About The Guest
Sandy Yong earned a business degree at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada. After graduation, she started her career and began saving her hard-earned money. She naively invested in high-fee, high-risk mutual funds and soon lost thousands with the bumpy roller coaster ride of the stock market. Feeling frustrated and upset, she decided to take her money matters into her own hands and became a self-directed investor. Sandy successfully generated a 6-figure investment portfolio by the age of 27. Since then, she has been an avid real estate investor owning several rental properties with her husband.
As a Keynote Speaker, she teaches female millennials how to invest in the stock market and in real estate. With her decade of experience and expertise, Sandy has published her award-winning book, The Money Master: Inside Secrets On How To Make Your Money Grow and Stay Safe. She has been featured in 70+ media outlets including Toronto Star, NBC News and Yahoo! Finance. In addition, Sandy proudly partners with CAMH: The Centre For Addiction and Mental Health. For every book purchase, she personally donates $2 to assist this charity with mental health research. Her vision is to help people feel comfortable conversing about money and mental health, as both can be sensitive subjects and have an impact on our daily lives.
Highlights Of The Discussion
How Sandy Viewed Money As a Child and As a Young Adult
5: 22 And then also like with our family dynamic, because my father was the sole provider, he worked in the restaurant industry for several decades. And so there like, No, we grew up in a very low income family. And although I did have clothing and food provided, to me, we didn’t really go on any special family vacations or anything like that, or even have a family car. So we lived very modestly. And I think, in that way, it helped me, I guess, be more conservative going up.
And I started working when I was a teenager, and just having several part time jobs, just so that I could provide for myself and I have the things that I wanted to when you’re in your teenage years, whether it’s like CDs, and back then or going out to the movies with your friends and doing different types of entertainment activities, so and then later on into my adult years, my father would teach me to open up an RRSP and TFSA. And so I kind of knew some of those basics.
But it wasn’t really until after I graduated from university that I really had to take that full responsibility and ask myself, like, what do I want in my life? Like, why why am I working all these hours in my full time career? And what are what are the type of things that I want to achieve? And so that’s where I really sat down to reflect and made some personal financial goals and set some dates and to kind of work backwards to figure out like, how much do I need to save in order to achieve those goals?
The Importance of Educating Yourself On Investing
9: 55- Because I think that with money I mean, it’s how the world goes round, right? Like everyone needs to spend money in order to live, to be able to learn those skills from a young age is quite critical because like we’re seeing a crisis in the Canadian economy and like half of Canadians live paycheck to paycheck, they have less than $1,000 saved up, and especially now in the times that we’re living, it’s tough, because, like millions of Canadians have been laid off and we’re kind of seeing the fallout of that impact and, and had we been educated in school, then I think we would have been better prepared.
But since most of us didn’t really have that going through the educational system, I think it’s really, it’s on our part, to take the initiative to educate ourselves and to learn those skills. And that way, we can not only help ourselves but also our loved ones.
Money and Relationships
11:3 8 – And people kind of like rather talk about other and uncomfortable subjects over money, which is unfortunate, because talking about finances is quite essential in having a successful marriage.
And even for my husband, and I, you know, took a lot of work to kind of get to where we are at today. But we sit down like on a monthly basis to go through our monthly expenses. We’ve even set up shared accounts, like shared savings accounts, checking accounts, credit cards, but then we also balance it with our own individual accounts. So that way, we kind of have like, our joint money. And then we also have our individual accounts and so that we have the luxury to spend our own money the way that we want without judgment.
So what I would suggest is that a couple can have an open conversation where both partners are non-judgmental, and they have that safe environment where they can open up to each other about their financial situation, and come up with a plan of how you want to achieve your goals, whether it’s mutual goals as a couple or even individual goals that you have, and look for ways that you can be a team and support each other in your financial journey.
Because in marriage, it requires to have these conversations, whether they are uncomfortable, you know, they need to be had. And so for my husband and I, we work together, where we sit down on a monthly basis, we go through our accounts and our savings and expenses, and we keep track to make sure that we are meeting our financial goals. And if not like we find a way to adjust them so that we’re we have realistic goals. And that way we can monitor our progress.
The Importance of Creating Multiple Streams of Income
15:13- So I think it’s important to create multiple streams of income. So that way you have a safety net. And not only that you can like find ways to achieve your financial goals faster, because not only do you have one income, but now if you have say, two, three or more than four, then you are able to accumulate more wealth and, you know, reach your financial stability, your financial independence at a faster rate.
Why Now Is A Great Time Explore Your Passions or Start That Passion Project
15:52- And I think that now is also a really great time for people to explore some of their passions, or some of the projects that they put on the back burner because, you know, before COVID, they just didn’t really have the time. But maybe now there are some individuals listening and they have extra time on their hands. And maybe you can find a way to turn your passion into profit and, and really explore, you know, some of the things that you love to do that you didn’t really have time before.
Sandy’s Biggest Financial Mistake
18:12 – I mean, other than the, for me the pivotal point of like, losing thousands of dollars in the stock market, and, and then kind of going the DIY route. You know, I feel like, it’s funny, because like, when investing, like I’m always learning something new.
And I find that the trickiest part is tackling that human psychology part of investing. Because like, once you read enough, or you know, listen to enough podcasts or read blogs, like, you’ll soon kind of get the grasp of the foundations of investing. And on paper, it’s like really easy to follow. But I think in real life, with human behaviour, it’s really easy to mess up your financial plan. And what I mean by that is, like, one of the classic examples of investing is to buy low and sell high. And the tendency for people, myself included is to be like, Okay, well, if I want to buy low, then I’m reading in the news that there’s a recession taking place, or that the stock market’s going to dip again. So then maybe I’ll just hold on to my money and cash and then wait for the stock market a job. And it’s tough, right? Because that’s where like, you have to take your emotions out of investing, and really be more logical.
And even I remember a couple of years ago, my friends were like, oh, Alibaba is in the market, like, you know, we should buy some stocks. And so I set aside some of my fun money and like, put some money in the stock market and then, of course, like, and this was like, a unique situation. Cuz typically like, I don’t do stock picking, and I don’t buy individual companies like, usually I would just have like, an index fund and like buy the whole entire market and call it a day.
But I was like, okay, like, let me just take a stab at buying Alibaba and I was probably got a couple thousand dollars, but I ended up being like really glued to my, you know, stock, you know, Google stocks on it just talking that one company because I wanted to see that it was growing. And then for a while was growing, and then it was like, and then it was doing terribly. And then after like, probably six months, I just decided to sell it because it was just too much of a roller coaster ride, right? And, yeah, I can’t, I lost like couple thousand dollars. But I think that was a really good learning experience for me because it really showed that I can’t really tolerate hand-picking individual companies, because like, I just get too wrapped up in like the daily news. And like, that’s the thing, like you’re not supposed to look at the short term, ideally, but that the focus should be on the long term. So that was a really good learning experience for me to kind of, you know, take some small chunk of my portfolio and see how well I would fare. I think now the stock market like the stock has probably gone up, but I just couldn’t handle it. So I ended up selling at a loss, which is not what you’re supposed to do.
Why She Decided To Write Her Book, The Money Master
23:18 – So this is pretty funny. Because if we, I guess, flashback to January 2018, my husband, Albert, he was crazy, his new year’s resolution, which I’ve always kind of been like, and I don’t know if I really believe in New Year’s resolutions, but he was like, Okay, this year, I’m going to write a book and I was like, Okay, great, honey, like, I will definitely support you. But like, I have no intention whatsoever. With writing a book like takes too much time like effort, like, who knows who’s gonna read it, I don’t even know what I write about. And then it wasn’t too long before we found a weekend boot camp to learn how to write a book and book writing seminar Toronto went for the whole weekend.
And that’s where like a totally opened up my eyes to why writing a book is so important and how it can really grow your business.
So for example, if you look at all of the huge keynote speakers from like, Tony Robbins and Rachel Hollis, like, like Gary Vee, Oprah Winfrey, like all these major speakers, like they all have books, and in order to be taken seriously, as a keynote speaker, like usually they’ll ask you, do you have a book? Just because it adds credibility to your portfolio and so on. And then from there, we’re like, Okay, well with a book, you can also do consulting or coaching. And really, it will help open doors for you, as opposed to not having a book and a lot of our Toastmaster friends had already gone down that path where they’re professional speakers and they have a book so we’re kind of already like inspired by our network. And so when we went to this writing seminar, that’s where I kind of had my light bulb moment. And then it was about June 2018. That’s when we decided to establish a partnership with our publisher. And they helped us through the whole entire process of writing and marketing a book and publishing it. And so I think the funniest part is that it was my husband’s initial idea and goal to write a book, but actually beat him and finished my book first. And then he came out with his a few months later.
Investing in Real Estate and Being a Landlord
29:35 – Yeah, it’s definitely not a cup of tea for everyone. And there are pros and cons with being a real estate investor especially being a landlord definitely comes with a lot of hands-on responsibilities as opposed to like invest in the stock market. I don’t have to worry about those things. And so yeah, it’s been definitely been a very interesting experience and kind of learning with my husband know how to deal with or like impromptu situations and like anything can happen at any time.
And so we’ve had to like, fix stuff, you know, try to fix our stove to the dishwasher, the washer and dryer even had flooding one time. Oh my god, even like a tenant who had a close family member passed away overseas. So she just upped and like, left and just left like the whole entire condo in a mess. And we had to clean like, or even like one of our tenants secretly renting out the unit on Airbnb, which is not allowed in the condo that we’re in. So she flat out denied renting it out. But we knew that it was taking place because the concierge was telling us that strangers were coming into your unit. So yeah, things like that. It’s like you kind of have to be on your toes and figure out pretty quickly how to resolve those problems.
How The Pandemic Is Affecting Our Mental Health
39: 17 – In recently, I think there was a news article that came out saying that women are being impacted by mental health illnesses during this pandemic more than males and even women are opting out of the workforce or other women are in jobs where they been laid off. And so I can definitely see that that would impact their mental health because not only have the either lost their job or opted out of their job because they have to take care of their children or their family members. But yeah, I guess it puts them in a really tough spot where like, they either have no income or they’re relying on their spouse for income, and it can really take a toll mentally and, and I’ve been, you know, in contact with the folks at CAMH and they’ve seen skyrocketing numbers of calls coming in from, you know, Canadians, just because they need some type of mental health support. Just because either, you know, the individuals don’t feel comfortable sharing with their family members or, or whatnot.
But there’s definitely been a spike in the need for mental health resources. And, you know, even just having someone to talk to so yeah, I think the two definitely go hand in hand. And that’s why, hopefully, when people read my book, they can take the steps and the actions that they need in order to set themselves up for financial success and, and have mental well being for sure.