Financial Literacy at a glance

Posted by cibol on 8:05 PM in ,

One of the regrets of my life was not being able to educate myself earlier with personal finance. Even though it might not seems to be too late to have acquired at least some at the age of 26, I think life could be better if I start to accumulate them at the age of 16, which is exactly ten years ago.

Now, let's just forget for a moment about the recent "revert back to Bahasa Melayu" in the education system. The issue that I would like to talk about today would be, "Financial Literacy". Financial literacy of course refers to the ability to understand finance and also creating awareness in oneself one the matter of personal finance. This is one area that I think pretty much important and should be in-line with other subjects.

We have been taught to get good education and then get a good job since we were young. Not that it is bad, not that it is not good enough but maybe - I would not set aside any possibilities that it is not good enough but the reality is, most of us are merely a product of a textbook and nothing more than that. Most graduates are not well prepared to face the hard truth of the working world, what more to say on personal finance - which is not on any syllabus at all.

Robert T. Kiyosaki said in his books, I've forgotten which one; there are three types of education that everyone should have,

1. Academic education - I mean before you can be financially literate, you need to be able to read, write and understand at least the basic education right? At least you go to school, complete it and not dropping out so that at least, even that you're not a graduate you would probably get the idea of what the news are saying.

2. Professional education - Tertiary education in case you don't have a clue. These are obtain via entering universities, colleges, vocational universities, liberal arts colleges or institute of technology and by completing them of course.

3. Financial education - This determined our financial station in life.

And most of us, sadly stopped upon completing our professional education. Most of us are amongst these average Joe's who go to work, get paid and pay bills, fullstop. Even if you don't want to get rich, if you don't want to get into deep shit for the rest of your life, you better start to equip yourself.

Now, talking about this financial education, I came across a website a while ago and I thought the idea was brilliant. It was something that I would like to call very thoughtful of them to educate our younger generations on the importance of financial education. It is called Money Tree.

Money Tree was established to provide the financial skill and knowledge to youths aged 9 – 22 , which would be required to build a career or business, as well as plan for their financial freedom. It has been created to fill the void left by the education system and school curriculum and to explore the opportunities available worldwide to further the dissemination and propagation of high-quality e-learning programmes utilizing state of the art technology, and to groom the next generation of entrepreneurs.

Being that said, this academy is like a tuition center for kids to acquire basic knowledge of personal finance. Isn't that marvelous?

Let say if they have classes for folks like me, I would certainly go for it because for me I have so much more to learn and being in this field I think it will be an advantage for me to have all these in my head. Last Saturday I was supposed to attend a seminar organized by I-Fast Caoital at Wisma MCA, Jalan Ampang but due to office commitment I could not make it. It's free anyway. As what was listed in my resolutions for last year, I told myself to go to seminars and invest in it for myself. Missing this one would not dampened my spirit in doing so.

Any courses that you want to bring me too?


How I save My Money - Effectively (at least for now.)

Posted by cibol on 9:12 PM in ,
Saving! That's like one topic that even when you're still in your Mommy's womb, your folks have been talking about it. Why they even think about it in the first place? Simple, to fund the process of you growing up. That is to sum up, giving you enough food to eat, to provide a comfortable place for you to live in, to give you good education and to have some cash prepared just in case something unexpected happen - touch wood lah hor.

Now, saving and savings are two different things. The former refers to an increase in one's assets, an increase in net worth, whereas the latter refers to one part of one's assets, usually deposits in savings accounts, or to all of one's assets. Now, I'm not going to give you a boring talk about the important of saving or savings but what I would like to share with all of you is how I actually do it, my way.

How much should I save? That is the question that often comes across my mind. Is as long as I can save, even as little as a buck, enough? Or should I save one grand per month? While the more is the better, a realistic target is equally important too. Now, realistically for myself, a few hundred is affordable. I don't earn that much to set aside a lot but I think, comfortably I can live by that.

I once read this book by Azizi Ali, titled "Millionaires are From a Different Planet!". I must say it's an amazing book. That was the very first book that snapped me out of my dream land and said;

"Hey, dude! What have you done?".

It kinda open me up a bit to read more on personal finance. I know, I should have started a long time ago but not a surprise, you can ask around, not many of us are aware of this part of their life. So, I said to myself - It's not too late to do so.

When it comes to the topic of saving, sometimes it's hard to give an exact answer. Ask a friend, how much he/she save monthly and they'd probably say;

"About a hundred"

"A few hundreds"

Often you got answers like this. "about", "around", "sometimes" and some would probably tell you,

"Where got enough money to save?"

But if you asked me, I can confidently tell you that I save an exact amount of RM 580 per month. It's not a staggering one grand a month but that is the best that I can do at least for now. You gotta start off somewhere, right?

A few of us were talking about this topic over the supper table and there was this friend of mine saying that saving a hundred buck is like not saving at all and it is somewhat an amount that she would think very little. She later added that she would like to have at least a saving up to a thousand monthly, now that is what she would like to call a saving.

I asked her,

"How much did you save?"

The answer I got was, almost none. Now, if a few hundred or even a hundred you can't really save, what make you think you can save a grand? While being positive is good, like I said before being realistic is also equally important. My advice was, start small. Take a hundred monthly. It won't hurt that much. It might be little, but just try.

I myself started small, I initially started with RM 100 a month. But I think somehow, along the way I got the tactic wrong because by next month I'd be using that money and serious shit I sometimes did not set aside that amount at all. I wonder where did it all went wrong?

As I go along the way, I bump into this system which they call, "Pay Yourself First". It's like this, on the very first day of your payday, set aside you saving and then proceed to pay off whatever that is there you have to pay. I think I read that somewhere in Azizi Ali's book and also in KC Lau's "Top Money Making Tips For Malaysians". That was the day that I decided to place a SI (standing instruction) to transfer RM 100 to an account with another bank every month. At first it was a little bit hard because I tend to take out that money whenever I want to go shopping but after a few months, I can't feel the money anymore. I'm used to not having that RM 100 in my pocket and so it stayed there.

Saving is also one part of "Investment". If you have zero saving, what is there to invest with? Like any other bumiputera out there, yes I am a bumiputera just in case you don't know ( a lot of people here are still puzzled over my ethnicity status), I am eligible for ASB investment. Now this is one investment tool that I think all of you bumiputeras out there should take advantage of. Use it, seriously. Since you're given the privilege to do so, do it while you can. Sad to say that most of our bumis, do not really fully utilized this privilege. It's a waste. This is one hell of an easy ride that can easily give you 7%-9% ROI annually, no joke I tell you! Maybe at some other time I will elaborate more about ASB, not that I know much about it anyway.

When the FIs introduced the ASB Investment Plan (I think it was back a few years ago that I first heard about it) I was a little skeptical. You know, like some of my friends they always say - "Bank tipu orang". Okay, I'm not going to defend that statement. It's up to you. I took up a loan to finance my ASB, although I would not advice you to do so because of the interests charged a little too not over you hoo-haa, unless you have a lot of cash then you can do it without the loan. I pay RM 140 every month for that. That was like a forced saving for me. In a way, a hard way it kind of giving me the discipline to save. After a year, I decided to add on to my loan and taking advantage of the situation but opted for another RM 140. That's RM 280 in total.

These are my only tools for saving at the moment. And I added another two SIs worth RM 100 each to another two different accounts and that make a total of RM 580. And that is how I save my money. And subsequently, after the savings reached RM 400, I will transfer them to my unit trust investment. I haven't got enough to buy more but if you do have a lot of cash, now is the time to buy but be extra careful. Even though the power of leveraging looks pretty promising, there are some things that you need to deal with carefully and that would not be an area that I can say a lot of things because honestly, I am still learning.


The Cream of The Crop

Posted by cibol on 10:11 PM

They've install a new machine in the banking hall today. A new CDM. And I said, finally after a year full of complaints they decided to have the old machine replaced. I just don't get it sometimes, when every other banks in the region are on a full scale make over - for customer satisfaction purposes of course, this bank seems like a little not moved by the idea. Funny, and yes I am very much aware that this is by far the stingiest financial institution I've ever been in. (I actually have been in two, but according to friends and colleagues - yes, they are).

We actually had a briefing on how to handle the machine this evening. They way the thing works differs slightly from the previous one. This one is more simplified and less hassle in a way and I hope it's less sensitive as well. I'm sick of complaints and attending to a sick machine. I'm actually quite relief that SSTs are off my portfolio for now but again being in remittance department is like three times the work and with another teller of mine out for a freaking two months maternity leave, I'm having her share of work imposed upon my already bundle ladden table and having another slow-moe dickhead who claimed to have four freaking years in banking line, doesn't really help at all. I wonder, how could these people passed the interview? I'll save my thought on that for another day.

Oh, boy .. I'm the cream of the crop eh?


The Unforgiven

Posted by cibol on 10:31 PM

So many things, yet so "Don't Know" what to write. I guess that's the price that you pay for not been blogging actively for the whole year. I believe ever since I moved here, everything had been a little bit too mundane. I guess being brought up in a small town makes me feel like I suited more to a small town rather than big cities like KL.

It's easy to say that one must balance between work and having own life but the fact is, in this place I feel pretty much do not have a life at all. It's not just a life less than ordinary but maybe extraordinarily lifeless. It is said as if one just couldn't imagine how to cope with that.

Blah .. It's dull, mundane, boring .. That's what it is.

Ras was is in KL. How I know? It's a good thing that I spent my weekend sitting in front of my computer and spending ample of time on facebook. I saw the status saying "kelompo kelompo". I quickly sent him a message on his mobile asking is he coming down to KL and he promptly replied, YES!

For that moment I thought, facebook is just brilliant. Not that I only realized that now but somehow I wanted to echo the statement around! and yes, I met him today. Having some lomo time down at KLCC. No, I'm not planning to have a lomo camera or what not even though I've always said that I wanted a camera. I do not know for what purpose that will be but I want it but maybe not so badly. If you give money, I think I would like to prefer the money more than the thought of buying a camera. Weird, but it is true. True things sometimes doesn't make any sense.

We spent time catching up on old stories, talking about friends, while a few of us are still single (not available) there's a bunch of us who are happily married. Well, actually not just a bunch but like almost all of them. Funny, it feels like we were in school yesterday. Time flies. I know, you can't turn it back. Same like some words when spoken can't be taken back. Can't find a better man.

I remember the days when the "Ujang" pantun series was released back in 1996. The thought of Lim Tat and Din Beramboi came to my mind. Because of this freaking tape, we got so excited and we decided to make our own "Ujang" series. It's not funny but it is funny to us that time. I remember Ras recited a two kerat whammy and it goes like :

"Aku ada kek, mak aku ada p***k"

We thought that was funny but little that we know that the recording almost land us into trouble when the pengawas asrama decided to take away the tape and threatened us. And for that very reason, we all have to behave. Really really behave. I wonder where is the tape right now. I would love to listen to it again. Listen to how stupid I was - but then like they say, if you were not a manace when you were in school, you have nothing to talk about when you hang out with your old buddies, like today. At least, today we had a good laugh. So, don't be too good in school, be nasty a bit. That's a must!

I know, I didn't explain that much on the content of the tape - but honestly, I myself trying very hard to remember it. But I know it was full of curses and fucks all around. I mean it. No, there's no moral of the story. I think some things are meant to be left as in what it is. Don't think too much. Like the saying :

Fortune fame,
Mirror vain,
Gone insane but the memory remains

I'll rest my case for the day.

P/S : It's hard to write - my brains can't really be in a creative mode
P/S : Hey, don't give it up. No comments doesn't mean the end of the world. Keep on writing.

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