In this day and age, it’s pretty hard to avoid being in any kind of debt (hutang). This is my debt history.
I don’t talk about my debt a lot on this website because it just seemed too.. personal. But then again this *is* as personal finance website, and I don’t want to give an impression that I’m swimming in cash (because I’m not). I’ve been in debt. More good debt than bad debt, I admit #Iamaresponsibleadult.
Here’s all the debt I’ve ever had so far and how I paid them off (but one).
ASB Loan (NOT Paid Off) – Good debt
I took RM50k loan from Maybank in order to kick-start my Malay-privilege investment, the Amanah Saham Bumiputera. Yep just milking my genetic lottery for what’s it worth. This was in February 2011, so I was… 22 years old. I’m currently locked in a 25-year RM289 per month payment.
20 more years to go. It is worth it, though. The earlier I start, the more I’ll end up with. Compound interest, bitch.
PTPTN Loan – Good debt
On March 2015, I successfully paid off the remaining balance of my PTPTN loan. I took the 20% off incentive so I managed to save RM1014.82. Before that, I enjoyed 10% off anyway because I always paid my PTPTN loan on time #humblebrag.
This is the screenshot of my final payment amount. Paying off RM4k at one go was painful, but ultimately the right decision.
This is not THAT impressive, IMHO. Check out how Mr Stingy paid off his RM58k PTPTN loan (which bought him freedom from continuing his student loan bondage).
Maybank EzyCash Loans – Bad-ish debt
In the interest of full disclosure, I want to admit that I made non-essential personal loans, too. I took the Maybank EzyCash twice – once to buy a laptop and once to buy more bitcoin than I should (I was greedy). It wasn’t the smartest choice, because even though it said interest-free, there was 3.88% fee attached to it. Still, it seemed like the best option at the time.
I managed to pay them off in 6 month-installments.
Warning: On borrowing money to invest in bitcoin – please don’t follow this just because I do. Before my passion for bitcoin, I used to be very conservative with my financial plan. I had a very low risk tolerance, which means that I avoided investments that may not return back my money. In this sense, I invested like a woman. Which turns out to be a great thing because research said that women make better investors than men (proof 1; proof 2; proof 3). If you are new to investing, please invest like a girl. Warren Buffet does, and dude he’s like, one of the best investors in the world.
Future plans (good debt)
Property – To live in? To rent out? To AirBnB it out? To make my own minimalist, Japan-inspired home in Malaysia? I don’t know, but as I get older it gets more appealing to buy my own place.
Business – If I ever play out one of by business fantasies, I’ll need more capital. Side note: Super happy that my failed business idea Kotak Koffee (yes I know how weird that reads lol) didn’t put me in the red.
Study – I’m currently contemplating to go back to school. I like the idea of officially studying finance, specifically Islamic Finance. INCEIF has scholarships available for women, if you are interested.
Future plans (bad debt)
A car.. – I’m really enjoying my car-free life and all, but I am sustaining a 12-year obsession with small jeeps, despite how impractical they are to my needs. It’s the only type of vehicle on the road that ever catch my eyes, and I don’t want another type, I want this particular type. I blame Gilmore Girls – Lorelai drove one of those and I love Lorelai and now I want it.
Credit card debt – Over my dead body. I refuse. At 18% per annum, I will try my best to avoid this!
Thoughts about debt
The majority of Malaysians carry a lot of debt, especially since the last few years. Blame whoever you want, but the fact is still this. A healthy debt ratio is <40% (aka less than 40% of monthly income goes towards debt repayment), but ours is… 145%.
Debt is scary, but if you have it, it’s really not the end of the world. There are so many success stories online about how Ms or Mr so-and-so successfully paid off hundreds of thousands worth of debt. It’s achievable, because the earning potential for an individual is virtually limitless. It’s harder because of our system, but it is possible.
I don’t think we talk about our debt/hutang as much as we should, do you agree? Are you in good debt? Bad debt? How are you paying it off? Comment here or tweet me at @surayaror about your hutang story.