7 Financial Predictions I’m Making for 2019

For the last article of 2018, I thought I’d compile some financial predictions for 2019, based on what I observed in 2018.

Prediction #1 – The e-wallet race continues on

Everyone noticed the e-wallet race that’s going on now. It’s hard not to – e-wallet companies give out lots of cash incentives and severe discounts to get you hooked on their platform. As a customer, I am not complaining at all. I’m enjoying my RM2.50 Tealive and RM10 cashbacks very, very much.

Despite everything, I believe the race is just getting started. I don’t have the numbers, but I know that the current e-wallet adoption rate among Malaysians is still very low. It’s low enough that UNDP (as in United Nations Development Programme) was looking to hire a communications consultant to help speed up the growth rate.

(I know this because I applied for that role, but I don’t think I got it. Shame 🙁 I would have loved to work for financial inclusion.)

E-wallets are not common among my friends too, and they are professional, tech-savvy, highly-educated friends. They may have Grab e-wallet, sure, but only for the rides, not for the wallet. We have a long way to go.

So yeah. Expect more incentives from e-wallet companies. Heck, expect more e-wallet companies. Also expect more non-fintech companies getting in the e-wallet game, like Petronas with their Setel app.

Someone in the fintech community said this: “e-wallets are the new loyalty cards in Malaysia”. I forgot who said it exactly (let me know if you know), but I agree.

Related: Reviews of All The Ewallets in Malaysia I’ve Tried

Prediction #2 – House prices goin’ down

This is not much of a prediction as it is a sure thing, according to this news story about unsold completed residential properties. Some select quotes:

“The government and the Real Estate Housing Developers Association are planning to launch a national home ownership campaign in January to resolve this blemish on the property sector. Individual developers are currently putting last minute tweaks to their campaigns.

Among those looking forward to unveil their bags of goodies are the Eco World group, Sunway and Mah Sing, just to name a few.”

You know what’s funny? These developers are forced to give the ‘good news! We love you so we’re reducing our prices’ narrative when we all know they do it because they can’t sell their properties at full price in the first place. I feel like laughing honestly.

Prediction #3 – It’s harder for Malays to get hired in good jobs

I can’t imagine MNCs rushing to hire Malays after that whole anti-ICERD rally, do you? I feel bad for the younger anti-ICERD supporters, the ones who are vocal on social media – just… good luck je lah with the job hunt.

Related: Are Malay Graduates and Job Seekers being Discriminated in Malaysia? Yes, finds this study.

(TL;DR – We can’t pinpoint the reason for the discrimination, but pro-Malay policies may be a factor)

Prediction #4 – More discussions on possible upcoming recession

One type of financial content that gets more and more frequent nowadays is the possibility that we’re heading to a recession, caused by a global financial meltdown. Experts are already theorising the how and why.

Now, during global financial meltdowns, life usually goes on like normal for us Malaysians. We are mostly spared from the full brunt. However, you’d best open your eyes to opportunities during this time. Certain types of investments tend to rise in value during recessions, because they’re considered a safe haven during crises. Gold is a classic example (the price did go up recently). Faiz Wahab mentioned how Japanese Yen is also considered a safe place to park your money during recessions.

Personally, I’m keeping my eye open for cheap stocks, load up on gold and hold on to my crypto supply. I’m aware the last one will get some flak among some of you, and my justification is simple: the financial crash will happen (again), caused by the Wall Street (again), and people are going to lose trust in financial institutions (again).

When that happens, I’m predicting a lot of money will be channelled towards crypto, because that’s what it represents – distrust in financial institutions. Now, I’m not telling you to invest in crypto (definitely don’t if you don’t understand it), I’m just sharing why I believe in it as a long-term store of value. I could be wrong, in which case I’ll lose money that I can afford to lose. DYOR.


Prediction #5 – Personal finance communities in Malaysia continues to grow

There are more personal finance thought leaders now. I especially love the ones who are not necessarily ‘financial experts’, just normal people figuring out their financial life. This means that we are more open with sharing our finances publicly, yay! I believe they’re going to influence and inspire a lot of people!

Some places to find these communities:

Prediction #6 – Consumerist culture will look uncool on a bigger scale

Minimalism and zero waste is cool. Blatant display of wealth is not.

I believe this will extend on Instagram and social media too. I think there will be more people who will be come thought leaders (‘influencers’) because of their environmentally-frendly, budget-conscious lifestyle.

I also think that more people will unfollow influencers who make them feel like crap, the ones who show unattainable, wasteful lifestyles.

Prediction #7 – Tools to match financial products to the ‘right’ customers will get more sophisticated

First there were financial products comparison platforms. You make comparisons, then apply for the financial products you want – credit cards, loans, etc. If you’re lucky, you’ll get approved. If not, too bad.

I was rejected for a credit card via this method once, and that really turned me off financial products comparison platforms altogether. No one likes to be rejected. Hello my ego is fragile okay.

I’m guessing I’m not the only ‘lost customer’ here, which is a big problem for these platforms, because their job is to send as many leads (ie potential customers) to the banks. That’s why I noticed more and more companies helps you check your eligibility for the loan before you even apply for it. In short, they’re sparing you the pain of rejection (lmao).

PropertyGuru does this – their Mortgage Pre-Qualifier checks how much money you can borrow as housing loan. I know this because I worked with them during the OwnYourHome campaign.

BBazaar also does this – there’s a Check Eligibility button next to every credit card, and you can check if you can actually eligible for that card or not before you apply. I know this because I worked with them too.

Not all financial comparison platforms do this yet, but I predict more will. I also predict weirdly personalised offers, like the apply for credit card, get an air fryer for free deals. I find them strange, but I’m sure someone out there went like, sweet! An air fryer! Hell yeah I’ll get it! I think the targeting will get more specific.

Last thoughts

Tell me if you agreed with any of the above predictions.

Tell me if you disagreed.

Tell me YOUR predictions. What do YOU think is going to happen in 2019, financially speaking?

Happy New Year 🙂

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  1. Hi Suraya

    Great write-ups.

    In your Prediction #4, you stated that crypto will go up due to the perceived recession. Though I do not believe in crypto thing, I agree with your assessment that crypto will indeed trend up if the perceived recession comes to pass. My rationale is that in a psychologically discomfiting recession where fear of unknowns as such how long would this period persist, people tend to turn to gold, crypto, real estate and other alternative commodities to hedge the purchasing power.

    Suggestions to uncertain 2019. It is important to have reserves power to stave off prolong recession, exploit weaken markets such as stocks and shares and even real estate. No one can predict when the market will be at its pits but suffice to know that markets WILL eventually recover and normalcy returns and YOU( if you remain inertia) will regret some years later?

    I remembered responding to some bloggers, a person has 2-4 chances in life to exploit markets to be wealthy.

    1. Hi Fred,

      Thanks for your comments. I won’t call it market exploitation, just opportunities. We’re not exploiting anything. We can’t anyway, we’re all small fry here

  2. Yes, it kinda challenging next year…

    But i trust and believe next year will be the best year for my career and financial…

    Like Warren Buffet said “Be greedy when people are afraid and be afraid when people are greedy”

    Optimism mode on.. next day new year..

    May the force be with u

  3. Hope Bitcoin will get some needed upward boasts. It is more useful than Gold and infrastructure in the making hopefully increases its utility.

    1. It may go up, it may crash and burn too. I’m optimistic but have to remind myself to be realist also. Gold have way more history and public acceptance than crypto – that’s valuable

  4. A hypothetical question for everyone(totally outrageous, but since we’re doing the prediction game).

    Given the sad (or ironic, depends how you see it) fact that even Thailand has refused to accept RM in their local currency exchange…………..Let’s assume that we got another hit just like 1997 again – in case people forget, it’s a time where RM shrunk by 50% and more.

    In the extreme case where your money is now actually 50% less than what you think they should be – which of your investment/safety net that ‘you think’ would actually survive this blow?

    1. Hi Failguy,

      In the unlikely event that inflation goes out of whack in this country (highly doubt it, but still), I’d count on crypto to get through. I’ll also keep some money in other currencies

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