Motivation,  Role Models,  Wealth and Abundance

8 Essential Points from Li Ka-Shing’s Best Financial Advice

Li Ka-Shing’s incredible story is an inspiration. As a person who started life in poverty and eventually becoming one of the wealthiest businessmen in Asia, he is now a self-made billionaire.

Li Ka-Shing

Li Ka-Shing imparts one of the best financial advice ever. This advice is so magnificently simple and effective everyone can learn from it. Here are eight essential points.

1. Divide Your Monthly Income Into Sets of Funds.


No matter your monthly income, divide it strategically into five sets of funds: 

  • 30% – For Living Expenses.
  • 20% – For Making Friends and Expanding Your Interpersonal Circle.
  • 15% – For Learning.
  • 10% – For Traveling (Especially Overseas).
  • 25% – For Investing.

Living Expenses (30%) – “Live simply. Eat a basic breakfast. Eat a basic lunch. Eat a basic dinner. While you are young, you are still strong and adaptable- your body will not suffer too much with a basic diet.”

Making Friends and Expanding Your Interpersonal Circle (20%) – “Budget your phone bill to a minimum. But every month, take two people out to lunch/dinner and pay for them. What kind of people? Those who are wiser than you, richer than you, or have helped you along in your career. Make sure you buy lunches/dinners for people who work harder and have bigger dreams than you. Do this every month, and after a year and your circle of influence would have grown tremendously, it will pay dividends in the future. Your influence and reputation will spread.”

Learning (15%) – “Every month spend some money to buy books. Since money is still scarce, you want to learn as much as you can. Whenever you buy a book, completely consume the lessons/strategies that the books offer. After finishing the book, make sure you try to teach someone else the lessons in your own words. Studies have shown that it helps you learn the lessons better. Also, try to save up money to attend a training course- many successful people have attended training courses. For example, Warren Buffet once attended Dale Carnegie’s Public Speaking Course. Not only do you gain knowledge, but you also meet like-minded friends.”

Traveling Especially Overseas (10%) – “Treat yourself to traveling at least once a year. Traveling will expose you to the world and increase your experience of life. After a few years, you would have been to many countries, met many different people, and underwent many different experiences. It will change your perspective on life and help you grow as a person. You have those experiences to continually recharge yourself – sharpening the saw, so to speak.”

Investing (25%) – “Continually try to save money in your bank account. Use this money for initial startup capital- such as a small business. Small businesses are relatively safe since you won’t lose too much money. And even if you lose money, you will not lose too much. However, when you do start earning money, it will boost your confidence/courage. After a few years, you can start saving for long-term security. It will be your war chest for bad times and will ensure stability in your quality of life.”

2. Continue to Grind Even If You Make It.

Li Ka-Shing does not mince words. He believes you must continually improve and never rest on your laurels. He states in a tough-love approach:

“After grinding for a year and your salary has not improved, well, you haven’t improved as a person and should be quite ashamed of yourself. Do yourself a favor and go to the supermarket and buy the hardest tofu. Take it and smash it on your head because you deserve that.”

Salary increases are often a sign of continual improvements. As our skill sets get better at work, we start gaining a more significant role in our organizations, and our salary increases. However, in this current economy, it is also instrumental to not rely so much on salary. I believe it is even better to have some side businesses or gigs as a supplement to our salaries. In many ways, the goal here is to continually earn as much as you can so that your funds increase to be able to support the fund allocations specified above.

Li Ka-Shing also states:

“Even if your monthly income increases, you must continue to grind. You should try to find a part-time job- preferably in sales. Why? Sales are challenging, but it is a crucial skill to have for the rest of your life. You will have the ability to sell people your dreams, ideas, and visions. You will also connect with many people who will be extremely valuable to your life. You will also develop a sense of what sells and doesn’t, what might be a success and what won’t be.”

3. Offer Help to Businesses

What’s the best way to make money in this world? It is merely to offer value or create value for yourself and the world. This idea is the currency of money. Li Ka-Shing supplements this advice as follows:

“Try to help out businesses – there are businessmen everywhere who need help. Put yourself out there and offer to do part-time gigs. This will not only help you hone your skills but help you become more elegant.”

Consistently following the specified fund allocation above is required. Li Ka-Shing further states:

“Despite what your income is, always divide it into five parts proportionately. Always try to show your value and be useful. Expand your network. Increase your self-worth by investing in yourself. As you become more valuable, people will begin to notice, and your income will rise as well. Always invest in learning, self-confidence, traveling, experiences, and your future.”

4. Save a Big War Chest

A big “war chest” is what I often refer to as your “F-U Money!” This fund is the money we all should have saved that could guarantee our freedom from any employer. This war chest is also the money that could eventually sustain us through becoming self-employed or enjoy retirement.

I have written about this throughout this site, but Li Ka-Shing describes this as merely having a war chest.

“After a few years, you should begin to have a surplus – a bigger war chest. Your body will begin to get stronger as you have better nutrition and care. You will have an abundance of friends and connections. You will have better training and have the opportunity for bigger projects and opportunities. Soon, you would be on your way to your dreams and have the surplus to buy your house, car, and education for your children’s’ future.”

This war chest is our nest egg continually increasing and getting bigger, which leads to our eventual financial independence.

5. Where We Spend Our Time Is an Indicator Of Our Success

A famous Harvard study theorizes that a person’s success is indicated by how he or she spends his or her free time between 10:00 PM to 12:00 AM. These are the two hours that are used by successful people to learn, think, participate in meaningful discussions. For example, many successful people use this time to self-reflect, plan, strategize their business, read and learn.

How we spend our time can be a great indicator of how successful we may or may not become. Li Ka-Shing also states:

“There is nothing wrong with being young. You do not need to be afraid of being poor. You need to always invest in yourself – always increase your wisdom and stature. You need to be able to distinguish between what is important and worth investing in. You need to realize what is worth spending your money on. This is the essence of discipline. Try to avoid spending too much money on clothes. Try to eat out less.”

6. Spend Money Purposefully

As we must be mindful of how we spend our time, we must do the same with our money. This is why Li Ka-Shing’s advice on allocating funds a certain way ensures success.

Money must be spent wisely and purposefully to ensure it lends our life with more meaning, abundance, and success.

Li Ka-Shing states:

“Don’t overspend on clothes, shoes, or material goods. You can buy as much of these as you’d like whenever you become rich. Save your money and buy gifts for your loved ones. Explain to them why you are thrifty and tell them about your goals, dreams, and plans.”

“When you are poor, be good to others. Don’t count favors. When you are poor, spend money so that people can see it. When you are rich, do not show off. When you are poor, you must be generous. When you are rich, you must not be seen as a spendthrift. Now your life has come full circle. This is the end goal. You will find peace at this stage.”

It is essential not to be focused on vanity but generosity and humbleness.

7. Don’t Dwell on Mistakes and Smile

Successful people don’t dwell on mistakes, and they use it to drive them to keep going. Successful people have a growth mindset. As Li Ka-Shing states:

“Whatever happened in the past is in the past. Do not dwell on past mistakes. There’s no point crying over spilled milk. Everybody makes mistakes. It’s what you learn from the mistakes that counts. When you miss opportunities, don’t fret – not every opportunity is for you.”

And also, don’t forget to smile and be happy.

“The ability to smile when you are misunderstood is rare – a sign of a good upbringing. When you are wronged, and you smile calmly, it is a sign of generosity. When someone has taken advantage of you, and your smile, it is a sign of open-mindedness. When you are helpless, and you smile, it is a sign of calmness. When you are looked down upon, and you smile, it is a sign of confidence.”

8. Pursue Your Dreams

As you accumulate more money, you can truly dive-in and pursue your dreams. Li Ka-Shing says:

“Once your livelihood is no longer an issue, use the remainder of your money to pursue your dreams. Spread your wings and dare to dream! Make sure you live an extraordinary life!”

Designing our own life is the end goal. To be able to visualize your ideas and grow into them is what life is about. Li Ka-Shing’s advice is truly a great one; he lastly states:

“Life can be designed. Careers can be planned. Happiness can be prepared. You should start planning now. When you are poor, spend less time at home and more time outside. When you are rich, do the exact opposite. When you are poor, spend money on others. When you’re rich, spend money on yourself.”

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