I bet many of you want to improve your finances and have a great financial life in 2023. It’s a pretty common goal, for obvious reasons.
In the spirit of new year, new me, let’s do that, but with a slight consumerism twist – here are some things you can buy that can assist you with this goal.
Why do it this way? Because, hopefully you can prioritise these purchases BEFORE you get other stuff. I want you to go, hmm I feel like shopping, what can I buy, hey why not get something from Suraya’s list.
#1 – Insurance/Takaful
Cost: RMxx-RMxxx per month
I’m going to put this one out of the way first. Buy yourself protection products.
There are many types of insurance/takaful you can get. Here are some that are relevant to most people:
- Life insurance/takaful
- Personal accident (PA)
- Critical illness (CI)
- Medical insurance (medical card)
- Home insurance (if you own one)
- Car insurance (if you own one)
- Travel insurance (if you travel)
If finances are tight, you can check out the options under Best Insurance and Takaful in Malaysia for B40 and M40 On A Budget.
#2 – Financial Planning session(s)
Cost: RMxxx – RMxxxx
If you skimmed past insurance and takaful section a bit too fast and don’t have concrete plans to buy or re-review your current plans (you should review them every few years or so), I highly recommend you hire a financial planner to get it done, instead of getting through agents or direct platforms.
There’s nothing wrong with agents or direct platforms, but if the idea of researching and comparing protection plans yourself stress you out, then financial planners are your solution. Financial planners are product-agnostic – they can mix and match different plans from different companies based on what you can realistically afford.
Not just that, they will also take a look at your overall financial life: your investments (are you overpaying in sales charges?), your portfolio diversification, your cashflow, your retirement planning and more.
I personally spent over RM10k to complete the Certified Financial Planning course, but that’s a bit of an overkill. You can simply find and hire financial planners for a few hundred to a few thousand.
No, seriously. I was super into DIY financial planning but even I am convinced and I bought sessions for my partner. For more info, read my 4 Places to Find A Financial Planner in Malaysia.
#3 – Get job coaching services
To be honest, it is likely that your financial planner will bring up your debt and/or lack of retirement savings.
And while they may be able to find strategies to reduce/restructure your loan amount and/or give retirement planning tips, the only way to tackle these problems head-on is by earning more income and reducing commitments. And to do that, you need a high-paying job.
If you don’t already have a high-paying job and are convinced they don’t exist, browse through MalaysianPayGap Instagram. You will see that high-paying jobs are available in Malaysia (and beyond) in many industries.
Of course, it is not easy to get these jobs. You’ll face competition. But you can improve your odds by getting:
- Resume Writing /Editing Service
- Job Interview Coaching Service
- Career coaches
- and more
Learn more in the Things to Do to Get the Best Jobs in Malaysia, Regardless of Your Industry article
#4 – Estate-Planning consultation
You’ve heard of how important it is to prepare a will, yes? Get on with it. Depending on your situation and religion, you may need to do a combination of these documents: will, wasiat, hibah and trust.
Here are some articles I’ve written on the subject:
- The Exact Steps to Do Hibah Amanah ASNB – Estate Planning for ASNB Investors
- Everything You Need to Know About Hibah Takaful, from a Non-Agent
- Wasiat, Hibah, Trust: 3 Tools to Circumvent Faraid / Islamic Inheritance Laws in Malaysia
Otherwise, you can also ask your financial planner to help you with this.
#5 – Buy credit report(s)
Cost: RM1x.xx – RM2x.xx. They’re not expensive
If you plan to buy a house in the near future, then I highly recommend you to find out your credit score.
I’ve tried 2 out of the 3 credit report services in Malaysia. Check out Comparing Credit Reports in Malaysia: Experian Credit Report vs CTOS Credit Report article to see their similarities and differences.
#6 – Buy Dark Web tracking tools
Cost: RM31.80-RM63.60 (check the page – may have promo codes)
You know the financial scams that happen to people? That’s because scammers found and bought their info on the dark web. And chances are… your info is already leaked.
You can sign up to get alerts if/when your info is used for fradulent activities via dark web tracking tools, like the one offered from MyCreditInfo. There are 2 plans, TrackMyID and JagaMyID (includes credit report). Starting from RM31.80 per year, they’re extremely affordable.
Here’s how you can check if your personal email or number has been compromised in the dark web (and from where)
#7 – Buy books
Cost: Free (borrow) – RMxx (buy)
*Note: I consider courses etc falls under this category too, not just books exclusively
Of course you know you should continue learning, but not just personal finance. You should read different types of books:
- Personal finance books (obviously – budgeting, investing, mindset, property, etc)
- Marketing and advertising books (learn what companies do to sell stuff to you)
- Psychology books (learn how your own mind works)
- Cooking books (how to cook cheaper and healthier in less time)
- Home maintenance books (learn how to fix and maintain things for longer)
- Home organisation books (the less you search for stuff missing in your own home, the less you buy)
- Spiritual books (religion or even things like mindfulness and minimalism – so you know the concept of ‘enough’)
- Business and industry books (in your line of work or otherwise)
- Fiction books (develop your emotional intelligence – ‘smarts’ alone won’t get you far in life)
- And more. Just read whatever you’re curious about
#8 – Medical and dental checks
Cost: RM1 (KKM) – RMxxxx
Get your yearly medical and dental checkup done -> avoid potentially big medical bills in the future.
For medical checks, you are eligible for tax relief too! This means your tax owed will be (slightly) reduced.
Related: Learn about taxes in the This Income Tax Calculator Shows What You Owe LHDN article
##9 – Financial Behaviour Report
Cost: RM49 (Single); RM99 (Couple)
Instead of self-analysing your own financial behaviour, why not take a professional tool to help with the assessment? This is what I did via the Financial Behaviour Report tool.
You can read my experience and what I gleamed from my own report in the 5 Things I Learned from My Financial Behaviour Report article.
Tip: If you’re in a relationship, I HIGHLY SUGGEST you and your partner buy the Financial Behaviour Report for Couple. It will reveal so much about you and your partner’s financial mindset!
Personally, the financial behavior comparison report was one of the most helpful things for me to understand my partner and strengthened my marriage! We could really see areas that we’re similar and different.
What else can one buy to have a great financial life?
I’ve compiled these 7 items that someone can buy to help them achieve a great financial life, but I can’t help to wonder if I missed anything else.
Any ideas? What would you add to the list?
I also want to know, how many of the above do you consistently purchase? Leave a comment, would love to hear from you 🙂
P/s – If you want to get someone a practical gift, getting something from this list is not a bad idea. Personally I’d love it.