about $13,000, as Rolex watches continue to have a healthy resale value. I bought it as a reward after my first year as Sansei's general manager.

Q: What is your retirement plan?

I haven't thought that far ahead, but I'll probably continue to work for as long as I can and keep an eye out for other entrepreneurial and business opportunities.

Q: Home is now…

My parents' 13,000 sq ft bungalow in Seletar Gardens with five bedrooms. My wife, son and I live there with my parents and elder brother's family.

Q: I drive…

A metallic-bronze C-class Mercedes which my brother passed on to me. Its loan is serviced by the company.

rjscully@sph.com.sg


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