Jack Ma: Theory on Life, Money, Time, Energy

2 min read

In a famous and memorable interview Jack Ma did in Korea, some time back in 2016, ‘Crazy Jack’ sat down in an auditorium full of students and Millennials to dispense some real world, well-worn advice to them as a primer for life ahead. I chanced upon it recently having dived into understanding why we do what we do, and the role money has to play in our lives.

He breaks life into 3 key stages which everyone usually goes through and how your mindset plays a big part in this. You can watch the video, here below or read the summary below.

The 3 key stages of life

Stage 1: Young and Wild (aged 1 – 25)
  • As a young person, you should focus on being a good student of life, and learn as much as possible.
  • Make as many mistakes as possible and learn from them
  • Don’t take life too seriously, and enjoy the show
Stage 2: Middle and Focused (aged 26 – 50)
  • Begin to have a role model and follow somebody
  • Learn from small companies and derive passion and dreams
  • Learn to become really productive, doing many things at once
  • Closer towards 40+ start becoming specialised at your role and do what you are already good at
Stage 3: Old and Free (aged 50 – 70+)
  • Work for the younger people and invest in them
  • Let the younger ones start to take over
  • Start spending time on yourself and relax on a beach somewhere as you start to wind down


three stages of life personal finance


Ultimately people are responsible for their own lives and the good ones do not let circumstances control them. Jack Ma believes that in another controversial article where if you are poor by 35, it is real because you have no ambition and you should take responsibility for it. He further went on to give another 4 reasons as to why in that middle stage 2 of life, people tend to lose their way.

Jack Ma: People lose out in life because of these 4 reasons:
  1. Being myopic to opportunity
  2. Looking down on opportunities
  3. Lacking understanding
  4. Failing to act quickly enough

So, after all, that’s being said, have a thought on how you would want to maximise your life (a combination of money, time and energy) to multiply your impact on your surroundings and society.

Read also: What Are Singapore’s Careers of The Future?

About Jack Ma: Jack Ma is a Chinese Internet entrepreneur. He is the Executive Chairman of Alibaba Group, a family of highly successful Internet-based businesses. He is also the first mainland Chinese entrepreneur to appear on the cover of Forbes Magazine and ranks as one of the world’s billionaires.Ma was named the Financial Times’ 2013 Person of the Year because he personifies the Chinese internet, referring to him as the “godfather of China’s scrappy entrepreneurial spirit.”.

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