The Paradox Of Money Making In Property

Joanne Chong Mentor

When we published our guide on unconventional strategies of uber successful investors couple of weeks back, I have received a flurry of comments specifically on Munirah’s pearl of wisdom presented in the article:-

If you’re in this just to make money and “achieve financial independence“, you’re doing it wrong.

Harry, a long-time (and reader posted the following in the comments section –


After a couple of weeks, I have finally managed to track down Munirah (she travels a lot as she invests internationally and manages a family office in Singapore) and she has emailed me a reply which is reprinted here below with zero editing –

RE: GoodPlace reader query – why not chase the money?

Khai Yin,

To me, chasing success holds more appeal than chasing the dollars. Over the years, I am also convinced that the whole “make the buck” mentality is counterproductive to the investor’s success in the long run.

I don’t make myself known out there to the world, but I receive emails from people who know me from somewhere frequently enough (including emails from your readers through your website). Often they tell me they want to make lots of money, buy a huge house in Damansara Heights and drive a Ferrari someday. And they want to invest in property to get them there.

I guess this is perhaps why most people want to invest in property. But they are missing the point. I really believe that the goals that we set for ourselves must be related to our true calling in life, and money should come only as a reward when we draw close to our passion.

That may be a little wishy washy for many people and so here’s something practical to consider. Chasing the money will make you make poor decisions because it makes you myopic to the real opportunities beyond what’s clear and present to you. Also, the pressing need to make money NOW puts you in a low leverage position which reduces your ability to negotiate for the best deal. I’ve screwed up many times getting fixated with how much money I am going to make in the deal in hand and completely missing out on what holds for me in the next deal and beyond.

You got to be strategic in this game, and chasing the money will force you to be tactical.

I remembered the conversation we had when we met with the group about the property industry in Malaysia where everyone seemed to be chasing the deal while missing out on the bigger picture. Chasing the money is short sighted, and in many ways this mentality is what making the industry worse by the day. Under-the-table deals, deception, fraud are all consequences of this short-sightedness.

Looking BEYOND money will help you make money. This concept is paradoxical and may be hard to grasp for some, but any seasoned investor will tell you that it’s true.

M. Z.

Addendum: Munirah also sent me this book which is highly relevant to her points presented above –  Obliquity by John Kay. Obliquity is the idea that complex goals are often best pursued indirectly. In our context, this means that money making through property investment is best done obliquely.

And finally, for the record, I agree completely with Munirah.

About Khai Yin

When I am not writing for and helping my readers find properties though the DealMatcher service, I spend time doting on my three kids: Wenyi, Qinyi and Eian. My personal stuff, some published essays and contact details can be found at


  1. Thank you Munirah & Khai Yin. A good perspective of how an individual should strive to perceive in order to reach what they really want at the end of the journey 🙂

  2. nice to read this. It is something that new investors into the property market need to be aware of instead of jumping onto the bandwagon on latest launches, fighting for best discounts, and rushing to be on the top of registration lists for property developments. sadly, the dominant thinking, with multiple “gurus” sharing their “success stories” on the same, is to buy low, leverage high ( how to buy with zero down, anyone? ), and sell high for maximum returns. Shortsighted, and agreed, very myopic.

  3. Interesting, realistic and rare article in Malaysia.
    By the way, I love your models 🙂


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    David Chin

  5. Hi Khai Yin,

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