For Me, Brick-and-Mortar is Still the Safest Bet

    While many believe in saving for the future, some probably don't realise that their savings in the bank may not see them through retirement. Investing may have a better opportunity to make a positive difference to a person’s future financial well-being, says our investor, Tarun Sawney.

    For Me, Brick-and-Mortar is Still the Safest Bet

    From a tender age, Tarun Sawney knew how hard life could be without money. “My childhood friends were poor and did not have access to education. Some of them were even married off at a young age of 11 years old. These made me realise that although money can’t buy happiness, not having enough money can certainly bring dire consequences,” he says, adding that he was born in India in the 1960s and raised single-handedly by his mother, who was a school teacher.

    Don’t just save, invest too

    Today, Tarun is Senior Director for Asia Pacific at a Washington-based trade association that focuses on the global software industry. He owns properties in various countries and co-invests in other real estate through investment platforms like RealVantage. He remarks: “My approach to wealth-building boils down to two simple steps: save and invest wisely.”

    "If you don’t allocate part of your savings to investments, the value of your money will essentially shrink over the years, owing to inflation."

    “When I turned nine years old, I received my first pocket money; and from then on, no matter how little the amount was, I always made it a point to set aside half of that as savings. Till this day, I’ve not deviated from this path. I still save half of my income and spend the rest on day-to-day expenses and others, on living life to the fullest,” he adds.

    While he recognises the importance of saving, Tarun also sees investing as an important process to build future wealth. He says: “I believe that it isn’t wise to just leave money in the bank to earn little interest. If you don’t allocate part of your savings to investments, the value of your money will essentially shrink over the years, owing to inflation.”

    Keep your eyes peeled and dive deep into your investments

    When investing, Tarun always prefers to make his money work in areas he is more familiar with.

    He says: “Instead of parking my funds in something I’m not familiar with, successful investing to me is about having a thorough understanding of the business model behind an investment and knowing that my money is entrusted to a team of highly proficient professionals who also have skin in the game.”

    He believes that for any budding investor, it is important that they “do their homework” and make sure that they know the ins and outs of a market they intend to invest in, even if it is a niche market, so that they can make well-informed decisions. “I can’t emphasise enough the importance of having a good grasp on the market cycle, such that you can effectively decide when to enter and exit the market in order to mitigate risk,” he opines.

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    A real estate investment enthusiast

    It is probably not an understatement to say that Tarun is an enthusiast when it comes to real estate investing. Of his entire investment portfolio, 75% is invested in physical real estate; 10% co-invested in real estate through RealVantage and other similar investment vehicles; and 15% invested in value stocks.

    He revealed that before he took the first step to invest in real estate, he had lost a significant amount of money exploring various other investment endeavours. “This made me realise that, for me, brick-and-mortar is still the safest bet,” he comments.

    Currently, he owns two properties in Singapore, one in Hong Kong, as well as one in London. He explains: “I don’t only enjoy a rental yield, but also benefit from the long-term capital appreciation on my properties.” These property investments have earned him an annual return of around 7% to 8% over the last two decades, which, in his view, is “not bad”.

    A preferred way to invest in properties

    Since it was established in 2019, RealVantage has been Tarun’s preferred way of investing in real estate. He is a pioneer investor with the property fintech firm and has invested in more than 16 real estate projects with the investment platform over the course of three years. Three of these projects have completed their full investment cycles and delivered their projected returns. Pleased with the performance of the projects, he also re-invested these funds with RealVantage.

    “To me, the RealVantage business model makes a lot of sense. I am able to select from an extensive range of real estate investment options and customise my portfolio according to my risk appetite. Because I have personally witnessed the results firsthand, I have full faith and confidence in the team,” says Tarun, who has since recommended a number of friends to the platform.

    He also has high praise for the rigorous due diligence and deal-vetting processes RealVantage has in place when it comes to analysing the viability of any real estate project before they are made available to investors. What also gives him comfort is that the firm also co-invests in each of its projects.

    "To me, the RealVantage business model makes a lot of sense. I am able to select from an extensive range of real estate investment options and customise my portfolio according to my risk appetite."

    An exciting journey ahead

    “I was really happy to hear that RealVantage has received its Capital Markets Services licence from the Monetary Authority of Singapore and is now able to accept investment monies from the general public. This would expand the investor base significantly. I believe that they should now focus on expanding the number of quality real estate projects it offers to meet an anticipated increase in investment demand,” Tarun notes.

    In his opinion, it is important that the firm raises its brand visibility and publicises its successes to set itself apart from its competitors. He comments: “For a risk-averse investor like myself, RealVantage offers a decent return on my savings with peace of mind”.

    Find out more about real estate co-investment opportunities at RealVantage. Visit our team, check out our story and investment strategies.

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    Disclaimer: The information and/or documents contained in this article does not constitute financial advice and is meant for educational purposes. Please consult your financial advisor, accountant, and/or attorney before proceeding with any financial/real estate investments.