Financial Planning the Malaysian Way

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Financial planning didn’t officially exist back then, but this didn’t deter this taxi driver from working hard for a better future for his family, writes Linnet Lee.

I was taking a taxi from Senai to Johor Bahru and started chatting with the driver. He spoke perfect English and it inspired me to carry on the conversation.

He referred to himself as Pakcik and he revealed that he is a 62-year-old retired teacher.  He proudly said that he used to teach Mathematics to Secondary 4 and 5 students in a public school. His wife, an English teacher, is still teaching as she is not yet due for retirement.

What was more amazing is that Pakcik has 7 children because his wife loves children. Between him and his wife, they managed to send all of them to the local university. Today, 5 of them have started working; they were engineers and accountants, and one of them was a teacher. Only 2 more are in university and in 3 years’ time they would have started working.  Then Pakcik and his wife will be free from these financial commitments.

I then asked him how he manage a family of 9, especially during the university years.  The combined salary of the both of them would not be enough to feed everyone.  He admitted it was tough; expenses back then was about RM15,000 per month, and he had to think very hard how to make ends meet.  As both of them are working, they needed 2 maids to look after the children, cook and do household chores.

That was when he decided to apply for a Class F contractor’s License, which allows him to take up contracts not more than RM200,000. With 9 workers working for him, he was able to earn enough to provide for the family all through the years.

Get ready for the upcoming financial winter

Now that he has retired, he can focus more on building the nest egg for both their golden years. For him, their pension will provide the basic necessities.  Driving the taxi helps him earn a bit of extra income on top of his pension.  Once the last 2 children complete their university education, both he and his wife will have enough to retire comfortably.

It was indeed heart-warming to know that even though financial planning did not exist officially back then, people like Pakcik is a natural financial planner.  They are willing to forgo instant gratification and work hard for a better future for their children and themselves.

They do not ask for handouts but take ownership of the fact that they will be responsible for their children as it was their decision to have them.

Pakcik is also a discerning marketer.  He asked me how I was going to find my way back to the airport after the event. He gently suggested that I can always give him a call; just give him an hour heads up and he can come fetch me. So I took down his number.

While I did not need his services after the event, I will certainly call him should I be in Johor and require transportation in the future. Good luck, Pakcik, and may your golden years be a great one!

Linnet Lee is the CEO of the Financial Planning Association of Malaysia (FPAM)

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