This week, I will be featuring my Interview with Aaron Tang from Mr Stingy. So….. Who is Mr Stingy?
1. Can you give our readers a short introduction about yourself?
Hello everyone, I’m Aaron, the guy behind Mr Stingy. I’m probably more well known for my thoughts on money, but I also write about optimizing time and developing better relationships. The whole theme around my blog is that we can make our lives better through good decisions. Our time on earth here is limited, so what choices should we make to have meaningful lives?
I’ve been writing for a couple of years now. And my work has been picked up both locally and internationally by publications such as Business Insider, The Huffington Post, iMoney, Thought Catalog, SAYS and many more.
2. What inspires you to start your blog?
I’ve always been a huge reader of articles on the Internet. And I also have a range of diverse interests, including: psychology, economics, finance (especially behavioral), technology, sports, music, dating and relationships. Having spent so much time reading online, I fell in love with good writing, and started to follow some great bloggers (e.g. Mark Manson, James Clear, James Altucher).
So a big part of why I started is because I was inspired by my blogging heroes. I wanted to write like them, create art — and carve out my own little space on the Internet. But more than that, I also wanted to share ideas I really believe in. And hopefully whatever I’m creating is helpful to people.
3. What is your financial goal?
I wanna get to FU money — which is basically a crude way of saying I wanna get to financial independence. Not because I hate my day job (I actually quite love it, plus it’s an awesome company). But because I wanna be at the point in my life where I have freedom to do whatever I want. If I’m working for someone, it’s absolutely because I want to — not because I’m forced to do so for financial reasons. I wanna have the ability to for example, to just drop everything else and start writing books full time.
So yeah, you could say my financial goal is actually enough money to have “freedom.”
4. Where do you learn about investing or financial planning?
When I first started, it was very much on online portals like KC Lau, MSN Money (not sure if they’re still around), and fool.com.
Nowadays, I’m very much aligned with the philosophies of the Bogleheads (low cost investing, index funds kinda stuff). Which is actually very cool. For the average person, you don’t actually need to know very much about investing/financial planning. You just need to have discipline and get invested in the right things. Check out Mr. Money Mustache and Ramit Sethi (I Will Teach You to Be Rich) for more on this.
Additionally, since I’m full-time employed in the cryptocurrency space, I enjoy a lot of reading/learning from thinkers in the world of venture capital & cryptoeconomics. It’s really a very different world from “normal investing” as in the earlier paragraph, but gives me perspective into how some of the smartest minds in the world think.
5. Can you share a glimpse of your investment portfolio or what are you currently investing in?
Absolutely. I wrote an entire article about it too here: HOW TO BUILD YOUR INVESTMENT PORTFOLIO (AND HOW I BUILT MINE)
6. Do you track your spending? If yes, how?
Yeah. And after the first few months of tracking it, I really could make better decisions on optimizing my money. I use an app called Monefy. I think it’s a great idea especially for those who are just starting out to do this. The benefits taper off after a while, but for people new to personal finance — I’d highly recommend it.
7. What is your worst financial or investment decision you ever made?
I bought a couple of unknown cryptocurrencies (not Bitcoin) at the “peak” of December 2017. Some of them are down 90% today. It’s “worst” in terms of numbers, but I would say I’ve learned a lot from the experience. I also bought in knowing fully well that it could crash.
p.s. My investments in Bitcoin are still doing okay. 😀
8. How do you define success in your life?
Success for me is about leading a meaningful life. Now obviously “meaning” is very different for different people. But for me, it’s about bringing the biggest amount of good I can to people around me. This could be finance or non-finance related; doesn’t matter to me. As long as I’m helping improve other people’s lives (in the area I can provide most impact in), that’s success for me.
As you can tell, I’m a believer in the Japanese concept of Ikigai.
A little more selfishly, I also want a comfortable (doesn’t have to be luxurious) life with strong relationships with my friends and family. Simple, right?
9. Any advice to the readers on investment or financial planning?
a. Develop critical thinking. Learning to think and having strong mental models is important so that you don’t fall on either extreme: believing absolutely everything people sell/tell you OR becoming so dogmatic that you think there’s only “one way” to achieve financial success. You can check out my article here: HOW TO USE CRITICAL THINKING TO MAKE BETTER LIFE DECISIONS or visit likely the best website in the whole world on thinking: Farnam Street.
b. Read deeply and read broadly. Not just the current hottest books, but also the classics. Read not just about things you’re curious in and already believe. Read to challenge your current beliefs — including books from people you don’t agree with. p.s. I’ve never heard of a successful person who didn’t read a lot.
c. Start taking action in your own life. Start small, learn from the experience, then improve. That’s how you develop courage, and that’s how you develop skill. The longer I’m in this topic, the more I realize that personal finance is more about behavioral change than knowledge. You can know the best information in the world, but it’s useless unless you apply it to your life. What’s stopping you from taking that step today?
THANK YOU Aaron for taking your time to complete this interview. Looking forward to work with you more in the future.
I got to be honest, week 2 & Im already filled with knowledge & tips coming from both Suraya & Aaron. I hope all of you enjoy this week interview with Aaron Tang from Mr Stingy.
Next week will be another exciting week for all of you as I will be featuring not 1, not 2 but 3 Interviews with a Financial Blogger, a Corporate Trainer & a Certified Financial Planner. The question is, what do all of them have in common?