Malaysia-born 29 year-old Rhonda Wong
When Rhonda Wong was a child, she dreamed of becoming a full-time volunteer or a doctor. Her mother’s advice: “It’s more effective to help people after you’ve made a lot of money.” And she has done just that.
The Malaysia-born 29-year-old – whose older sisters Race and Rosanne formed the now inactive Hong Kong Cantopop duo 2R – graduated with a degree in business administration from the University of Michigan in 2007. She then became a treasury bonds trader for a year and a half. Last June, she founded real estate consultancy firm Anthill Realtors.
Her World (HW): How are you helping others at the moment?
Rhonda Wong (RW): I’ve just signed up for a two-week advocate programme with Challenging Heights – a non-governmental organisation based in Ghana that rescues, rehabilitates and educates trafficked children from Ghana’s coastal and farming communities. I also mentor other entrepreneurs through Facebook and donate to Ebola rescue missions.
HW: How did you go from trading to running your own property consultancy firm?
RW: I’ve always invested in equities and real estate to diversify my portfolio. Even though I made my first million from trading at 25, I also suffered substantial losses – between $300,000 and $500,000 – because of trading. Eventually, I focused on property because the real estate business in Malaysia and Singapore was doing well early last year and is still doing well. Then, I figured, why not start my own agency? So I roped in my sister Race and two other partners to start Anthill. We now manage a team of 10 full-time agents who advise clients on opportunities in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Australia.
HW: Any tips for a property investment newbie?
RW: You need a minimum of $75,000 to start investing. Understand your risk level and what you would like to do with your wealth. To preserve it, you can put your cash in an Australian property fund that yields seven to nine per cent a year; to grow it, consider getting a loan and investing in a higher-risk asset such as land in Malaysia, which yields seven to 15 per cent a year, or land in Sri Lanka, which yields 13 to 30 per cent a year.
HW: You’re capable, beautiful… and single! You must get plenty of advances from guys.
RW: I do! I’ve received messages on Facebook from strangers asking to meet up, and I’ve had clients who’ve tried to ask me out. But I’m not looking to settle down at the moment. When I do, I hope to find a guy who is driven to succeed and is, more importantly, loyal – I’m not the type who checks up on her boyfriend.
Photography: Winston Chuang, Art Direction: Alice Chua, Styling: Violet Foo, Hair: Dorene Low/ Athens Salon, Makeup: Lolent Lee, using Guerlain, Top: Max & Co., Skirt: Calvin Klein
This story was first published in Her World magazine April 2015.