Those who know me in person know that I never go anywhere without my notebook, which also acts as my de facto money journal.
My notebook is my primary organisational tool, my productivity hack. It’s how I keep track of my life, including my financial life. I jot down everything* in there. The way I see it, what doesn’t get written, gets forgotten.
(*Except for my passwords. I use a password manager for that. Security first kids)
This article is dedicated to everyone who ever uttered the phrase: ‘I can’t afford housing in Malaysia, it’s so expensive!‘
Which, if I’m honest, is the majority of you, at one point or another. It’s one of your favourite complaints. The default, almost.
(You are right though. It is expensive, especially in Kuala Lumpur and Penang. According to Khazanah Research Institute, property prices in Malaysia is ‘severely unaffordable’ at 4.4 times the median annual household income in 2014. A more acceptable range is 3x.)
(Having said that, Malaysia’s housing market is nowhere near as bad as the Top 10 most unaffordable locations globally. Hong Kong is 20.9 times (!!!) the median annual household income as of 2018)
But still, ok, just because we’re not the worst doesn’t mean the situation is good for us. What can you do if you can’t afford the housing in Malaysia? What are your options when it comes to living situation?
Here are some alternatives.
#1 – Pick one: A Just-OK place in the city OR A Great place far from the city
I grew up fat. Or as my family calls it, ‘sihat’. I was the biggest in size in primary and secondary school. At my highest, my weight was almost 100kg. I was 20 years old then.
Now, 10 years later, my weight hovers around 75-78kg. My lowest weight ever was 72kg, right before I stopped keto diet. I think it takes this long because half the time I’m still unlearning bad habits accumulated over the years.
I’ve been taking fitness and weight loss seriously for about 3 years now and lost the bulk of the weight during this time. I have to stress that even before that I was non-stop dieting and trying to lose weight, but admittedly my attitude towards it was just warm-warm-chicken-shit. Now, I’m happy with my progress, but I know my fitness and weight loss journey is far from over. Someday I’ll hit the 60s range, just you wait.
To be honest, the slow progress frustrates me. I just want a nice body and be ‘the hot girl’ already. It takes all my willpower to consciously stop all the negative self-talk and remind myself of the progress over the years. That was also the main inspiration behind the [Personal] I Never Imagined Exercise Would Help My Career and Income, Until It Did article – I reread this piece every time I need a reminder of how far I’ve come.
I’d like to introduce to you one of my favourite books in the world, New Aging: Live smarter now to live better forever by Matthias Hollwich with Bruce Mau Design. Found it at the Big Bad Wolf Booksale some years back for RM12. One of the best purchases I ever made.
New Aging is a guidebook to optimising how we live, how to design our lifestyle so that we encourage lifelong happiness, productivity and self-development. I used to fear the ageing process (as we all), but this book helped me reframe that thinking, and even develop a positive attitude towards it.
Is it just me, or do you also feel like other people have better lives than yours?
Based on their updates on social media, it seems like everyone is sporting new outfits, getting new blings, updating home decor, buying new toys, traveling to new places, enjoying nice food at fancy restaurants…
And your sad self wonders, why am I not doing as well as they are? What else do I need to do to bust my ass in order to afford those nice things in my life?
This article is all about guessing how and where other people get the money to afford their amazing-looking lifestyles. I’ve racked my brains thinking of all the possible ways. Here they are:
FI/RE = Financial Independence/Retire Early. That’s the dream, isn’t it? Imagine waking up in the morning, thinking, eh, I don’t feel like working today, so you just… don’t. And still be okay financially, with no consequences.
I want that. I want that so bad.
The topic of financial independence and early retirement has been on my mind for the longest time, but I admit I’ve pushed it back time and time again. I’m afraid to find out the amount I need to get there. I’m afraid the number will be too big that it’ll discourage me, instead of motivating me. I’m afraid to think of the sacrifices I have to make.
Which is why I’m forcing myself to write this article. Let’s force out all those jumbled thoughts and put them in a linear, clear format.
First off, I want to say that most players in the financial ecosystem are important*. Not even going to deny it. Like banks for example – they provide tons of job opportunities, safekeeping of funds, access to financial services and overall contribution to the country’s financial health.
*most are important except the Ponzi people and other scammers. I pray they will miss all the connection flights in their lifetime
But let’s go beyond the friendly, approachable image the financial industry like to portray to the world. Here are 4 things you should know about the financial ecosystem we live in.
#1 – Banks use the money you deposit to make more money
You know how content from insurance/takaful companies all kind of say the same things? “Protect yourself and your family in case anything happens”, “Life is unexpected, be prepared”, “Make sure your loved ones are taken care of”?
Yeah, they’re repetitive. And boring. Important stuff, sure, but boring.
So when I got the opportunity to interview Great Eastern Takaful’s CEO, Shahrul Azlan Shahriman, I told them I wanted more meat if we proceed with a paid collaboration to promote their newest takaful product, i-Gr8 Harapan. I told them I don’t do pure ‘promotion’ without interesting content about their new takaful product and the takaful industry in general.
Surprisingly, this jual mahal approach paid off. They approved all of my questions. Here they are, for your reading pleasure.
This whole blogging thing. It wasn’t intentional. I mean, it was, the whole writing part was. But the recognition that comes with it, the knowledge that what I write and say has some form of influence… that part wasn’t intentional at all. Truthfully I’m still shocked by this blog’s success. The total number of visits crossed the one million mark recently. One million!
Here are some personal thoughts, observations and reflections on being a personal finance blogger in Malaysia.