Money. It’s something many of us feel uncomfortable talking about despite it being an unavoidable part of our everyday lives. Perhaps it’s this discomfort that leads some people to feel overwhelmed and find themselves ill-informed when it comes to money management. But, if you flip the coin, better financial intelligence can lead to financial independence, freedom and even opportunities for wealth building and creation.
This is certainly the case for Hope Lui, a 36-year-old Centre of Excellence student. Now a business owner and a wellness coach based in Hong Kong, it wasn’t always plain sailing for Hope.
She was laid off in 2019 just before the pandemic hit and, while searching for a new job, decided to take some short courses to keep herself busy and for professional development.
Realising that she needed to learn how to manage her money during a time when her income streams were limited, Hope embarked on the Financial Intelligence for Wealth Building Diploma Course. Hope was drawn to the course, which is designed to teach people who have never received any money management advice.
Speaking to Centre of Excellence, Hope said: “That was true in my case. I grew up in an Asian household and the only money advice I ever got from my parents was to live frugally. Plus, financial literacy wasn’t taught in school, so I didn’t know what else I could do with money besides saving it.”
It’s a familiar story with most curriculums omitting lessons on money management and leaving adults like Hope feeling overwhelmed when times of financial turmoil, unfortunately, come around. Hope added, “I knew nothing about investments, creating multiple income streams, or how a credit report might affect me in the future. Basically, I was financially illiterate.”
As a result, Hope admits she had developed some damaging spending habits she compared to a “rollercoaster”.
“When I left home for university, my spending habits spiralled out of control. There would be times when I’d splurge on drinks and materialistic things without a single thought. Then suddenly, I became aware of how much I’d spent. So for the next few months, I’d watch my expenses more carefully. Once I felt everything was under control, I’d be off crazy shopping again. This pattern continued even after I graduated.”
While Hope had managed to avoid debt, she was unable to save money and was left feeling “horrified” at her spending as well as guilty about the money she had wasted. She added, “Looking back, losing my job was sort of a blessing in disguise. Without a steady income, I was forced to sit down and look at the way I’ve been managing my finances. That has helped me gain a better understanding of my spending habits, and what I must do to save money.”
Even though as an adult, Hope had “begun to understand that money has no value unless you put it to good use”, the problem was that she didn’t know where to start on her learning journey. With her free time, she decided to “learn something I should’ve learned years ago.”
Over a year, Hope completed the 26-module course — her first but not her last with Centre of Excellence — and she dubbed it “the most challenging but also the most rewarding”, informative and well-structured. Hope added, “Since I could study at my own pace, I never felt overwhelmed or lost on what to do” even though the journey to financial independence was one she initially found difficult.
Hope was pleased to learn a lot from her first course, including setting a budget, active and passive income streams, exploring different types of investments, wealth building and money management. More than practical skills, it also helped Hope change her perception of wealth building for the better.
She explained, “I realised that spending money was not a bad thing as long as I used it wisely. It also got me thinking about my finances in the long run. Not just for the next five years, but the next 10, 20, or even 30 years. Through this course, I became motivated to explore different income streams. Instead of waiting for a job opening, I began to think about how I could utilise the skills I have to create income.”
It was this newfound knowledge that inspired Hope to start her own coaching business. Hope said, “I used to work a 9-6 job, meaning I got paid as long as I showed up for work. However, not once did I ever think of making money through other ways. This course has encouraged me to think about how I can create income, rather than wait for something to come up in the job market.”
Hope is a certified yoga and pilates instructor and wellness coach who has been teaching yoga since 2018. She decided to branch out to wellness coaching in late 2020 after she got her Masters degree in Health Psychology.
Hope is passionate about helping people on their journey to live a healthier life and provides 12-week coaching packages embracing mindfulness, exercise, and good wellbeing that are bespoke to each client and their health goals. To do so, Hope has gone on to study the following subjects with Centre of Excellence: Pilates, Shadow Mastery, Moon Magic, Connecting with Your Spirit Guides and Body Love.
Hope also works with clients on maintaining their goals in the long run and understands firsthand that there is no quick fix to heal unhealthy habits.
She added, “In some ways, I think of wellness as wealth building. It’s not something that you work on for a period of time and expect the effects to be permanent. It’s a lifelong commitment. To do that, you’ll need to invest in your body and mind wisely, and that’s what I like to focus on with my clients.”
Now that Hope has begun her wealth building journey through her own business, she is looking to grow her services to a global audience by leveraging the internet and another unlikely opportunity thrown her way by the pandemic — online coaching and yoga sessions.
Hope has one final word of advice for anyone who feels overwhelmed by their finances as we embark on a new year: “It’s never too late to learn about money management. Whether it’s taking a course or consulting with a financial advisor, don’t be afraid to take that first step in learning new money knowledge.”
If you are experiencing financial difficulties, please seek help with your payments and resources as soon as possible.