The Best Personal Finance Summaries – 2 September 2019

There are a lot of exciting things happening at MMM. From new partnerships to help break down the complexities of insurance, to us working on a project that will be able to map out your whole financial life for you.

More on that in the future!

From Us

Have you ever wondered if you are on track to reach a financial goal of yours? Well, now you can find out with the new goal app we created. Simply answer a few basic questions and you will find out if you will be able to reach your goal or not!

Try it out completely free!

More Money Malaysia Facebook Group

Money in Daily Life

How we can Tackle Financial Insecurities?

A subconscious fear and confusion about some things related to money.

So this post explored a little more on financial insecurities and how we may be able to solve it in small ways better.

Another insightful article by Kyith dissected on how one could manage their financial insecurities.

These Insecurities Plagues the Wealthier Folks Too

The author explained that the rich have financial insecurities, too. Several anecdotes from Early Retirement S.G., E.R.S. and MoneyOwl’s C.E.O., Chuin Ting revealed that despite different priorities, the same financial insecurities plague almost everyone regardless of their income classes.

Never Spending the Principal is a Sign of Insecurity?

“Never touch the principal” is the classical advice. In the author’s work on how much do you need to be financially independent?, Kyith shared a framework he constructed to know exactly how much is enough. But, it was all done due to his insecurity for his wealth.

Lifestyle Security is What We Seek

The author pondered on the statement made by E.R.S., which said ” financial security = lifestyle security”. In a lot of ways, he would say E.R.S. is right. However, the final figure needed to achieve the status is sometimes too big and deemed unachievable. It is challenging to be obtaining lifestyle security.

The Solution… I Think… for Now…

While Kyith admitted that he had not fully figure all out yet, he listed some guidelines as advice:

  • Reflect and List Down a List of the Financial Fears that Plague You.
  • Find the Framework or Models to Solve These Financial Insecurities.
  • Reflect upon these Financial Insecurities.
  • Your Network is More Important than Your Net Wealth.

Figure out Enough then Let it Go, Let it Flow

Most people choose to let it go or merely postponing the inevitable. Always remember, pursuing financial independence is a journey to tackle our insecurities.


How To Craft Your Personal Financial Plan With Your Financial Advisor?

“With the recent launch of the Malaysian five-year National Financial Literacy Strategy 2019-2023, it’s high time for every Malaysian to place financial education at the forefront of their knowledge-enhancing agenda. There is no better way to start your financial literacy journey by developing your business plan.

To craft your financial plan, a certified financial planner would take you through a 7-step process:

1. Establish a relationship with your financial advisor

It is essential to establish a close and trusting relationship. You should know about their background and fee details.

2. Determine your financial and personal goals

The planner will pose you a series of open-ended questions to find your actual financial goals. Be specific in answering. Split your goals into short-term (< 2 years), mid-term (2 – 5 years) and long-term (> 5 years). Set Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely (S.M.A.R.T.) goals.

3. Fact-finding (Where you stand now financially)

You need to furnish all relevant personal and financial data. This includes the net worth statement, cash flow statement, tax documents, and so on.

4. Study/examine and analyse the data

The main objective is to know whether your goals align with your current situation. Before finding the solutions, identify the problems first.

5. Create and Present the Financial Plan

The advisor will then analyse and recommend any suitable action plans/ financial products. Prioritisation is vital in this stage.

6. Implement the Plan

Start doing the first action. Consult your financial advisor frequently.

7. Monitor and Review the Plan

Periodically monitor your plan to mark progress. Review when necessary. Adapt any changes if required to reflect the current situation better.

Conclusion

The most effective result is provided by the financial planning process, which follows an appropriately specified and documented process. “If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail.”


Want To Have Your Money Accelerate Your Goals?

Sign up for our free program and get ready to have your money fuel your aspirations.
Money 101 CTA

Grow Your Wealth

17 Tactics and Skills to Increase Your Earning Potential

It can be challenging to make your resume shine brightly in a sea of applicants, especially when the average corporate job opening can receive an average of 250 applications. Luckily, there are a few things you can do…

There are a total of 17 tactics and skills you could do or learn to grow your career and reap in more salary.

8 Ways to Boost Your Salary Potential

Ways Improvements
Go Back to School Graduates with an advanced degree earn 28% more compared to bachelor’s degrees.
Earn New Certifications Certified I.T. professionals earn 11.7% higher.
Attend Conferences and Seminars New connections and opportunities.
Learn a New Language Second language = 2% increment in salary.
Find a Trusted Advisor Mentors can increase 83% revenue.
Relocate Large cities have higher-paying jobs.
Take on Extra Projects Show your hustle.
Study Abroad 41% employers pay a higher salary to those who have studied abroad.

9 Skills to Increase Your Salary Potential

Skills Improvements
Project Management Increase 25% productivity.
Search Engine Optimisation $80 billion market by 2020.
Coding Coders witness 44% salary increment.
Public Speaking Join Toastmasters.
Paid Advertising Budgets are increased by 40%
UX Design 37% of creative teams rely on freelancers.
A.I. Programming By 2020, 30% companies will use A.I.
Google Analytics It is required in 31% listed jobs.
Time Management Accomplish more tasks and stand out.

How to Get Rich (Realistically) and Stay Wealthy?

Absent of luck or being born into an affluent status, how do you become rich?

The idea to become wealthier than you are now is quite simple. It is just that the information is all over the place…

The General Idea to be Realistically Wealthy is in this Formula

1. You will increase the G.A.P. or Personal Free Cash Flow

After deducting your expenses from your income, you will get your free cash flow or G.A.P. Generally, more personal free cash flow, more deliberate decisions you can make. To build wealth, your G.A.P. needs to increase.

1a. Optimise Your Expenses

Make good spending decisions. Be a value spender. By cutting down on your expenses, you can increase your savings rate and build wealth faster.

1b. Earn More & Higher Income

Your human capital is your greatest asset. Convert your ability to work into wealth assets. There are some tricks to it: get into a field with future demand, become an entrepreneur or create a side business. At the same rate of saving (achievable by optimising expenses), you could secure a higher net wealth.

2. Build Your Wealth Wisely over Time

After increasing the G.A.P., you can now operate your wealth machine. Make financial decisions and acquire financial assets. Reinvest your interest, rental, business and dividend; keep the wealth machine running. The key is you should emphasise your rate of return.

Why your Rate of Return Matters?

Wealth builds up exponentially in a compounding manner. This means, in the long run, a higher rate of return outperforms a lower one significantly. For instance, 3% versus 9% in 15 years is equivalent to a 40% difference!

What Makes the Most Impact to Your Wealth

There are several ways a person can increase their wealth:

  • Start early.
  • Higher salary.
  • Salary growth.
  • Increase savings rate.
  • Increase company match.
  • The cheaper investment plan.
  • Better rate of return for your investments.
  • Retire later.

Many people do not build wealth wisely. You need to do the following:

  • Build up the financial competency to invest.
  • Build up the business competency to manage your wealth.
  • Find a good financial mentor to learn from.
  • Find a trusted and competent financial confidant and delegate the wealth-building and stewardship of your wealth to them.

Summary

There are still many interesting points and examples being made by the author throughout the post. Ultimately, they all boil down into 4 main points:

1. Grow that G.A.P. or your Free Cash Flow
2. Learn to build wealth wisely
3. Learn what makes the most impact on building wealth
4. Learn to at least do 2 of these well

*P.S. If you have extra time, do check out the original article to know more!


The Best Offence Is a Strong Defence, Even in Investing

Volatility is not a problem for intelligently-diversified portfolios.

The back-and-forth trade war between the United States (U.S.) and China has been going on for quite some time. Ultimately, not only the economy of the U.S. and China has both suffered significantly; the global economic growth took a huge hit as well. Amidst the worldwide turmoil, the performance of the assets is mixed. There are several noteworthy highlights:

  • Growth-oriented assets have underperformed their protective counterparts
  • Only R.E.I.T.s and high-grade corporate bonds (amongst growth-oriented assets) benefited from Fed’s rate cuts.
  • U.S. equities are more resilient than the global aggregate.
  • Safe-haven currencies, such as U.S. Dollar and Japanese Yen both perform well.

Re-optimising your portfolios for the times ahead

As indicated by the latest economic conditions and valuation gaps of assets, increased divergence between the U.S. and the rest of the world is observed. StashAway’s E.R.A.A. (Economic Regime-based Asset Allocation) now adopts allocation of more growth-oriented assets towards the U.S. and investment in more protective assets for non-US markets. The following insights are obtained based on E.R.A.A.’s analysis:

  • Global economies face more significant uncertainty than the U.S.

In short, the U.S. is still growing, albeit the rate has slowed down. At the same time, China, Emerging Markets (Brazil, etc.) and Eurozone all suffered a decline in overall economic activity.

  • E.R.A.A. shifted from US-centric bond holdings to a globally diversified alternative

Bonds perform better when the economy slows. As discussed above, the global economy faces higher uncertainty than the U.S. Naturally; the reward-to-risk ratio is better for diversified holdings.

  • Given flat or inverted yield curves, average bond maturity has been reduced from 13.5 years to 7.9 years

For an inverted yield curve, long term rates are below short and medium term. The future expected return of long term bonds is low. Therefore, bond holdings are re-optimised.

  • Second-ever valuation adjustment since July 2017

E.R.A.A. monitors the market’s valuation relative to economic fundamentals and makes valuation adjustments whenever their differences are significant. E.R.A.A. now allocates funds towards European equities to seek medium to long-term returns.

So, what to do next?

E.R.A.A. continues to provide global, scientifically-designed, diversification in asset management. The recent re-optimisation of the portfolio is a combination of technology and investment techniques. So, invest intelligently!


How to Tell If an Investment Is a Scam (for Malaysians)

“What do you think of X.Y.Z. Investment? Is it legit or a scam?”

Scam news is not new in Malaysia. mr-stingy shared several tips to identify a scam.

1. It Guarantees Returns

First, substantial investments never guarantee profits; except for F.D. in a bank or endowment plan from an insurance company. Even if they are insured, the returns will always below.

2. Unrealistic Returns

The survey by Securities Commission of Malaysia in 2018 revealed that the average Malaysian believed an annual return of 12.4% is low, 24% is medium, and 42.9% is high. However, in reality, the expected returns per year from your investment tools are:

Investment Tools Expected Annual Return
FD 3 – 4%
Bonds 5 – 6%
Government-Related Schemes (E.P.F., Amanah Saham) 6 – 10%
Properties 9%
Stock Market 10%

Enough to say, those investments which promise 20% returns per month are scams!

3. It Asks You to Recruit Members to Get Paid

Think logically, why does the business need you to recruit people? This sounds exactly like a pyramid scheme or Ponzi scheme, where new investors’ money is used to pay earlier investors. One day, the music will stop, and people will get exposed.

4. There’s No Regulation

Only invest in things regulated by the government. Regulation means in case something goes wrong (e.g. the founders of the company steal your money, or your data gets hacked), the government has the power to help you. Check out the links below:

Recommended

“Red Alert!”

5. It Uses Unethical Sales Tactics

For examples, social pressure, high pressure and isolation. These tactics are shady or criminal (at worst). Always remember, investing is a business decision – you should think carefully.

6. The Business Model Doesn’t Make Sense

Look deep enough into the fine print and business structure. Don’t be fooled by complexity. It is simple – if you can’t understand it, you shouldn’t invest in it.

Conclusion: Why People Fall For Investment Scams

Some people are greedy and gullible. But, the deeper issue is most people today feel stuck. What everyone is looking for is hope.

Success, in money, business and life take time. Building wealth requires discipline and hard work.


Cool Opportunities

BigPay – The Best Travel Credit Card for Malaysians?
If you ever travel out of Malaysia and use your credit card, then this is BIG (pun intended). AirAsia has released BigPay, a prepaid mastercard that you can easily top up through the BigPay app and be able to use instantly.

But more importantly, BigPay charges you at the real exchange rate (which means they charge no fees). This is something you won’t get if you were to go to your bank or some exchange counter.

In fact, I've already saved over RM 10,000 using this card (you can read about it in our BigPay Review)

Anyway, if you don’t have one yet, you can sign up for free and get RM10 free when you use referral code B7D3YNZPGO.

A way for females to get free insurance
We were talking to our super humble financial advisor friend one day and she started talking about some insurance product for females that provides coverage for all these female related illnesses. But more importantly, the contract also states that all the premiums will be returned at the end of the contract.

Seriously something for all females to consider!

Building a financial roadmap
For those who are lost when it comes to tracking your net worth and using it as a way to create the ideal life, this is something you should check out.

We have worked with a financial advisor to lead you through building your own financial roadmap by yourself online.

And if you want them to do it for you (at a huge discount), you can make the request as well.

Check it out here!

Talking to an Independent Financial Adviser
A big issue when you work with someone who calls themself a financial advisor is you do not know if they really have your best interest at heart. That’s one of the main reasons why I never work with any (the other one is that most of them get trained to say what the company wants and thus, do not know of all the other cool opportunities out there).

However, I’ve been talking to an independent financial adviser the last few months and I do believe that not only is she knowledgeable, but also super open to sharing her knowledge.

If you’re interested in talking to her, join our facebook group and ask your questions. She will definitely find time to pop by and answer them.