The owner of Mr Simms Olde Sweet Shoppe speaks to Mawgan Batt about the elusive work-life balance and his love of sweets.
Tell us about what you do
I own Mr Simms Olde Sweet Shoppe in Hong Kong. We have two stores, one in Central and one in Wan Chai. I am also a partner in Emack & Bolio’s, an American ice cream brand situated next to Central – Midlevels escalators.
Will you be opening more stores in in the near future?
We are always looking for the right locations and the right spaces for new stores. With rents coming down, we are taking our time to find the right property.
What was the inspiration to open Mr Simms?
I wanted to escape corporate life, have more flexible time with family and I love sweets!
Have you managed to achieve your goal of greater work-life balance?
I can now control my own time. I take the children to school, to their playgroups and I’m generally around to put them to bed. I then work in the evenings. Now that we have a great general manager at Mr Simms, who takes care of a lot of the day-to-day running of the stores, I have managed to achieve the flexibility I was aiming for.
How much is in your wallet?
Right now about $400.
What credit cards do you use?
Amex, Mastercard, Visa.
Do you play Mark 6?
No. I think I have only played it about three times since moving to Hong Kong.
When were you poorest?
What did you learn?
At school. I learnt how much money you have now is not as important as having cash flow coming in. I also realised the importance of not relying on just one source of income.
Are you a spender or a saver?
A secret saver. I save around a third of my income each month and use it to access inexpensive ETF’s. For me, this long-term investment is important, plus this way, I don’t really think about saving, I just do it. I also don’t spend much – I prefer experiences such as going out for great meals.
Do you prefer to manage your own financial affairs?
Yes. I am a chartered accountant and with my background in finance, I’m more comfortable managing my own finances rather than paying fees to fund managers.
What was your best investment?
A domain name I bought in 1999 for US$5 a year. It’s actually shuai.com which is my surname. I am not selling it though!
What was your worst investment?
I bought shares in some obscure dotcom company that ended up at zero.
Do you have any advice on teaching children about money?
I think it’s important for them to aim to have multiple income streams by their mid thirties so they are not too dependent on one job. For example, income from a rental property or from other investments.
What is the most extravagant thing you have ever bought?
A watch I never wear.