Friday, December 19, 2014

5 Reasons Why Women Need To Be Financially Independent

I would say, among the people I respect and admire most are those working mums with young family members. These amazing working mums are working hard to manage their full-time job, caring for the young family members and at the same time taking care of the long list of household chores. I salute these women and I support what they are practicing. Though maybe some women prefer to take some years off their busy schedule to concentrate on their young family members and return to the workforce later.

As a woman myself, I know all these are not easy, but we women should really continue working and most importantly be financially independent. I have the reasons below on why women need to be financially independent:

1) Women more prone to health issue
Compare to men, women are more prone to health issue. This is because our body organ is far more complex and complicated, for example our reproductive system. More organ involved and higher possibilities of serious health issue. We should invest in a good health protection insurance product. We should also have emergency savings in case we need to take long leave from work, or to support us when we are not able to work.

2) Women have longer life span
Based on Malaysia statistics, the average life span for Malaysian man is 72.6 and for Malaysian woman is 77.2. This shows that on average, Malaysian woman life is 4.6 years longer than Malaysian man. So, woman need to be more prepared for a longer life span.

3) To ensure continuous financial support for our children
I believe all mother want the best for her children. And most mothers also understand her children's needs better. Especially during younger years, most mother would like to give the best for her children - the best childcare center, the newest and coolest toy, the best school, and many more. All these need money. If the father can provide basic needs, then with the salary earned, the mother can provide additional special support for this children.

4) To avoid financial havoc if there is major marital problem
We know, it is always something out of our expectation. It has been too often, we hear who and who in the divorce process. Many are couples with children, but they still find the best solution for their marital problem is divorce. Many were once very loving couples but still, they had to choose to divorce. If a woman is financially stable and independent, at least, she can still support herself and her children. Pity those woman who fully depend on her husband for full financial support. It would be tough for her to go on her life smoothly, at least for certain period of time.

5) To provide financial support for our parents, family members or loved ones
I am sure we all face the situation where our parents or family member in emergency and needed some financial support. Though our family didn't request for our financial help, but I believe automatically, we would will extend our helping hands because they are our family members. If we have our own income, it would not be a problem for us to help our family members when they are in needs. If we have to ask our partners for the financial support, maybe he would be happy to help or maybe he would be a bit reluctant to help.

I am a woman myself and I wish every woman to be financially independent because we are special species.

photo credit: Tax Credits via photopin cc

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Investing in Indonesian Fund

Recently I switched a small amount of my investment to Indonesian Fund. 

The reasons I switched a portion of my investment to Indonesian fund as below:

1) I wish to diversify my portfolio. In investment, among the famous golden rules would be 'do not put all your eggs in one basket'. Thus, I am putting some of my eggs in a new basket;
2) A hope for better Indonesia and more stable economy under new leadership and new management, President Jokowi;
3) High population. Indonesia is among the world top countries with highest populations. With populations keep growing and most of the populations are young generations, I foresee huge economic growth will be created by these youngsters. 
4) Low entry offered by the fund unit

I look forward to brighter Indonesia market outlook in next year and in years to come.

photo credit: JasonParis via photopin cc

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

How To Make Full PTPTN Study Loan Settlement

One of my target this year is to settle my PTPTN study loan. And I am so happy to announce that today I had made full PTPTN repayment and had settled my PTPTN study loan. If I follow my PTPTN loan repayment schedule, I still have another 5  more months to go. But, I decided to settle my PTPTN study loan earlier.

So, what is the process to make full PTPTN study loan settlement? When I first made my PTPTN repayment may years ago, I paid through direct debit from my monthly salary (Potongan Gaji), then I paid by sending monthly cheque to PTPTN HQ. After I have my ebanking, I found it is much more convenient to pay through ebanking, though there is RM1 processing fee for each transaction. Earlier this month, I logged on to my PTPTN online statement and printed out my latest PTPTN statement. Today, I brought along my PTPTN online statement to my local PTPTN office in Kuching. And of course, I brought along my cash as well. The process to make full PTPTN repayment as below:

1) Got a ticketing number from the entrance to see the officer at the counter. I told her that I wish to make full PTPTN repayment. She told me she will need to check from her online system for the rough figure of my PTPTN balance. Upon her checking, the figure is similar with my online PTPTN statement.
2) Then, I was instructed to fill a form. This form is something like an application to know the actual balance for my PTPTN (after deduction/interest fee/whatever other charges). The officer at the counter brought the form to her officer/superior inside her office so that this officer/superior can contact PTPTN HQ to verify my actual PTPTN balance (after discount/interest charges/misc).
3) After waited for 10mins, she got back go me and passed me a document indicating  my actual 'confirmed balance' which I need to pay. I am happy to see a 20% discount* as well :)
4) Then, I filled in the payment slip and waited for my turn to make the full payment at the payment collection counter.
5) Upon made the full payment, I was given an official receipt. The officer said PTPTN will email me a statement to confirm I had made the full payment.

The process is simple and quick. I think I spent about 30mins at the PTPTN Kuching Office, even though the PTPTN office is packed with many customers. The officers are very helpful, nice and friendly.

Just a note to any of you who wish to make full PTPTN study loan repayment, please go to your nearest PTPTN branch and get the actual full outstanding amount. Or, at least email or contact PTPTN HQ to get the figure. This is to avoid any wrong figure. This is also the main reason why I went to the PTPTN Kuching instead of pay my full payment through ebanking. To me, the official receipt is very important.

Finally, for those of you who are looking for the location of PTPTN Kuching Office, the address as below:

Pejabat PTPTN Negeri Sarawak
Lot 519, No. 15-I, Section 6
Al-Idrus Commercial Centre
Jalan Kulas, 93400 Kuching, Sarawak
No Tel : 082 - 234 608
No Faks : 082 - 239 315 

*There is a 20% discount for PTPTN borrowers if they pay their study loan in full from 10 Oct 2014 till 31 Mar 2015. You can read the news here and here. So, why not grab this opportunity?

Monday, December 1, 2014

Majority of Malaysians with Zero Savings?

Reading the article on MSN last week, I was quite surprised that majority of Malaysian are with zero savings. A few days later, followed by another 2 more related article here and here. The savings mentioned in these articles excludes forced savings such as KWSP@EPF, because according to the researchers, household do not have access to forced savings during emergencies.

As a rakyat biasa (ordinary people), I do believe that many Malaysians are having difficulty to save a portion of their income for emergency purposes. With rising cost of living, stagnant or low salary increment, it is getting tough for most Malaysian to earn enough to have a surplus after taking care of their basic needs. Another factor could be poor financial management among fellow Malaysians. I strongly believe that, proper financial literacy will provide guidelines for all Malaysians to better manage their personal finances.

Let's better equipped our fellow Malaysians, especially the young Malaysian, with proper financial literacy so that we can improve on our 'money saving skills'.

photo credit: wajakemek | rashdanothman via photopin cc

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Coupon, Discount and Voucher Codes in Malaysia

Many years back, when I read financial blogs from the western world (US, UK, Europe), they always mentioned about coupons or discounts where they can enjoy more savings when they shop online. Since 2011, when I slide through those beautiful fashion bloggers on my Instagram, these beautiful fashion bloggers always has a special 'check-out code' so that her followers will enjoy certain discount when they purchase these clothes. Unfortunately during that time, these coupons or discounts were not available locally.

And recently I came across iPrice Coupons, just like what I've read from the western financial blogs and what I've saw from my Instagram, we now can shop online and enjoy better savings locally in Malaysia! It is 'mouth-watering' to see online stores such as Zalora and Lazada with huge discounts and so many special deals. With this, we can have a smarter online shopping experience.

Something which I like about iPrice Coupons, they only post free coupons and free vouchers. No membership required. Meaning, you can just click on the 'Get The Code' to get the special code and use it while you check-out your online store.

If you are a frequent online shoppers, you should check out the coupons, discounts and voucher on iPrice Coupon.

photo credit: alles-schlumpf via photopin cc

Friday, November 7, 2014

It Is Time To Pay Your PTPTN Study Loan

One of the hot news in local newspapers this week is Perbadanan Tabung Pendidikan Tinggi Nasional (PTPTN) had to reduce the total financing starting 1 November this year due to limited funds. And the related news is that these limited funds was caused by a huge number of graduates did not start to pay their study loan as agreed. In my opinion, it is really unfair for students enrolling for public and private institution of higher learning been punished for what these PTPTN loan defaulters had done.

To those who had never made any PTPTN loan repayment, it is time for you to start to make your first payment. Take the first step to make the payment. If you have difficulty, contact PTPTN directly. In the  PTPTN agreement, you had agreed to settle the study loan right? So, since PTPTN had helped you to have your diploma or degree or PhD, it is time for your to pay back to PTPTN and to the society.

I am sure you have younger siblings, or your niece/nephew/cousins, your extended family's son/daughter, or your colleague/neighbor's son/daughter. Imagine any of them - your younger brother/sister/niece/nephew/friend's son not able to go through his or her tertiary education because of limited PTPTN loan. Or, perhaps your future son or daughter who need PTPTN study loan, will have difficulty to get one too. You should know the importance of sufficient financial support in tertiary education.

Let's face it. The whole society is interconnected. Keep your promise to settle your PTPTN study loan. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Money Management Made Simple

For some of us, money management seems like a scary, complex and complicated stuff. Thus, we avoid it until one day, something serious happened and we have no ways but were forced to face it. Well, don't wait till your money matter become that bad. Money management only require some simple arithmetic skills and most importantly is being consistent.

Here, I share 5 simple money management skills:

1) Spend Less Than You Earn
We all know this is the most basic part of money management. If what you spend is less that what you earn, then you're in the safe zone. If you want to challenge yourself, try to overspend for one or two months, then you'll know how difficult  it is to pay for the overspent amount. You will know it will be painful to find that extra money to pay for the overspent amount. So, make sure what you spend is less than what you earn.

2) Pay Your Self First
Make sure you pay yourself about 10% of your monthly income. Deposit this 10% in a different account so that you can save it aside. Promise yourself that you will not touch this savings unless it is emergency. Make a short term / long term plan for this savings - such as down payment for a car, a house, wedding, retirement, etc. You have to pay yourself first, otherwise, after you settle your monthly utilities, credit card, and other invoices, you will have nothing left. If you pay yourself first, then you'll have to adjust the expenses with the remaining 90% of your salary.

3) Avoid Bad Debts
Bad debts are like credit card debts. I know it's hard to overcome the temptation to spend using credit card. But, you must remember - if you spend the future money by swiping your credit cards, it will take you at least twice the effort to pay it back. If you've started the swiping the credit card habit,  you will find that it's hard to control that habit. So, use the credit card wisely.

4) Grow Your Money
Once you've got some savings, learn to grow the money. Try with some investment products such as unit trust. Do not invest all in one go, but do it step by step to test the water. When you feel more comfortable and confident with your investment strategy, you can top up or diversity your investment. Do not expect your money to grow overnight, but do allow for a few years before you can see the result.

5) Protect Yourself and Your Wealth
You should know that all cars on the road must have insurance coverage. You are much more important than your car. So, make sure you have enough insurance coverage. This is even more important if you have family - a wife, kids, other dependent. It's now too common to hear serious sickness. With a good coverage, at least it can lessen the family burden during difficult time.

Actually, money management is not that complex. It is much simpler than handling a bankruptcy situation. Learn to know more about financial literacy and tackle the skills step by step, one at a time. Over the long run, you will be able to see the result.

photo credit: via photopin cc