For some reason, the government thinks letting people access their own retirement savings is a solution to be proud of and proof of their competency, so okay let’s roll with that and collectively pretend that it is so we don’t hurt their feelings.
The first part of the article will show you the steps to withdraw money from EPF i-Sinar Online, while the second half of the article will give you my unsolicited advice on the best ways to use the money. Let’s go:
Part 1 – How to Withdraw Money from EPF i-Sinar Online
Step 1: Submit your request
Go to https://isinar.kwsp.gov.my/ and click on ‘Permohonan Baharu’ before 30 June 2021.
Step 2: Select Amount
If you have RM100,000 or less in Account 1, you are only allowed to withdraw up to RM10,000.
If you have more than RM100,000, you can withdraw up to 10% of your account balance with a maximum cap of RM60,000.
Step 3: Select Payment Schedule
The amount you selected in Step 2 will be disbursed in 6 monthly instalments. Choose how much you want to get in the first month’s payment, and the amounts in months 2-6 will be updated automatically.
Step 4: Fill up your details and bank account information and wait for the money to arrive
Fill up a short form and tell them where you want the money deposited and you’re done! All you have to do now is wait for the money to arrive.
At any point, you can always go back to https://isinar.kwsp.gov.my/ to check the status of your application, edit your payment schedule or even cancel the request.
Okay, so now you have the money. What happens next? What do you use it for? Here comes…
Part 2 – 8 Best Uses for EPF i-Sinar Money, Ranked
Here are the 8 best uses for your EPF i-Sinar money, ranked from best to meh. If you *have* to take your own retirement money out, then use it to:
#1 – Get out of dangerous or abusive situations
If your partner, parents or guardians have been giving you physical, mental or financial abuse, then use the EPF i-Sinar money to save yourself.
This also applies to abusive employers.
#2 – Pay off credit card debt
Don’t skip your credit card payments any longer. Not only you’re paying a lot in credit card fees, you’re also going to eff up your credit score. Later when you want to buy house or whatever, you might get worse rates, if at all.
Getting bad rates for house loan aka mortgage is a bigger deal than you think. Because the amount you need to borrow is huge (at least six figures), a difference of even 0.1% can effectively mean you’ll be paying thousands extra, for nothing!
#3 – Pay off personal loan
For same reason as #2.
#4 – Get your health concerns sorted out
Awesome, you are not in any immediate danger and have no high-interest debt left. Now let’s focus on your health.
Get your recurring headache or weird lumps and bumps checked out. Buy your supply of prescription pills in advance. Speak to someone about your mental health.
Health is wealth is cliché, but true. Speaking of health..
#5 – Fix those things that are already causing you pain/may cause you pain in the *short* term
You suffer from back pain? Get a better mattress and/or a comfortable work chair.
Your car tyres are getting worn out and you drive around a lot for work/travel? Get new car tyres.
Walking hurts? Get a new pair of quality shoes.
The general rule is, if it keeps you from off the ground, it’s worth the money.
#6 – Decide how much you want to allocate as ‘fun’ money
Okay, so by this point, you’re feeling good about yourself. You went through #1-5 and done all the ‘responsible’ things. It’s time to reward yourself with the amount left over!
But you also know the importance of saving up for rainy day and don’t want to spend all your EPF i-Sinar money, hmm…
Now is a good time to have that internal discussion with yourself on the maximum amount you’ll give yourself for ‘fun’ spending. You know, for clothes, gadgets, food, socialising, whatever.
If its RM100 per month, it’s RM100 per month. If its RM500, it’s RM500. Up to you, you know yourself best.
(Side note: It’s better to give yourself a small allocation rather than NO allocation. You’re human, it’s natural to desire stuff and experiences. Plus it’s better to allow yourself to be happy while appreciating small pleasures rather than blaming yourself for failing to keep to a strict budget)
#7 – While hunting for deals, put that money in other savings-earmarked accounts first
While you do your deal-hunting research to get the items/experiences you want, it’s a good idea to put your EPF i-Sinar money elsewhere and not in your *main* bank accounts.
One – you’re less tempted to make impulse purchases ‘just because the money is there’.
Two – maybe the money can even grow a little bit while you decide what to spend on.
#8 – Find opportunities to make money
Some of you may have skipped #1-7 altogether. You’re like, no Suraya! The money is not for anything frivolous! All I care about is GROWING it!
Alright okay okay I gotcha. I don’t understand why you need to use EPF i-Sinar money for this but fine.
Generally speaking, there are 3 main ways to make money: (1) earning more through your day job, (2) earn through side hustles, and (3) investing.
If you’re leaning towards (1), then read this: 3 Ways to Get A High Salary in Malaysia
If you’re leaning towards (2), then read articles under the Earning Money category. You can rent out your car, monetise your hobby, organise a workshop and more.
If you’re leaning towards (3), then read articles under the Investing category.
Generally speaking, using the gains/profits from your work (1+2) to funnel into investing (for the long term) is the best strategy.
That should be it. I won’t insult your intelligence by telling you not to get this or that, you big already. I wish you all the best in growing your income so you can replenish your retirement savings as soon as you can.
If you’re a Muslim, find out if you need to pay zakat on the i-Sinar money (tl;dr, if Covid-19 caused you to lose your source of income or if you NEED the money to live, you don’t have to).
Are you planning to withdraw your EPF i-Sinar money?
If yes, what do you plan to use it for? If no, what convinced you? Let me know in the comments!