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For investors in Myanmar, it's a slow road to riches

January 14, 2020 5:00 AM

Growing a cable business takes patience. For LS-Gaon Cable Myanmar, a South Korean-owned firm incorporated in Myanmar in 2017, the plan was simple: it would start by producing and selling lower-cost, low-voltage cables used widely on the electricity poles scattered around the country.

Will giving up your daily latte make you a millionaire?

I see advice that I should give up my daily latte, invest the money, and retire a millionaire. Is this good advice?

Answer: No, it's not. That's because in order for this to happen, over the next 40 years, you need to take that $5 a day you save and invest it and earn a 10% after-tax, after-fees return. Hmm.


Question 2: Is that likely?

Answer: No. The stock market has gone up, let's call it 5.6% annually over the past five years, so you gotta get close to doubling. Individual investors have earned about 1.9% over the same period, so less than the stock market has. So is it possible that individual investors could do five times better? I guess it's possible. I guess anything is possible. It's not likely. 10% better? That's a stretch. 20% better? That's huge. Five times better? I wouldn't bet my retirement on it.

Question 3: Anything else bother you about this advice?

Yeah, you know, it's a little simplified, a little bit "give up the small luxuries," and a little bit — since so much of it tends to be aimed at women, and women finishing rich, and retiring rich — it tends to be a bit patronizing. The litmus test of this is if they're not talking about it on CNBC, if Jim Cramer and Mike Santoli aren't discussing it, you know … meh.

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