This article is dedicated to everyone who ever uttered the phrase: ‘I can’t afford housing in Malaysia, it’s so expensive!‘
Which, if I’m honest, is the majority of you, at one point or another. It’s one of your favourite complaints. The default, almost.
(You are right though. It is expensive, especially in Kuala Lumpur and Penang. According to Khazanah Research Institute, property prices in Malaysia is ‘severely unaffordable’ at 4.4 times the median annual household income in 2014. A more acceptable range is 3x.)
(Having said that, Malaysia’s housing market is nowhere near as bad as the Top 10 most unaffordable locations globally. Hong Kong is 20.9 times (!!!) the median annual household income as of 2018)
But still, ok, just because we’re not the worst doesn’t mean the situation is good for us. What can you do if you can’t afford the housing in Malaysia? What are your options when it comes to living situation?
Here are some alternatives.
#1 – Pick one: A Just-OK place in the city OR A Great place far from the city
It all started when I posted this on Ringgit Oh Ringgit’s Facebook and Twitter page:
It got some pretty freaking amazing answers. Rather than losing them forever in social media, I thought I’d compile them and turn it into unpopular opinions: money edition-article. Thank you so much for everyone who gave me permission to post their answers here.
Here are some unpopular opinions about money, in no particular order:
#1 – ASB and EPF will no longer deliver high returns
Confession: I entered the zero waste world a few years ago for its money-saving potential.
It’s been great. The communities are helpful, warm, encouraging. I had fun testing and trying out new lifestyle changes inspired from members of the zero waste community, sustainable living community, low impact community and so on. Among others, they encouraged me to:
include more plants and grains in my diet,
use a menstrual cup,
carry my reusable water bottle when going out,
keep used coffee grounds to use as fertiliser,
significantly reduce my fast-fashion shopping,
and even helped me stay smoke-free (no more cigarette butts waste!)
I know. I didn’t believe it at first. Just stared at that text for a long time, digesting what just happened. And that’s not the only donation I received too. Including this amount, I can safely say that I’ve recovered all upfront costs, and then some.
To show you my gratitude, I would like to break down the details and behind-the-scenes of selling online in Malaysia in this article. My product is a book but you can apply the knowledge to anything else. Hope it’ll be useful for you, for your own ecommerce shop (now or future).
#1 – Calculating cost price – Beyond the printing cost
I’d like to introduce to you one of my favourite books in the world, New Aging: Live smarter now to live better forever by Matthias Hollwich with Bruce Mau Design. Found it at the Big Bad Wolf Booksale some years back for RM12. One of the best purchases I ever made.
New Aging is a guidebook to optimising how we live, how to design our lifestyle so that we encourage lifelong happiness, productivity and self-development. I used to fear the ageing process (as we all), but this book helped me reframe that thinking, and even develop a positive attitude towards it.
If you love personal finance as a topic but have not explored Malaysian Twitter yet, do I have a treat for you today.
Following my popular personal finance Instagrammers in Malaysia article, I thought I’d compile the Twitter version pulak. Here are some Malaysia-based personal finance Twitter accounts you definitely should follow.
Note that I have intentionally excludedother personal finance thought leaders in Malaysia who don’t use Twitter as their main engagement channel (bloggers, Instagrammers etc). I also exclude Twitter accounts maintained by finance-related companies and media.
This names in this list links directly to their Twitter accounts and appear in no particular order. If I missed out anyone, do let me know (or leave a comment with a link to the profile!)
One of my biggest fears in life is being forced to work to cover my living costs when I’m old and in pain. This article interviews people who are exactly in that situation.
Read the article, then note how you feel. For me, it was fear, helplessness and renewed motivation to work my ass off while I’m still young – in that order. If I have this much time to plan, I don’t have any excuse for letting the worst-case-scenario happen to me, do I?