Entrepreneur Allan Lim believes in aligning his investments with what he does best.
That is why the chief executive and co-founder of Alpha Biofuels, which makes biodiesel from waste cooking oil, is big on green and sustainable businesses.
He put at least $200,000 into his biofuel business with his friends in 2008. The company has seen steady growth, with revenue of between $1.5 million and $2 million in the past few years.
Mr Lim, 40, said: "When it comes to long-term issues, I think about how to grow a company, how to create technologies, how to create visions for the future."
But the civil and structural engineering graduate confessed that he isn't the most savvy of investors.
"I don't think about what shares I'm going to buy. I don't understand those price-earnings ratios," he said.
Last year, the investor co-founded social enterprise The Living! Project, which is involved in various efforts such as developing an upcoming rooftop farm.
He hopes to plough about 20 per cent of the farm's profits into social investments, with the aim of hiring people who are marginalised. The champion of environmental and social causes used to be a diving instructor. He is married to Ms Dixie Wu, 40, a production manager for an animation company. They have no children.
His environmental interests have influenced his thinking on the kind of businesses he wants to be in. "I travelled a lot and gained knowledge of environmental issues, which inspired me to move into businesses which are not only financially sustainable, but ecologically and socially sustainable as well."
Q: Are you a spender or saver?
I'm a spender. I'm trying to save enough for retirement so that my wife and I have a roof over our heads when we're older. We may buy another property to get income from, and we're also investing to meet our health-care needs.
That's what investing means to me. I don't need a lot to be happy. Dixie and I get by, and we're happy doing what we do and that's what's important.
I'm not a prudent guy, but we do spend sensibly.
Q: How much do you charge to your credit cards every month?
Together with our cash expenditure, it is less than $2,000 - usually for petrol, dining and travelling. I spend more during the school holidays when I take my nephews and niece out.
Q: What financial planning have you done for yourself?
I save 20 per cent of my income. I'm not very disciplined. My wife is better with money. It is saved in banks or fixed deposits. She is also in charge of buying insurance.
Q: What do you invest in?
I invest in causes to bring about social change like The Living! Project. The priorities of my generation are misplaced - if we choose to be defined by how much we own materialistically, then I think Singapore is going to be a very sad place.
I'd rather look into how we connect to our society and how we can contribute to it.
I have investments in some blue-chip shares which I bought last year on the advice of my father- in-law.
Q: Moneywise, what were your growing-up years like?
My teenage years were tough as I had to balance working, helping out at my mother's confectionery stall in a coffee shop together with my younger sister, and school.
As a result, I was one of those who just got by when it came to my grades.
My parents have always tried their best to provide for us but we had to work hard to get what we wanted. So I tried part-time work as a banquet waiter, a translator and even a newspaper delivery man.
I used the extra money for school fees and living expenses. This experience taught me how to make the most of what I little I have.
Q: How did you get interested in investing?
When I turned 40 last year, I realised I had to start thinking seriously about the future.
Q: What's the most extravagant thing you have bought?
We had dinner in Paris at L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon last year, and it was about $1,000 in total. This included wine, champagne and dessert. I don't see it as spending money but spending quality time with my wife.
Q: What's your retirement plan?
I don't ever want to retire as I really enjoy what I do. Retirement is not something that I look forward to.
Q: Home is now...
A five-room HDB flat in Punggol. Although I like living there, I'm thinking of moving nearer to my nephews and niece in Bishan.
Q: I drive....
A Subaru Forester, which I bought in 2006 and was fully paid up just last year .
This is a wonderful car. We travel everywhere in it. We'll dump our bicycles in it, put our diving gear in it, go on road trips.Worst & best bets
Q: What is your worst investment?
A few years ago, I signed up for a post-graduate diploma course in business management with the intention of using it to advance my career.
Unfortunately, nothing was more effective than on-the-job training, which means I should have saved that money and invested it in my business instead.
Q: What is your best investment?
My best investment is in Alpha Biofuels. I feel immensely satisfied building a company with passionate colleagues who share my beliefs.
Since the day we started, we have won many accolades. We have made one of the most sustainable biofuels in the world and provided Singapore with a truly home-grown renewable energy source.
Alpha is expected to begin its next stage of growth and I cannot wait to be a part of it.