Smart Investor Malaysia

Alternatives to Setting your Long and Short Term Financial Goals

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When I graduated and first started my career, I always loved buying coffee at premium coffee outlets each day. It’s widely accepted and seen as a cool thing culturally, and such outlets are also a frequent hang out for friends or colleagues. 

In recent times, the very trendy and fancy boba tea and or yoghurt drink culture has led to multiple chains and outlets mushrooming everywhere in our country. It’s not uncommon to find entire streets or areas such as Subang Jaya dedicated solely to selling different brands of boba and yoghurt drinks.

What could you do if you save the money used to buy a cup of coffee or boba tea each day? Imagine if you could spend or accumulate these savings over a period of a month, a year, five years, or more than 20 years?

Here are some alternatives that you can consider:

Short-term

Charitable organisation

You could make a difference in other people’s lives by helping those less fortunate than yourself. For example, for as little as RM65 per month, you can sponsor a child through World Vision Malaysia – a charitable organisation dedicated to working with children, families, and communities to overcome poverty and injustice. If there are other causes that you are passionate about, why not consider using part of these savings to donate to those organisations? 

Fine dining

If you are a food lover, why not consider celebrating a special event with your loved ones, family, or friend at a fine dining restaurant or a hotel buffet? Based on the above assumption, you may just need to save up for at least two months of drink expenses for you to enjoy such a meal. However, it’s likely to be a memorable experience instead of a routine afternoon drink!

Holiday trip with your family

Where are your favourite places to visit? I spent around RM3,000 in total for my family trip (with my wife and parents) to Kota Kinabalu two years ago. When interstate travel is allowed or after the Covid pandemic, you may consider using the savings that you put aside for over a year to bring your family for a holiday and spend quality time together.  

Books or personal development course

With RM250, you could purchase up to 10 books with one of the leading online book retailers in town. You can also consider using part of the savings to pay for a subscription to join organisations like Toastmasters for you to become a better communicator and better leader. Also, you may want to allocate the amount saved to invest in one or two personal development courses that will eventually help you to become a better person.

“The best investment you can make, is an investment in yourself. The more you learn, the more you’ll earn” – Warren Buffett

Medium term

Save for a wedding or downpayment for a house

If you can save RM250 per month from your daily coffee/drink, you would have accumulated up to RM18,000 in a five-year period. This amount would be good for you to plan for wedding and or other medium-term goals.

And if you saved the same amount over a 10-year period, you would end up with RM46,000 in addition to your other savings. This is likely to be sufficient to pay the downpayment for a house that you have been dreaming to own!

Long term

Private Retirement Scheme

Private retirement scheme is a voluntary long-term savings that allows individuals to save more for their retirement. By regularly saving RM250 a month or RM3,000 a year, contributors not only save up for their retirement, but also can take advantage of the tax relief available until 2025 of up to RM3,000 each year. 

Assume an individual who is only 25 years of age saves RM250 diligently every month for over 30 years in a PRS fund that grows at approximately 8%. Taking compounding interest into account, he or she would have accumulated RM375,000 by the age of 55. This doesn’t even include any other investment vehicles, such as EPF and other savings that might have been invested or grown along the way.

Saving money on a cup of coffee / tea may seem like a small amount after a single day or even over a month. However, over a long period of time, this amount can grow to become quite substantial, where there are different choices available to spend, to save or even to grow, whichever resonates with your financial goals in life. 

The aim of this article is not to say that you can’t enjoy your coffee or drink once in a while, but to give you an idea of how decisions you make will have some financial implications in the future. It’s never too early to start thinking about financial planning!

Assumptions used for illustrations mentioned above: 

  • A drink costs RM12.50
  • Saving for 5 days a week (1 month = 20 days)
  • 1 month = RM12.50 x 20 = RM250
  • Invest in a vehicle that grows with annual compounding of 8% per annum

About the Author

Goh Chee Yong is a Licensed Financial Planner under Capital Markets Services Representative License (CMSRL) and Bank Negara approved Financial Advisor Representative (FAR). Prior to becoming a financial advisor, he spent eight years working in Big 4 audit firms and multinational corporations. He can be contacted at cygoh@imaxfinancial.com.my

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