Ep307: Shan Saeed – Start Investing as Early as You Can

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Guest profile

Shan Saeed is Chief Economist at Juwai IQI, a leading property, technology, and investment company operating and advising clients in Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Hong Kong, London, Melbourne, Makati, Toronto, and Dubai.

He has 20 years of financial market experience in private banking, risk and compliance management, commodity investments, global economy, and brand and business strategy.

Based in Kuala Lumpur, he is a financial market commentator cited in various news outlets around the world.

Shan graduated from the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago and got his first MBA from IBA Pakistan in collaboration with the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. He is also trained in Alternative Banking/Strategies from Harvard Business School.


“In order to be successful in your life, you need to work hard, have an abiding faith in Almighty God, and lastly, which I strongly believe in, your mother’s blessing.”

Shan Saeed


Worst investment ever

Shan was always impressed by his mom’s investing acumen. She had started investing in gold from the time when Shan was a kid. When Shan finished his first MBA in 1999, his mom encouraged him to read about gold and oil. However, Shan was not interested.

At the time, Shan was focusing on his career and getting his second MBA. So he was saving money for that.

Finally getting round to investing

The price of gold had been going up steadily since 1971. In 1971 gold prices were trading at $35 per troy ounce, and in 1980 it was $850. The price went down in 2001 to $257 per ounce. But in 2011, the price hit $1,923.

Even though Shan had been keeping an eye on gold and knew how lucrative it was, he did not start investing until 2007. That was pretty late, and he was indeed behind the curve. Shan’s worst investment was the ignorance that saw him miss out on some good returns from gold for at least six to seven years.

Lessons learned

Save to invest

As soon as you start working, you should allocate 10 to 20% of your saving to investing. Cut down your expenses and save that money.

Understand the market before you start investing

Before you start investing, you must first understand the market. So do your homework and get your market intelligence report. When you get to know the market well, you will be able to choose your investments wisely.

Understand your risk profile and have an exit strategy

Understand your risk profile and your risk-reward ratio. And most importantly, you need to have an exit strategy.

Andrew’s takeaways

Put aside a specific amount of money for investing

You have to be very intentional with your investment plan. Make it a habit to save by putting aside a certain amount. Do not use it for anything else other than investing. Whether it is 5% or 10%, or 20% of your salary, allocate it to investing in stocks, gold, property, or bonds. Then manage your portfolio slowly and steadily over time.

Actionable advice

Be aggressive, gather as much information about the financial market as you can. Listen to people’s advice about investing, but make your own decision.

No. 1 goal for the next 12 months

Shan’s number one goal for the next 12 months is to take a long position in gold and silver, be very aggressive in the market, and keep himself up to date.


Read full transcript

Andrew Stotz 00:03
Hello fellow risk takers and welcome to my worst investment ever stories of loss to keep you winning. In our community we know that winning investing you must take risk but to win big, you've got to reduce it. This episode is sponsored by a Stotz Academy's online course. How to start building your wealth investing in the stock market. I wrote this course. For those who want to go from feeling frustrated, intimidated or overwhelmed by the stock market to becoming confident and in control of their financial future. Go to my worst investment ever.com slash deals to claim your discount now fellow risk takers This is your worst podcast host Andrew Stotz and I'm here with featured guest Shan siete Shan Are you ready to rock?

Shan Saeed 00:50
Thank you, Andrew. I am absolutely ready.

Andrew Stotz 00:54
I'm going to introduce you to the audience. So, Shan is chief economist at Jul ice IQ is a leading property technology and investment company operating an advising clients in Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Hong Kong, London, Melbourne, Makati, Toronto, and Dubai. He has 20 years of financial market experience in private banking risk and compliance management commodity investments globally economy as well as brand and business strategy. Based in Kuala Lumpur. He is a financial market commentator who has been cited in various news outlets around the world. Jen graduated from the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago and got his first MBA from iba Pakistan in collaboration with the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. He's also trained in alternative banking strategies from Harvard Business School. SHAN take a minute and filling for the tidbits about your life.

Shan Saeed 01:55
Thank you, Andrew. Yeah, pleasure to be here. I think life has given me a lot of opportunities. And I think all credit goes to my parents out, they have brought me up. I studied in a Catholic school in Karachi, Pakistan, that was a huge exposure in my life. I then studied in a government school, then I got my basic education box and worked in Pakistan. And then I went abroad, got my second MBA worked in the US, I have worked in seven countries, this is my eighth country working in Malaysia. So what I have learned in my life is to be very aggressive. And in order to be successful in your life, you need three things. Number one, you have to work very, very hard. It goes without saying number two, you need to have an abiding faith in Almighty God, Allah. And third, which I strongly believe in, you need to have your mother's blessing. Whatever I am today is all because of my beautiful mother. And because of my late father and I have mentioned in my book that I have written is available on the internet, real estate, the new global currency if you google search my name I have written with my partners at joy IQ. So I think you need to have your mother's blessing. And I have been cited as you said in various magazine, newspaper and you know, media and press, they make you larger than life. From nobody to Shan site in Malaysia, all credit goes to my present media, friends, of course, the biggest stakeholder of this country, the Malaysian people, how much respect and recognition they have given to my credentials, and to my expertise. It's really remarkable. And but go ahead. And one thing I have noticed that market accepts you very, very quickly. If you have three, four variables that are key, if you share data backed by facts and figures, based on critical analysis and critical reasoning, analytical approach, and most importantly, it needs to have substance. Nobody would follow you. If you share James Bond story, the Cinderella story, the tabloid stories, people will say or the audience would say, Sean's a waste of time, because he's sharing tabloid story. So market is looking for substance and market is looking for those critical reasoning based on data so that it can make some economic and financial sense. So that's why I have been getting a lot of followers. I have, like 28,000 followers on LinkedIn. So I think God is kind and I have got my mother's blessing.

Andrew Stotz 04:27
Yeah. Well, Shawn, there's a lot to unpack from that. The first thing is my second episode of the podcast, was interviewing my Pakistani friend Ashraf bhava. And he's, that's Pakistan is one country I have not yet been to in Asia, and I look forward to getting there. But talking about your mother's blessing. When my father passed away four years ago, I brought my mother to live with me here in Thailand, and I'm a lucky guy because every morning mom and I get to spend the bit of time, over a cup of coffee and having a morning chat. And I cherish that time. And I believe I have my mother's blessing in the things that I'm doing. So I appreciate that. So now it's time to share your worst investment ever. And since no one ever goes into their worst investment thinking it will be. Tell us a bit about the circumstances leading up to it. And then tell us your story. Andrew,

Shan Saeed 05:25
I would say that I started pretty late in investing, I should have done it in 2001. Again, it goes credit goes to my mother, because I have seven arms and 35 female cousins. And when I was growing up, I thought these women are crazy, because they will only talk about gold, silver and real estate. And I once told my late father in 1985, that Daddy, my mommy is wasting your money, because you know she's buying gold. But then I realized after I finished my first MP in 99, there was a lunchtime it was Sunday, my mother said, Why don't you start reading about gold and oil. And I said, I finished my first MP and I'm not interested. And it's so boring, you know. But then I started reading about gold and oil, any Economist magazine and times and Forbes and others. I fell in love with that, you know topic. So I started investing in coal in 2007, I should have done it in 2001. Because at that time, gold prices were trading at $257 per ounce. And that was a second poll. If you recall, the first bull run of gold started in 1971, when gold prices were trading at $35 per barrel, and then by 1988 $850 per barrel. So there was an appreciation of 2,300% in coal in that nine years. That was massive. And the second Bull Run started in 2001, when gold was 257. In 2011, gold prices were trading on six September, it was 1923. So there was an appreciation of 650% in gold. And I jumped into gold in 2007 2008. That was pretty late. So I would you know blame myself that you know, I was behind the curve, I should have been aggressive, I should have understood the markets started reading about it in from 99 onwards, it took me too long to get into the gold market. And sophisticated and smart investors who understand history and economics, they have already taken position in two asset classes. One is gold, and the other is real estate and real estate has become the new global currency. And if you see right now in the current circumstances, gold has done remarkably well, although it has taken a pullback, but I foresee a go taking consolidation as we move forward, letting my worst investment would be that I was pretty lazy. I was very lethargic. And I was behind the curve for at least six to seven years.

Andrew Stotz 07:53
And let me ask you at that time, when you say you should have started investing, were you investing in other things, and you just ignored gold or you just really weren't into investing yet.

Shan Saeed 08:04
I think I was involved in focus on two things. One was my carrier because I finished my first MBA 98. And then I wanted to get my second MBA. So I was saving money, you know, because going to a top school is not easy. My fees that I paid at University of Chicago for my two years MBA with all the traveling with all the body expenses was 130,000 us for my two years MBA. So I was saving for that, you know, that I wanted to invest in myself so that, you know, it pays me back in the long run. So I was always interested in personal development, investing in myself so that I stay relevant in these challenging times. One thing that I normally share with people that you have to stay relevant, and the only way to stay relevant is that you need to upgrade your skillset all the time. You cannot remain complacent. Oh, I got my MBA in 2009 from University of Chicago, which one of the top schools I am done with? No, no. The moment you say that I'm done with that is the day your downfall actually starts. So you know, I keep myself relevant. And you know, I would say that I was investing in myself and I was saving at that time.

Andrew Stotz 09:13
Got it? Yeah, I love the idea of keeping ourselves relevant. When I graduated my undergrad in finance from Cal State Long Beach in 1989. I quickly did my MBA and graduated in 1991. And then in Thailand, I got my CFA charter in 2001, which was a huge amount of learning. And then at the age of 50, only months before my father passed away. I brought home a PhD in finance. Excellent. And so I love to tell people like you are saying is you're never too old to learn. And in fact, as you know, Shawn, is that the markets teach us so much because we think we know and then all of a sudden the markets teach us a lot more Let's summarise what lessons did you learn from this experience, because what's also interesting about your story is that everybody when you're young as a few competing things, number one, you focus on developing your career. Number two, you're focusing on developing your education. And that oftentimes requires money outflow. So it's not easy to think about investing when you're young. But yet, it was your worst mistake. So maybe you could just summarize some of the lessons that you learned, keeping in mind a young person that's, you know, trying to advance themselves at this moment,

Shan Saeed 10:37
I think I would say the moment you start working, you should allocate 10 to 20% of your saving in investing, try to you know, cut down your expenses, do not go for fancy gadgets, or don't go to cinema or don't go for expensive joggers, or golf clubs, you can save that money 10 to 20%. For example, let's say your salary is $10,000. And if you can set aside 20% of that $2,000 per month, and you start looking at, you know what appeals to you, you need to, you know, understand the market, as you rightly said, and markets, the teacher, so many things, if I were to say, Oh, I am a PhD in markets, I know everything people will love and miss is a shot, stop sharing these tabloid stories. So Mark is to teach you so many things, set aside 20% of your salary every month, understand your risk profile, understand the risk reward ratio you're looking at. And most importantly, you need to have an exit strategy. Every person every investor has got an exit strategy. So what they do, they look at the risk reward ratio, risk profile, and they look at the exit strategy 20% every month at the end of the year is 120% of your save 120%. If you do it monthly basis, quarterly basis, yearly basis, you save that money, go to stocks, go to bonds go to gold. But before that, understand the market, first, do your homework, first, get your own market intelligence report, don't listen to Sean say that anyone just because I come on present TV, there is nothing written across my forehead, that I'm an angel. And I tell people I have studied with one Nobel laureate, I've listened to three, I still consider myself highly uneducated, and highly illiterate person, every day is a new day for me. And I learn and I pick up many things, if you start saving early, and if you invest, because when you're young, 2425, you're very aggressive, you want to take position in cold stocks, bonds, you know, instead of buying expensive cars that depreciate very quickly, you go into those tangible assets, like gold and silver and platinum, or people have made money in stocks and bonds, a lot of exciting stocks out there. So you can make a lot of money, you can multiply your money with your savings. So that money in five years time may be double. And once you double your money, you can invest more, and you can buy a house, you can buy your car, and you can do many things. first five years of your career, you should be saving and you should be investing very aggressively.

Andrew Stotz 13:13
That's great. And that's in fact, what I teach in my book, as well as my course how to start building your wealth investing in the stock market is the most important thing, particularly at a young age is just starting. And many people that don't know, the markets are not interested in the market, it's actually a very, very difficult thing to do. It's overwhelming. So part of what you know, I try to encourage young people is to get started, I think one of the lessons that I take away from what you've shared is the idea that you have to realize that first, you got to save and save a lot. But the second thing I think what I'm getting from you is that you've got to put aside a certain amount, and say, I'm not going to touch that amount of money, even for education or anything else, I'm gonna have an Education Fund and I'm saving for that. But this little amount, whether that's five or 10, or 20% of your of your salary is something that you're going to allocate to investing whether that investing is in gold property or, or it's invested in stocks or bonds, but that that part you don't touch, and you just manage it slowly and steadily over time. Imagine if if young people if every young person started that at the age of you know, 25 a lot of people would accumulate a lot more money over time. So that's my biggest takeaway from it. But let me ask you based on what you learn from this experience, and what you continue to learn what one action would you recommend our listeners take to avoid suffering the same fate?

Shan Saeed 14:45
be aggressive. Don't be lazy like Sean you know, I it took like six to seven years to jump into gold. be aggressive. gather as much as you can. Listen to everyone, but make your own decision. The problem is with young people They, let's say if I'm 25 years old, I just graduated out of school, and I've got a job, I will listen to my friends left, right and center and say, Shawn, I'm investing in code or stock and bond, and I will also follow them. I will not use my brain. I tell young people use your brain God has given you a beautiful treat or follow others read a lot. And the most effective way of keeping yourself up to date is read Economist magazine. It covers everything. There's a section in Economist magazine, it covers finance and economics. If you can read those seven to eight pages, every week, I will say you are okay. But if you don't read and you will follow others. There are so many scammers out there people are out there or online cheating, you know, you have Macau scam, you have love scam, and I'm gonna read this is a How can people be so naive, you know that they have fallen into these scams? So I think I would advise your listeners to be very aggressive, and you need to have your mother's blessing, you know, that is very important in your success.

Andrew Stotz 16:03
Amen. All right. Last question. What's your number one goal for the next 12 months?

Shan Saeed 16:08
I think number one is take long position in gold and silver. Be very aggressive in the market. Keep myself up to date. I fall in love with AI, 5g, and Evie. And people normally say Shawn, you're an MBA, you're working for a real estate brokerage house? Why do you need to fall in love with AI and 5g? And my standard answer is I want to stay relevant. If I don't talk about AI of 5g or Evie, I will go back to stone age. So the choice I have is whether to stay relevant or go back to stone age. So stay relevant. That is very important. And keep yourself up to date. Go and network with people. Normally people ask me what did you learn at University of Chicago, I said nothing. I only learned three things wining dining and networking. I did the same. So if you have a very strong networking, if you have people who are thinking in the same level as you are thinking, I think it makes like much more easier is an English proverb when I was in class seven or eight, I dated a person is known by the company he keeps. So keep your company with smart people. When I was in class one, my mother said you have to be with smart people. So I try my best to be with smart people learn from them learn as much as I can, you know, so that I become smarter, and I become a savea like them. So I think staying relevant investing in myself, or going out in press and media sharing aggressively about gold, silver oil, US dollar and of course technology. If you adopt technology, you will stay relevant. If you don't you will go back to stone age.

Andrew Stotz 17:48
Fantastic. Well, listeners, there you have it another story of loss to keep you winning. Remember to go to my worst investment ever.com slash deals to claim your discount on how to start building your wealth investing in the stock market course. As we conclude, john, I want to thank you again for coming on the show. And on behalf of a Stotz Academy I hereby award you alumni status for turning your worst investment ever into your best teaching moment. Do you have any parting words for the audience?

Shan Saeed 18:18
I'm so honored and I am so grateful to Dr. Andrew, I will have to address you in the proper way you are a PhD I am not it's a real I really enjoyed I was quite excited and thrilled. I would love to come to your show again whenever I have time. And I would say to all the viewers carbon calm.

Andrew Stotz 18:40
Calm, calm. Alright, that's a wrap on another great story to help us create, grow and protect our well fellow risk takers. This is your worst podcast host Andrew Stotz saying. I'll see you on the upside.


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About the show & host, Andrew Stotz

Welcome to My Worst Investment Ever podcast hosted by Your Worst Podcast Host, Andrew Stotz, where you will hear stories of loss to keep you winning. In our community, we know that to win in investing you must take the risk, but to win big, you’ve got to reduce it.

Your Worst Podcast Host, Andrew Stotz, Ph.D., CFA, is also the CEO of A. Stotz Investment Research and A. Stotz Academy, which helps people create, grow, measure, and protect their wealth.

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