It’s easy to want to be rich. Today’s social media outlets are plastered with posts of luxurious goods that make young people like myself dream of becoming rich, falling into what may be a very false hope that they will end up wearing a $30,000 watch “someday.” But the question that young people are really interested in, however, is the “how.” From a high school student’s perspective, the answer was shrouded in mystery until I had an opportunity to interview Mr. Seung Woo Ahn, an investment advisor at Timefolio Asset Management and long-time family friend.
[Website of Seung Woo Ahn’s (far left) company, Time Folio Asset Management “http://www.timefolio.co.kr/company/member.php.” Screenshot by writer]
Mr. Ahn’s responsibilities as an investment advisor include making investment recommendations and conducting securities analysis in return for a fee, whether through direct management of clients' assets or by way of written publications. According to him, whenever he sits down with a client, the most important thing that he emphasizes is that “even though becoming rich may be as hard as winning the lottery, one should not regard it as winning the lottery because you will never just wake up one morning as a millionaire. ”
[Screenshot of the interviews via email with Seung Woo Ahn. Screenshot by writer]
Below is a brief summary of some of the issues that we discussed via email because of COVID-19.
Can you briefly explain your background?
“I studied chemical engineering in college and got my Master’s degree in biochemical engineering. Based on my specialty in this field, I got a job at a consulting firm and worked with companies in the chemical/biochemical industry. That experience somehow led me into a career in investment.”
What is the secret to getting rich?
“The secret is that there is no secret. The vast majority of the people already know the answer: action. If you have an idea, you have to work on it and put it into an action. Most stand, hesitating, on the threshold.”
Do you have any advice for high school students like myself?
“Getting rich is about slowly accumulating wealth. It will take time, so please be patient. Understanding this at an early age will help you because it puts you in the right mindset. Also, you have to aspire to reach a very specific goal and be curious. Take a close look at what your friends wear and what games they play. Those things are significant tells about how the world is changing.”
Frankly, I was expecting advice that is more “practical” and specific, such as “make an investment account and go all-in on Apple.” - Ahn is an investment advisor who has seen many wealthy people throughout his career, but he actually talked more about having the right attitude and mindset.
While reviewing Ahn’s responses after the interview, I realized that there is no single correct answer to becoming financially wealthy. In fact, I was asking the wrong question all along. His last piece of advice resonated the most. “Do not let money blind you from the true definition of success, because it is not.” All this time I was pondering over how to make enough money to buy a $30,000 watch, but it was more important to think about how to become a person worthy of wearing a $30,000 watch.
Brent International School, Manila
Minhyeong Kang email@example.com
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