Millionaire Man


By Shailaja Menon

For those of you aspiring to be millionaires, Azizi Ali, 40, must a familiar name and his first book Millionaires Are From A Different Planet! in all probability is your bible. The book is a national bestseller with more than 10,000 copies sold to date, and Azizi Ali's name has become synonymous with the world of personal finance.

In June Azizi launched his second book, The Millionaire In Me, seeking to shatter the notion that you have to be in a big business or a top-notch actor or footballer to be a millionaire. The tried and tested methods of saving and investing wisely is how most make their fisrt million while remaining wage-earners.

"Folks, RM1 million is a lot of money. That will bring you financial freedom, happiness and security if you know how. Less than five percent of the population will be able to reach that magic figure so it is still a big deal," wrote Azizi.

Besides writing and speaking, Azizi continues to his full-time job as a pilot. He has an MBA from the University of Bath and is a Chartered Financial Consultant. He is a also a columnist for Personal Money magazine, a publication of The Edge.

He reveals that one of his favorite pastimes when travelling aroad is to browse through bookstores. That was how he came to realisation that there are many books that deal solely how to become a successful employee or how to become a millionaire.

"So I decided to write a book combining the two in a Malaysian setting, though the ideas are pretty universal and can be applied anywhere," he said.

"I hope employees will realise that becoming a millionaire need not be a dream or wishful thinking. I have personally tested the strategies enumerated in the book so it is possilble to achieve the million-ringgit mark," said Azizi.

A prolific reader, he takes three days to finish a book. Books has changed his for the better, he said. Reading Dale Carbegie's book, How to Win Friends and Influence People almost 15 years ago had a profound influence on him and got him thinking. Azizi reads books covering topics like self-help, motivation, health, spirituality and happiness.

Written in a conversational tone, with liberal doses of his experiences regarding money, The Millionaire In Me is devided into three parts. The first section elaborates on the merits of being an employee, how to become a star employee and how to make more money as an employee. He says in order to succeed you must have a burning desire to achieve financial independence. That desire he says, "must burn when you wake up, it must burn when yoo have lunch, it must burn when you have your evening run, and it must burn when you sleep!"

The second part compares the pros and cons of being an employee versus a free agent. The positives in employee box are regular income, benefits and perks, short-term security and specialisation while the negatives are a slow climb, slide into mediocrity, remaining a tecnician, linear income and heavy taxes.

A free agent, on the other hand, has the advantage of an explosive income growth, increased network, adventure, freedom and tax rebate. The disadvantages are irregular income, unpredictability, loneliness, no perks and the dangers of drowning in work.

The secret, Azizi says, is to combine the two. That way a person can have the best of both worlds. "You are enjoying the advantages of each box but at the same time, also gaining because one covers the weakness of the other".

The barrier to this is not time, energy or money constraints, but mental in nature. The unspoken belief is that professionals do not hold part-time jobs. To create an additional sources of income, the work that you choose to do must fulfill certain criteria:

* It must something that you can do on a part-time basis

* Does not require too much time

* Does not require too much management

* Does not require too much money

* Must generate a high return

Some examples of part-time jobs are: part-time sales work, lecturing, writing, editing (proof-reading, typing), consulting, signing (acting, modelling), public speaking, network marketing/ multi-level marketing, Internet-related work.

The best thing is that most of the jobs require you to polish your skills, unearth hidden talents, do research, meet new people, and generally demand that you rekindle the fire within and strecth your self. At the end of the day, you actually grow personally. But the two cardinal rules are: never do any work that jeoperdises your main job, and never sell at the office!

The crux of making money is by creating an "afterburner" - where you do the work only once but get paid for it again and again, He says you need to invest in assets that can provide you with a source of passive income. The posssible sources of afterburners are royalties, dividends, syndication, interest, markrting information, licensing, network marketing, property rentals.

Part three deals with saving and investing.

Contrary to popular belief, making more money does not automatically mean saving more. Azizi said, "I came across a study done on 1,000 lottery winners in the United States. After about five years, all but fifty had lost the money they had won."

The simplest way to overcome this problem is to pay yourself first. What you have to do, he explains, is to treat yourself like a bill that must be paid such as your housing bill, telephone bill, etc.

By paying yourself, he means SAVE. The minimum recommended figure is about 10% of your take-home pay. Also, as your income increases and you get better at managing your finances, you should try and save more - he advises perhaps even up to 20-30%.

The money should be set aside on a consistent basis and MUST not be used. "You must do this if you want to have any real chance of achieving financial independence. You must do this if you want to be a millionaiore.

To help you save he has devised an annual cash-flow planner, a monthly cashflow planner as well as a money tracker. The annual cash-flow tracker is compiled at the beginning of the year to project all the income and expenses for the coming year. The monthly cashflow planner is a more detailed plan at the beginning of every month. The money tracker lists your expenses on an everyday basis and also helps you grade them.

The money tracker not just help you see where your money goes but in time helps reduce your expenses by as much as 25%. He also advocates a separate savings account at the bank for the purpose of savings.To increase your nett worth faster, he advocates a Crisis Savings Technique where for one year, instead of saving 10% as the norm, increasec it to say 40% and watch the leap in the savings.

Before investing, he says, ask yourself:

1) What are you making this investment for?

2) How long before you need to cash this money?

3) Can you live with the risk involved?

4) Does this investment tie-in with your financial resources?

On the matter of investments, Azizi says you could either led other people manage your money by investing in unit trusts and mutual funds, or you could go it on your own. But he warns that it is important to educate yourself as much as possible and that risk is ever present. To know more about investing in real estate, which is how Azizi made his money, watch out his third book on investing in real-estate or attend one of his seminars.

"This book took me only a year to complete as the thoughts were already in my head and i just had to put them down into words. I write at least a couple of pages a day although when I'm abroad, I spend the whole day writing,"

In the future Azizi would like to write more books and continue speaking and helping people have better control over their finances.


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