The COVID-19 pandemic has done more than disrupt our lives. In many ways, it’s helped to expose just how fragile our modern economy really is.
Looking around, it feels like everything is all doom and gloom. Prices are soaring, people struggling to feed their families and Malaysians as a whole seem to be tightening their belts even as they enter this latest Christmas season.
Although some may be fairing better than others, the situation as a whole is somewhat unsettling. As the new year draws ever closer, we at The Full Frontal took a chance to speak to self-made local millionaire Khairul Faiz, to discuss whether his own financial success could be copied by the average Malaysian.
At first glance, 33-year-old Khairul doesn’t seem like the kind of person who’d get into investing.
“My dad, he’s a lecturer. My mum is a housewife. So my family background, you could consider middle class. Not rich, not poor. But Alhamdulillah, everything is good,” he said. “I studied in UITM Shah Alam. After graduating, I worked with Astro as a PR person. Then I got an offer to work with Proton for three years.”
It was during that time that he started to learn about Forex trading.
“The reason I started to learn about it is because my close friend — one year younger than me — that time I was 25, he was 24. But even though he was younger, he was driving a Lamborghini! So I texted and met him to learn how he did it. I thought ‘if you can do it, why can’t I?'”
What is Forex trading?
The word “Forex” (or FX) actually comes from ‘foreign currency’ and ‘exchange’. It is basically the largest market in the world, with a worth measured in trillions of dollars.
Just like how a tourist travelling overseas might exchange their own currency for another country’s currency, a Forex trader will trade different currencies through the foreign exchange market.
“People out there, they don’t know what is Forex trading,” said Khairul. “They think it’s like Bursa.”
“That’s wrong, because Forex trading is two ways: you sell, you can make money, you buy, also you can make money. With Bursa, when you buy, if the graph goes up only you make money.”
So How Did He Get Started?
“When I asked my friend, he actually advised me to attend classes,” admitted Khairul. “I had to pay for the course — it was a one-year-plus course to learn how to trade Forex.”
Despite the time and expense, Khairul believes that it was all worth it.
“When it comes to Forex trading, you need knowledge,” he said. “When you open the chart, there’s only two buttons: Buy and Sell. Even a kid can press the buttons. But without knowledge, that may as well be considered gambling — that will lead to (it being) haram. If you know how to trade Forex, it’s considered business.”
“Before I entered the world, I was like 9 out of 10 people who thought that Forex is a scam. But after I entered the world, I thought ‘So this is how you guys make money. Why can’t I do that?’“
“Real Traders, They Make Real Profit”
According to Khairul, an experienced Forex trader can make money — if they know what they’re doing. Unfortunately, his first attempt at Forex trading did not go as planned.
“I’ve been trading since 2015… The first thing I pumped in was $10,000 — at the time that was about RM40,000. From that, I lost all RM40,000 within one month.” he said.
The main reason for his loss?
“Because of greed. That’s the reason Forex traders fail.”
After that first loss, Khairul was forced to survive on his savings for a while. Although he was tempted to give up, he decided to persevere due to the support from his friends and mentor.
“From there, I had to start back from zero.”
It Wasn’t Long Until He’d Turned Things Around
“I reached my first million at 26.” said Khairul.
“The most I earned? I can easily earn around RM120,000 a month. I have to earn that because I have a target. In order to become a millionaire, you need to earn at least RM120,000 a month.”
From Khairul’s perspective, a million ringgit is not such a big deal because Forex trading is done using US dollars rather than ringgit Malaysia.
“So even if you earn a million ringgit, it’s considered just $250,000,” he explained. “My sifu told me ‘You have to achieve your first million in ringgit before you aim for a million US dollars’.”
So how does one actually become a successful investor?
Khairul’s Advice For Malaysian Investors:
1) Knowledge is Power
For Khairul, the number one thing that any Forex trader should have is knowledge — not just about Forex, but about the world itself.
Because they’re dealing in foreign currency, it’s important to be aware of what’s going on in the world. A single event can cause prices to change at a moment’s notice.
“There’s no such thing as ‘getting lucky’ in Forex trading. It’s all about knowledge — that’s the difference in someone who trades and someone who’s just gambling and throwing away their money.”
2) Surround Yourself with the Right People
To be successful, you need to be around successful people. Khairul credits his success to his sifu and his drive to earn more to the efforts of those around him.
“Always mix with positive people. If your friends are negative, they will only lead you to negativity. Even if they’re your close friends, if they give you a negative vibe, just leave them.”
3) Be Prepared for Failure
Not just in Forex, but for trading in general. Whether it’s Forex, stocks, cryptocurrency or any other investment, you are almost guaranteed to fail at some point. The difference between a good investor and a bad one depends on how you react to it.
“Yes, of course, it’s risky to invest your money in Forex. That’s a fact. But if you’re a risktaker, it’s a risk worth taking. I always believe in that. I took that risk, and that’s what made me who I am today. I left my job for trading. But if you have passion and you’re willing to learn… it’s ok.”
4) Save Less
“This is my personal view, but savers are losers,” he said. “Instead of saving, please invest.
“Let’s face the facts: if you’re earning RM5,000 a month and you save RM3,000 every month, in 10 months you’ll have RM30,000 savings. Maybe even less because sometimes you need to take money out for emergencies. But where does that money lead to?
“By investing, you can grow your RM30,000 to RM100,000.”
5) Beware of Scammers
If you’re stepping into the world of investing for the first time, you need to be able to identify the real opportunities in a sea of potential scammers.
For Khairul, this means thinking carefully about who you give your money to.
“There’s no such thing as people who just instantly get rich from trading Forex. That’s a no-no. Only scammers say things like that.”
“Sometimes you’ll find brokers advertising on Insta or FB saying things like ‘join now and you’ll get $100 for free!’ You need to check the broker name on the official platform to see if they’re a scam or legit… you also need to search if they have a license or not.”
Malaysians Need to Stop Being So Careless With Money
Although some of his advice may seem strange, at the end of the day it does seem to have worked out for him. Even after all the events of the past two years, Khairul still remains financially secure.
If only we could say the same for all Malaysians.
“I think more Malaysians should be investing in knowledge,” he said. “We Malaysians are very lacking in awareness about things like Forex and cryptocurrency. Even in 2016, there were already Bitcoin machines in Singapore, but up till today Malaysia is still lagging behind!”
Now more than ever, we need to start thinking carefully about how we’re spending our money. For more information about how young Malaysians can prepare for our futures, be sure to check out: