Time to in­vest

Teenagers should start plan­ning for their fu­tures early.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - R.AGE - By SARENRAJ RA­JEN­DRAN brats@thes­tar.com.my

aF­TER a pe­riod of rel­a­tive ob­scu­rity, Justin Bieber is back in the spot­light, but this time for all the wrong rea­sons.

The pop star was charged with driv­ing un­der the in­flu­ence and re­sist­ing ar­rest, and his po­lice mugshot has been mak­ing the rounds on so­cial me­dia.

While his re­cent be­hav­iour is clearly mis­guided, the same can’t be said for his fi­nan­cial in­vest­ments. The Biebs’ has been in­vest­ing smartly (un­der ad­vice from fi­nan­cial ad­vi­sors, no doubt) in var­i­ous tech com­pa­nies, in­clud­ing Spo­tify and star­tups like Soju Stu­dios and TinyChat.

Given the con­stantly ris­ing cost of liv­ing, young Malaysians would do well to learn a thing or two from Bieber and in­vest their money early.

Of course, not all of us have the kind of in­come Bieber has. So how can we in­vest? The trick is to start small, just to get into the habit.

You can also start off with lower risk op­tions, like unit trusts, which are be­com­ing more and more pop­u­lar among young peo­ple com­pared to higher risk al­ter­na­tives like share trad­ing and for­eign ex­change.

I was once told that the rule of thumb when it comes to buy­ing a prop­erty is that it shouldn’t take up more than one third of your in­come. If that’s the case, I know most peo­ple my age prob­a­bly won’t be able to af­ford a house in the Klang Val­ley any­time soon af­ter they grad­u­ate. That just makes in­vest­ing all the more im­por­tant.

Another thing you can do is in­vest in your tal­ents, some­thing which quite a few teenagers I know are do­ing with quite a bit of suc­cess. You can turn tal­ents such as photography, mu­sic or de­sign to earn ex­tra in­come. Some friends of mine learnt to play mu­sic from YouTube years ago, and they now per­form at wed­dings and cor­po­rate din­ners, earn­ing four-fig­ure sums for a sin­gle per­for­mance.

Many peo­ple will tell you that pas­sion can take you a long way, and that is cer­tainly the case with th­ese friends of mine.

Your abil­ity to in­vest is lim­ited only by your abil­ity to imag­ine and come up with ideas. Con­ven­tional wis­dom tells us the higher the risk, the higher the profit. As men­tioned ear­lier, there are plenty of low-risk op­tions young peo­ple can con­sider. But among my peers, many of us are start­ing to re­alise that we have to be will­ing to learn to take th­ese risks early. That’s be­cause you can ei­ther profit from it, or learn from the mis­take.

The writer is a mem­ber of The Star’s BRATs young jour­nal­ist pro­gramme, or­gan­ised by R.AGE. To reg­is­ter for the BRATs 2014 pro­gramme, log on to face­book. com/star­brats.

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