Treat stocks like business

WITH his annual sales of RM2.5 million dwindling to zero due to the Movement Control Order restrictions, Adam Yeap was glad he had invested some money in the stock market as it was generating some passive income.

He is what some would call a "serial entrepreneur" but he modestly shrugs off the title and prefers to be known only as a "small business owner".

Yeap, who was born in New York City but had lived in Ipoh in his teens, graduated with a degree in finance in the United States and has been running a string of businesses since his move to Malaysia in 2014.

He used to manage more than 70 apartments that hosted 10,000 guests over five years. The Covid-19 pandemic may have disrupted his plans but it has not dampened his entrepreneurial spirit.

He is the founder of 212 Hospitality, a thriving short-term rental and Airbnb property management business in Kuala Lumpur, which he operates with his girlfriend.

Frasers Residence is among the more popular properties that he manages in Kuala Lumpur.

The pandemic has caused a dent in his business, as are the other businesses in the tourism sector.

Yeap said his business risk was diversified as he served many property owners in the building.

It would have been more stressful if he had only one major client as he could pull out anytime, which would then put his business at risk.

Yeap previously co-founded Wonderbrew Kombucha, a home-grown brand, in 2017. After building it from scratch, he sold off his stake in Wonderbrew.

He had even considered selling durians from Raub, Pahang but the Enhanced Movement Control Order'travel restrictions halted his plans.

"Once the MCO restrictions are lifted, I expect my business to boom. So, I don't mind the temporary setback," said Yeap, adding that he was more fortunate than others because he could still live off his savings.

"I believe in setting goals for my team to achieve. I told the team that I would buy a laptop for anyone who could reach a target. It encourages the members to strive for self-improvement."

The Stock Market

Yeap grew up in a household that did not have much faith in the stock market. His relatives and friends previously had bad experiences with investing in shares.

"Hearing all the negative stories about the stock market made me sceptical, too. I tried investing in the US stock market in small quantities but I was not an avid retail investor back then. I always believed that my own business ventures would deliver the best return on investment.

However, the pandemic reshaped my perspective. Apart from business, one should have passive investments, too.

"Hence around July last year, I embarked on my investment journey. During the bull market last year, anyone who invested would have made money. However, the stock market has corrected itself this year. As a new investor, I lacked the experience to navigate a down-trending market. I am lucky as I invested only in good companies instead of making losses in penny stocks.

"So, even though I may be slightly under the water, I still earn from the dividends. I am confident that the income will eventually cover my cost and anything onwards would be profit. It is just a matter of time."

Money View

For Yeap, money equates freedom.

"I can achieve many things with money, such as helping my parents retire early and not having to work in a nine-to-five job. Money is the ticket to freedom. My advice to fellow new retail investors is to treat investing just like a business.

"It is a marathon, not a sprint. When the stock prices are down, enjoy the dividend payout. Study the valuation of a stock, understand what the company does and you will unlikely go wrong.

"Even if you were to make mistakes along the way, take it as a learning experience. To improve the quality of one's life, one must seek to improve one's skillsets, regardless of one's background."

The writer was a journalist with the New Straits Times before joining a Fortune Global 500 real estate company. This article is a collaboration between the New Straits Times and Tradeview, the author of 'Once Upon A Time In Bursa'.

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