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Link Roundup #27: 10 Things to Know This Week

Accelerate your personal finance knowledge with this regular feature on Ringgit Oh Ringgit – the Link Roundup! I promise you’ll find these 10 links informational 🙂

1. 9 things no one tells you when you’re starting a business – The Ladders

It’s a bit oversimplified, but serves as a nice checklist of things you probably don’t know when you’re starting a business, especially if you’re jumping from salaried life to self-employment life.

The 9 things are:

  1. Begin with revenue. Your ideas are great, but how will it bring in the money?
  2. Protect your IP. Things get stolen all the time.
  3. Market yourself. Not just your products and services.
  4. Know your ‘why’. The reason for it all.
  5. Understand yourself so you can make great hires. Hire people who are good at what you’re not good at. Take the DISC personality test.
  6.  You are NOT the boss. The customers are the boss (but that doesn’t mean you can’t fire them.)
  7. Build a structure and find balance. Find a routine that works and won’t burn you out.
  8. Build a tax savings account and emergency savings. Practical
  9. Embrace change and challenges. You’ll be putting your problem-solving skills to the test.

Any of you want to add on to this list? Add them in the comments section.

Related: 11 things I learned about self-employment in Malaysia

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[SPONSORED] The Beginners Guide to Warrants in Malaysia

On 27 April 2019, I attended my first warrants-specific talk.

The event was called Demystifying Structured Warrants, which is apt tbh. I’m a complete beginner in this financial instrument. I know almost nothing about it. 

This was my second engagement with the Kenanga Investment Bank, after writing about the Market Outlook Symposium 2019: Smart Investing or Dare Betting? investment event back in January 2019.

I’m happy to report I liked two out of two Kenanga-organised events so far. Good content. No fluff, just lots of good info. Then they gave free food some more.

Like the first article, this is a sponsored post, but all opinions are mine. It’s great that I can share what I learned about warrants from the event, as someone completely new to the world.

#1 – What is warrants?

This is the textbook definition:

warrants in malaysia

Does that make sense to you? I kinda sorta understand… ish. It’s a very theoretical financial instrument. I feel like I’m learning quantum physics.

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[Nepotism] My Sisters’ Baju Raya 2019 Collection (Regular & Plus Size)

Let’s get straight to the point – both my sisters are boutique owners and OUT OF THE GOODNESS OF MY HEART I’m dedicating this post to promo their baju raya 2019 collection. These are the baju raya collections that Marquise.my (regular size) and Malaysia Plus Size offer for 2019.

If you’re trying to save money, please skip this post. If you were looking for Raya clothes anyway, or sengaja nak cuci mata, scroll on 🙂 Each set sells between RM100-180 only.

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The Real Answer to ‘How Much Should I Spend On A Car?’

How much should I spend on a car? I’ve thought about this question many, many times.

The answer is simple: whatever is the amount, I should make sure that I can afford it. Like every other purchase.

But it’s also not that simple, because if it is, how come 1 out of 4 bankruptcies in Malaysia is due to car loans?

If you’ve been wondering how much you should spend on a car and avoid it being repossessed by the bank, here are some answers. Thanks to all contributions from the RoR audience!

#1 – How many % of monthly salary to go towards car payment?

How much should a person spend on a car, actually?

Some said 15% of monthly salary just for the car instalment:

Tasya OmarIdeally, the monthly loan repayment should not be more than 15% of the monthly income. Of course, not everyone gets RM5k as their first salary. If one is disciplined enough to put aside RM800 per month – RM500 for monthly loan repayment, RM300 for the upkeep/ spare parts and whatnot – I think that should be ok.

Some said no more than 1/3 of their pay:

Jonathan Goh – Not more than 1/3 of their pay or the monthly repayment. If people follow the principle of partitioning their monthly wages, they will have enough to cover the petrol and car maintenance.

Let’s say a guy who brings home RM3k after deducting EPF. His monthly car payment should be RM1k. Now if he is savvy he will get a Myvi with a monthly payment of RM800. He now can save RM200 for the car in case of emergencies/auto insurance

Some base it on annual income, too:


(Effectively 8.33% of monthly salary for car instalment, and no more than 15% of monthly salary for all car expenses)

Amirah Nazarudin – I followed that the car price can be equivalent to 36 months of your salary, at most. I heard this advice after attending a seminar 3-4 years ago. Couldn’t remember who it was.

But to me, a car is a liability. I’ll try not to spend so much on it. Having Proton is good enough. If I do want to splurge I’ll go for Toyota or Honda.

(Effivetively up to 25% of monthly salary for car instalment)

So… it looks like it’s common to spend between 8-33% of your monthly salary on car payments. That looks like an okay amount right? You still have 67-92% of your salary to play around with.

No, not really, because…

#2 – Car ownership costs much, much more than you think

Your car instalment may be as cheap as a few hundred ringgit per month, but you need to pay for a bunch of other stuff too. Depending on variables like your car model and frequency of usage, you have to at least double or triple the car instalment amount.

You need to pay for the road tax. The car insurance. The car service and maintenance and car washes. The petrol and tolls.

Additionally, and unfortunately, car ownership is a major contributor to unexpected expenses too. Throughout the duration of car ownership, many will have to shell out money for major repairs after getting into accidents, to replace batteries and alternators, to fix the aircon, to get new tyres, to settle unexpected summons, and more.

So not only you need more money than you think for car-related expenses, it is essential to have emergency savings.

This prompted this rule of thumb by a RoR audience:

Viknesh Victor SekaranMy rule of thumb is to only buy the car you want if you wouldn’t think twice about the cost of changing all 4 tyres. For example, Vios continental tyres would cost around RM1k+ to replace. You can get more familiar with tyre prices by Googling the tyre specifications

#3 – The lower the cost of car ownership, the better

So by now you know that if you have RM1000 extra in your monthly budget, you shouldn’t get a car with RM1000 monthly instalment. You should instead get a car that costs, say, half that amount, or even less. Because you’re going to need the other half for the other car-related expenses.

There are two ways to reduce the cost of car ownership:

(1) Get a basic car with minimal cosmetic add-ons

Andaq FithryI spend very minimal on the basic. No extra, no accessories, no mods. Extra is want, not need. At my age, I don’t want to spend money on strut bars, gt-wings or performance kits. Those are extras. I’d rather spend on other kinds of extras like flood insurance, windshield coverage, etc.

(2) Buy a secondhand car and pay it in full

This works really well if you have savings. By paying for a car upfront and in full, you’re eliminating 5-7 years worth of monthly car instalment payments.

It’s a popular strategy among personal finance bloggers, too. Here are some that I know:

You can also combine (1) and (2) – that would significantly lower the cost of car ownership for sure!

#4 – What if the dream car that you really, really want is out of your budget?

My dad is a car guy, and while I don’t understand his love for cars, I know that it’s something that makes him really happy. I like seeing him happy.

I think it’s okay to want your dream car. If you can’t afford it now, then the solution is two words: delay gratification.

These guys suggested saving up and making a huge down payment for the car:

Calvin Boey – (To get your dream car,) delay the purchase by a year or two, place the money aside and put a huge downpayment.

Samuel JinI think owning a car you will really like to drive is important regardless of the price because modern vehicles are depreciating asset anyway. Save up enough to pay more on the downpayment so that instalment won’t be huge burden afterwards.

While these guys suggested avoiding car ownership first:

Moses Francis – Personal take is, if single you no need a car. You can just rely on Grab and trains. I’ve sold my car and never been happier. I believe the relationship status matters too (with car ownership). Especially if a person is married – they might have some emergencies with kids and can’t rely on Grab or public transports.
Caleb WoonFor me, I used a simple calculation. If the total amount used for public transport and ride-hailing such as Grab is less than the cost of owning a brand new Perodua Axia (petrol, instalment and other fees), then I won’t get a car yet. 

Last words

You may think that a car purchase is a practical decision. But let’s not forget it is also an emotional decision.

You may have these thoughts yourself:

  • I am cool and edgy, so I should get that cool and edgy car so everyone knows it (me).
  • I need freedom and convenience. And the ability to go anywhere I want. (me).
  • I have a family. I don’t want people to think I can’t provide for them.
  • I need to impress my clients. A cheap car won’t cut it.
  • I am single. Need to show potential partners that I have money.

All of the above are valid points. The car you choose does reflect your personal identity. You do want your family to be as comfortable as possible while travelling. Some clients you’re hoping to conduct business with do care about wealth and status.

But all of them may also push you to buy a car that’s out of your budget. And cause your bankruptcy.

Instead of ending this article with ‘don’t buy a car that you can’t afford to pay’ tone, I want to ask you this instead: what car do you want and why do you want it? What exactly about it is appealing for you?

Let me know in the comments section. A little bit of soul-searching and self-awareness exercise will do you good 🙂

Link Roundup #26: 10 Things to Know This Week

Accelerate your personal finance knowledge with this regular feature on Ringgit Oh Ringgit – the Link Roundup! I promise you’ll find these 10 links informational 🙂

1. 6 things you must organize to be healthy, wealthy, and happy – The Ladders

Sometimes I’m not sure if I’m a ‘go with the flow’ type of person, or an organised person. I guess I’m a little bit of both, like most people.

On a scale between 1-10, how well-organised are your environment, money, relationships, health/fitness, spiritual life and time? Answering that is like doing a regular checkup, a self-assessment.

If you’re giving yourself a low score, the checklist in the article is pretty helpful to get you back on the right track.

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Budget Update: April 2019

budget update april 2019

Budget Update: April 2019

In April 2019, I spent just under RM6k, inclusive of Zakat payment. That’s alright, I guess.

Okay let’s talk about something else. I like brainstorming for different ways to make money – regular readers know that. Recently, I thought of two more ways in addition to what I’m already doing now.

  1. Coaching services – Not for financial planning, but for financial organisation. I’m good at tracking my expenses, putting them neatly in categories, and reviewing them regularly to look for patterns. It’s a service I can sell on an individual or group basis.
  2. Personal finance retreat – Think of it like yoga retreat but for financial mindset. I figure this is a good way to get a fully-paid retreat for myself while helping others at the same time.

Which one would you join?

Again, both are in the consideration stage, nothing’s concrete yet, they just sound fun and financially worthwhile to do. I’d probably give early access and get beta testers from email subscribers, so join the mailing list if you’re interested.

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4 Money Making Tips I Wish I Knew Earlier

Making money is a type of high that is hard to describe. Seeing the numbers in your bank account grow is extremely, extremely satisfying.

As someone who is obsessed with personal finance, I read a lot of articles and books that give various money making tips. Here are some that weren’t immediately obvious, things that I wish I knew earlier.

#1 – You have to have (some) money first before you can invest it

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10 Best Books to Learn About Investing, According to Malaysians (With Video Summaries)

Spoiler alert: the best books to learn about investing will never teach you about getting rich fast and making quick money.

Instead, they almost always focus on playing the long game, discussing the right mindset and building a strong foundation in understanding fundamentals, like how the economy works.

At least, that’s what I learned when I asked for best book recommendations specific to investing in a personal finance group. It was kind of a humble pie moment – I thought I read a lot, but I’ve only read one out of the 10 books on this list!

For your (and my) benefit, I’ve compiled the recommendations here, along with their video summaries. Here are some best books to learn about investing, suitable for beginners as a starting point all the way to experts to use as refresher material.

#1 – Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki

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Link Roundup #25: 10 Things to Know This Week

Accelerate your personal finance knowledge with this regular feature on Ringgit Oh Ringgit – the Link Roundup! I promise you’ll find these 10 links informational 🙂

1. Super-Productive People Do 3 Things That Others Don’t, According to This MIT Productivity Test – Inc

Anyone else obsessed with finding productivity tips and hacks? I know I am. I’m fascinated by both (a) the habits of the super-productive (click the link to read about it) and (b) the productivity test itself, taken by almost 20,000 people. You can take it yourself here.

Pozen Productivity Test is a 21-question survey based on seven habits of productivity:

  • developing daily routines
  • planning your schedule
  • coping with messages
  • getting a lot done
  • running effective meetings
  • honing communication skills
  • and delegating tasks to others

I took the test, and scored 65 out of 105. To be fair, many of the questions are not applicable to me (I don’t work in a team most of the time, and neither attend regular meetings nor delegate work to subordinates). But it definitely gave me some pointers on areas to improve.

What’s your score?

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4 Things You Can Do If You Need Money URGENTLY in Malaysia

If you found this article from Google search, I’m guessing you’re either (a) desperate for money, (b) looking for easy money, or (c) both.

(although to be fair no one is NOT looking for easy money. )

If you’re (a) – desperate for money – my sympathies. This article is exactly for you. I can only imagine the mental stress you’re going through. Maybe you need money to pay rent this month. Maybe your car or house is about to get possessed by the bank. Maybe a sudden, unexpected medical bill wiped out your emergency savings.

And all the financial articles you read online… weren’t exactly helpful. Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but ‘don’t get into the situation in the first place’ is a horrible thing to say to someone who’s going through the problem.

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