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[MyTwoCents] Exclusive Interview with Suraya

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Hello everyone, I am James here, founder of SmallCapAsia.com.

Today I have the honour of inviting Suraya over for a short interview.

Suraya is a financial blogger @ http://ringgitohringgit.com/ and the blog is dedicated to personal finance with a notch on investing stuff.

For the longest time, Suraya has read mostly personal finance blogs from the west (U.S., Australia etc.). However, she wanted to read something that makes sense to her, a Malaysian!

Thus her website ‘Ringgit oh Ringgit’ is born. It records down her personal finance journey from the saving, to the spending, to the investing, and the safeguarding. She is also a content creation and management specialist – check it out here!

Without further ado, let’s get straight to the Q&A.

  1. Kindly tell us more about yourself.

Majored in communications, worked in NGOs, switched to self-employment (freelance corporate writing) and somehow now working in the fintech industry.

  1. What led you to start your own blog about investing/personal finance?

I was looking for the type of content that I want to personally read, but there was none, so I made  one.  

That and the potential of earning passive income through blog monetisation 🙂

  1. I see that your blog has a flipboard magazine. Can you share a bit more about it?

Flipboard is such a great tool to find new articles relevant to your interests – I highly recommend it! In my own Flipboard magazine, I compile articles about personal finance. They are mostly written for the US crowd, but some principles can be applied locally.

Some of the best articles are related to behaviorial science, psychology and market research. Knowing money strategies is one thing, but equally important is to understand own personality and market forces at work.

  1. What are some of your favourite money-saving strategies?

I wrote about 50 ways I use to save money in this article, with various results. Some worked, some didn’t!

However, my favourite money-saving strategy revolves around reducing the big 3 expenses: Housing, Transportation and Food. So I rent, have no car and cook at home a lot.

(Worth clarifying – on the buy vs rent debate, I’m pro-renting)

  1. Let’s talk about investing. At what age did you first invest and what do you mainly look out for when investing?

I made my first major investment in my early 20s. Back then, I was just getting started so I got a safe option – mutual funds. (Read also – 5 things to consider before investing).

As time goes on and I learn more about investing, I’ve tweaked my risk appetite and now have diversified in both low and high-risk selections.

I look for strong  fundamentals in investment vehicles that I find interesting and/or is a good deal.

  1. Do you mind sharing what is in your portfolio currently?

I invest mostly  in mutual funds (government, retirement, private retirement) and a few cryptocurrencies, especially bitcoin.

  1. We read that you are currently self-employed and has a few articles on how to make more money? What are some of the ways people can earn some extra bucks these days?

You must be referring to this article about side income ideas 🙂 Quite honestly, one can earn extra money in many ways. It’s about the execution, not the industry.

For me, I earn from corporate writing and consultation services. Because they take quite a big chunk of my time, I like exploring passive income options and strategies.

  1. Is there a particular book you will recommend?

There are a lot, I can’t decide on one. It really depends on what kind of knowledge you’re looking for.

Having said that, I really enjoyed  ‘Emotional Currency: A Woman’s Guide to Building Healthy Relationship with Money‘ by Kate Levinson, PhD. It implies its for women but all gender can benefit. We like to think we’re, as humans, are  rational creatures.

We’re not. We make decisions that are not based on logic. Understanding that is very important – only then you can understand why you spend they way that you do, why you prefer one investment vehicle over another, what careers will help you earn higher income, and more.

Under the 9 types of intelligence, I believe this is considered intra-personal intelligence.

  1. Lastly, any advice or words of encouragement for fellow readers??

Overconfidence is risky. When in doubt about an investment, consult the women in your life. Women tend to make safer, and thus better, investment choices. Less risk is good.

Never go all-in for your first investment. Put a little bit, then follow the news, learn more about the lingo, get familiar with the emotional ups and downs as the value increases and decreases. I think that’s very important

Thanks Suraya and hope you all have enjoyed our interview series at MyTwoCents. See you next time!

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