Statistics About Money

23 Malaysian Statistics About Money That Will Make You Think

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Let’s do something a bit different than usual. Statistics about money can offer a lot of insight about our financial situation. Here, I listed many facts and figures from reputable Malaysian media, educational institution and government agencies. Sources are in ‘x’. Let’s get talking – click to tweet to start online conversations about it. I will RT good commentaries 🙂

1.  Only half of Malaysians have life insurance, but up to 90% of Malaysians are under-insured. Under-insured is when the coverage is only one or two times the annual income. (2015 data; x | x)

Only half of Malaysians have life insurance. Up to 90% of Malaysians are under-insured. Share on X

2. At 67%, Malaysians’ saving habit is one of the highest in the world. Almost 9 out of 10 changed their spending habit in order to improve savings. (x)

Malaysians' saving habit is one of the highest in the world Share on X

3. What do we use our savings for: Two out of five Malaysians are willing to splurge on vacation/travel.  Almost one out of five are willing to upgrade gadgets/electronics, pay for out-of-home entertainment and home improvement. (x) Three out of four Malaysian travellers said their choice of holiday was often determined by them being able to secure a good price or a special offer. (x)

3 out of 4 M'sian travellers said price/offer affect their choice of holiday. Share on X

4. Top three ways to cut back spending, as preferred by Malaysians:  spending less on new clothes (65%), reducing out-of-home entertainment (56%) and switching to cheaper grocery brands (51%). (x)

3 ways M'sians use to spend less: less new clothes, reduce entertainment & cheaper grocery brands Share on X

5. Top four factors that cause financial problems for Malaysians: poor financial planning (22.9%), high cost of medication (18.3%), business failure (15.2%) and uncontrolled credit card usage (11.1%). (x) (underlined emphasis is mine)

M'sians financial problems: poor financial planning, high meds cost, biz failure & credit card usage Share on X

6. Malaysians spend 31.2% of their disposable income on food and food away from home, 23.9% on petrol, housing and utilities and 14.6% on transport. (x)

How M'sians spend disposable income: food, petrol, housing & utilities & transport Share on X

7. How you’re categorised: According to Economic Report 2015/2016, the B40 (bottom 40% household income) group comprises households with a monthly income of up to RM3,855, while those in the M40 group (middle 40% household income group) earn between RM3,860 and RM8,319. (x) Middle-class is subjective, but generally refer to individuals earning RM5k-10k per month. (x)

Malaysia's middle income: Individuals earning RM5k-10k per month. Share on X

8. How branding affects your purchasing habit: About two-thirds of Malaysian consumers prefer to buy new products from brands which are familiar to them, and liked it when manufacturers offer new product options. TV is the number one source of new product information. (x)

2 out of 3 Malaysians prefer buying new products from familiar brands Share on X

9. Malaysians are willing to spend an average of RM198.63 on their spouse, RM173.71 on their fiancé or fiancée, RM 159.03 on their girlfriend or boyfriend, and RM156.09 on themselves. (Rakuten data taken from Valentine’s Day and CNY; x)

M'sians spend RM198.63 on spouse, RM173.71 on fiancé/e, RM159.03 on gf/bf & RM156.09 on self Share on X

10. Biggest factors affecting Malaysians’ purchasing decisions: Bought on promotion/discount (30%), Self-purchases (23%), Urgent needs (21%). (x)

How M'sians' decide on purchases: Promo/discount, Self & Urgent needs Share on X

11. Top factors affecting consumer behaviour (among university students): Economic crisis, lifestyle choices and to reflect personality. (x)

Uni students' consumer behaviour: Economic crisis, lifestyle choices and to reflect personality. Share on X

12. Gen Y/Millennials’ saving and spending habit: They save about a quarter and spend three-fifths of their monthly income (Gen X saves about a third of their income). Top spending: apparel (34%), entertainment (22%) and food (16%). Top reasons why we save:  for emergency (25.6%),  for future investment (24.1%), for vacation (10.9%) and for wedding (10.4%). (x)

Top spending for Malaysian Millennials: apparel (34%), entertainment (22%) and food (16%) Share on X Top reasons why M'sian Millennials save money: emergencies, future investment, vacation & wedding Share on X

13. Gen Y/Millennials and investment: About a third of Millennials have an investment portfolio. Four out of five Millennials think the stock market is risky. Millennials invest in: Unit Trust (15.6%), Gold (13.1%) and Shares (8.9%). (x)

Investments Malaysian Millennials make: Unit Trust (15.6%), Gold (13.1%) and Shares (8.9%) Share on X

14. Gen Y/Millennials and credit cards and debt: 70% pay minimum monthly payments and 45% have not paid on time (!!!) Most debt is for car loan and education loan. (x) Nearly 25,000 Millennials have been declared bankrupt within five years (as of June 2015; x). You can be declared bankrupt if fail to settle minimum debt amount of RM30k.

Malaysian Millennials carry debt, but most debt is for car loan and education loan. Share on X

15. The difference in incomes in different states: Kelantan and Perak are 84.8% and 81.1% below national average, while KL and Putrajaya are 64.4% and 62.9% above average income. (x)

Income vs states: Kelantan is 84.8% below national average, while KL is 64.4% above average income Share on X

16. How Malaysians absorb financial shocks (or don’t!): Half of households in the country do not have savings. Only one in five households could survive up to three months if income was cut off. (x)

1/2 of M'sian households don't have savings. Only 1 in 5 can survive up to 3 months if no income Share on X

17. The poorest households spend a larger percentage of income on food (30.4%), while the richest households only spend 9.9%.  (x)

Poorest households in M'sia spend 30.4% of income on food. The richest households only spend 9.9% Share on X

18. Stay in school, if you can. The median monthly salary for employees with tertiary education (RM3100) is two times higher than employees with high school education (RM1500). (x)

Median monthly salary with tertiary education is 2x higher than with high school education Share on X

19. The average household throws away a lot of food. RM2700 worth of food, annually. Shame on us 🙁 (x)

The average M'sian household throws away a lot of food. RM2700 worth of food, annually! Share on X

20. Very rich Malaysians invest in residential properties overseas (technically, they are UHNWI – ultra high net worth individuals). They like this so much, they rank higher than the world average. (x)

Very rich Malaysians invest in residential properties overseas, esp Aus and UK Share on X

21. Something to be angry about: wage and GDP ratio. According to an economic think-tank, Malaysian companies keep most of the profits for themselves instead of the other around. The ratio now is 33% for employee wages, 67% as company profit. In advanced countries, companies only keep 40-50% as profit while the rest is distributed as employee wages. (x)

M'sian companies keep 67% of profits for themselves. Advanced countries: 40-50% Share on X

22. Scary facts about Malaysians and scams: near half of Malaysians surveyed have been a scam victim. The funny thing is three-quarters of the surveyed are actually aware of ‘internet scam’. The average loss is a whopping RM7040. Top scams are: work from home (30%), internet auction (22%) and online dating scams (20%). (x)

Top internet scams in M'sia: work from home, internet auction and online dating scams Share on X

23. Nearly four out of five people who contribute to EPF can’t afford to retire. (x)

Nearly 4 out of 5 people who contribute to EPF can't afford to retire Share on X

Which statistic about money made you think? Any other statistics aside from the above that made you go ‘hmm’?

Look forward to your awesome commentaries.



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  1. Don’t you think no. 12, 13 , 14 and 16 is a bit contradicting? Like if Gen Y save that much money why half of Malaysian don’t have savings? How many people is truthful when it comes to survey. ?

    1. Fair point, the people surveyed came from diff audiences. That might skew the actual results.

      I do think Malaysians are good savers thought, and simply not able to keep up with cost of living

    2. I guess maybe malaysian save for short term goal only like travelling, wedding etc they save for months then use it until finish (they consider as no saving ?) not intended saving for long term goal and emergency right?

    3. Hi Lyn, thats because as a nation, Malaysians are higher savers because of our mandatory 23-24% (11+12% OR 13%) savings in EPF. But when it comes to ‘after salary’/cash savings, then general Malaysians cant save more than 1 month emergency funds.

  2. 67% saving definition is funny. saving is not your left over after your spending?. this including travel, give to parent, paid bill or buy phone…etc.

  3. As most of argue that the statistics may not be accurate.. it’s baffling that when some of our habits are displayed as statistics, our first reaction is to deny it…
    I got to agree regarding the percentage the rich and poor spend on food and about Malaysians food wasting habits.

    In regards to the millennial, it covers a very big group and the statistics are bit confusing but I can see the logic in numbers distorting the facts…

    The government’s focus on finance education is much warranted

    1. There’s a reason why I called this article, ‘statistics about money that will make you think’, rather than calling them ‘facts’ 🙂

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