Link Roundup #12: 10 Things to Know This Week

Accelerate your personal finance knowledge with this regular feature on Ringgit Oh Ringgit – the Link Roundup! I promise you’ll find these 10 links informational 🙂

1. That 1% Fee Impact – Mutual Funds vs Investing on your own – DividendMagic

When it comes to mutual funds and unit trusts, always follow this golden rule – the less fees, the better.

Those of you with mutual funds/unit trusts with 3% fees or more. You might want to check out this article. You’re losing way too much. A ridiculous amount.

I just checked my own portfolio. I have ASB (0.35% per annum management fee) and a PRS fund (1.5% per annum management fee). Both should be okay, since for the latter I got RM500 free from gomen (it’s RM1000 free now for under 30 years old) and up to RM3000 in tax rebate too.

(Out of curiosity. Those of you who took mutual funds and unit trusts by popular fund managements companies like Kenanga and Public Mutual. How much do they charge as management fee?)

EDIT: I’ve heard anecdotes that you can call them up to nego and reduce your management fees down to 2%. Worth a try if your fee now damn high and you don’t want to stop contributing there.

2. Can A No Spend Month Actually Help You? – Making Sense of Cents

I’ve deliberated about going on a no-spend month forever. But you know what? I don’t think I will, because my ‘unnecessary purchases’ is just a mere 5% of my total spending. I know this because I checked my spending data and dissected everything I technically ‘didn’t need’ in this article.

BUT. For those of you struggling with impulse spending, consider taking this money challenge for yourself. Making Sense of Cents is one of the top personal finance blogs in the world and her advice to get started with no spend month in the article is really, really good.

3. Your Idea of Being Rich Is Probably Wrong – Mr-Stingy

Love all the points Mr Stingy made in this article. #4 is my favourite – ‘living “rich” ironically makes you poorer’. Yep, it sure does.

Personally, I am salty towards:

  • ‘Rich’-looking celebrities and influencers who posts bundles of money, expensive cars, branded luxury items etc in their social media
  • Articles glorifying the ‘the most expensive ever [product]’, which most of the time is simply product + tons of precious stones/metals/expensive ingredients
  • People and media who preach about the importance of having ‘this season’s must-have items’ and make you feel less for not keeping up with the trends
  • Anything that promotes excessive consumption, generally speaking

But hey. Your money. Not my place to tell you what to do and how to spend it. I judge only.

4. These Are the 27 Coolest Products of 2018 – Inc

Finding this article with list of products cool because they’re ranked by (company) growth.

Taking the top spot, PopSockets’ growth was 71,423.8%. Holy cow. The rest don’t even come close. The No 2 product (Brooklinen)’s growth was an amazing 9,154.2% but still that looks minuscule in comparison!

(I can’t recall PopSockets taking off in Malaysia though. Can you? Does that mean a wave is coming soon?)

(Btw this is how they look like)

5. Swearing on social media really could cost you your job – World Economic Forum

To be fair, not just swearing. Here’s everything else you post on social media that affects your employability.

So… yeah. Express yourself, sure. But know that others are watching (and judging).

6. I’ve saved nearly $270,000 at age 28, and I’m convinced the key to growing your net worth is spending less on 3 things – Business Insider / The Money Wizard

The three biggest expenses are housing, transportation and food.

I wrote a whole article about spending less on these categories for PropertyGuru. The article is for saving money for a downpayment, but it works for saving money in general I think. Read it here.

7. I Paid Off $202,000 in Debt in Seven Years Using These 4 Behavioral Psychology Tricks – Time

The four behavioural psychology tricks Joshua Holt used to pay off his debts are:

  • Visualising debt by hanging paper chain in his house, with each chain representing $1000. Each time he made payments, he tore off a portion
  • Adjusting his tax withholding to receive one large refund during tax season instead of more money in his paycheck each month (not applicable to us?)
  • Paying himself a salary first and putting the rest into a Vanguard account (US-based investing platform)
  • Timing his last loan payment to Christmas Day (article doesn’t explain how this trick helped)

I like the idea of implementing behavioural psychology tricks for myself and testing it out. One of it is ‘paying yourself first’, which I’ve never managed to do myself. I think I’ll add this as a financial goal to accomplish before 2019.

Do you psycho yourself in any way to make your financial life better? How?

8. 20 Useful WooCommerce WordPress Plugins for Your Online Business – HongKiat

30% of ALL websites in the world are powered by WordPress. (Ringgit Oh Ringgit also uses the WordPress platform. Big fan.)

Within the WordPress ecosystem, WooCommerce is the undisputed plugin-of-choice for ecommerce platforms.

WooCommerce is so popular there are other plugins that are designed to specifically work with that plugin.

This article lists 20 of those plugins and what they do to make running your online business easier. Handy to know and bookmark if you ever plan to open a WordPress-based online shop.

9. Bulk of salary goes to repaying debts – The Star

Note: the headline would be more accurate if it reads ‘Bulk of salary of Malaysia’s civil servants goes to repaying debts’, because the article is about them specifically.

Based on the article, which drew conclusions from BNM’s Financial Stability Review titled “Civil Servants’ Debt: Risks and Policy Considera­tions”, it doesn’t seem like civil servants in Malaysia have good financial habits. Consider these findings:

  • 97% of civil servants had some form of borrowings. The study, which covered 1.26 million out of 1.6 million civil servants, comprising permanent federal government employees and police
  • They spend more than half of their monthly salaries repaying debts, and this is ‘more apparent in those earning less than RM5,000 monthly (about two-thirds of the civil servants)
  • Almost half of the borrowings or 47% are for consumption purposes such as personal financing, motor vehicles, credit cards and others. This is higher than the national average of 35%. Housing debts account for 49% of civil servants’ debts.
  • Personal financing has been one of the major contributors to debt accumulation by civil servants, amounting to 34% of their total debt compared to the national level of 15%
  • The debt repayment capacity of civil servants remained lower than the average borrowers at the national level. As at end-February this year, the total outstanding civil servants debt stood at RM236bil, equivalent to 20% of total household debt or 17% of the GDP. This is higher than levels observed in 2012 at 18% of total household debt or 15% of the GDP.

Here’s what I understand.

  • Almost all Malaysian civil servants borrow money. About half of that is for housing debt (understandable; no issues here), but another half is for consumption? As in, for cars, credit cards, and other personal financing? What?
  • And even with the lower interest rates that they get from the banks, their repayment capacity is LOWER than average borrowers??

What is going on with Malaysian civil servants? Is there a widespread ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ culture in the system itself? Is being part of Malaysian civil servant changing their financial management habits for the worse?

Or am I looking at it the other way around, and people who are not great with financial management are attracted to civil servant posts in the first place? If yes, why?

I care about this issue. On an individual level, debt brings stress. Stress affects productivity. Reduced levels of productivity affect the nation.

10. You’ll Never Get Rich Playing Defense With Your Money – Entrepreneur

Like the author, I was also ‘raised on the “defence of finances” strategy’. When money is tight, my first instinct is to cut down on expenses.

Nothing wrong with that, of course. But I would be so preoccupied with trying out different saving money strategies that I completely abandon my offence – strategies to earn more money.

Playing offence doesn’t come naturally to me. To be completely honest, I still struggle with the idea that there is money out there for me, and all I have to do is find ways to get it. I find the author’s three-step plan refreshingly simple and easy to understand.


That’s it for this round, catch you next time! Want to submit a link you thought was great? Reach out to me on FB or Twitter.

To read past link roundups, please click here.

Author

8 comments

  1. Quote, “I have ASB (0.35% per annum management fee)” unquote.
    ASB charges fee? How did you figured that out? Is that detailed out in the statements?

  2. Hi Suraya,

    Nice link round up! Anyway, article no. 6 really hit at my hidung. Transportation is MY biggest expense. Dang. It doesn’t help when I’m currently living in Batu Caves and work at Shah Alam. Been trying to look around for a room but I’m so choosy I don’t want to live with students lol so now I’m having a hard time to find one that fits my “specs” i.e. low rent, non-students roommates, nearby my workplace.

    As for psycho-ing myself, I saw someone posted a quote on Instagram last time i.e. A wise man once said: “Let’s say your t-shirt is $24 and you get paid $8 an hour, you are wearing 3 hours of your life”. So, since then, whenever I want to purchase something especially expensive stuff, I’ll calculate as per aforementioned. And I will be like, wutttt?? I need to work XX hours per day to get this XXXX?? This really works whenever I suddenly have the impulse of buying dUCk limited edition scarve (not sure if you’ve heard of that local brand. But I’m stupid sometimes, got sucked into their marketing and ALMOST bought a RM300 scarve and failed *sigh*)

    1. Hi Nisa,

      Lol at ‘hit at my hidung’ hahahahahahhaha first time heard that phrase

      Batu Caves to Shah Alam daily? Ooof that’s tough. Omg good luck on your search. Shah Alam market can be brutal, but it’s a really nice place to live! Of course I’m biased cos I grew up there haha

      I heard about the cost-of-item-vs-time-spent-working too! It really helps. Hey don’t beat yourself up too hard, they’re really good at creating desire! At least you didn’t buy what?

  3. About no.9 Suraya, I think because being in government means stability in position and increment every year, even though it is a small one.

  4. Thanks for the heads-up. I asked because I never realized that PNB charged that fee before. If I recall correctly the fee is not mentioned in the ASB annual statement even-though units were traded during the financial year.

  5. Thanks for the heads-up. I asked because I never realized that PNB charged that fee before. If I recall correctly the fee is not mentioned in the ASB annual statement even-though units were traded during the past financial year.

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