investment tip malaysia
Investing

7 Savings and Investments You can Automate, Aside from EPF Contribution

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Easy investment tip: ‘get the set-and-forget’ ones. Unless you have a natural passion (or desire to learn about) stocks and properties and other research-heavy investments, go for the investments you can automate.

Why? Because the challenge with investing is not about picking which investment(s) to do. There are a lot of good investment options in Malaysia. The challenge is adding more money to it on a regular basis, usually monthly, over the long term.

They may use different names for it: dollar-cost averaging, recurring deductions, monthly deductions, monthly debits, auto-invest, recurring deposits, auto-deductions, etcetera – but it means more or less the same thing.

Starting an investment is easy. Adding more to it is hard.

Most investors will start, then ‘forget’ to contribute to their investment portfolio on a regular basis. And by not adding, the money will never grow as fast as you want. 

I know because I’m talking about myself. Despite being an investor for over 10 years now, transferring money out of my banking account to my investment account still hurts each and every time. 

Therefore, it’s a good idea to feel the pain once (as you set up the recurring deductions), rather than feeling the pain many times over many years.

In this article, I’ve listed out all the investments that you can automate in Malaysia, that I know of. If there are more, let me know in the comments section.

Category: Mutual Funds/Unit Trust/ETFs

Those three things are not the same, but close enough – they all belong in the ‘diversified funds’ category. Depending on which one you get, you might a combination of Malaysian stocks, US stocks (and other regions), precious metals, real estate, and/or other commodities, etc.

Some Mutual Funds/Unit Trust/ETFs you can automate include:

#1- EPF Contribution

You (probably already) know this option. Salaried people already have a portion of their salaries automatically deducted to EPF account – this goes straight to your retirement fund.

By law, EPF employer contribution is set at 13% (for monthly salaries of RM5000 and below) OR 12% (for monthly salaries of more than RM5000).

If you include your (employee) contribution rate of 11%, therefore your EPF contribution rate is equivalent to 23% OR 24% of your salary each month.

You can self-contribute for EPF, and automate it as well. For self-employed, or people who want to make additional EPF contributions, you can set up Set Recurring in your respective banks.

If you’re using Maybank, the process is:

  • Log in your online banking account
  • Go to Pay & Transfer tab > Pay
  • Under ‘Pay to’, Set to Payee > type and select ‘EPF’
  • Enter your EPF Member No, Account type, and other details
  • Toggle ‘Set Recurring’ and follow the next steps as instructed

*People using other banks may have slightly different processes. Check with your banks.

Bonus section #1 – Get up to RM250 for FREE under i-Saraan Scheme

Who doesn’t want free money? Self-employed people can get up to RM250 from the government for FREE when you self-contribute under i-Saraan scheme.

To get the maximum RM250, you have to self-contribute a minimum of RM1667 per year (or RM139 per month). When you do Set Recurring, put your Account type to ‘i-Saraan/i-Suri Contribution’.

Bonus section #2 – How much should I self-contribute to EPF? Here’s your EPF contribution calculation

One common question people have (especially self-employed people) is how much they should self-contribute to EPF so they can have a comfortable retirement nest egg.

You can calculate this. Go do your EPF contribution calculation in your EPF i-Akaun.

  • Login > Main page > find Retirement Savings (under Account Summary)
  • Enter your Age, Retirement Age, Salary, Salary Increment Rate (put 0 if no increment), and Bonus, if any
  • Enter Contribution Rate. If your salary is RM5000 and you plan to put RM1000 monthly, then your contribution rate is 20%
  • Enter Annual Dividend Rate (EPF’s annual dividend rate varies annually but can just put 5%)
  • Click Calculate
epf contribution calculation
  • You will see how much your potential Retirement Savings in EPF. In this example, I’ll have almost RM900k by age 60 if I contribute RM1k per month to EPF from now until age 60
epf contribution calculation

EPF is good, but not the only place to put your retirement funds. You can also use…

#2 – PRS (Private Retirement Scheme)

PRS or Private Retirement Scheme is like secondary, optional EPF. Many funds allow automating monthly contributions.

To learn more about this option, check out my 3 Places to Get PRS in Malaysia with ZERO Sales Charge article

#3 – ASNB funds

You can use the Target Labur and Auto Labur features in MyASNB app to automatically calculate and set up monthly deductions for any financial goal you have.

For example, let’s say you want to save up RM10,000 in 2 years 2 months. Therefore, you can set up a monthly deduction of RM376 to reach your goal.

Read more about this feature and how to set it up in 3 Features in myASNB App You Should Know article.

#4 – Robo advisors

There are a bunch of roboadvisors in Malaysia, including Stashaway, Wahed Invest, Mytheo, AkruNow, and more.

I use Wahed Invest but only because it’s the only Shariah-compliant one. As you can see, it has a weekly and monthly recurring deduction feature.

Learn more in the Which is the Best Robo Advisor in Malaysia? Ultimate Comparison Guide article

#5 – Unit trust

There are also so many platforms to buy and automate your unit trust investment in Malaysia. Personally, I only get unit trust for PRS (#2 in this list), but you can get others and a few at once.

Learn more in my 3 Ways to Pick the Best Unit Trust in Malaysia (Advisory & DIY Method)

#6 – Gold

Let me know in the comments if you know of other options, but the only gold investment platform that you can automate is HelloGold‘s SmartSaver plan (note: referral link).

Personally I’ve completed my 12-months deduction:

Oh wow, I’ve completed funding 12 out of 12 months in HelloGold SmartSaver

Basically I add RM100 per month, and the system buys RM4.xx in gold per day, regardless of the price

Dollar-cost averaging, set-and-forget system. No need to time the market pic.twitter.com/YrF1msMRJj

— Suraya Zainudin (@surayaror) May 5, 2020

#7 – P2P lending platforms

You can also automate investment via P2P lending platforms. Simplistically, how P2P lending works is you agree to lend money to businesses in return for profits.

There are a few P2P lending platforms out there. I use Funding Societies because (1) they have auto-invest bots, and (2) they have Shariah-compliant option.

Read more: [SPONSORED] I Asked Hard Questions to the CEO of Funding Societies Malaysia

Add-on: According to Blackbelt Millionaire, Fundztastic also has a SmartInvest programme which you can enrol. It invests up to 5 investments at a time. I have not tried this.

#8 – Cryptocurrencies

Not for everyone, but it *IS* an option as some of the platforms allow automatic and regular deductions. I know it’s possible in Luno – you can set up repeat buy.

Obligatory: Bonus for new users – New users can get RM50 in BTC on minimum RM500 deposit (instant 10% ROI) with my code ‘LNSURAYA50. Simply open a new account at Luno.com > Go to REWARDS > Choose ENTER CODE > Enter the given promo code > Click Apply Code > Deposit the minimum amount required > Buy the minimum transaction amount > Get rewarded with the additional Bitcoin.

For more info, read: I’m a Luno User since 2015. Here’s My Luno Malaysia Review

What do you think of automation as an investment tip?

Do you do automating in your personal life? If yes, which ones?

For me, I automate some of my investments, and manually do the rest. Personally, this is what I do in my own financial life:

  • Add on to EPF and PRS once a year, to take advantage of the tax reliefs (I do this after a big payment comes in)
  • Pay back my ASB loan – I took RM50k loan for 25 or so years, so I’m paying ~RM289 per month (technically this is more like paying debt but meh, I’ll take it)
  • Automate Funding Societies and reinvest my profits
  • I’d like to renew my HelloGold automation (since I completed 12 months)
  • I’d also like to set up the weekly deposits to my Wahed Invest account. Still scrounging up the courage

How about you? Which of the above do you personally do for yourself? Do you know of any other options/platforms that allow you to automate your monthly contributions?


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18 Comments

  1. Hello Suraya,

    Could you explain a bit more about what you mean by tax reliefs by investing in Fundsupermart? or if you have an article on it, perhaps link it?

    Really enjoy your site as you make personal finance easy for the layman.

    1. I did. ringgitohringgit.com/tag/bitcoin

      You can’t automate bitcoin investment yet, at least not that I know of. Copy-trading doesn’t count (and not recommended – I lost money that way).

    1. Hi Ronny,

      It would be irresponsible of me to give you a conclusive answer, without knowing your financial goals and risk appetite and other variables. Also I’m not a financial advisor

      At the very least, I *can* say you can pick any of the things I listed here. At least, to the best of my knowledge, they’re not scams

    1. I haven’t, but I think it’s a cool way to automate investment. But honestly right, I don’t think investing spare change is enough for any substantial savings goal at all. How much can the average person invest per month with that method. RM10? RM20? I’ll try it out because curious, but more for fun rather than anything serious

  2. There’s another one recently launched. I think it’s called Raiz? Heard it allows automation of spare change investment. Interesting concept… Have you came across it?

    1. Hi Muhd,

      You’re not the first person who ask me about Raiz. I think it’s a cool way to automate investment. But honestly right, I don’t think investing spare change is enough for any substantial savings goal at all. How much can the average person invest per month with that method. RM10? RM20? I’ll try it out because curious, but more for fun rather than anything serious

      1. You can set recurring deduction for Raiz as well. I did set daily recurring + spare changes & it is good for DCA.

  3. I’m trying out the Raiz app – and it is quite fun! The feeling when you open the app is the same as you korek-korek the bottom of your handbag/jeans pocket and found 5/10 bucks there.

    Not gonna help you get far in the investment journey lah, for sure. But since I hardly ever use cash now, Raiz has become my new “tabung syiling”. Oh and it’s a good platform to try out all the money saving challenges (like those 52-week challenge etc).

    1. Oh I love this! I’m glad you’re having fun with it! And being very realistic with the investment part too.

      All the best with your money saving challenge Bee!

    2. Hi Ms.Suraya, it’s been a great reading on the financial management, & investment. Of those mutual fund managers (FSMOne, Public Mutual, ManuLife, etc), which would advise on?

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