This is the personal sharing of Penny Choong (aka MoneyPenny) on her experience and her journey to becoming financially independent. Billy Kueek International is proud to have Penny as a graduate and as a good friend. Her story recently appeared in The Star, and below is the article in its entirety.
Penny Choong is a finance-focused change manager and trainer with more than 14 years of experience conducting money workshops and innovating practical methods for financial freedom.
With a range of initiatives, Penny promotes proven moneysaving & financial balance techniques and positive spending habits. She communicates an effective and notable message regarding business development, pitching business ideas to investors, and securing profitable employment.
Due to her family situation, Penny found herself in a deep financial hole at an early age. Equipped with sheer determination and a contrarian mindset, she not only made it out of the hole but also managed to set up a good source of passive income. Her experience led Penny to want to help others learn to manage their money so that they too could experience financial freedom & financial independence.
Penny is an NLP Master Practitioner, NLP Master Coach & Master Hypnotherapist with added qualifications in accounting, finance and IT. She is part of an elite group of trainers who are dedicated to financial expertise, empowerment and excellence.
Let us hear from Penny on her personal account of how her life experiences have helped to shape her mindset, thoughts and actions for success.
They say you should not judge a book by its cover. Some people look at me and think that my success as an entrepreneur was built with my family’s financial backing and that I merely built up on that foundation. Little do they know how far that is from the truth!
I grew up under modest circumstances. My dad was an independent renovation contractor, while my mom took care of the family. We lived in an above average house handed down by granddad. So most of my friends just assumed I was a rich kid – I wasn’t. Having said that, I believe I was rich in knowledge and education, as dad made sure to hand down of the best financial asset he could possibly give me – how to be financially savvy.
I was only eight when he started teaching me how to sort out his company’s bills, statements, receipts, invoices and all manner of accounting documents. Although it was a simple task, over time this mundane exercise led me to understand how the world of business and finance worked – such as how much things cost, how prices fluctuated, what happened when payments were delayed. As a result, I developed a keen sense of how all of that had an impact on our family’s financial position.
When I was 15 years old, while my peers were caught up in their social lives, I was actively exploring career options and asked my dad for pointers. Again, I was treated like an adult as he introduced me to his friends and business associates: bankers, accountants, business owners and other professionals. I got to interview them and find out what each of them did for a living with the curiosity of an eager teenager.
When business was good, dad bought heavily into the share market and off-plan properties. Unfortunately, he did not have any mentors advising him on how to invest in stocks, nor did he fully understand how to buy investment real estate. Then, a major blow to the local economy – money left Asia en-mass in the crisis of ‘97. The local share market tanked and so did his shares. In the end, dad’s business dried up and he was forced to retire. The family went bankrupt overnight with millions in debt. No income, just expenses… there was a lot of that.
This is when I truly valued the importance of planning ahead for rainy days. Fortunately my mom had the foresight to save up for emergencies and we lived on these savings for several years. Although my parents could ill afford it then, they knew how important education is. So they still gave me money to further my studies, but with one condition attached: I had to find a way to fund my two younger brothers through their own tertiary education to graduation. So armed with fierce determination, I went to university, held two jobs to earn money and worked during summer holidays to help supplement funds for my family.
After graduating, I focused my attention on how to finance my brothers’ education. My first salary was RM1,600 a month – barely enough for the family’s expenses, let alone their education. Then I realized very quickly that if I did what everyone else in the company did, I would have the same results they had – that was nowhere near enough what I needed.
So I decided to change the rules of the game. When I did that, immediately I began to spot opportunities everywhere – including those outside the country that had not even crossed my mind before. My annual income went from RM19,200 to RM288,000 in a very short period of time. In addition to sending funds home to my family, with the financial savvy-ness I learned from dad, I started to invest and diversify my portfolio. So when I returned to Malaysia at age 30, both my brothers had finally graduated.
My dad’s dream was to see all of us graduate from university and be financially independent. I am glad that I was able to help him fulfill that dream before he passed away in January 2015. Now, one of my brothers is busy raising his family and managing his business, while the other appears happy climbing the corporate ladder.
As for me, I decided that I would make it my mission to share all that I have learned about managing and growing wealth. I realized that I was not the only person who went through financial difficulties and perhaps not everyone had the resources and knowledge that I had. With that goal in mind, MoneyPenny and the PennyWise program was born.
The PennyWise program is about financial stewardship for everyday people going through everyday financial challenges. How you go about tackling them will have wide ranging effects on your existing and future financial wellbeing. The program is for teenagers, young adults, your friends, your spouse, your children… everyone!
For many of us, money is a subject that is a constant occupant of our thoughts. I know because I began my latter teens constantly nagged by worries like putting food on the table, financing my brothers’ tertiary education, buying a home, funding my wedding and being on track for retirement.
Good money managers know how important it is for people around us to develop a similar money mindset. Your attitudes and beliefs have a significant impact on your ability to earn and accumulate wealth. They influence your spending, saving and investing habits too. That is one of the main matters that the PennyWise program focuses on.
Be ready for an absolutely positive transformation!
By now, I know you are wondering just how the PennyWise program can help move you from greatness to financial excellence. To discuss further on the possibilities, join Penny at one of her free PennyWise Talk sessions on Sat, 23 May or 30 May (click here) or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more info on MoneyPenny, visit www.pennychoong.com or her Facebook page