If you’re like me, you probably have your money all over the place:
In bank accounts (plural, because I have a few accounts with a few banks)
In various e-wallets and prepaid cards,
‘Borrowed’ from legal entities (ie credit cards and loans) or illegal entities (ah long money lenders),
In ‘future money’ like insurance/takaful payouts,
In various investment accounts,
In physical forms like gold or property or high-value collectables,
With your friend who promised to pay you back soon,
In actual wallets (almost forgot about this one. Cashless trend is still going strong)
So my question to you today is… do you know what kind of protection is available for each of those listed? How sure are you that you get to access your money when you need to use it?
Wait huh, you might think, of course your money should be accessible, the financial ecosystem in Malaysia is good, right? (it is), I don’t need to worry, right? (mostly you don’t… but you should still know because this concerns YOUR money).
Take this quiz to test your understanding of your money’s protection – which is protected by PIDM and which isn’t. Have a look at the three scenarios, including one of Future You (surprise! You’ve reached financial freedom and are a multi-millionaire!)
Well now’s a good time as any to improve on your budgeting style, try a different one, or maybe find out the name of the method you’re doing now. You may find a style that may work better for your personality, or even help you to achieve specific goals (ie paying off debt).
See if you can find your description in any of the budgeting styles below…
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.
‘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
Common sense said it did. Almost everyone has been affected by the pandemic, in one way or another (notably, following MCO rules to the best of our ability, correct not). Most people are spending more on groceries and online shopping, and less on everything else and offline purchases.
This is my guess based on what the media reported, but how true is that statement in my personal life?
So I thought, hey why not make a direct comparison of my spending pattern, before and after Covid-19 hit? In what way did my personal spending change, in each expense category? I can do this. I track my expenses. I have the data.
During Covid-19: Data collected since MCO started on 18 March 2020 until time of writing, (almost exactly 3 months worth of data)
Expenses Comparison: Before & After Covid-19
Before Covid-19 (from 2019 Expenses Data)
During Covid-19 (from 3 Months' Data)
Utilities & Rent
Average reduced as landlady (bless her) waived one month's rent
Coincided with #MYMoneyStories book printing & distribution
Dates & Travel
Donations & Gifts
Biggest increase. Happy to do it
Surprisingly more or less the same
Insurance & Medical
Maintained medical card and PA insurance. Reduced as no longer seeing chiropractor
Significantly reduced travel. Also used up SOCAR credit
This seems to be my average, MCO or no
Didn't buy much non-necessaries
Friends, I miss you!
Increased non-groceries food expenses. Ok la, was puasa also
Lucky enough to be able to generate enough referrals to offset mobile cost
Total average expenses per month
Roughly RM500 increase, but mostly due to Donations & Gifts category
As you can see:
Biggest increases are in categories: Donations & Gifts and Business
Biggest decreases are in categories: Dates & Travel, Insurance & Medical, Public Transportation, Misc Wants & Social
No or minimal changes in categories: Groceries, Misc Needs, Food (Non-Groceries) & Mobile
Overall, my expenses actually increased by almost RM500, if compared before and after Covid-19. Mostly due to Donations
Old me would be worried about appearing to be humblebragging, but new me embraces and – dare I say it – is proud of my own actions. I didn’t just encourage people to donate, I also put my money where my mouth is. Almost RM3k per month in donations is really stretching my budget but if there’s a worthy YOLO occasion, this is it.
How has Covid-19 affected your monthly expenses? Which expense categories significantly increased and decreased for you? Let me know in the comments section 🙂
Like many of you, I, too, enjoy a nice round of YouTube binge-watching. I mean, who doesn’t go off to YouTube when procrastinating work, amirite? AMIRITE.
The purpose of this article is two-fold:
(1) to expand your idea of what fits under the category of ‘personal finance’. Too often, ‘personal finance videos’ mean videos about saving money and investing (how-tos, advice and motivation), but I think it’s broader than that. Many of the videos I’ve listed below are not ‘classic’ personal finance videos – usually they’re lumped under the catch-all ‘lifestyle’ and/or ‘parenting’ niche – but they’re useful as personal finance references.
So you’ve probably heard all about the PN government’s RM250 bil economic stimulus package, designed to save Malaysia’s economy reduce the financial damage that COVID-19 and reduced oil prices will do to Malaysia’s economy.
(Well, it’s actually just RM25 bil in direct injection. You MakCik Kiahs aren’t getting that much. The loan deferments you still have to pay later and the EPF withdrawal is YOUR OWN MONEY, but I guess RM250 bil in total is *technically correct*, so let’s go with that.)
Regardless of the creative accounting, fact is that a lot of money will be freed up now, which can go back into the economy. Some of you will be getting a combination of the one-off financial assistance,
Some of you will choose to withdraw your EPF money, up to a maximum withdrawal of RM500 per month. Some of you may get your credit card balances restructured into term loans (36 months at 13% per annum). Some of you may be eligible for insurance/takaful deferment (not automatic, T&C applies, must apply).
Significantly, many of you will be getting your loan payment(s) deferred. Assuming you have a mortgage and a car loan, that’s at least, what? RM1500 in freed up money every month?
The moratorium is applicable to all Malaysian Ringgit-denominated loans/ financings held by eligible customers that have not been in arrears for more than 90 days as at April 1.
For individual customers, eligible Islamic and conventional products under this moratorium include ASB financing, home financing, auto financing and personal financing (express cash, cash plus loan and Awam-i) and for SME customers, the moratorium applies to all existing term loans/ financings and industrial hire purchase.
(side note: should you defer loan payments or continue to pay? Read here. )
Hey, you. You want to achieve financial freedom in Malaysia, but don’t know how. You may not even know what that entails. Financial freedom is like one of those meaningless phrases, like ‘paradigm shift’.
You already know that Islam allows a Muslim man to take up to four wives simultaneously in a practice called polygamy.
You may not know that Islam also allows wives the right to refuse husbands permission to marry more than one wife by adding it in the taklik.
This is a completely accurate, yet not that well-known piece of information.
In this age where the polygamy privilege is routinely being abused by irresponsible husbands – causing the wives severe financial and emotional distress – I hope to share widely the rights that women already have under Islamic laws, which she can exercise for her own protection.
Let’s be frank here – ewallet and digital security is not the sexiest of topic to talk about. Therefore, let’s appreciate Touch ‘n Go eWallet not caring to be ‘sexy’ and choosing to feature it anyway in their educational video series, Cashless Confidentials.
In this article, we have brainstormed and came up with 4 actions you can do in 5 minutes that will significantly reduce your risk of losing money from scammers and hackers. It’s fast – you can do everything during lunch break. If you’re busy now, bookmark this article so you can pull it out later.
Note: If you consider yourself a Millennial or Gen Z, what you’re about to read below might sound like common-sense digital security practices.
However, keep in mind that they can be completely alien to your parents and grandparents, who are more susceptible to digital-based scams. I need you to read this so YOU can help them navigate this topic okay.
#1 – Activate Touch ‘n Go eWallet Money-back Guarantee Policy