Apparently, the rule of the internet states that XKCD has a comic strip for ANY topic. Here’s the strip for Investing. I dedicate it to everyone who’s trying to invest their money without trying to increase income, either through salary or side hustle.
“Wow, so lucky you do wedding planning during Covid-19. Can save cost!”
Generally speaking, that’s true. Not denying the cost-saving aspect of it. My wedding, scheduled in Nov 2020, will be significantly downsized.
Additionally, I have extra money to re-allocate towards the wedding as my tunang event, which was scheduled during MCO, got cancelled.
I don’t know how much everything will cost yet, but I doubt it will reach RM50-70k originally planned.
If I’m honest, I am… 80% happy and 20% sad about all this. Happy because, yeah the cost will be lower than projected. But I can’t ignore the 20%, which comes from OH I DON’T KNOW PEOPLE DYING AND BREADWINNERS LOSING JOBS AND INCOME AND STUFF. And also, seeing deals I can’t take advantage of.
Nowadays banyak wedding-related deals. Venue, photography, baju etc. Understandable, they do it for cashflow reasons
But no matter how good the deal is… I can’t take now because all plans up in the air 🙁
So I thought I’d write a post about it, to both organise my thoughts and also find people in the same boat (in my experience, writing about it attracts people in the same predicament). I’d like to share how it was like to plan a wedding when you have Covid-19 rudely interrupting the process.
Note: This is written from the woman’s perspective. I’m not responsible for a few expenses, like rings and mas kahwin and stuff. You can check out BalkoniHijau’s wedding survey for the guys’ perspective.
If all of us were a Homo Economicus, we’d never make a single financial mistake. Not one. The ‘Economic man’ is an infinitely rational human being, who makes decisions purely on the pros and cons of options provided.
But alas, we’re not. We’re Homo sapiens, humans. Hormones released in our brains affect our emotions and decide on our behaviour, almost all the time. Being aware of it helps, but not as much as we’d like to think.
What I’m saying is, everyone makes stupid financial decisions. And sometimes we do it even when we know the decision is objectively stupid.
It’s like… being aware that binge-eating is not good for you as you’re stuffing your face (hello dis me). Or continuing an extra-marital affair despite knowing your life will fall apart when you’re caught cheating.
Oof that got dark. Anyway, going back to personal finance.
Being an adult is accepting, and preparing for at least one major expense per month.
You can’t escape it. If it’s not paying taxes (my biggest expense in July 2020), it’ll be something else – home maintenance, car repair, replacing broken appliances, buying ‘smart’ upgrades (like a nice mattress so you’ll get a good night sleep, or noise-cancelling headphones to work better), medical treatment, whatever.
Once in a blue moon, you’ll get through a month without incurring a major expense, but later you’ll find that some months will incur multiple major expenses, so it averages out.
I’ve read somewhere that the only way to break this cycle is when:
you’ve successfully upgraded all your essentials to high-quality versions, so they break less and therefore need replacing less often
you put the payment on an instalment plan. You’re still paying, just not in one BIG chunk. Obviously this is cheating because you still end up paying the same amount
you can afford to pay for longer terms instead of shorter (ie paying for 5 years of driving licence instead of renewing annually). But yeah this is still delaying, not eliminating
I wonder if there are other ways to stop the major ‘Misc Needs’ or ’emergency’ expenses. How can one even FI/RE if we have to deal with this wildcard, forever? If ‘just budget it in’ the best answer?
Once in a while, you’ll come across an EXCEPTIONAL article, and this is one of those. I loved it so much, I wrote down the 11 rules in my journal, so I can quickly refer to them:
Take one small step
Change your mental maps
Struggle is good. Scary is good.
Instant judgement is bad
Remember the end of your life
Be useful to others
Perfectionism = procrastination
Sleep, exercise, chill out, eat. Repeat
Write it all down
You can’t get it all from reading
Here’s another hack, if you’ll take one from me: find a mentor who exhibits the behaviours you’d like to emulate. Can be formal, can be informal (ie a public figure). It is helpful to find people who can show you the way it can be done.
‘No’ is a complete sentence, but I also understand its nuance within the context of Asian culture: rejection. A social faux pas in our ‘save face’ culture.
Therefore, learning how to say no without actually saying no is something that I had to learn organically, through observation and experience. My (Western-centric) reading materials certainly didn’t teach it.
And combine that with my natural leaning towards ‘agreeableness’ trait (as per Big 5 Personality Trait), which values harmony and peacekeeping over being confrontational – if I didn’t learn how to say no, I would have just agreed to almost every financial request out there. Women take note, because many of you tend to have this same trait too.
Obviously that wouldn’t have been a good financial move. So I’ll just go ahead and say this: to be good with money, you have to learn how to say no.
Financial requests you should learn to say ‘no’ to
Obligatory disclaimer: This article is for SHARING purposes only! NOTHING in here is a recommendation, so don’t say ‘Oh Suraya say must do like that’ HELLO I NEVER SAY THAT, LATER I BABAB ONLY YOU KNOW
When Mr Stingy posted his How I Invest My Own Money article, where he gave the complete breakdown of his investment portfolio, I knew I wanted to write out my own version as well.
Everyone, say hi to my partner and future spouse, Aizat 🙂 We were just hanging out one day and I can’t remember which one of us suggested to do a video together, but somehow we ended up recording this session where we asked each other money-related questions (he knew who he was dating lol).
In this video, we asked each other:
Will we combine our money or keep it separate?
How much could we spend without consulting each other?
Do you know anything about investing?
Do you think there is “good debt” and “bad debt”? Why or why not?
Where do you want to go on a honeymoon? How much do you think we should spend on our honeymoon?
View the full answer in the video, watch it below 🙂
Do you and your partner talk about money? What was the last conversation you had about it? Tell me in the comments section!
Links to the articles that I mentioned in the video:
(and when I say lose friends, I don’t mean doing dramatic ‘we’re through!’ declarations. I just mean we stopped hanging out)
One thing they have in common – (almost) all of them have the scarcity mindset. Being around them feels negative, drowning, heavy. There’s a big difference between people who say ‘that’s not possible’ and people who say ‘here’s how that can be possible’.
Note: This also includes online friends and acquaintances btw.
“What the heck is robo-intelligence,” I thought to myself when I first heard about Bank Islam Malaysia Berhad (BIMB)’s new fintech product, BEST Invest, “is it the same as robo-advisory?”
“Robo-intelligence is not robo-advisory,” said Amirul Safuan, Head of Marketing & Digital Business Unit at BIMB Investment Management Berhad, in a cheerful yet repetitious tone that implies he had to answer that question hundreds of times.
“It is the use of big data technology, analytics, algorithms to assist on systematic processes of a large quantity of information and data in the decision-making process. It is about the “process”, not “advisory”.
He answered this during an online press event in May 2020, shortly after the app’s official launch. I was pleasantly surprised to be invited, happy that he took (and answered) all my questions, and then went ahead to hire me to write a user review, even after knowing my (transparency-first) writing style.
To be honest, I am a fan of the keywords BEST Invest are using. Fintech. Big data. Artificial Intelligence. ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) aka Sustainable Investing. Top it off with Shariah compliance. Awesome, awesome, awesome. The only keywords missing are blockchain and cryptocurrency (jk jk).
And so, it is my utmost pleasure to test out the BEST Invest app, and present to you a list of its pros and cons.