SeriushAh’s resident financial advisor, Audrey Yeap, is a financial planner with more than 17 years of industry experience. She believes that investing for the future is something everyone should educate themselves about and she’s back with another lesson.
Many a time we shy away from investment. It seems like a big word and, to some. a huge commitment. So, the best way to avoid a conversation about investment is “I have no extra money now” although what it actually means is it is not my priority now.
We tend to pay our debts and expenses before putting aside some money for emergency purposes. But very often our expenses will continue to increase because of our lifestyle and peer pressure to own the latest gadgets and enjoy fancy meals.
Very often what is left at the end of the day would be insufficient for emergency funding. What more for savings and future investments such as retirement fund or children’s education fund.
The worst scenario may happen when debts continue to balloon with the convenience of credit card to purchase bulk items like furniture, renovation work, and buying holiday packages. It is also common for outstanding credit card debts to be refinanced.
The key to building wealth is developing good habits like regularly putting money away every month. Take out the premium coffee at cafes and replace it with coffee at home, and you could already be saving RM200 a month.
How can we spend within our means?
SAVE FIRST THEN SPEND
We must first prioritize to save first before allocating the balance for spending.
1. Have good self-discipline
Breakdown and pay attention to what you spend – groceries, petrol, food and entertainment
Explore ways to reduce costs. Write a grocery shopping list, shop for bargains, buy pre-loved items, use credit card points and those earned on apps
2. Figure out how much you need to save for emergencies
Keeping a healthy amount of cash savings as precaution for health care and other emergencies is important
3. Figure out how much you need to save for a comfortable retirement
Determine your current yearly expenses
Upon retirement some of these expenses will decrease while some will increase
As a rule of thumb, you will need about 80% of your current annual expenses plus inflation
4. Figure out how much you would need for your children’s education fund
Determine the number of years before your child attends university
Determine if you plan to send your child to a local or overseas university
Take into account the effects of inflation
5. Figure out how much you would need to save for the down payment for your new home.
Having important goals in mind will motivate us and give us a sense of purpose to allocate a fix amount of savings towards them. Once you have started saving, you can start to invest.
For example, an amount can be contributed towards a Private Retirement Scheme (PRS) to accumulate for your retirement savings and enjoy tax relief up to RM3,000 per year.
Saving a huge sum of money for retirement or children’s education plan may seem daunting. But with time, coupled with the power of compound interest, you will be amazed how much your funds can grow simply by starting your investments earlier.
Here’s how it works in the table below
*Assuming rate of return is constant at 9% per annum.
Aaron started early, and at the age of 55, his investment value is 137% more with the same investment outlay. The key element of compounding is time. The longer the period of time, the greater the growth.
“Compounding interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it, he who doesn’t, pays it.” ~Albert Einstein, physicist who developed the theories of relativity.
But this does not mean that if you are in your 30s and 40s, it is too late to start. It is always better to start than never. What you can compensate is to put aside a larger amount of savings to kick-start the investment.
In summary, it is not about how much we earn but how much we save. Start with small amounts of money, and then increase it gradually.
Investing comes in different flavors and forms – property, shares, business ventures and unit trusts. It all depends on your risk appetite.