The Straits Times
Sunday, 28 July 2014
Former television actress and model Jazreel Low learnt the hard way that it is best to buy only when you know exactly what you are getting into.
Ms Low, 47, was burned by a series of investments that went bad, so now she puts her money only in things she feels she can control - her business, and perhaps a bit of local property and insurance.
The owner of a spa and lifestyle business told The Sunday Times she has "a really bad history of investments".
At one point, she even lost all her savings - nearly $200,000 - dabbling in stocks during the Asian financial crisis in 1997.
"I realised that unless you have the time to monitor and know what you're buying, don't go in. I was just following my friends, not knowing what I was doing."
She has not held any shares since that experience.
"When the market crashes, there is absolutely nothing you can do... unlike my business. If my business is going bad, I can do something about it, and even if I fail, I know I've tried."
Ms Low also bought an apartment in China, tempted by news of investors making easy money. It turned out to be yet another nightmare.
"Strangers just took over my apartment and lived there, squatted there. I wasn't familiar with the legal system, and somehow we couldn't get them to move out. So I had to sell it, at a loss. I just wanted to get rid of it."
Ms Low said that if she were to invest in future, it would probably be in "more passive" things such as local property, which she can monitor.
While her investment track record has been less than stellar, Ms Low has had much better luck as a businesswoman.
At various times, she has operated a bridal shop and a music production house, both of which were profitable before she sold them.
She is now into the spa business, with her outlet Asmara Lifestyle, which has a branch in Bintan, another in the Fullerton Hotel and the flagship store in Bishan Park, where she also owns two restaurants and a bar.