The Elmer Liu Show

TELS 003 – It Doesn't Matter How Much You Have

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, welcome back to another episode of the Elmer Liu show dedicated to helping you become the wealthiest and the best version of yourself in every aspect of your life.

I am your host Elmer Liu, a property investment mentor and your mortgage adviser.

My passion is to help people build wealth in residential property by strategically structuring their finances so that they make their money working hard for them and eventually stop working for money.

In this show, I will share my experiences, stories, and lessons learned to show you what it takes, both financially and mentally, to build wealth in property.

In today’s episode, I want to share with you a quote that I heard this week and my thoughts on how that quote helped me achieving almost all of my goals so far.

TELS 001 – Six Lessons I Learnt From My Property Investment Journey

In this episode, I share the 6 lessons I have learnt from my 6 years of property investment journey.

Thanks for listening to this episode of the Elmer Liu show and I would Love to have your feedback.

If you have any recommendations, suggestions for potential topics, please leave a comment on my facebook, website or just email me at

Or suscribe here



What does the word ‘decide’ mean?

‘cide’ means to cut off, kill. The word decide literally means that whatever option we choose, we are cutting off any other options.

Once we have ‘decided’, how do we go about accomplishing what we’ve decided to do?

  • Step 1. Decide your goal and work out what needs to take place for you to achieve it
  • Step 2. Take necessary actions
  • Step 3. Measure the progress (The hard cold numbers might look bad, but numbers don’t lie)
  • Step 4. Make necessary changes to your approach

That is how you achieve anything you ‘DECIDE‘ to do.

When we fail to achieve our goal, the excuse often is that we have tried everything we could.

That’s not possible. There is always another way, it just depends on how bad we want it and how decisive we are.

Master your PMP

To be a successful property investor, we need to master PMP.

No, this is not the project management professional certification.

The PMP here stands for 3 different types of systems we need to master.

  • Property Systems
  • Money Systems
  • People System

I have already covered the property systems in my blog before.

I have also discussed the importance of the people system in this article.

I outlined the pros and cons of different property investment strategies.

Each with their own unique characteristics and none being necessarily better than the other when it comes to creating wealth.

The property system is probably the one that most property investors are most familiar with and spent the majority of their time on.

Truth be told, it is the second system, your Money system, which determines if you will achieve your property investing goals.

After all, property investors are in the business of making money.

Property is the vehicle or asset class you as an investor have chosen to focus your efforts on.

Why is having a system important? A good system allows you to stay away from unnecessary distraction while you are investing, most people know how to make some money every now and then, but very few can stick to a system long enough to reap the real benefit.

Treat your property investment as a business

It’s critical that investors should treat their property investment as a business, right from the time they purchase their first property. i.e. they should start with a business owner’s mindset.

Why is this so critical?

Look around us, I think we could all agree that most of the people who are financially independent are business owners and there are few employees with strong financial discipline or people with exceptional talents with loyalty income.

Creating wealth and achieving financial independence has very little to do with what do you for a living. i.e. it has got very little tod with whether you are a business owner or an employee.

It has everything to do with your mindset.

In other words, you can be a business owner but still think and act like an employee or you can be an employee but think and act like a true business owner (employees with a business owner’s mindset).

All people who achieve financial independence have the business owner mindset regardless of what they do.

It is possible for an employee to think like a business owner when it comes to investments.

I have plenty of clients who are employees that love their job and are not inclined to leave it, yet the build wealth and achieve financial independence.

This happens because they treat their investments as a business with full financial accountability and build their own systems.

Without being too technical, below is a summary of what consists of the money system for your property investment business:

  • Capital Plan
    • How much money should you put into your property business now and in the future?
    • What other equity do you have available outside of your property business?
    • How much contingency buffer do you need for your risk appetite?
  • Cash Flow Plan
    • What is your current annual cash flow from existing properties?
    • what adjustment do you need if the existing cash flow is positive or negative?
    • what is going to be the cash flow impact of purchasing additional investment properties?
    • What could be the worst case scenario and how long can you last before you have to sell the properties?
    • What is the realistic number of properties you can purchase safely right now?
  • Finance Plan
    • Flexibility – ability to access more money by adding, increasing or changing your loan with ease
    • Risk Mitigation – protect yourself from interest rate movement and lender’s aggression during bad times
    • Suitability – there are few stages of finance an investor would go through over time, and there are suitable finance options for each stage
    • Lenders Policy – lenders policy can have a great impact on your finance options, and their policy is heavily influenced by the availability of funds, historical performance, and current market condition.

Every person has their own individual situation and therefore requires a tailor-made solution that can evolve with you over time.

“It is that in war the victorious strategist only seek battle after the victory has been won, whereas he who is destined to defeat first fights and afterwards looks for victory” – Sun Tzu (Art of War)

A well-defined Money System is a victory you can win before the battle, and it will make contesting the battle merely a formality.

Seeing is believing or is it?

Seeing is believing is true if you want to be a follower.

It totally makes sense. We won’t follow it until we believe it and we won’t believe until we see it.

But if you want to be a leader, you got to believe it first!

Now it doesn’t guarantee success on your first go, but it sure eliminates competition as no one else is even trying.

When Carl Benz invented the first gasoline engine, there was no petrol station yet. He believed it and succeeded

When the first bookstore in the world opened in France in 1545, reading glasses hadn’t become popular. Maybe they should’ve waited.

Jack Ma, the founder of the Chinese Alibaba, started Alibaba in 1998 when very few people in China knew about Internet back them. Maybe he should’ve waited too.

People always say what stands between success and failure is persistence, attitude, and hard work.

No doubt about it.

Maybe we should throw vision in there as well.


Break the kettles and sink the boats

There is an ancient Chinese saying that reads ‘Break the kettles and sink the boats’ and it comes from the Qin Dynasty.

In short, it refers to the battle order of a Chinese General to ford a river and destroys all means of re-crossing, thus committing its soldiers to fight to the end with no option to retreat.

Upon crossing the river, the general issued three days of food to each soldier.

Then the boats were sunk and the cooking kettles were destroyed.

The general told his soldiers “As you can see, there is no room for retreat!”

The only way that we can survive now is to take on the enemy and defeat them.  There is no other way for us to escape.

Set a goal, be committed, don’t think about turning back and be victorious!

They won in the end.

We have endless options and opportunities nowadays and what we often lack is the determination.

I am not talking about being reckless but being laser focused and committed.

Don’t think about turning back until you make it.

Life is amazing and we will find ways to go on with our lives without turning back.

How long does it take?

This post shouldn’t take your more than 2 minutes to read.

I have been developing an email course lately.

It’s a series of emails basically on my property investment journey and it covers pretty much all aspects of buying your first investment property and growing it.

I thought it would be useful to people who are new to property investment.

That’s a cheap plug right there. 🙂

I have the ideas because it was a summary of my own journey. Of course, I would have lots of ideas.

Now the challenge is that how do I write the emails/course so I don’t bore people? and how long should each email be?

I don’t want to write a war and peace. So I thought I would set a limit on the reading time.

Maximum 5 minutes sounds good because my research shows that average reading speed is 200 words per minute for a 12th grader.

So 1000 words is the limit.

We are often faced with this question in general. Is this too long, too short, too heavy, too formal? too this, too that?

This reminds me of an answer I would often hear on a technical conference call back in my days in IT.

“How long will it take to fix this issue?” – asked the manager

Answer from the engineers – “Well, how long is a piece of string? The time required depends on the complexity of the issue and resources required to resolve it. We will try our absolute best, however it takes however long it takes to solve the issue”.

Indeed, it all depends.

While we try to put a structure around it and endeavor to come up with a reasonable estimated timeframe to complete the task, it takes how long it takes eventually.

Whatever you are trying to accomplish in life.. have a vision, develop a strategy and figure out the tasks you need to complete in order to achieve your goals.

That’s all you can do, the rest takes however long it takes.

This post has 352 words and takes you less than 2 minutes to read.

I knew it!

How many times have you said this when someone tells you about an innovating business idea or a thriving business?

I said that quite a lot.

In fact, I said it just early this year when a friend of mine was telling me how he had made money in Bitcoin and I should’ve jumped in earlier. (no pun intended).

I looked into Bitcoin a couple of years and thought it was interesting and could be revolutionary.

I knew it but I didn’t do anything with it.

Knowing is actually quite different from taking actions.

Years ago, I knew Real estate was a slow but steady path to creating wealth, and I took action even though I didn’t know enough.

Looking back, I am glad that I took actions and now I am not saying that I knew it and I should’ve done it.

Knowing doesn’t mean much.

Doing counts.

Do you fit in?

Driving home today, I was listening to Seth Godin’s podcast and he told an interesting story about the U.S airforce in the 1950’s.

Here is the brief version.

In the 1950’s, the U.S airforce had a problem where the pilots were dying because they couldn’t control the planes. 

Lieutenant Gilbert Daniels was tasked to find out the root cause and make necessary changes to prevent the accidents.


What Daniels found was that the seat in the flight deck didn’t fit the pilots anymore. 


The design hadn’t been updated for over 30 years, however, the pilots had become taller and stronger over the years. 


Daniels decided to redefine what an average pilot was like in terms of the size and try to redesign the seat for the average pilot.


He sampled more than 4,000 pilots on 140 dimensions of size, including thumb length, crotch height, and the distance from a pilot’s eye to his ear, and then calculated the average for each of these dimensions.


It turns out no one fits the average. 


instead, Daniels pioneered the idea of the adjustable seat to make the seat accommodate the pilot. 

When it comes to humans, there is no average human being. We are all unique in our own ways.

Have you had the experience of fitting in or sometimes being told you don’t fit in the system?

At work, we are managed (usually not led) to meet the company standards and hit the performance targets.

At school, we were taught to obey the rules and pass the standardized academic tests so that we are all prepared for future employment and most of us end up being average.

As customers, we are also demanded by industrialism to fit in the system so it’s cheaper and more efficient to serve us the customers.

The banks are the same, they want to find the average customers who can perfectly fit in their scientifically calculated models and risk profiles.

Very little thought was put into finding the customized solutions to accommodate the customer’s unique situations and needs because that is not standard and therefore not very economical.

However we ‘average’ customers don’t want to be standardized. We want to be seen, heard and understood.

The U.S airforce pilots needed Lieutenant Gilbert Daniels.

You need someone like Lt. Gilbert Daniels for your finance.


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