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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Summary on FY2013

In less than 24 hours, we will be entering the year 2014 and so it is time again for us to reflect on the annual financial goal and how we are doing in terms of achieving the financial goal.

I have posted my financial resolution for the year 2013, in the beginning of the year and for the year 2013, I have set a rather cautious outlook on the global equities - thus, I'm targeting about 10% equities growth and true enough my total local equity growth is about slightly more than 10%, which is within my financial goal target, and in fact it is in almost in line with the local stocks growth. There are some increase in other area especially cash allocation for local equities and the growth in oversea stocks portfolio.

Existing housing loan is reduced periodically, while I've finally settled the education loan, PTPTN in order to enjoy the 20% discount. A major purchased done through the end of the year, in which I'm hoping to have it finalized within the first quarter in 2014 so that I can plan ahead the budget throughout the year.



Overall, it's been quite an eventful year for 2013 for me, at least, having settled one of the loan; while committing to another major purchase. The year 2014 is expected to be way more challenging, given the way our Government rationalizing the subsidies while the pay is expected to be about the same.

Friday, December 20, 2013

2014: Increased expenses

Well, like it or not....2014 is the year for increased expended....a 15% increase in electricity bill, increase in tolls, LRT, sugar etc...

It is probably one of those time when the Rakyat asked the question....what about my salary?

I think this story best sum up how Malaysians feel about 2014...

A bit of laughter and humor on this is good...after all, whether we like it or not, 2014 is going to be a year where your expenses go up even though you try to tighten your belt.

 

 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Ways to Save Money In the Midst Of Rising Cost of Living

The last few post from the blog mentioned that you have been warned regarding the Malaysia's electricity tariff hike and with just about half month to go before 2014 when the thing happens, let us figure out ways to save money. While doing so, I come across the article from The Star and the article is really suitable for the current situation that is faced by most Malaysians.



The article is about the unconventional money savers and talk about cutting cost - by all means which include unconventional method. The article is as follows:-

FUEL prices are up. Electricity tariffs are rising. In a nutshell, the cost of living is being elevated. Many of us, in our attempts to be frugal, will tighten our belts.
Naturally, there are many ways of doing this. The following are some obvious, though not necessarily conventional methods to cut down your costs.

Unplug
According to ABC.com, certain home appliances and electronics will continue to use power even when they’re switched off. It estimates that 10% of the average home electricity bill comes from the energy used by these products, which are popularly called “energy vampires.”

“The only way to completely prevent such appliances from using standby power – that is, drawing on the energy supply even after they’re turned off – is to unplug them.”
According to ABC.com, such products include those that typically have standby power use, such as a remote control, external power supply, digital display, LED status light, or digital clock, a battery charger or a soft-touch key-pad.

Paint it white
According to an article in The New York Times, painting your roof white can actually reduce air-conditioning costs by 20% or more in hot, sunny weather.

“Lower energy consumption also means fewer of the carbon dioxide emissions that contribute to global warming. What is more, a white roof can cost as little as 15% more than its dark counterpart, depending on the materials used, while slashing electricity bills,” it says.

Freeze it
Contrary to popular belief, the freezer in your fridge can be used for more than just preserving food. According to apartmenttherapy.com, a website that provides interior design tips and ideas, the lifespan of candles can be almost doubled if they are placed in the freezer for a day before using them.

“Chilling the wax gives it a bit longer before burning through and leaving you with an empty jar. For some candles this will also cause them to drip less and burn straight down without burning through the side of the candle.

“Although this isn’t a life-altering tip, nice candles can be pricey and making them last a little longer might mean you get to purchase them in the first place, or purchase them more often, or possibly more like all those tables in the magazines that seem to be loaded up with flickering wicks,” it says.
Battery life can also be extended when stored in the freezer, according to how-to website, lifehacker.com.

“A number of studies have shown that storing batteries in the freezer helps them retain their charge longer.

“This is less true for alkaline batteries (freezing extends their shelf life by only about 5%) than it is for NiMH (nickel–metal hydride) or and Nicad batteries often used in electronics. Keeping NiMH batteries in the freezer can boost battery life by 90%.”

Citing battery-centric site GreenBatteries, lifehacker.com says alkaline batteries stored at room temperature tend to self discharge at a rate of less than 2% per year.

Normally refrigerating or freezing them will only help maintain their charge by a tiny amount. Hardly worth the effort of chilling them. However, if alkaline batteries are stored at higher temperatures they will start to lose capacity much quicker.

At 85 degrees Fahrenheit, they only lose about 5% per year, but at 100 degrees they lose 25% per year. If you live in a very hot climate or are storing your batteries in a very hot location, it may be worthwhile for you to store your alkaline batteries in a refrigerator instead.

Flush it less
While not related to electricity cost, flushing your toilet regularly can add to your monthly water bill.
A popular (though probably not regularly followed) tongue-in-cheek adage on when to flush your toilet immediately comes to mind: “If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down.”

According to Mother Nature Network (MNN), an environmental and social responsibility online network, the average person urinates six times a day, which is about 7.6 gallons flushed.

“That equals 2,774 gallons per year to dispose of just 171 gallons of urine. The average person defecates about once per day, and if that were the only occasion you flushed, it would equal 584 gallons of water, saving 2,190 gallons. If a household of four followed this flushing rule, they would save 8,760 gallons of water a year.”

However, not flushing can be considered as a very unhygienic, unappealing practice by many (if not most). MNN does go on to note that there is an aversion by many people to looking at urine.
“Then there is the more serious concern about toilet bowl cleanliness. True, “letting it mellow” increases the rate at which a toilet bowl becomes scummy.

However, in many households, the toilets are brushed at least once a week (hopefully) anyway, and so there is no chance for significant scum to build up.

 However, for the purpose of this “money-saving” tip, it is suggested that one should definitely consider the hygienic practicality first before the financial implications that come with flushing (or not flushing) your toilet.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Understanding GST

We have been talking about GST for a while now and with the implementation set to be in 2015, a lot of Malaysians are starting to worry about the impact that it has upon the country.

While the Goods and Service Tax (GST) has a lot of positive wealth impact that was lauded by a lot of experts in the economy, common folks in Malaysia still worry about the negative impacts on the livelihood and affordability of the Rakyat.

Before we move to talk about the pros and cons of GST,

what is GST in the first place?

GST is a consumption tax that is imposed on goods and services at every stage of the supply chain, which typically begins at the manufacturing stage and ends at the retail stage.

GST is based on the “valued-added” concept to avoid duplication in tax collected.

Here is a simple scenario of how the implementation of GST will look like, assuming we take the 10% tax rate.

A) Let's say we take a manufacturer of dairy product. The manufacturer of dairy product will have to buy from the supplier....for example, at RM1 to manufacture the dairy product. Under the GST system the manufacturer paid RM1 and RM0.10(GST), where the RM0.10 is collected for the government.

B) The manufacturer will charge the retailer RM3 and a RM0.30(GST), where the RM0.30 will be collected for the government.

C) After that, the retailer which sells the product to the end user (consumers) at RM5 and a RM0.50 is charged as GST to be given to the government.

After the numerous stages, we can see how the GST add up as a collection of tax for the government.

The next question that comes to mind:

how different is the GST from the current tax system (Sales Tax and Service Tax, SST).

For many people who know and follow about the development of the GST in the country, one will know that it is not a new tax charged on the Rakyat but rather, a replacement to the SST system.

There are two key parts in this tax system, one of is the goods while the other the service. For goods tax, it is normally at 10% and the tax is normally priced into the product price while 6% is charged on the service and is indicated in the receipt.

GST Impact on the prices of goods

There are a few scenarios that we have to look at when we talk about how the impact will be on the prices of goods as there are no straightforward answer. Here are the few scenarios by taking the announced 6% rate.

Scenario 1:

Paying 6% more for certain products that were previously not tax under the SST system. With the GST system, there will be wider range of products/services that are covered.

Scenario 2:

Paying less for the products that were also tax under the SST system for goods and services.

Scenario 3:

Paying the same amount for products previously taxed under the service tax (6%) but not the goods or when the products/services are not covered in both the GST and SST.

Scenario 4:

Paying more because at every stage of the supply chain, there is an increase of products/range and companies that will be charged with the GST system.

In conclusion, there is a risk of the GST implementation that leads to an increase in prices but it is not in a universal manner.

No doubt, concern over the impact of the GST implementation is understandable but given the examples from country like Singapore, there is every reason to be optimistic and confident that GST might just be the right step for Malaysians.

However, the obvious concern here is to make sure that businesses do not take advantage of just the fact that GST has been introduced as a reason to raise prices of goods and services indiscriminately. To this end, the Anti-Profiteering Act has been tabled to enable enforcement against such practices. In theory though, the multi-stage tax nature of the GST should allow the Customs department to aggregate pricing information far more accurately than they do currently, the implied monitoring of this should serve as a deterrent to unscrupulous businesses.

 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Is Medical Insurance important?


So, how many of you have a medical insurance? 

Probably it doesn't mean much to you when you are young but looking at the statistic above, I think there is every reasons for us to start planning while we are young. 

We are thankful that medical fees inflation is second to the college tuition and fees but it's still at a big figure....a forecast of 607% increase in comparison to 1978. Well, you probably argue that it's in so many years...but you may compare the increase in medical fees to the average income.


The increase of the medical cost is way more than the increase of household income. The data shown until year 2010. 

Well, for those of you who have no clue about medical insurance, here is a simple explanation of it.

Medical Insurance functions as a form of protection to cover unforeseen expenses arising from illness, injury or accidents – which can be very expensive, especially if hospitalisation and / or surgery is required. 



Getting the right Medical Insurance also ensures that you won’t have to fret about the cost of seeking treatment during an emergency. In addition, it also provides you with a stream of income while you undergo treatment. There are 4 major types of medical policies:

  • Medical Card/Health Card – covers hospitalization and surgical benefits
  • 36 Critical Illness or Dread Diseases Insurance – a lump sum benefit
  • Disability Income Insurance – stream of income when you are unable to work
  • Hospital Income Insurance – provides a specified sum of money on a daily, weekly or monthly basis if you are being treated in a hospital

What to do when purchasing a policy?

1) Do your research and find out what policies are available out there.

2) Shortlist a few policies from different insurance companies and ask your agents to compare the differences in the policies. Don't worry about having to know a few different agents from different insurance companies. It is your right to find out what's best for you.

3) Once you have decided on a policy, decide on the sum insured and make sure the premium amount is a figure you are comfortable with.

4) Read and understand the terms and conditions of your policy before signing on the dotted line. To help policyholders better understand the policies, Bank Negara Malaysia has directed a move towards standardisation of terms used in policies to reduce confusion among policyholders.

Things to look out for

definitions and limitations to payment of benefits
how a disability is defined
how soon after a claim can one claim again
special provisions (succeeding policyholder after the first policyholder dies to avoid the hassle of declaring their health again)
does the policy have guaranteed renewability – to ensure protection is available throughout and premiums are maintained despite recent diagnosis of illness.

Purchasing a health insurance policy has become more of a need than a want in today’s society. Yet, a fraction of people are still skeptical about buying medical insurance after hearing stories of people who face difficulties claiming against a policy after a surgery or medical treatment.

That is why it helps to understand what your health insurance policy covers and how you can make the most of it. Choosing the right insurance company will also help ensure smooth claim process, when the need arises.



Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Malaysia’s electricity tariff hike...YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

ELECTRICITY TARIFF HIKE...YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!


Well, if you have not heard the news, then it's time to tune into it...because beginning in January 2014, electricity tariff in the country will rise by around 15%. 

It is not a standard increase...but the average is about 15%. In the Peninsular Malaysia, the increase is about 14.86% while it is about 17% for Sabah and Labuan. 

In Peninsular Malaysia, the rate will be about 38.53sen/kWh from the current average rate of about 33.54sen/kWh while Sabah and Labuan will seen an increase from 29.52 sen per kWh to 34.52sen per kWh. The Sarawak state will not be affected by the rate though, as the electricity supply in the state is operated by state-run company, Sarawak Energy.

Of course, not all is bad news as those who use below 300kWh a month will not be affected. So, if your monthly electric bill is about RM77, you will not be affected. So, try to stay below this and you will be okay. 

check out the new rate

Well, there are of course valid reasons for us as Malaysians to be upset with this increase...here are the justification for the increase:

I read this from The Star Online...

The Government cannot continue to subsidise increasing fuel prices. The country needs to move from blanket to targeted subsidies as it tends to result in an inefficient allocation of resources and, therefore, distorts the economy.

According to the 2011 International Monetary Fund (IMF) report, when low to medium-income countries apply blanket subsidies, about 46% of the energy subsidies benefit only the top 20% of society, with only 7% reaching the lowest 20% of the population.

This is because the rich generally consume higher volumes of scarce resources compared with the poor.

The consumption by the rich could almost be limitless, if the goods are too cheap. For the poor, however, their consumption is always limited, no matter how cheap a resource/good may be.

Adjustment of electricity tariffs is one of the steps to restructure subsidies into a form that is more targeted and sustainable.

And the more important question: if the rise next year 2014 will already be a burden to the consumers (Rakyat), what happened in 2015 when the GST is implemented?

As per Budget 2014, GST will be imposed on all consumers with effect from April 2015.

However, domestic consumers using 1-200 kWh per month will not be subject to the GST.

Furthermore, they will not be affected by the tariff hike from January.

Well, I guess the simple statement would be this: like it or not, the electricity hike is happening. 

And of course, the bigger concern is how will business owners pass these costs to the consumers? Increase prices? So the next question: inflation? Well, BNM sees 0.4% increase in inflation due to tariffs hike...currently, the inflation rate is at 2.8% and with this, it means the inflation rate would have just touch over 3%.

There are a lot of justification for the hike...the need to educate Malaysians on the right way to spend, to cut budget deficit, etc etc....well, probably it's just a bit too overwhelming at this point of time. First is the petrol, sugar, GST and now this hike. Are Malaysians ready? That's probably a question we are about to find out...

Anyway, there is one good news out of this, especially for those of you who bought the Tenaga Nasional Berhad stock, a big jump in the stock market...


I am not sure about you but as for me, I think it's time to plan my expenses well....the hard times are coming for sure...at least for the coming years...

Friday, November 29, 2013

10 Simple & Realistic Way to SAVE MONEY

Whether you are one of those who are struggling with monthly bills like myself or a debt-free Malaysian, here are 10 simple & realistic ways to help you SAVE MONEY. 

1) GOODBYE TO YOUR TV SUBSCRIPTION

We know that many of you have Astro at home, and it really help you to feel so much more convenient but maybe it's time to say goodbye to your TV subscription. 

GOODBYE TO TV!

Instead of making Ananda Krishnan (2nd richest in South East Asia, estimated wealth of US$11.7 billion) even richer, it is time to consider saving a little bit more for yourself. Most of the favourite tv series and movies could be watched online nowadays.And maybe, just maybe it's time to stay away from your TV and develop a healthier lifestyle at the same time. Thus, saying goodbye to your TV subscription is first on the list to start saving more money.

This will help you save about RM120 to RM200.


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Group or Bulk Purchase of Property?

We all know the importance of owning properties and how the Malaysian government tried to set certain rules and regulations to prevent an overpriced of the properties in the country. 



Well, here's the news for those of you who do not know....the new trend: a growing number of individuals and groups organizing bulk purchases of properties from developers. Bulk buying is basically an activity that allows few or many property investors to invest in a single development as a group. Most of the time when in bulk purchase, there will be additional benefits that won't be available should these individuals invest individually. 

GROUP PURCHASE OF PROPERTY

Whether it's a good strategy or not, it's up to your preference but here are some of the pros and cons in group purchase of property...

The Pros:

Normally, when you buy in bulk, you will be given discounts and additional benefits...a simple logic deduction: A lot of developers love and encourage group purchase as they can transfer their risk to the new buyers and move on to the next project. Therefore, the more you buy, the more discount you get. Here are some of the benefits that participating group purchasers can potentially enjoy:

a) Discounts



It is common to have additional discounts when many buyers buying from the same group....typical discounts can range from 1% to about 10%, depending on the number of units confirmed.

b) Easy ownership

With the increasing price of property, most fresh graduates like myself will find it difficult to own a property....but when you buy in group from a developer, most of the time, there are zero or low down-payment schemes....this helps easy ownership as one could buy property with as minimal cash as possible.

c) Early Preview

It is normal that there will be previews for the members held by the group. This early preview helps them to discuss the property and its prospects....and whether you like it or not, sometimes, they even got an early preview before the soft launch of the actual project (most of the time, this group has good connections with the developers)

d) Networking

Just as above, joining the group of property investors expand your network and sometimes even help you to know some good developers....by networking with buyers of the said development, you have the opportunity to collaborate with other investors of similar strategy and budget profiles.

THE CONS:

Here is one thing that I learned as I grow up....for everything that is good, there is always a catch, something negatives....we just got to observe. And here are some of the not so good factors when we talk about bulk purchase.

Because of the added benefits from bulk purchase, this also create and encourage careless investment decisions. Most of the time, just like in any other investment, when you are in a group, there will be a lot of false optimism and it can overshawdow any small doubt you might have. It's human nature to feel threatened and uncomfortable to go against the crowd....

So, here is to getting know some of the disadvantages of group or bulk purhase of property...take caution!

TAKE CAUTION


a) HYPE 

Well, most of the time, the group leader will tell the members of the hefty profits after investing for a few years. In today's boom, it is natural for people to get excited about investing in property...just look at how the prices soar high over the last few years....you will probably heard speeches like "guaranteed return of XXX% as soon as the property completed....etc etc....

It's not wrong to be happy about the increase in one's own investment but at times hype such as this could lead to crazy optimism. 

b) HASTE

When you are excited, it is natural that you rush for it...."BUY 1st, THINK LATER" becomes the culture when one is surrounded with such optimism and hype. There are some that even create a one day promotion such as a ONE DAY DIBS only or free iPad or any other gadgets to rush the decision, giving people little time to think...

c) DISCOUNTS AREN'T REALLY DISCOUNTS

Here are the reasons why you must start to take note when developers tell you about the discounts. 

For example, Condominium A has 3 blocks, BLOCK 1, 2 and 3. The 1st block was sold at RM500psf and it's fully sold. Then, the 2nd block was sold at RM550psf and it's also fully sold. Now, the 3rd block are being hawked at RM650psf to the group purchaser, and still has many units left as most seasoned investors probably viewed it as slightly overvalued. In order to move this 3rd block, some groups will come and negotiate with the developers, asking for discounts, say 10% discount. But even then, the group members still have to pay RM585psf, which is much more than what the block 1 and 2 buyers paid for.....therefore, they will be in an inferior position to compete with earlier buyers later. 

So, are the discounts real? Better take note of it...

d) Hefty initial cost involved to join the group

Well, most of the groups organizing bulk purchases will charge members good money just for them to participate in the event. The cost could go from RM2000 to RM8000. So, you really got to decide if it's worth it or not...


Well, I guess the information is good enough for you to make your own conclusion....by joining these groups, you might even shorten your learning curve, but be cautious. That's the advice. 

As for me, property investment is not one of my preference but it's good to keep an eye on the market....currently, I'm reading on one of Ho Chin Soon's article on one of his property tips: FOLLOW THE INFRASTRUCTURE....but that will have to wait...

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Consequences of Showing Off With Expensive Things, Which You Cannot Afford

I've read an interesting article on The Star not too long ago regarding what happens when you show-off with expensive things, but can't afford it and of course it makes sense that the consequences of showing off with expensive things which you cannot afford is debt; and in some of the more severe cases one might actually declared a bankrupt because of this.

I am sharing the following article to raise awareness among the youngsters who are not having good sense of financial management; but at the same time placing too much importance on appearing "rich" rather than really rich in net worth although the article applies to almost everyone.
 
The article is as follows:-


Placing too much importance on appearing rich can affect one’s net worth. One may want to delay self-gratification in order to build a strong financial foundation

I ONCE asked someone who looked like a million dollars on the outside but was totally broke, this question:“Is your self-worth destroying your net worth?”

Some of us have defined our self-esteem from the external things - the car we drive, the handbags we use, even the pen we write with. We want to be seen as “rich and successful” but we are secretly struggling with our finances.

Even if we are not broke, some of us have placed the external outlook of ‘looking rich’ as more important than the milestones in our lives, for instance ensuring a secure retirement or building a strong net worth that can last throughout our lifetime.
Wanting to ‘keep up with the Joneses’ maybe due to a lack of self-esteem. Those who buy things they can’t afford sense a boost in their self-confidence by having these things, particularly in the public.

Having luxurious items is fine as long as you know your net worth can sustain it and you do have a financial plan in place.

However, if it is draining your pockets, then you need to wake up and change before it is too late.
Stop placing so much importance on demonstrating socio-economic superiority.

Rather, focus on owning a strong financial foundation that can sufficiently meet your life’s goals.

Delay instant urges to gratify your self-image until you are sure your net worth says you can afford it.

If you do indeed have a self-worth issue, fulfill the void with family and meaningful relationships, a heightened appreciation for self, charitable works or even spirituality for some.

There is nothing wrong looking ‘less rich’ than others as long as you know that happiness is sourced internally and not externally.
After all, money does not buy you happiness but managing it well can get you there.

I urge you to ask your self this question now: “Which is more important: your self-worth or your net worth?”

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Money Can't Buy Me Love

It is so coincidence that just the other day I was chatting with a friend regarding financial management in the family and then yesterday The Star posted something similar to this - Money Can't Buy Me Love, which talks about financial management or planning in a family that should start as earlier as possible to prevent financial struggles. I found that the article is really interesting given that I agree with most of the points and the fact that there are many relationship which fall apart due to the mismanagement of the family finances. The article is as follows:-



Indeed, love is a many-splendored thing. When we are passionately in love, nothing really matters in the world. But when the romance settles and financial issues start to pile up, can love be thrown out of the window?

MONEY certainly can’t buy us love but it can to some extent, prevent financial struggles.

I have seen many relationships fall apart due to mismanagement of family finances.

Arguments about money can also multiply into other emotional issues.

That is why financial planning must start as early as family planning.

Couples must make time to ensure that money issues do not stand in the way of their relationship and their family goals.

In managing family finances, both partners need to be financially responsible and
accountable.

There are many instances in a marriage that one of the partners takes charge of the finances.

Usually he or she is the one with more financial knowledge and experience, the so called “Finance Minister”of the home, whilst the other partner is left tofocus on other family matters.

This sort of arrangement can be beneficial as different partners focus on different areas in their family life.

However, it is advisable that the financially astute partner shares with his better half what he or she does with the family finances so that his partner is more aware of where the family money goes to and learns to be more financially literate.

This becomes especially important in the unfortunate event where the “Home Finance Minister” passes away first or becomes unable to manage the family funds.

Many couples make the mistake of leaving the family financial matters to solely one partner and the surviving partner becomes “financially incapacitated” due to financial inexperience.

Involving your partner in the family’s finances must stretch beyond just having joint accounts to updating your partner about your loans, retirement plans, insurance policies, wills, and where important documents are kept.

If you hire a financial planner to assist you, make sure your better half is included in most of your discussions.

We have often heard that the love of money is the root of all evils.

Conversely, the lack of it can be so too.

Think about it.

Monday, September 23, 2013

The Rich Don't Save, They Borrow

As the Bank Negara Malaysa (BNM), the Malaysia Central Bank trying to tighten the borrowing rule, I’ve been read­ing a lot of arti­cles lately about ways to get out of debt, and I’m not impressed at most of the articles that I've read. It's not that the articles are bad, I just don't really agree with most of the articles. I know that most of the articles will advice on repaying debt as soon as possible and have more savings and stuff like that, which I don't really agree as we are not optimizing the money well enough.


Having said so, I don't really mean that we should go and buy lots of stuff and then finally go into bankruptcy. In my opinion, one should really have the balance between debt and cash, in order to fully optimized the money to improve the lifestyle. In fact, a lot of affluent people have certain level of debts that they are comfortable with.

To begin with, there are two kinds of debt, often called “good” debt and “bad” debt. Good debt is the money that you borrowed and spend which will in turn generate income to you. Bad debt on the other hand is money that you borrowed and spend but will not generate income to you. While many financial planners or advisers categorized property loan as good debt and vehicle loan as bad debt, I don't really agree with that. Property loan might be "bad" debt if the property don't generate income, eg. you cannot rent out the property due to no tenant while a vehicle loan might be good debt, if the vehicle can turn out to be income generator, eg. car rental.


Hav­ing no debt can be a good thing, but one will not be able to take advantage of the current low interest scenario, and for every dol­lar you save in the banks, earn­ing you less in inter­est than infla­tion and thus los­ing you money, rep­re­sents a lot of money other peo­ple can use to make more money. The bank can lend out mul­ti­ple dol­lars for every dol­lar they have stored in sav­ings.


Always do what the rich do. Even if one have the cash, I will say it will definitely be a bad idea to buy a business, real estates or even stocks full cash without leveraging the low borrowing cost provided by the banks. We always read news about whenever the rich buy busi­nesses, real estate, even stocks, they bor­row money to do it, they get grants, sub­si­dies, what­ever. They use lever­age to keep money work­ing for them. The savers empower them. Even the Sage of Omaha embrace leveraging when it comes to private-equity buyout recently - read more on Berkshire-Heinz-Deal.

Having said so, it doesn't mean to say to go all out and lever­age every­thing to buy on things that will not be generating income for us.  One has to be smart, and buy smart and make more money than you pay for that money, oth­er­wise you’ve got “bad” debt. Bad” debt makes people poor, it doesn’t mat­ter whether it is a nice car or a big screen HDTV or a bad invest­ment. People still lose money whenever a debt is categorized as bad debt.

Sav­ing isn’t the path to wealth, and the sys­tem isn’t corrupt either. It is just that not putting money into good use that makes the poor people poorer while the rich richer by fully optimizing their money. Incomes generated only determine one's capability in making money, but it will not bring one to the next level if he or she does not know how to utilized the money - and this is how the rich will then become wealthy. Read more on Rich or wealthy, which are you?


In conclusion, spent money (expenses and savings) is dead money, and dead money can’t make you anything. Money has to be put into good use to generate more money; and again this is why I named this blog Money Master, because as Money Master, we instruct the money to work for us - like what all the employers do, instruct the employees to generate money for them.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Silver Sky Imports

Tibet and Nepal trade culture between the Buddhism and Hinduism and are home to many unique instruments of meditation and relaxation. However, it is not easy to get or collect these unique instruments of meditation and relaxation especially from these two nations; but Silver Sky Imports provided the services that one would easily love it because by using the service from Silver Sky Imports, one can buy these instruments of mediation and relaxation directly from the web, without having the need to fly over to Tibet and Nepal and still risk disappointment of not getting what he or she wants.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Apple unveils new iPhone but stock still drop...

Apple Inc. (AAPL) unveiled two new iPhones, including a cheaper $99 version in bright colors and an updated high-end device, in a strategy shift by Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook to reach a broader range of customers around the world. 



AIMING AT BROADER MARKET?


The product introductions underline how Apple, which was a trailblazer when it debuted the iPhone in 2007, is increasingly following the strategy of other smartphone makers that offer handsets in different colors and prices. Until now, Apple only released one new iPhone model every year. As competing devices running Google Inc.’s Android software gain in popularity in the $280 billion smartphone market, Apple is expanding its iPhone lineup to reach more customers.

Well, if you think the announcement could help Apple's stock rebound, think again....apparently, according to analysts, there is lack of excitement and surprises of the announcement, given that most of the information has already been leaked to the internet, a couple of months back. 

Apple was also not as aggressive on price as some investors had hoped. “Many investors were hoping for that one single atomic event where they got aggressive on pricing,” said Gene Munster, an analyst at Piper Jaffray Cos. “Instead, in Apple’s own way they think they can accomplish their goal -- gaining market share -- without blowing up their margins.”
Nonetheless, offering iPhones at lower prices also poses risks. With a lower-priced iPhone, Apple is “walking a tightrope between growth and profitability,” said Sarah Rotman Epps, an analyst at Forrester Research.

The company’s shares down 2.4 percent to $493.74 as of 3:36 p.m. in New York.

Monday, September 9, 2013

When 20 cents Are Not Just 20 cents

I guess every Malaysians should already know by now that the petrol price will go up by 20 cents, two days after the whole nation celebrated a subdue Independence Day. Malaysian celebrated the country's 56th Independence Day on the 31st August this year and the announcement of the petrol price hike by 20 cents was made by the Prime Minister on the 2nd of the September.



While the subdue Independence Day celebration clearly shows that the government is running out of fund, not many of us would have imagine that the government would increase the price of the RON95 petrol by 20 cents, and clearly this move brought criticism from almost every one. And while it is hard to swallow, everyone will have to accept the fact that the petrol price will go up by 10% no matter what.

There is an economic story behind the hike, although the "hike of the petrol price" should be more referred to as the reduction of the petrol subsidy - because that is actually part of the subsidy rationalization plan that was promised by the government even before the election. One very clear reason for the reduction of the subsidy is to reduce the government deficit to prevent further downgrade by Fitch. And yes, after the announcement, Fitch maintain the rating on Malaysia's debt and clearly stated that the government is on the right track but not doing enough.

Some are praising and applaud the move, and although I agree that the government should, I still think that petrol subsidy should be the last one to get reduced. The 20 cents petrol price hike might not seems much, but the 20 cents hike are not just 20 cents hike. Many of us will dropped the 20 cents coin without realization, but the current 20 cents are not just 20 cents. It will leads to more 20 cents increases and further reducing the purchasing power of the Malaysians.

In fact, by raising the petrol price, the prices of other goods and services will go up accordingly and finally Malaysians are the one suffering for the mismanagement of the Malaysians' money by the government. Just the day after the announcement, the Real Estate and Housing Developers Association (Rehda) announced that the property prices might go up 10% because of the material transportation cost. Service providers that uses petrol or diesel will increase the price of their services accordingly - the public transportation will charge the increase to the fares; while transporters will charge to their customers which will indirectly push their customers to increase the price of the goods.

We do not have much choice but to just lower down our expenses. While it is not the 20 cents that makes the people angry at the government, it is because the 20 cents will not just be 20 cents. It is whenever the government coming out the austerity plan, it is the people who has to bear the brunt  while politicians continue to enjoy their larger than life style. If the whole nation should face austerity, it should starts with the government not having their rights to pump the petrol using the nations coffer and they should be the one to have pay cut rather than increases; just like what the private sectors will do, should they have austerity.

Monday, September 2, 2013

10% increase in petrol...TIME TO CUT EXPENSES!!

If you are following, the Malaysian Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has announced the increase of petrol price. 

Price for RON95 petrol and diesel will be raised by 20 sen per liter from midnight. While 20 sen probably doesn't send an alarming response, an increase of 10% in the petrol should be alarming. 



The move is aimed at reducing the fiscal deficit, thus saving RM1.1bil per year for the Government, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

Najib said despite the increase, the government would still be subsidising 63 sen for RON 95 petrol.

"The subsidy rationalisation will be carried out in many stages. The first is that the price of RON95 and diesel will be increased by 20 sen per litre from 12.01am Tuesday," Najib told a press conference after chairing a meeting of the Fiscal Policy Committee (FPC) on Monday.

There have been talk of ways the government would do to help the lower income group in Malaysia but all of that remain as talk while the increase in petrol has become a reality. Well, for those of you who are interested to talk about politics, you may but I think it's time for Malaysians to start planning for their expenses....tighten the spending maybe...let's not forget that our Ringgit (RM) is also becoming weaker.

Here are the few actions that should be considered:

1) Taking public transportation



Ever consider taking public transportation to work? Well, if you have not, maybe it's time to consider this option. If you're taking LRT, you probably spend about RM150 max on a month for your transportation. If you're driving, you spend at least RM150 for your parking, and maybe approximately another RM300 on your petrol. Let's not forget those who are paying toll as well. 

2) Carpool

sometimes you even have parking benefits when you carpool

Well, we all know not every places in the country are convenient enough for public transport. If you are facing this issue, the next option: Carpool. 

Here are a few benefits of carpooling. You get to save half of the transportation expenses. You have companion while travelling or when you are stuck in a jam. It is safer. Well, maybe it's time to look for people who stay nearby to go to work together. Some office even prepare special parking for those who carpool...one of these companies is Intel...I've seen it at my brother's office.

3) Eat in

The idea of cooking makes me vomit. I would rather be home and drink Oats, Milo, eat bread etc. Well, that's me....but maybe it is indeed time to consider eating in. The food prices in Malaysia is going up during each Festive seasons, each time the government declare an increase in petrol...each time that they have the opportunity. 



Here are the few reasons why eat in is much better...

a) Healthier - the food outside nowadays are food of MSG and the amount of sugar in a drink is unbelievable. The number diabetic patients in the country has also increase tremendously. This should be a worrying trend. 

b) Safety - whether in Mamak or restaurants, robbery cases, snatch thefts etc have increased. By eating in, you just reduce your risk of being a victim to these bastards.

c) Quality time spent with family. If you are staying with your family (unfortunately I'm not), eating in gives you family time....quality time with your family. Whether you believe me or not, there is nothing more enjoyable than eating with people who love you and would do anything to take care of you....


4) Spend on affordable luxury/activities



I know it doesn't seem to fit in as the topic is suppose to be on cutting down expenses but here am I, talking about spending on affordable luxury. 
I think this is important because ultimately, we did not want to be working everyday just for the sake of saving money. Here are some affordable luxury that I will recommend:

a) Internet usage (data plan included)

There are many people who don't usage data plan even until today but find themselves spending more on SMS, phone calls etc. Internet is an affordable luxury...in fact, it is a need for most people. Get yourself an affordable smartphone and internet...then you'll realize you'll be spending a lot lesser at times. Don't believe me? Try it!

b) Gym or sports

Some people do not want to spend on sports but at the end, they end up spending their weekends in mall, paying for parking, movies, expensive meals and yup, they basically spend more than those who pay for gym or go for sports. Sports is one of the most affordable and important luxury and activities that one should join. 

c) Reading

Most people don't read these days....so if you don't read, you're losing on some cheap activity. How many of you know that there are so many important source of free reading materials on the internet (see, that's why I said internet is important). You go to Reader's Digest online and you'll find plenty for yourself to read...magazines like Men's Health, engadget and many more...all of these offer interesting and exciting updates for you. For those of you who love manga/comic books, you could easily find it on the internet as well.


5) Choose to stay nearby your workplace



I remember chatting with a friend of mine who talk about buying property in areas like Puchong and all. Well, if you are not aware, one will have to spend about one hour to one and a half hours to reach his or her working place if they are working in the city center. The jam is frustrating and you'll have to pay expensively for your travelling. So, if you have a choice, choose to stay nearby your workplace. That's what I'm planning to do by considering a property in Jalan Ampang, nearby my working place. It's definitely more expensive to buy in city center than areas like Puchong, but the benefits are plentiful. So, the next time you want to complain about the jam, remember...sometimes, it was your own decision to stay far away from work.




Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Credit Card - Friend or Foe (Part 4)

This post continue from the past 3 post about the credit card:-
Credit Card - Friend or Foe (Part 1)
Credit Card - Friend or Foe (Part 2)
Credit Card - Friend or Foe (Part 3)


While part 1 and part 2 mentioned mostly on the pros of the credit card, part 3 talks about the con of using credit card in which I will talk about it in this part.

Aside from high interest and a lot of hidden charges, swiping credit card actually give one the false sense of affordability when it comes to buying "wants" products rather than than the necessities. What are the things that we can consider as "wants"? These are the things like the hot gadgets that just released to the market, like the Apple iPhone and iPad, the latest Samsung S4 and many more.

These "wants" products are usually not cheap, especially in Malaysia which can cost almost a month of salary, but there is one feature in credit card, in which I mentioned in Part 2 as the pros, if used wisely - the easy payment scheme. With so many easy payment scheme from credit cards, some come with small amount of interest, some banks don't charge any interest, nevertheless, things that are not needed suddenly become so affordable that people will be tempted to do so and raking up debt because of unnecessary stuff is always a bad idea.

So, we can see that a feature that can lessen our repayment burden can suddenly become a feature that will burden us in near future;  and the higher credit line one might enjoy it might turn against the person and eat him or her alive by trapping him or her deeper into the pit of debt without him realizing until it is way too late.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Mr Money Mustache and How He Retired At 30

I read about an article on Mr. Money Mustache and how he retired at 30 and it was actually an inspiring article to me, and I'm pretty sure that most of us can learn from him. Inspiring in the sense that I aim to retired by 30 before I started to join the workforce, and unfortunately at 30 now, I still don't feel comfortable retiring.

There are few reasons that I don't feel comfortable; the first being not accumulated enough invest able cash and investment assets in which can generates the amount of cash that I need to have my current lifestyle. Another reason is I'm still aiming for property and still paying for my property; in which will increase my expenses. So, I look into the advice of Mr. Money Mustache and learn something; though I cannot emulate him 100%, I'm sure there are some key learning from him.


The article is as follows:-


Meet Mr. Money Mustache. Hundreds of thousands of readers follow his bold advice on his self-titled blog — and for good reason. He has cracked the retirement code while many of us were struggling with student loans. At 23 years old he began working and saving…and saving some more. By age 30, he’d amassed some $800,000 in cash and investments, and then entered early retirement.

How, exactly? I flew to his home in Longmont, Colorado, where the now 38-year-old lives with Mrs. Money Mustache and Mustache Junior, for the scoop.


The Rule of 70%

While a popular rule of thumb is to try to save 10% of your income every month, in the race to retirement Mr. Money Mustache saved and invested close to 70% of each paycheck until he had about $800,000 racked up. At that point he felt comfortable quitting his job, as the dividends from his stock portfolio and income from a rental property were finally enough to support his family’s lifestyle. “I just figured based on a 4% withdrawal rate of your savings, if you have $800,000 saved, you could draw an income of $32,000 a year from that. Our needs are less than that, so we actually don’t need $800,000 in savings.”
 
Live Simply

But wait. How does the family live on less than $30,000 a year with a child? “It’s by cutting out stuff, the invisible stuff, that’s most expensive. I kept the headline items, like a house, trip to Australia and good friends and good food, but I cut out stuff like spending $50 on coffee a week or having a brand new car every few years,” he says. “We do a lot of stuff ourselves. We go to parks. We do music together. We ride our bikes, go to the library. Kids love it. Costs almost nothing to do.”

Treat Debt Like Your Hair Is on Fire

We should mention that Mr. Money Mustache graduated without any student loans. He never really had any credit card debt and advises his readers, who aim to retire early like him, to treat debt like a scary emergency, as if their hair is literally on fire. “If you have credit card debt, you don’t make little payments on it. You don’t go to the movies and put $10 on the credit card. You stay home, you earn as much money as possible, you eat the cheapest food possible and get that emergency solved,” he says.
 
Location Matters

The Mustaches intentionally live in a town with a relatively low cost of living. Their property taxes in Longmont are only $200 per month, and the home’s solar design and insulation keep energy bills to under $40 per month.


Who Needs a Car?

Longmont is also a bike-friendly town, which encourages even more saving. By biking to most places, Mr. Money Mustache figures it helps the family save roughly $10,000 a year on transportation costs. “I kind of have a rule: You do not drive the car for trips within the city, because you don’t need to. The bike will do it just as fast, and it’ll be better for you,” he says.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Settle PTPTN Now and Enjoy 20% Discount

Recently I've just fully settled the PTPTN (Perbadanan Tabung Pendidikan Tinggi Nasional) - the education loan in Malaysia to enjoy the 20% discount that was tabled by the Prime Minister of Malaysia last October on Budget 2013. The 20% discount still valid until this October.



There are few reasons I settled the PTPTN loan, the main reason definitely to enjoy the 20% discount, although some might argue that if the Opposition take over, we might get it waive 100%, in which I will not want to go to that. In my opinion and my second reason to settle the loan, I would think that we should repay the institution what we have borrowed, so that our children will continue to have the benefit of getting low interest loan for education; which again many will argue we should be getting education for free - again, I will not go into that.

Well, for those who intended to enjoy the 20% discount and to settle the PTPTN loan once and for all, the following is the step by step on how to do so.



1. Go this website: http://eform.ptptn.gov.my/borang-digital/sahbaki.cfm. After obtain the form, attach and and email to the one of the department in PTPTN bakihutang@ptptn.gov.my.  stating your name and identification number and the loan reference number to get the balance as of the email date with the intention of full settlement of the PTPTN loan according to Budget 2013 to enjoy the 20% discount; and within the next working day, one should be receiving the email from a representatives from PTPTN regarding the balance as of the email date, as well as the full settlement amount with the 20% discount.

Example of the attachment regarding the full settlement with 20% discount


2. Print out the attachment with the PTPTN full settlement details; it is a PDF file - the naming convention of the PDF supposedly be something like USERNAME.PDF

2. Go to any of the bank and issue a bank draft or banker's cheque  with the stated amount. (It's just unfortunate that the PTPTN offices will not be accepting credit card as payment, else, I can give this step a go)


Bank draft/banker's cheque sample

3. Go to any of the nearest PTPTN office and give the bank draft or the banker's cheque together with the printed attachment and pass everything to the officer and the officer will do the rest.
 



Sample receipt




4. Wait a while for the full settlement letter to be issued by the officer to you and voila, you have just settled the PTPTN loan. When you check the loan balance online, you might still see the 20%, but it will be totally removed after 7-14 working days.

Full settlement letter

Saturday, July 20, 2013

How Asian customers think?

How Asian customers think?

 

So, if you are thinking of ways to save money, here is a video made by Jin. Check it out...

 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Income Not Enough?

Here is the thing that we encounter most often...."income not enough?"

A lot of people have criticize the Gen-Y for not knowing how to appreciate the jobs that they have or the opportunities given....it is true to a certain extend but what Gen-Y is complaining have its' valid points...ask most of the Gen-Y and they will tell you that their current companies are no good, income not enough etc.

 

Well, let us do some simple calculations shall we? Here is a simple calculation....

The average rate for a rented apartment in the Klang Valley costs between RM800 – RM1000 per month depending on location. Car loan repayments are somewhere between RM600 to RM1000 a month, while monthly fuel expenditure is RM 250 – 300 a month; exlcuding tolls. Food tallies up to about RM800, if you eat out everyday three times a day, averaging at RM10 per meal. Add other costs like cigarettes, entertainment, internet and telephone bills and all of that rounds off to about RM3000 – RM3500 a month. Well, if we try to minus off the entertainment, it will still account to about RM3000...or maybe we got a room instead, another 500 lower so about RM2500...how about taking LRT and not getting a car...so that will help our spending to be about RM2000....

And how much are the fresh graduates earning? Anything from RM1.8k to RM2.8k....so, is it logical that one complained about income not enough? I think it has its validity to a certain extend. Then, when marriage comes, one have to start thinking about more savings...buying houses, etc. Of course, the initial stage, it could be even easier when the couple get to halves the expenses....carpool, stay together, eat in etc. Some even stay with the in-laws but what happens next? Babies? Do we still consider 50/50 on the expenses? Things become an entirely different issue when that happen. What we see nowadays are a trend of getting dual income....working from home, people giving tuitions, online business and others. Are those choices come willingly? No, I don't think so. I have seen friends who took up teaching because they have to.

Income is definitely not that enough to cover for all that expenses...of course, not all is lost. If you are not earning that high amount, try to think of solution...those extra incomes could be of good use. Instead of driving, taking the LRT is not bad especially if you work somewhere in KLCC, Pavillion etc. The surroundings there are good for taking LRT and you could even save on gym since you'll be having your daily walks every morning and evening. The truth is ugly but if you are not earning enough, it's either think of ways to increase earnings or cut expenses.

 

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Universal Rule of Personal Financial Management: #4 - Never Pay Too Much in Insurance Premiums

Previously on Universal Rule of Personal Financial Management:-
#1 - Spend Less Than You Earn
#2 - Earn More
#3 - Never Depend On Single Income  


The rule of personal financial management #4 is more on the mistake that most people made when deciding on the insurance premium that suit them, and most of the time people either over-insure themselves or pay an excessive premium for insurance because they do not know how to optimize their money. For example, consider two insurance products for a person at age 35: term insurance for RM500,000 will cost RM1,625 per annum, whereas a whole life policy will cost RM14,225 per annum.



We have to understand that the idea of getting insurance cover to protect our loved ones from financial hardship in case of an untoward event; which is the reason why we should go for the lowest possible premium and then investing the difference between the two premiums to optimize our money.

Many have chosen the wrong premium mainly due to greed, as well as lack of knowledge in the insurance product that they were about to purchase.  While the objective is clear which is to protect the loved ones from financial hardship in case of something bad happen, but many will treat insurance as part of the investment.

Overall, insurance cover is needed to protect our loved ones from financial hardship, should something bad happen to us. Having said so, one should truly understand the policy before signing up for the policy and most importantly not to over insured or paying too much in insurance premiums because eventually insurance will just serve as a type of protection.



Thursday, July 4, 2013

How The Rich Get Richer And You Can, Too

A very good article I read the other day from MarketWatch and realized that how true the article sounds. It might not give you the tips on how to get rich, or how the rich actually gets richer, but it does give you an insight of the qualities and the experience that we need to pass on to generations in order to be in the affluent society. 

We all know, innately, how the rich get richer. Money begets money. But how does that actually happen, aside from compounding interest and purely financial factors?

You could take the cynic's view that the game is rigged. But the more accurate answer, backed by research, is that the rich get richer because of great parenting. How rich you become over your lifetime is directly related to how early you capture the basic truths of finance and investing.

You have seen the exception that proves the rule, the rich kid who blows his family's wealth in a generation through poor decisions. Chalk that up to absentee parents. Truly, teaching is the missing link.

According to a report in Time magazine:

In a paper unveiled a few months ago, researchers led by Annamaria Lusardi, professor of economics at George Washington University, found that an early understanding of financial concepts accounts for as much as half of the wealth gap between the affluent and those with low incomes . Lusardi also found an exponential effect: Those who acquire financial understanding early tend to accumulate assets faster and those with more assets tend to keep learning about personal finance because they have more at stake. (Emphasis added)

There are two powerful forces at work here, in terms of how the rich get richer. Let's tease them out so that you can benefit from the knowledge.

First and foremost, how the rich get richer has a lot to do with picking the right parents. Kidding aside, being born into a developed-country household, availing yourself of a quality education at a low relative cost, enjoying the benefits of a healthy diet and a safe childhood, all of these things give a person automatic advantages.

Yet there are people born into good circumstances who nevertheless seem to just "get by." They see the rich get richer and, quite rightly, question their own choices.

Instead, they should question, or at least examine, their parents' choices. Kids don't listen to what their parents say. They do what their parents do. A parent who saves diligently and consumes moderately is setting a very good, lifelong example for his or her children. A parent who constantly overspends and lives in debt does not.
How the rich get richer: They start early

But the kicker here is learning by doing: Teaching by example is great, but a child learns the power of saving and investing not only by seeing it done by others but by doing it themselves. Practice is how the rich get richer.

Once a young person gets a little bit of capital set aside, they begin to think more conservatively about money: How can I protect and grow that wealth? What are the risks to my plan?

How the rich get richer is by passing on simple lessons about compound interest, about risk and reward, and about the role of money in a healthy, happy life. Rich parents don't fear money; they consider it a useful tool. Those attitudes pass on, compounding in value with each succeeding generation.

Working hard at getting an education is a great base. The simple act of periodic, automatic saving is another excellent lesson. Prudent, effective investing is yet another.

Great fortunes are often built not on chance events but on steady, risk-controlled investment plans that take into account the best practices of generations.

Source

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Thought of the Day #3


We all know the importance of money, which is why we work, we save money...we put those money into investment, savings, insurance etc.....

Because of that, most of us have been thinking ways to make more money...but at times, without realizing it, some of us become what money wants us to. 

I think it's time to set the right perspective...MAKE MONEY. DON'T LET MONEY MAKE YOU!!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Thought of the Day #2


I was reading about an article and come across this quote....how many of you agree with this statement? I agreed with it to a certain extend....

"WHEN I WAS YOUNG, I THOUGHT THAT MONEY WAS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN LIFE. NOW THAT I AM OLDER, I KNOW THAT IT IS" 

A lot of people may tell you this is not true....while it might not be the entire truth, it holds a great deal of truth....without money, it is difficult to obtain good health. Without money, it is impossible to go for travel. Without money, it is hard to bless others. Without money, one will struggle to feed for the family, to provide the most basic necessity. So while money might not hold the key to happiness, it is one of the most fundamental part of our lives....