Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Ang Pao @ Red Packet For Wedding Reception - How Much Is Enough?

You have just received a wedding invitation from someone. You start to plan on what to wear, your hairstyle and accessories for the wedding reception. You also start to think, what is the right gift for him or her. For Chinese, the most common gift would be Ang Pao or also known as Red Packet. It is a red packet with meaningful wordings and wonderful drawings with cash gift. The question is "how much should I place in the Ang Pao?".

Personally, I think the gift depend on the relationship with the couple. For close friends and relatives, minimum should be RM100. For closed family members, it can range from RM100-RM500. Other than that, minimum would be RM80. If you are giving Ang Paos to your employees, make sure your Ang Pao is presentable. Try to budeget between RM100 to RM200. It is the same for business friends and associates as well. Also, if you have received big Ang Paos from the couple before, do return them a favour.

Other than that, the amount also varies from one place to another. Bigger cities with higher living cost and more classy banquet will expect fatter Ang Paos. Of course wedding reception at five stars hotels will also expect fatter Ang Paos compare to banquet at normal restaurant or other places.

If one not able to attend the wedding invitation, it is also a must to send over the Ang Pao to the couple. I believe minimum is RM50. Although I have heard people who said "I am not going, so RM10 as Ang Pao will do". RM10 is too little!

Do add some personal touch with meaningful handwritten message on the Ang Paos for the couples. Enjoy the Wedding Months!

P/S: The above were what I saw, heard and I experienced as well. The amount for the Ang Paos might vary different locations in Kuching or Malaysia.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

PB Gold Investment Account - Part 5

A quick glance at the current gold price on PBe banking website today shows RM121.50 per gram (Public Bank buying price). When I purchased my first gold investment at Public bank, it was RM98.35 per gram. If I sell off my first gold investment today, I will earn about 23.5%. That is within 16 months. I would consider that as an impressive return.

PB officer shared with me, the highest Public Bank selling price was about RM137 per gram. Hubby and PB officer asked if I want to it sell off. I am not going to sell off but I am planning to purchase some more. Because I have a strong feeling that gold price will increase by next year. I will give myself 3 years time for this gold investment. If worth, I will keep it. Else, I will sell it off.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

RM50 Per Credit Card With Effective From Jan 2010?

Currently I have 2 credit cards but only 1 is active. The other card is for me to use in situation like 'in case I need it'. Upon hearing the 2010 Budget Speech to impose a service charge of RM50 a year on each principal credit card and charge card; and RM25 a year on each supplementary card (effective from Jan 1, 2010), I feel like to cancel my second credit card. Even though, there are news that respective bank might absorb the RM50 and RM25 service charge, I think it wiser to cancel the credit card. After all, most probably I will not use it.

Hubby had cancelled his additional credit cards last week. My eldest brother had also cancelled most of his unused credit cards last two weeks.

How about you? Are you still keeping all of your credit cards or planning to cancel the unnecessary cards?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Inside the mind of Singapore's Youngest Millionaire - By Adam Khoo

I got this email from a friend. And I can't help but to share with others on what's on Adam Khoo's mind.

In case you have no idea who's Adam Khoo, you can read more about him here.

Happy reading.

Inside the mind of Singapore's Youngest Millionaire - By Adam Khoo

Some of you may already know that I travel around the region pretty frequently, having to visit and conduct seminars at my offices in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Suzhou (China). I am in the airport almost every other week so I get to bump into many people who have attended my seminars or have read my books.

Recently, someone came up to me on a plane to KL and looked rather shocked. He asked, 'How come a millionaire like you is travelling economy?' My reply was, 'That's why I am a millionaire. ‘He still looked pretty confused. This again confirms that greatest lie ever told about wealth (which I wrote about in my latest book 'Secrets of Self Made Millionaires’). Many people have been brainwashed to think that millionaires have to wear Gucci, Hugo Boss, Rolex, and sit in first class in air travel. This is why so many people never become rich because the moment that earn more money, they think that it is only natural that they spend more, putting them back to square one.

The truth is that most self-made millionaires are frugal and only spend on what is necessary and of value. That is why they are able to accumulate and multiply their wealth so much faster. Over the last 7 years, I have saved about 80% of my income while today I save only about 60% (because I have my wife, mother in law, 2 maids, 2 kids, etc. to support). Still, it is way above most people who save 10% of their income (if they are lucky). I refuse to buy a first class ticket or to buy a $300 shirt because I think that it is a complete waste of money. However, I happily pay $1,300 to send my 2-year old daughter to Julia Gabriel Speech and Drama without thinking twice.

When I joined the YEO (Young Entrepreneur’s Organization) a few years back (YEO is an exclusive club open to those who are under 40 and make over $1m a year in their own business) I discovered that those who were self-made thought like me. Many of them with net worth's well over $5m, traveled economy class and some even drove Toyotas and Nissans (not Audis, Mercs, BMWs).

I noticed that it was only those who never had to work hard to build their own wealth (there were also a few ministers' and tycoons' sons in the club) who spent like there was no tomorrow. Somehow, when you did not have to build everything from scratch, you do not really value money. This is precisely the reason why a family's wealth
(no matter how much) rarely lasts past the third generation. Thank God my rich dad (oh no! I sound like Kiyosaki) foresaw this terrible possibility and refused to give me a cent to start my business.

Then some people ask me, 'What is the point in making so much money if you don't enjoy it?' The thing is that I don't really find happiness in buying branded clothes, jewelry or sitting first class. Even if buying something makes me happy it is only for a while, it does not last. Material happiness never lasts, it just gives you a quick fix. After a while you feel lousy again and have to buy the next thing which you think will make you happy. I always think that if you need material things to make you happy, then you live a pretty sad and unfulfilled life.

Instead, what makes ME happy is when I see my children laughing and playing and learning so fast. What makes me happy is when I see my companies and trainers reaching more and more people every year in so many more countries. What makes me really happy is when I read all the emails about how my books and seminars have touched and inspired someone's life. This happiness makes me feel really good for a long time, much much more than what a Rolex would do for me.

I think the point I want to put across is that happiness must come from doing your life's work (be in teaching, building homes, designing, trading, winning tournaments etc.) and the money that comes is only a by-product. If you hate what you are doing and rely on the money you earn to make you happy by buying stuff, then I think that you are living a meaningless life.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

6 Factors To Consider Before Purchase Your First Car

For those who just graduated and are planning to enter the workforce, a car is an important element. For example in Kuching, most of us drive to work. We cannot rely on the public transport. The local public transport is limited, inconvenient and not punctual.

There are several important factors to consider before you purchase your first car. I listed the factors as below:

1) Ability to pay the monthly repayment (car loan)
I listed this as the most important factor. One must know their budget well before they sign on the hire purchase agreement. Most bank will require a monthly income of at least three times from the monthly hire purchase instalment. To be on the safe side, I think it is a good idea if the monthly installment is 25% of our monthly salary. This will leave more space for our
money to grow.

2) Fuel consumption of the car
Unless someone else pay for your car fuel, you should really consider whether the type of the car that you are going to buy is high fuel consuming or not. I heard a lot of cases where one had to spend the same amount of car monthly installment for their car fuel. Bear in mind, the fuel price is increasing from time to time. It is wise to choose a car which requite less fuel for you to move around. It is environmental friendly too.

3) Yearly insurance of the car
Do check how much you have to pay for the car insurance. And do bear in mind that every year this should be in your budget. As no car is allowed to be on the road without an insurance.

4) Yearly road tax of the car
Imported cars and bigger car will require a higher road tax compare to locally made cars. The road tax also should be in your yearly budget.

5) Functionality of the car
Do you need a sedan car for your family? Or most of the time you travel alone? For family car, you will need a bigger car. And you will only require a small car if you are driving alone most
of the time.

6) Availability of spare parts
This is another factor which is always not in the considerations list of a new car buyers. It is normal for us to expect a brand new car to be able to serve us at least until we finish pay the car loan. But, unfortunately, even for brand new imported cars, someday, some parts will need to be changed and replaced. May be due to accidents or other matter. Try to get information on the car spare parts. You will not wish to know that, later, you will have to wait for months for the spare parts to be send from the original country. Or worse, the spare part is not more in production.

I do hope the above will provide first time car buyers with some information.

Anymore factors which I missed out? Do add in and share with me.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Good Health Is Wealth

Ask a young man, he would wish to have lots and lots of money. Ask an old man, he would wish for his younger years. When we were young and energetic, we have the time, good health and the energy but with limited money. We work hard to earn more money so that we can have the so called 'better life'. As we work harder and longer hours, we climb higher. We earn more but we have so limited time to enjoy our lives. What more to say to take good care of our body and our health.

As we grow older, due to natural aging and heavy load during younger years, our body suffers. Perhaps by that time, we have lots and lots of money and lots of free time as well. But, too bad, our body is too tired to enjoy life and do the things we wish we can do in our younger years such as travelling, hobbies and other interest. By that time, we wish we had taken good care of your body so that our body will still be in great shape and condition when we reach our golden ages.

My main point is for the younger generations to take good care of their health. Do not keep chasing for wealth and neglect our health as wealth is less meaningful without a good health. A strong healthy body is our wealth. With good health, we can do things we enjoy and love to do. We can be independent and go wherever we wish to go. A good health is our wealth. Take good care of our health, treasure it and value it.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

EPF@KWSP - Campaign To Nominate Beneficiaries

Today's news on The Star Online stated that EPF@KWSP is launching a campaign to remind its member to nominate beneficiaries for their savings. The campaign will run from 16 Nov 2009 to 21 Dec 2009 with advertisements through the radio and in newspapers to nominate and update their EPF nominations.This is a great effort by EPF@KWSP to ensure that the savings goes to the right person in case of sudden death.

When reading the news, I was surprise to know that only 23% of the 12.4 million EPF@KWSP members had nominated their beneficiaries. That was a very small percentage.

We can contribute to the campaign by the followings:

1) Ensure that we ourselves name and update our beneficiaries;
2) Ensure that our spouses name and update his or her beneficiaries;
3) Ask our family members, friends and co-workers whether they had updated their beneficiaries;
4) Suggest to our company Human Resource Department to issue a memo and encourage all staff to name and update their beneficiaries;
5) Post in our blogs on the importance of making the EPF&KWSP nominations

If you have not nominate any beneficiaries yet, act now. Let's ensure our hard earned money goes to the right individuals.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Marriage - Time To Update My EPF@KWSP Benefitiaries

After marriage or register for marriage officially, I believe one of the most important financial action is to name our spouse as the beneficiary or one of the beneficiaries in our financial related documents especially EPF@KWSP (for Malaysian). Thus, recently Dave and me went to EPF@KWSP office to update our beneficiaries details. For Dave, this is the first time he name his EPF@KWSP beneficiaries. For me, I am updating my beneficiaries. Earlier, I discussed with Dave and suggested to him that we add 1 additional name as our beneficiaries, in case anything happen to both of us, there is another trusted person to take care of our EPF savings. So, other than our names, we placed additional one name as our beneficiaries.

I am surprise with the new EPF system. It was fast and prompt. First, we need to get and complete Form KWSP 4 (Borang Penamaan). The form is free of charge and we will have to attached with a photocopy of our IC. When it is our turn, the officer was friendly and prompt as well. After verification, he printed the new update beneficiaries details for us immediately. A few days later, we received the updated information once again through postal mail. It was fast and efficient. I do hope EPF will keep up the good work.

How about you? Have you name your EPF beneficiary/beneficiaries? If there are changes in your life, have you update your EPF beneficiaries? It is wise to act now to ensure that our hard earned money goes to the right person especially our loved ones.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Do You Keep Your Salary Information a Secret?

As a wage earner, we all have a value for the work done and the time we sell to the organization we work with. There are different position in an organization and with different people performing different types of work to ensure that the whole organization is running smooth. And or course each different position is paid differently.

The interesting part is do you disclose your salary information to your co-workers, friends or family members? For me, I strictly keep it a secret especially between co-workers. The only person who know my exact salary information is my hubby. My parents and other family members had a rough idea on my salary information while my friends and co-workers had no idea at all. I believe it is best to keep salary details as a secret especially between co-workers as I have seen relationship in an office turned sour when the staff are not satisfied with the salary after she compare her salary with other staffs.

Even if someone share her or his salary information with you, do not simply trust what she or he said. Do look for proof such as salary slip. As they might just simply tell you a figure so that you will share yours with them. So, be careful!

From my reading, most organization also encourage their employees to keep the salary information to themselves. As sharing these information might create unhealthy relationship in the organization.

How about you? Do you keep your salary information a secret or you share with the rest?

Monday, November 9, 2009

How To Make PTPTN Study Loan Repayment

I still have a few more years to go before I settle my PTPTN (Perbadanan Tabung Tinggi Pendidikan Nasional) study loan. I can choose to settle the study loan with one lump sum payment. But, given the option to repay the study loan on monthly basis with low interest rate, it is best to pay according to the agreed schedule.

I remember when I first made the repayment to PTPTN few years back, it was difficult as not many repayment options available. The easiest way for me was to open a current account with a local bank and issue the cheque and post to PTPTN on monthly basis. But, later I found that there are other payment option available such as through online payment, which is much more easier, convenient and save a lot of time and money. Now, you can make online PTPTN repayment through most local banks. The charges for online payment is RM1 for each transaction. Other than through ebanking, you can also made the repayment by using bank draft, money order or payment through PTPTN service counter and selected local bank counter.

For the complete list of payment option, you can refer to PTPTN website.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Hair Saloon - The Place Where I Spent My Money

I am not a shopaholic. I dont buy a lot of expensive and branded shoes, bags and other stuff. But, I notice that I hardly control my spending when I went to hair saloon. There is always a way for the hair salloon staff to persuade me to spend my $$$ away. If they failed to persuade me for an expensive hair treatment, they will share with me the benefits of their products. For the past few years, I had bought several expensive hair treatment cream, hair loss tonic, scalp care cream and some styling products. But, to be honest, I hardly use them. So, for my recent trip to hair saloon, I purchased hair shampoo at bargain (buy 2, get 1 free) at RM80. At least, I can use the shampoo everyday. Afterall, I still need to buy shampoo over the counter.

I decided to be more countious on spending for unneccessaries products and items. I decided to only buy the products when I need them. Not because the promoter advise me to buy from them. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

My Pre-Wedding Photography Session @ Mushroom King Bridal Studio, Kuching

I had been doing some survey around Kuching city before deciding for our prewedding photography session. And finally we choose Mushroom King Bridal Studio. Partially because my younger brother and sister in law had their prewedding photography session taken at Mushroom King Bridal Studio 3 years ago. When I first visited the bridal studio, the boss, Eric Chen and his wife who is also his business partner were very friendly. There is a kind of warm feeling when I first sat down and discussed about the pre wedding photography package with them.

The other reason why I choose Mushroom King Bridal Studio is because the package is within our budget and very flexible. Dave and me do not wish to spend more than RM3K for our pre wedding photography, but at the same time we hope to have a wonderful and fastastic pre wedding photos for our memory. Before we decided for Mushroom King Bridal Studio, we have
heard of many stories of other bridal studios who had hidden charges for their pre wedding photography session. We also heard of stories where the photographer scolded the bride and the groom for not being able to pose as instructed by the photographer. One of Dave's friend spent almost RM10K for his pre wedding and actual day wedding photography session. That's quite a lot of money right?

During the pre wedding photo shooting, Eric and his wife had been really friendly and professional. At the beginning, Dave and me not really feeling comfortable and natural as we had never had any profesional photography session before. But, as the session goes on, we find ourselves becoming more comfortable and relax. We also had fun along the photography session. Our photography session took about 9 hours. A big portion of the time spent on make up and hair-do for the bride.

Dave and me were quite worried on the quality of the photos as we both not a superstar. But, when we had a first screening of the photos after 2 days, we're impressed by the quality of the photos. We had a hard time to select the photos because we wish to have all the photos (of course we can have it, but we need to add extra money). After several visits and several screenings, we selected the choosen 21 photos for our photo album and we bought back a portion of the softcopies.

If you are looking for a profesionally taken photos (pre wedding photography, actual wedding day photography, birthday, special occasions, passport size photo, business purposes and any other professional photography session) you can always look for Mushroom King Bridal Studio. Their contact is 082-415527.

Oh! Dave and me met a few of our friends and relatives when we're at Mushroom King Bridal Studio (different visits). When we flipped through the sample of wedding album, we saw some of our friends and relatives as well. Most of their customers came from words of mouth. No wonder they do not need to do any advertisement.

Wish you have a wonderful and beautiful pre wedding photography session.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Physical Gold Price In Kuching

Since the past few months, I had been following my family members to do some physical gold shopping in Kuching, as gifts and accessories for my wedding. We had been to a few locations. For most gold shops, the published gold price is about RM125 per gram for 916 yellow gold (between June 2009 to Sept 2009). But, the shop owners always willing to give a certain discount if you asked for it. The lowest I got is RM116 per gram.

When purchasing for physical gold, make sure you not only look at the price per gram but also the quality of the gold and the labour charge. Try to look for shops referred by others to ensure that the gold is with original quality. For labour charge, some shops published their gold price quite low, but will charge the labour charge quite expensive. So, it's wise to do some survey before deciding on your final purchase.

Note: One of the famous place for gold shopping in Kuching is the street near the Main Post Office and the few gold shops in front of Waterfront. There are also other gold shops in Satok, India Street and some shopping complex.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Do You 'Invest' In 4D?

Every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday evening, there will be crowds of people at 4D outlets. And I noticed, on Monday, Thursday and Sunday morning, the first page most readers landed on is the 4D result page. Always heard they say 'kena makan' (been eaten) but still they will try again and again.

I myself bought a few times 4D, but so far only strike once, consolation price. Not enough to cover my small investment.

I think many invest in 4D even though they know it is very slim chance to get a strike because:

1) small investment but huge return - Just slightly more than RM1 for a bet and one could win thousands of ringgit;
2) consider as long term investment - They believe that, one day they will win back their investment
3) wish to become a millionaire overnight - Although the chances are very slim, but there are real cases every week where one turned into a millionaire overnight because of 4D

Also, when one started to buy 4D, he/she always cannot stop from investing because he/she worried that their numbers might strike the first price the next morning. I have heard people said they they'll get heart attack if they stop investing in 4D and their number appear as first price.

Do you invest in 4D? Or what is your opinion in 4D investing?

Friday, September 18, 2009

How Much Do You Usually Maintain In Your Saving Account?

My father opened my first saving account when I was 13 years old. That was because I was studying at boarding school and we needed the account so he can place my pocket money in the account. When I need some pocket money, I just withdraw it from the bank. Back then, I don't have an ATM card. I need to queue up to get my withdrawal. It's really not convenient for a young student to travel to the town just to get RM50. If I am not mistaken, the most I ever have in that account was about RM200. That was my first saving account.

After I started work, I opened a different saving account. This account is where my monthly salary will be credited at the end of the month and also the account where I transfer the payment to my creditors. So, towards middle of the month, there will be little left in the account. But, after sometime the amount can be more than few months salary. I used to keep the extra cash in my saving account, but recently I started to transfer the extra cash to other accounts, to be specific the accounts which can help me to earn additional cash. It can be either gold saving account, fixed deposit or investment account.

And I only maintain about one month salary saving in my saving account. There are reasons why I minimise my saving in my saving account to about one month salary. Firstly it is to cover for my super emergency use. So, one month salary should be enough. Secondly, the interest is too low. Thirdly, In case I lost my ATM card and someone manage to withdraw the cash from my saving account, the most he can get is the one month salary.

So, how much do you have in your saving accounts?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

What Do You Have In Your Wallet Or Purse?

Currently, I have the followings in my red purse:

1) My IC
2) My driving licence
3) 1 ATM card
4) 2 credit cards
5) 4 pieces of RM10 note
6) 1 piece of RM5 note
7) 3 pieces of RM1 note
8) A few coins
9) My ING Insurance medical card
10) My Popular Bookstore member card
11) 2 pieces of my name card
12) 2 small reminder notes

I used to have a lot more things in my purse, but later I decided to keep most of them at home because I don't see the point bringing so many things especially membership cards around. It's only making my purse fatter and heavier.

I know there are several other things that people keep in their wallet or purse:

1) Receipts and some are very old receipts
2) A photo of oneself
3) A photo of loved ones
4) Lucky charms
5) A string of membership cards
6) A small phone book
7) A small note consist of bible verse
8) Name cards of somone important
9) 4D tickets

Anything else that you have in your wallet? Or anything else that you know other people keep in their wallet or purse? Do share with me.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

5 Reasons Why I Signed Up Prudential Prulink Assurance Plan

I had bad impression about insurance and very bad impression about insurance agents. That was because in my younger years, my father told me that 'do not trust insurance or insurance agents. they promised thousand of things but when there really is something happened, you can't find them.' My father said that because he had some bad experience with insurance industry.

When I started to work in early 2000s, I done some reading and own research on insurance. I also discussed and talked to colleagues and friends about insurance. My elder brother has a few friends working in insurance industry and they also helped me a lot to understand more about insurance.

About 1 year later, I bought my first insurance policy, Prudential Prulink Assurance Plan, a plan which provide both protection and investment to its policy holders.

Why I signed up? These are the reasons:

1) For my own protection
When I started working for the first few years, I was thinking, if I suddenly had serious illness or involved in accident and not able to work and earn income, what will happened to me? Will I have enough saving for the treatment and those health related matter? Will I trouble my parents and family for that? Sometimes, these thought made me not able to sleep at night. If I have an insurance policy, at least I am covered for the illness and there are financial support for the expensive treatment.

2) For my saving
During that time I didn't have much commitment, but I just don't know where does my money goes too. So, with insurance, I forced myself to save a few hundred every month to pay insurance premium. At least, when I received my yearly account statement, I know where my money goes too.

3) For my investment
For my Prudential Prulink investment account, partial of my premium will be invested in selected funds. My insurance consultant advised me to first invest in equity fund because he said I was still very young and I have plenty of time. Few years later, his assistant advised me to switch some of the equity fund to bond fund due to slower market. I didnt' regret listened to his advise. So far the return from both prulink bond and prulink equity funds are very impressive.

4) For my retirement
With the hope that everything goes well and I didn't make any claims or withdrawal from Prudential, when I reach 60 years old, I will have additional cash from the investment for my retirement fund.

5) For my future
When I learned that the premium increase with the age, I know that I must have an insurance coverage as early as possible. I don't want to wait till I have a family or other commitment because by then, the premium would be very high and insurance company had the right to reject applications with health problem.

Among all the above, the main reason is still the first reason, for protection. In case of any accidents or serious illness happened, there will be financial support for myself and my family members. Will the increasing price in health care industry, it is wise to have an appropriate insurance coverage for oneself, as early as possible.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Power Of CTOS

On last Friday, a customer (Mr Bad Debt) who owed us about RM2K since 2005 suddenly called in an said that he would like to settle the outstanding. I was quite surprised as I never encounter before, where a customer who owed us for quite some time suddenly would call in and wish to settle all outstanding. For most bad debt cases, our Credit Control Department had to engage external collector and demand those payment from the bad paymasters. It's really not easy to get back those long outstanding amount.

3 days after that, a guy from a local financial institution called and said that he wished to know whether Mr Bad Debt had settled his long outstanding or not. After a short conversation, I learned that Mr Bad Debt wish to engage with financial services provided by the financial institution, but later his application was pending due to his company name and his name is in CTOS system. In case you have no idea what is CTOS, it is short form for Credit Tip Off Service Sdn Bhd. It is a lead information system in Malaysia where clients can gather information about their customers or potential customers. Usually financial institution would very much in need of this services before they decide whether they should or should not provide credit facilities to their customers. In most cases, if the applicant or customer name appears in CTOS and still has unsettled debt, they will not get the credit facilities. Who would take the risk, right?

Personally I think CTOS is a useful system where clients can check the financial status and other financial information of a potential customer before they decide whether they should provide credit facilities to the potential customer. It is hard to prevent bad debts from happening in an organization. So, if the potential customer had a sign of bad debts, it is better to check in details before let him sign on the dotted lines.

No wonder Mr Bad Debt so keen to settle his long outstanding.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Kids Pocket Money - 1980s vs 2009

During my childhood in 1980s, my parents no need to give me and other siblings pocket money. Because our small remote school don't have a canteen. Usually, we will bring food and drinks prepared by mum to school. And there is no shop nearby our school. The only way to spend money is to buy some sweets and other goodies from other schoolmates who brought these goodies and sell them at school. Occasionally my parents gave and other siblings pocket money when we followed them to the nearby town. And usually, when there are coins left in my father's pocket, he will empty it and give us all his coins. That time, my siblings and me didn't 'love' money that much. Probably because we don't see the important of money as everything we need, we have it. We didn't have a rich life but a very simple one.

Nowadays, things had changed quite a lot. I see my brother give my young niece (in Primary 3) RM1 as daily allowance. On top of that, my sister-in-law sends the food to her during her short break time. And I can tell, my niece is very smart. She saves most of her allowances and requested me to help her bank-in to her Public Bank Wise Account once every 2 months. When she wants some toys, candies or 'special' stationaires, she would nag for her mum to buy for her. Or sometimes, she will hint me to buy for her. Occasionally, my parents (her grandparents) and me give her some additional allowance when she scored good marks in her studies.

Things are almost the same with other nieces and newphews. All of them received daily allowance from their parents. And from what I heard, my nieces and nephews will also remind their parents for their daily allowances. My nieces and newphews also said that, some of their schoolmates receive between RM1-RM5 daily allowances, depend on their age and family background. Most of the allowances were spent stationaries, toys, cards and junk foods.

I see kids nowadays are very lucky compared to ten or twenty years ago. Modern kids with rich family background will always be at the advantage because their allowances will be always more than enough when compare to kids from the moderate family background. No matter what, we need to make sure that our kids value the money and know how to handle and manage money from young age. As how the way they manage their pocket money will shape their financial perception when they grow up.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Eon Bank & Uni.Asia - Wealth Xtra Assurance & Investment Account

Earlier this week, Dave said that he received his account value statement for his Wealth Xtra Investment Account which he purchased about 2 years ago from EON Bank. He did grumbled about the current value of the investment as the value had dropped about 40%. He even think to sell of the fund to get back the cash. The next day, he showed me the account value statement with Investment-Link Fund's Performance Report and the Uni.Asia insurance policy he purchased together with the investment.

After a details reading of the insurance policy and some googling, then I understood his Wealth Xtra Investment. It is a bancassurance product by Eon Bank with the purpose to provide protection and investment for their investors. The insurance coverage is 125% of the sum insured or the current Account Value, whichever is higher, upon death. For the investment, Dave invested in Uni Global IPO fund. At the current slow economic growth, the fund is not performing well.

After further understanding of the Wealth Xtra Assurance & Investment account, Dave decided not to sell of or surrender his policy. He decided to give more time for the fund to perform. He also said, 2 years ago, the officer from the EON Bank promoted this fund for him without telling him further details. What she mentioned was the Uni Global IPO fund will make money. After he signed up the policy, when he went to the bank to look for her for enquiries, she's no longer working there and other officer informed him to go to Uni.Asia office for enquiries. I can tell he really frustrated when the officer not able to explain to him accordingly.

I think things will be much better if the organization put their customers' interest first than their own interest. For this case, it's easy just to get the cash from the investors, get them to sign on the policy. But, later who will take care of them? Who will provide assistance when the real needs arise?

Dave said next time he will be extra careful when purchase a product which involved different assurance or investment product offered by different organization. Because, we don't trust them to handle our cash. I hate it when one party push to another party. I prefer to deal with a certain bank for their banking product sand another different insurance company for their insurance services.

Be careful before you sign on the dotted lines...

Monday, August 24, 2009

Rebate For TM Streamyx Connection Issues

I had been having broadband connection issue since 29 June 2009. That's about 2 months ago. On 19th August 2009, I was really mad because I can't get connected even though I tried since 7:30pm. At about 9:30pm, I called to TM100 and was very disappointed as when I pressed the Technical Support option, I can't seem to get to the Department. I don't mind to hold the line (usually for few minutes before the customer service answer my call), but that day, I totally can't get to hear the on-hold melody. The message was 'We are still waiting for your feedback'. After several trial and pressing all the option buttons, I managed to reache the Billing Department. I took the opportunity to request for rebate or adjustment for those days where I can't get connected. Then, the Billing Department passed me to the Technical Support department. Half way talking to the technical guy, the line got cut-off. And as usual, the technical guy never call me back. I was quite furious and I decided to write an email, a long complaint email to the help@tm.net.my. Towards the end of the email, I mentioned will bring up this matter to SKMM @ MCMC if TM can't solve my connection issue by this month.

The next day, in the afternoon, I received a call from TM Customer Care on my email content. I was a bit surprised as I never expect they will respond that fast. The customer care said that the reason for my connection was due to 'session hang'. Which I think is a mere excuse. Because I had been using this account for the past few years, and I don't face serious issue. The customer care even sent me an email on the matter.

The following day (Friday), another customer care called me from Billing Department and acknowledged that they'd received my request for rebate and will process for the rebate or adjustment due to the disconnection issue. That night, I received an email from TM said that they'll rebate about 1 month charges due to my connection issue since 29 June 2009. I was quite surprise with their prompt action.

Today, I still received different error messages when I try to log in, but at least, after the second or third trial, I can get connected.The problem now is the connection speed is very slow. I will monitor this situation, and if it get worse, I definitely will complain to TM again.

Do you face any broadband connection issues?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

How Much Do You Know About Unit Trust?

I know 88% about unit trust. How I got this score is through a quiz on Malaysian Investor website. Out of 9 questions, I scored 8 correct answers. Quite ok I guess :p Though I had been started reading on unit trust for the past few years, there are still a lot more to learn.

For those who are new to unit trust investment, you can check out the website and complete the quiz yourself. Most of the questions are basic knowledge on unit trust. If the answer is wrong, don't worry. The quiz will tell you the correct answer and with proper explanation.Would be better if you can read more on unit trust before start any of your unit trust investment. Don't rush for the investment and later regret on that investment.

Enjoy the quiz.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Malaysian Students - Will Your PTPTN Study Loan Be Sufficient?

For most Malaysian university students and parents, the main concern is not whether the students will be able to graduate with flying colours or not, but whether the student has sufficient financial support throughout his or her studies. I can understand this as courses fees and other courses materials can reach a few thousands for one semester. Basic living needs is another area where students spend big portion of their money.

For most Malaysian students (including me), we are considered lucky as PTPTN provide study loan for most courses and approved universities and colleges. The question is - Do these students know how to plan their financial wisely throughout their courses? PTPTN is doing a very smart control to their study loans. PTPTN only bank-in the needed amount in each semester. For my case, PTPTN pay the course fees and other fees to the respective university first. Only then, the balance will go to the student's bank account. In other way, PTPTN is helping the students to plan and monitor their finances.

No matter what, students must do their own proper financial planning throughout their study. They must plan a proper budget which includes course materials (books, special devices or tools, other references), PC & broadband, living and transportation charges and also other miscellaneous charges. With proper budgeting, PTPTN will definitely be sufficient for you to get your degree or master degree. With proper budgeting also, students not only have a piece on mind to concentrate on their studies but they might be able to prepare a special fund for the down payment of their first car as well.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Will You Lend Money To Your Business Friends?

I don't like to receive SMS or phone call after midnight especially when I am deep asleep. Because usually it is an emergency and not a good sign. Last night, I was quite shocked when I got the SMS from a business friend asking to borrow some cash from me. I never expect she would think to borrow from me as we are not that close. We only have business link - the company where she works is our customer and what she said influences the company's decision maker. Furthermore she is a senior staff and she holds quite a high position. I never expect she'll be short of cash.

Today, very early in the morning, she called me. It was not easy to say 'NO' as the company where she works is one of our major customers. But, at that point, I know I had to reject her in a nice way. So, I said 'I am sorry to hear that but I don't have the cash'. She still insist that she needs it for some emergency and will return the cash to me within one to two weeks time. She said she has no one to look for, that's why she turned to me.

I repeated again, 'I am sorry, I don't have the cash'. I can sense she's quite disappointed. In one way, I feel quite bad that I didn't lend her the cash. But, on the other way, I can't accept the fact that she would borrow from me out of many of her friends and colleagues. Furthermore, my quick mind tells me that If I lend her RM5k today, next month she might come to me again and requesting for another RM5k. And this sensitive-money-lend-borrow issue will somehow affect our business relationship.

So, I decided to recommend her to a friend who is doing legal money lending business. She said she still prefer to get the cash from me, moneylender would usually require a lot of documentations and takes time. I told her, that would be the best solution for us as I prefer not to involve personal matter and work related matter. I am not sure whether she got the cash she needs or not. I hope she managed to solve her financial emergency issue. I also hope that she will learn to build an emergency account so that she will not turn to others for help when unexpected financial needs arise.

Do you lend money to your business friends or customer because you want to maintain your business relationship with them?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Does Money Bring Happiness?

If anyone would say "Money does not bring happiness", I would say "You are lying!" or "Give me all your money". Today, in our modern world, towards certain point, money does bring happiness to us. Can you bring food on the table without money? Can you be happy without a proper shelter for your family? Can you walk to office without paying for your car or other transportation methods? Can you read a blog without a computer and without your service provider? It is impossible to do all these without money, right? So, money does bring happiness to us. Money provides us with a comfortable shelter, healthy and nutritious food and proper clothes for us and our loved ones and some other luxuries which are now our necessity - a computer with (fast) Internet connection, a plasma TV with at least 50 channels?, a fully aircond home, a nice car and so many more. All these do bring happiness to us.

BUT, more money does not mean more happiness. It might has a reverse effect. Because the love for money might cause us to drift away from pure happiness, enlarging the gap between us and happiness. We must be able to control the greed of money from destroying the happiness that money can bring to us. We must appreciate and value money as an item which can make our life much richer and meaningful.

Thus, we must learn to manage and shape our financial future. Do not let money lead us through our life. We must lead our life with money as one of the tools to make our life to be more meaningful.

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Return From My Public Dividend Select Fund (PDSF)

Recently I received my annual statement of investment for my first unit trust, Public Dividend Select Fund (PDSF) which I invested in May 2005, with only RM1K. I was a bit surprised as there is a dividend of RM91.03 for financial year ended 31 May 2009. I am surprised because in this bearish market, Public Dividend Select Fund still can perform quite well and helping its investors to gain some dividends. I must say that I am impressed with the way the fund managers manage the fund.

I am not expecting a huge return from any of my unit trust funds for 2009 as I know the market is slow and very conservative. I am thinking to top up my Public Dividend Select Fund. Being a normal investor, I do feel a bit regret that I did not top up my PDSF between Oct08 to Feb09 whereby the unit price is only slightly more than RM0.20. For last Friday (31 July 2009), the unit price is RM0.2557. I notice the unit price is climbing up quite fast. It is time for me to consider whether or not to top up my PDSF.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Effective cost saving ideas for your office - Part 4

It is almost end of July 2009 and I still read news on staff retrenchment and positions been made redundant. The hard time is not over yet. Why not gather everyone in your organization and start to concentrate on cost savings plan? I know many of us not in favour to hear the words 'cost savings', but always remember, it is always better for us to save cost and work in a team, rather than the company had to cut down on headcounts and starts to lay off its employees.

Other than those ideas in my ealier post, I had another 3 additional effective cost saving ideas for your office:

1) Reduce the frequency on courier charges
Most company will need to use the courier service to send documents, parcels, products or other item to their customers, suppliers or other organizations. What more to say if it is multi national companies or huge corporate with offices worldwide. Courier charges will be just like telephone, electricity or water bills - it is a necessity. Bear in mind to control these courier charges. Perhaps select one courier day in a week where only on this particular day, your staff can send a courier. Of course, provided the courier is not really urgent. Avoid sending 2 different courier with different consignment note from your organization to the same destination. Ensure your Logistic or Admin department take control, track and make proper arrangement for all courier service. If implemented successfully, you will see a drastic drop in your courier charges invoices.

2) Cut down unnecessary face to face meetings
Many of us do not like it (meetings), but we need to discuss and find solutions to problems. Face to face meetings can used up a lot of resources. For company with offices worldwide or nationwide, to arrange a meeting for all the representative from different regions is wasting a lot of their resources on travelling hours, air tickets, accommodations, staff claims and other expenses. And yet, can the meetings come out with effective results? With the current developing technology, why not try to arrange for something different? Perhaps can try teleconferencing or video conferencing? Most importantly, just make sure the objective of the meeting is met.

3) Alternative Air Travelling Arrangement
Why I specifically mentioned on air travelling is because it is the travelling method which is most expensive if you compare to the land or sea travel method. But, the good news is there is always an alternative air travelling arrangement. Try to look for alternative airlines which provide a much lower air tickets compare to the standard charges. If possible, try to book and make travel arrangement ahead of time to avoid skyhigh air tickets.

I hope the ideas above will bring benefits to your organization. If you have other cost saving ideas, feel free to add in more.

Happy Cost Saving!

Monday, July 27, 2009

EPF@KWSP - 2008 Account Statement

Have you received your 2008 EPF@KWSP account statement? I received mine somewhere towards the end of June 2009. From EPF@KWSP website, there is an announcement dated 18 June 2009 that they had successfully posted out all account statements for their EPF@KWSP members.

In case you have not received your 2008 EPF@KWSP account statement, you can:

1) print it from the account statement from EPF@KWSP Smart Kiosks;

2) view or print it from your own computer (with Internet access) through EPF@KWSP i-Akaun;

3) check with your Human Resource Department;

4) check with your nearest EFP@KWSP office ( in case you did not update your mailing address).

If you need to view your account urgently, you can choose option 1. Else, I suggest option 2 because after you completed the registration process, you can log in and view your EFP@KWSP account transaction and account details anytime, anywhere from your own computer (provided with Internet access and you must remember your log in name and password).

For more details, you can refer to my previous post on EPF@KWSP - How To Get Your Latest Account Statement or EPF@KWSP website.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A Broadband Service Which Worth My Every Cents?

Lately I had been very unhappy with my existing broadband service provider which I had been using for the past 5 years. I had a lot of problem with my connections. For the past 20 days, I had been complaining to the customer service centre for more than 5 times. From the 5 times, for the first 3 times, I cannot get connected but after I called the customer service centre, and they reset the connection port or create a new dialer, I can get connected. For the 4th time, I totally cannot get connected for 3 consecutive days. The customer service said they will send technical support team to check the connection at my end. But they did not turned up. Luckily I can get connected on the 3rd night. And at that time, I got a miscalled on my mobile and it is from the broadband call centre (I know because I had saved the customer service centre number in my mobile). She only called me back about 4 days later.

And for the 5th time, it happened last night. I tried to connect to the Internet and it kept prompting 'invalid username and password' or 'the remote computer did not respond' to my connection. When I called the customer service centre, my calls cannot get connected after I pressed the option for technical support. I do not know whether they do it on purpose or not (which I hope not). I was quite angry and annoyed. After I pressed another option for the billing enquiries section, finally the call can reach a customer service consultant who claimed that he is from technical support (very funny!). After he asked all the lame questions, and performed all the lame trouble shootings, I still cannot get connected. I was very unhappy as I am very sure my username and password is 100% correct. Before he finished the conversation, the call got cut off. I do not know whether there is a timer for each caller who called in or he purposely cut off my line. And as usual, they never call back. I called in again for the second time and after so many trial, I reached another different customer service consultant. I do not know why, but this time I am not as angry as the first time. So, again I went through all the same lame stuff and he confirmed there is problem with my connections. He gave me a report number and informed me technical team will check the connection at my end (again???).

After I hung up the phone, I tried to connect and this time I can get connected. But, the connection speed is not as what I paid for.

Early this morning, a technical guy called me and asked me about my broadband connection. I told him I can get connected and will monitor my situation. A bit surprised that the respond is very fast. Then, I remember last night I did mentioned to the first customer service consultant that I might launch a complaint to MCMC if the service did not improve and up to the standard for the $$$ I paid for.

Are you happy with your current broadband service provider? Or are you facing the same problem like me? I really hope for a broadband service which worth my every cents.

Monday, July 20, 2009

My Spending Urge Habit

I noticed that I had this urge to splurge when I made a huge purchase for a particular month. For example, I bought a digital camera with RM1k. Then, during the same month, I made another purchase of RM500 gold necklace. Usually, I can control my spending habits. But, once I made a huge purchase for a particular month, it seems like I open the door to huge purchases and it is rather hard to control my urge to spend. Is this normal? Do you have the same spending urge like me?

It is SALE season now. Everywhere, there is huge Discounts, some up to 70%. I must control myself. Else, it will be painful when I see the $$$ being transferred to my credit card accounts.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Women - Are We The One Causing Our Partner's Bad Debts?

Not long ago, I read from a local newspaper that, WE - woman (wives), are causing men's' (husbands) bad debts. I do not 100% agree with this statement. In our modern society, more and more women are independent and are earning income just like their partner to support themselves and their families. Some even can bring more income when compare to their partner. How could we cause our partners' bad debts?

The news blame it on demanding wives who keep on pestering their husbands for big ticket purchase which later causing the husband to be in debts. I believe, smart husbands will not keep their financial situation a secret from their partner. Husband should discuss and involve their wives on their financial situation, whether they can afford the big ticket items. If the wives are not being informed, they will never know that their husbands has other high responsibilities. For smart wives, I am sure they will not trouble their husband if they understand that their husband cannot fulfill their each and every wish especially expensive item. Perhaps, both can start a saving plan before the purchase, which means that make sure the cash is there before they do the purchase. Most probably, by the time they have the cash, they will not proceed with the purchase as they know it is hard to save that amount of money.

But, I do understand that there are women who is especially 'expensive' and 'demanding'. Always enjoy comparing with the Jones. Must have new expensive items every now and then. Must keep up to the standard of their friends and relatives. These women must learn to purchase and to spend with their own hard earned money. For men, if you cannot afford these type of women, it is wise to stay away from them.

Most importantly, husbands should not be shameful to discuss with wives on their current financial situations. And wives must be understanding and try to support their husbands on financial issues. By planning and working out the plan together, both not only can avoid bad debts, but can increase their wealth.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Donations As Part Of Financial Planning

If you read financial planning books or articles, you will find that most authors include donations as partial of financial planning. But, I do understand. As a wage earner, we often find the income not even enough for us, how to spare for someone else? Especially those who are not close to us? Or those we don't even know?

Actually, the donation amount need not be a huge amount. It can be a small sum because you can never imagine that small amount could mean a life to someone else. But, it must be a sincere donation with the purpose to share our wealth with the rest especially those who is less fortunate than us. It is one of the way to be grateful for the wealth we received, and in return we share it with other.

In Malaysia, we can donate to various charity and organizations. The most available way would be donating to our religion centre, be it the Church, the Mosque, the Temple or any other religion centre.

If you have never do any donation before, try it once and share with me how you feel about it.

Monday, July 6, 2009

A Review Of My 2009 Financial Goals

It has been about 2 weeks since I last posted on my blog. Had been pretty busy lately. Last week, I just submitted my mid year performance appraisal at my workplace. And it reminds me of the mid year review of my own 2009 financial goals. From time to time, I did take a look at my 2009 financial goals as it is sticked on my bedroom notice board. The best feeling would be, when I completed a goal, I place a 'tick' by the side of the goal. It provides me the energy to achieve more goals.

I wish to share the status of my 2009 financial goals:

1) Increase my annual income by at least 10%. (to be completed by Dec 2009)
Status: In progress. Hopefully I can make it.

2) Moving the $$$ from my emergency account to fixed deposit accounts. I don't want my emergency account to just sit in the saving account. Moving the $$$to the fixed deposit accounts not only benefit me but also to the banks and the society as they need the $$$. (to be completed by Jan 2009)
Status: Completed mid of Jan 2009. Partially moved to my unit trust funds due to low interest rate for fixed deposit.

3) Invest in a new unit trust fund. This time, I want to invest in equity fund. (to be completed by June 2009)
Status: Completed 2 July 2009. Invested in PB Growth Fund. Timing is just nice as the price on 2 July dropped after PB Growth Fund announced its dividend of 7.50 sen per unit.

4) Continue to top up my existing unit trust funds. (all year long)
Status: In progress. I only top up on selected funds.

5) Keeping a separate file for each of my unit trust funds. Currently all my unit trust funds details are in the same file. It's time to separate them. Separating them will make my fund monitoring easier. (to be done by Jan 2009)
Status: Easy. Completed mid of Jan 2009.

6) Monitoring my Public Bank Gold Investment Account and top up at least once. (to be completed by 31 Dec 2009)
Status: Haven't to up yet due to high gold price.

7) Monitoring my investment-link Pru-link assurance and see if there's a need to review the coverage and purchase a second insurance. (to be done by Sept 2008)
Status: In progress. Perhaps will increase my medical coverage.

8) Terminating my unused credit cards, and concentrate on 1 credit card with another two as backup. I must ensure that the active and backup credit cards are without annual fee. (to be done by June 2009)
Status: Not very easy as I thought it would be. Anyway, completed end of March 2009. Now, I only have 2 credit cards.

9) File and submit my income tax early. (to be done by 15 April 2008)
Status: Completed 20th April 2009

10) Continue with my 'fun saving' account. My fun saving accounts keep all my fun expenses. This includes fun expenses for my family and for myself. It'sgreat to be able to provide some fun $$$ throughout the financial planning journey. Life can't be serious all the time, right :p (all year long)
Status: In progress.

So, I completed 5 goals and I still have another 5 goals to achieve within 6 months. I am quite satiesfied with my 50% achievement. How about you? Do you keep track of your financial goals?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A WILL - Do You Need One?

Most people would not think about writing a will. Probably because they are not planning to leave this world that fast. But, accidents do happened. A WILL will ensure your assets to be distributed the way you want it to be. Without a will, your dependents might face a lot of issues and difficulties to claim your assets. And the process might takes years, even as long as 8years.

Our neighbour is a lawyer firm. On and off, we saw groups of people, mostly siblings going to or coming out from the lawyer office with sour and bitter face. For those who are willing to share, they said mostly because their parents passed away without a will or arrangement. So, these siblings is fighting for the free money, the assets from their late father. Other than fighting for the money, these siblings also need to pay a huge sum of money as lawyer fees. It's sad to see this situation.

I don't really have much assets, yet :p But, I am thinking to have a will. I believe it's important to have a will especially for married couples and with dependents. Don't you think so?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Perbadanan Tabung Pendidikan Tinggi Nasional - PTPTN

It is now local university and private college registration time. For some parents which might not be able to provide full financial support to their university-going son or daughter, they might not be able to sleep well. But, not too worry, especially for those students who are offered to local university. Perbadanan Tabung Pendidikan Tinggi Nasional (PTPTN) provides financial support for Malaysian to further their study. With PTPTN, students will get study loan which cover their course fee, accommodation and other expenses. In short, it is enough for a student to get his diploma or degree. Upon graduation, students will need to pay back the study loan on monthly basis at a low interest rate.

PTPTN is an excellent way to solve financial burden for both parents and students. For more information, please visit PTPTN website.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Registration of Marriage in Kuching

Dave and me just completed our registration of marriage on last Wednesday, 10 June 2009 at Jabatan Pendaftaran Negara, Kuching Branch. In case you are planning to get married and no idea where and how to register your marriage, the notes below might be helpful:

1) Prepare a passport size for both applicants. Preferably with blue background.
2) Prepare a photostate copy of your IC and birth certificate for both applicants.
3) Bring the above with the original IC and birth certificate and go to the nearest Jabatan Pendaftaran Negara (JPN). For us, our nearest JPN is at Satok, just above Merry Brown.
4) Both applicants will need to complete JPNKC02 form. Don't worry, the officer will assist you throughout the whole process.
5) Upon completion, the officer will ask you whether you choose to complete the marriage registration at JPN or at church or Chinese association. For us, we choose to complete the marriage registration at JPN.
6) The officer informed us our application will be displayed for 21 days on a medium size notice board, located at the first staircase of Kuching JPN.
7) The officer printed a letter to us, informing us on the marriage registration date and time and also the attire for the marriage registration. You can adjust the date if you can't make it on the date fixed by the officer.
8) On the marriage registration day, go to the same office, bring a long 2 witnesses All must wear formal and for man, must wear necktie. All 4 must bring along their IC as well.
9) Upon arrival, present all documents to the officer. She'll prepare the marriage certificates. There will be a lot of couples. It is based on first come first serve basis.
10) Make payment of RM30.00.
11) Wait for your turn. An officer will call for the applicants name. She will read marriage vows and advice to all 4. Then the groom and bride take turn to read a readily prepare wedding vows.
12) Then all 4 will sign on marriage certificates. The bride and groom will each have a copy of the certificate. You can choose to exchange your wedding rings here as well.
13) And you're married now.

For more information, you can log in to Jabatan Pendaftaran Negara website. For those from Kuching, you may contact these phone numbers which belong to JPN Satok Office: 082-241550 or 082-427877. For those from other area, you may check this website.

Even though the marriage certificates only cost RM30 but these certificates are important part of a married couple. These certificates protect the couple's right.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Do You Have A Spending Plan For Your Wedding?

Recently I had been quite busy preparing for my wedding in Oct 2009. There are so many things to do and so many preparations to make. To name a few, register for marriage, booking for wedding reception, booking for wedding photography, purchasing bedroom set, bedroom renovations, purchasing wedding bands, honeymoon package and so many more. And needless to say a lot of $$$ involved too.

Even though, future husband, Dave and me not planning for a huge and grand wedding, we find that we are spending quite a lot for our wedding. Lucky that we have a spending plan for our wedding. We listed down all expenses for our wedding. We found out, from time to time, there will be new item added to the list. For each item, we have a estimated budget. When we go for wedding shopping, at least we have a budget in mind. Still, some of the item are slightly
more than our estimated budget. So, what we practised is we will weight the importance of the item and the quality as well. If the item is important and with good quality, we'll increase our budget and purchase that item.

So far, our actual expenses is slightly more than our budgeted expenses. We'll try not to be over our budget by 10%. And I am grateful that Dave is s financially wise guy. It makes the whole process much smoother.

So, do you have a spending plan for your wedding? Do share some of your wedding spending plan with me.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Living A Financially Balanced Life

Recently a friend shared a story where her father who is 70+ admitted to hospital due to some serious liver matter. Since her father didn't has much savings, she has to help to pay for the medical expenses which is about RM20K. I can see from her eyes that it's quite painful for her to see her RM20k just fly away from her within such a short period of time. But, I know she loves her father and her love for her father overcame the painful feeling of losing the RM20k.

And I remember an ex-colleague ever shared with me that her uncle had really working very hard throughout his whole life. He would try to save every cents. He would not allow himself to simply spend the hard earned money. He never travel out of his own hometown. Never treat himself life luxuries. And yes, he managed to save a lot of money. By the time he thinks that he should stop saving so hard and it's time to start to enjoy life, he was diagnosed with serious illness. At the end, he didn't even get to enjoy the money he had saved throughout his whole life.

Both stories has sad ending. For the first story, the father didn't have enough saving for his retirement. And thus he had to trouble his daughter for the medical expenses. He's lucky because his daughter is willing to pay for the expensive medical fees. But, nowadays  most son or daughter had barely enough to cover their own expenses. How to expect them to be able to support us in our old years? 

For the second story, the guy had taken financial saving too seriously and thus ended up didn't managed to enjoy his life even though he has saved a lot of $$$.

Thus, I am reminding myself from time to time, to have a proper saving plan and at the same time enjoy little things in life. Best would be include a fun saving fund in my financial planning so that I can enjoy some life luxuries and knowing that I am not burning a hole in my saving fund. That's what I called a financially balance life.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

EPF @ KWSP - Have You Updated Your Nominations?

In my previous post in Mar09, I encouraged EPF @ KWSP accounts holder to nominate their beneficiary in case the member passes away. For this post, I would like to encourage EPF @ KWSP members who had made their nominations to update their nominees from time to time. Perhaps when you first made your nominations, you're still single. And now you're married and maybe with kids. So, it's important for you to update your nominees from time to time.  This is to ensure that the EPF @ KWSP saving goes to the right party. 

Even if you're not planning to amend your beneficiaries, at least pay a visit to EPF counter and check whether your nominations is still there. You never know, sometimes data can be missing from complex system or database.

I am sure you'll not want to be the victim by the missing database or corrupted system. Make it an effort to check your nominations once a year.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Retirement Planning - Will Our EPF @ KWSP Savings Be Enough?

For all workers in Malaysia, every month we have about 23% from our monthly income credited to our EPF @ KWSP accounts. From this 23%, 12% were contributed by employer and 11% contributed by employee. It's about 1/5 of our monthly salary. It sounds like a lot of money isn't it?

Have you actually sit down and have a serious thought about your retirement planning Whether your EPF @ KWSP savings will be enough to cushion you throughout the golden years? If you've started working at 25 years old, never disturb @ withdraw your EPF @ KWSP savings, and save all the ways til you reached 55 years old, maybe your EPF @ KWSP savings can support your retirement years. But, if you've withdrew some of your EPF @ KWSP savings for housing loan, education loan, medical expense and other approved withdrawal, you will have to start planning to save additional $$$ other than your EPF @ KWSP savings. Because the minimum savings in your EPF @ KWSP accounts cannot assure a peaceful and healthy retirement. It's not enough.

Of course the best would be not to disturb your EPF @ KWSP savings and at the same time have other savings or investment to ensure a less financial worries retirement years. I know it's not easy. But, do keep in mind, it's terrible to be old and broke!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Your Lifestyle And Your Retirement Planning

On Sunday, I read an article by Yap Ming Hui on NST online with the title SAVING little for retirement. This great article is an awakening call for those who are still not planning for their retirement. I won't be surprised to know that even those who make hundreds of thousands a year are not saving for retirement. The main reason is as their income go up, their lifestyle also go up. When a person earns 1K a month, he drives a small and economy car just to bring him to his destinations. With only 1K, how to save for retirement? When his salary increases to 3K a month, he's driving a bigger and more expensive car. In the same way, when his salary increases to 10K a month, he'll replace his car with a more expensive model. If he continues, he will not be able to have enough saving for his retirement. 

Yes, as our income level increase, we will need to upgrade our lifestyle. But, do monitor and adjust your lifestyle from time to time according to your retirement planning. It's important to have enough saving for our golden years. Make it a priority to save a portion of our income while we are still in our income generating years as we'll not be working and earning forever. 

As you are getting nearer to your retirement years, you will be grateful for your early saving attitude.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Effective Cost Saving Ideas For Your Office - Part 3

Though the retrenchment rate in the US has reduced for April 2009, it doesn't meant that the hard time is over. I believe it will still take some time before the economy bounces back. It's still  a hard time for huge and small organizations to stay afloat.

Why not practise the cost saving ideas below to prevent $$$ from flowing out from your organization?

1) Control New Purchases
Do you really need to buy the new PC set for your staff? Or the old PC still is still functioning for at least another year? By controlling new purchases especially huge purchases, it does help to save cost in an organization.

2) Limit Staff Overtime Claim
Did the Human Resource or Audit Department really check through the staff overtime claim? Do your staff really need to work overtime or they are just taking the opportunity to get extra cash? Make sure, the overtime claim is with valid reason and with approval from department head. Overtime claim not only mean you are paying the staff for the extra works , but also for those additional hidden expenses (electric, water and heater cost).

3) Review Company Functions
Is it really necessary for your organization to organize monthly, quarterly or yearly functions? I meant grand and expensive functions at 5-star hotels. Or, is there a way to trim down cost by organizing the same function at the meeting rooms or company hall? Most important part is to make sure the objectives of the functions are met.

4) Reduce Entertainment Cost
This is another area where staff can misuse the benefits given to them. Give your employees the limit of entertainment cost. And have them verified before they bring their guest for entertainment.

5) Advertisement Cost
During this hard time, consumers are more reserved to respond to advertisement. Review your advertising strategy as advertisement is one of the  most expensive cost paid by mos organizations. 

The above cost saving ideas sound better than retrenchment isn't? You can practise the above cost saving ideas even when the economy is back to the bullish style. Let's build a financially healthy and profitable organization.

Money Lenders - Will You Borrow From Them?

For the past few months, I have been receiving money lenders name cards or brochures on my car wipers, stucked at my car windows, in the post box and in the office pigeon hall. Recently, money lenders signboard has been mushrooming in my small town as well. Almost every month, I see new money lending companies been set-up.

Personally, I am against this money lending business. As, money lending indirectly encourages people to borrow and spend tomorrow's money. And usually, the interest is very high. It's really not worth it.

I  believe, most of those who borrow from money lenders are those who didn't  managed their finances properly and they are not saving for the rainy days. When they encounter urgent and emergency needs, the fastest and easiest way is to borrow from money lenders. When there's no other way to get the $$$, probably the thought on how to pay back is not the main concern. But, there's no free lunch in this world. The amount borrowed must pay back (with very high interest).

So, if you really need the $$$ and you don't have saving, will you borrow from money lenders?

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Malaysia Motor Insurance - Know Your No Claim Discount (NCD)

Earlier this week, I have been asking for quotations for my car insurance renewal. I was a bit surprised how my googling on No Claim Discount (NDC) or No Claim Bonus (NCB) can save me about RM40. 

When I requested for the quotation from one of the local bank, the customer service asked for my car details. Then, she said the amount is about RM417. I was a bit curious as the amount was not as what I expected. I knew about NCD but not really in details. Due to my curiosity, I did some googling on NDC in Malaysia. 

According to Kurnia Insurance website, NCD is s a discount given to the policyholders upon renewal of their motor insurance if no claim is made or arises from the policy for a continuous coverage of 12 months. The discount given is based on a fixed rate provided by Persatuan Insurans Am Malaysia (PIAM) Motor Tariff. The NCD discount for private car in Malaysia as below:

Period of Insurance Discount
First year    0%
After the first year of insurance          25%
After the second year of insurance    30%
After the third year of insurance    38.33%
After the fourth year of insurance    45%
After five or more years of insurance    55%

I called the customer service again and told her that I checked through the NCD claims details and I should be entitle for 45% instead of 38.33%. she calculated again and this time the amount that she gave to me sound reasonable, RM372. I believe, if I didn't asked for the second calculation, then she'll just charge me RM417. Luckily I did some googling. And most importantly I feel good because I learned something new.

So, next time you are planning to renew your motor insurance, check your NCD entitlement. I found that Kurnia Insurance website provides a complete details for motor insurance coverage and even a calculator to calculate the motor insurance premium . Remember to calculate your own motor insurance premium before purchasing the insurance. Perhaps you can save some $$$ from here.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Bad Debts - How To Avoid Them?

In recent bad and tight economy situation, I won't be surprised if more and more wage earners are not able to support their current life style with limited monthly income. No matter how hard and difficult your situation is, never allow yourself to fall into bad debts.  

I listed below 4 ways to avoid from falling into bad debts:

1) Review Your Current Life Style
If your can't change the figure of your income, then you will have to change your current life style. Unless you can bring in more money, the easier way is to change your life style to the standard which can be supported by your current income. I know it's not easy, but always think far ahead. By  changing your lifestyle, you wont need to borrow any extra cash from anyone (Credit card, banks, loan shark, money lender, relatives & friends). It's much smarter to live on what you have rather than to live on tomorrow's money.

2) Plan Your Spending
Budgeting is the right word. I believe there are a lot of people out there who does not favour this word -  budgeting. But, in good financial practise, no one can run away from budgeting. Through budgeting, you will have a clear picture of your spending pattern and where your $$$ goes. Most importantly, it will avoid you to spend more than what you have. A lot of us have a visual budgeting (budgeting in our head). The best way would be put down your budget in black&white. You can either write it down in your spending book or list down in a simple spreadsheet. Do stick to your budget because it's meaningless if you have a budget but never bother to take it seriously.

3) Replace Credit Cards With Debit Cards
Yes, change from 'cr' to 'd' cards. If you're someone with weak financial will and hard to avoid temptations, you will be thankful for this smart move. The debit card function is almost similar with credit cards. The main difference is that there's a limit for your spending and most importantly, debit cards will definitely not bring debts to you. 

4) Avoid Taking Bad Loans
What I meant by bad loans are those loan which does not bring benefits to you such as huge car loan and personal loan or bank over draft. It sounds easy to apply and to get approval for these bad loans. But, when come to payment, it will bring you sleepless nights. If you must take a loan, then make sure you the payment is within your budget and remember to make the payment on time.

If you have any other ways to avoid bad debts, do share with me. Let's learn to stay away from bad debts.