Smart Investor Malaysia


Save RM1 Million On Your Own Or Do It By Buying A Property?


What could a single RM50 note could buy today is often used to demonstrate how ‘small’ money has become versus having the same RM50, 10 years, 20 years and 30 years ago. This is also known as inflation and no one could run away from it no matter which country one is living today.

Today we will be taking a closer look at whether we can save RM1 million on our own, or we can save that much by buying a property?

Read: Is Malaysia Property Still Worth To Invest In?

The Goal Is To Save RM1 Million

A point to ponder is this. Are we doing something about it? Are we doing our best to counter the inflation and ensure that our money continue to rise so that the value we could buy does not reduce?

Please remember that if we want to buy the same number of things today versus many years ago, we could not do it with the same RM50. We need to have RM100 or maybe more.

This is the same as property price. The price of RM500,000 today may just be equivalent to RM300,000 value 10 years ago, maybe. Meanwhile, RM800,000 10 years later may just be equivalent to the value of RM500,000 today.

The next question is this one. ‘Could we buy a RM300,000 property 10 years ago or RM500,000 today so that 10 years later, that same property becomes a hedge against inflation?’

Read: Double-Up Your Property Investment With These Rules!

Think And Decide About That RM500,000 Savings

In 2003, I bought my first property, an apartment for RM123,000. I sold it for RM238,000 many years later. I checked and the price is closer to RM300,000 today. When inflation continue to push up prices of everything, the price would continue to rise.

Source: dated 18th October 2022

Could we save instead of buying a property then?

My question is a simple one. Could you save RM200,000 during that 10 years that property prices rose from RM300,000 to RM500,000?

If you could, then there is no need to buy the property. Save the time, effort and the potential to buy the wrong one. Just save up the money. Save diligently, save consistently to achieve the RM200,000 without needing to buy the RM300,000 property.

It’s the same question to those who say to save RM1 million in the future is just like RM500,000 today. Well, could we start saving now and reach RM500,000 in maybe 20 years followed by it becoming RM1,000,000 when we retire?

The inflation would have eaten up the value of that RM1,000,000 property to be closer to RM500,000 instead. Could we save RM500,000 without buying a property and having it appreciate simply due to inflation? If you could, then you can forget about property investment.

Read: 10 Ways to Spot Property Investment in Malaysia – A Property Investment Guide

Why Need To Save RM1 Million?

Malaysians live up to the age of 75 or even 80 based on the latest life expectancy for Malaysians. Life expectancy is going higher because of access to better healthcare, more awareness etc. We could choose to retire anytime but let’s assume we retire at 60.

Assuming we are very healthy and the company wants us to continue until 65? Before 60, because we have a job, we can pay rental if we did not own a property. After 60… when salary stops… we STILL HAVE to pay rental.

As a home owner who’s renting out my property, I have no wish to tell my tenant to stop paying me rental after the tenant has paid me consistent rental for the last 30 years yeah.

How much would rental actually be in the future? (we assume conservatively)

Rental for a small apartment could be RM2,000. (In the future, this RM2,000 is more like RM1,200 of today)

Living from 60 to 75 years old is 15 years and 15 years x 12 months is a total of 180 months.

180 months x RM2,000 is RM360,000. By the way, this is just for the rental and this also assumes that the owner is a very nice person and does not increase the rental at all for the next 15 years.

Sorry, I will increase the rental every other year. Will not increase a lot but will increase a little every other year. 

What if we have RM500,000 savings by then? (I assume we did not buy a property…)

So, if we have RM500,000 by then we need to save RM360,000 for rental as per above calculation. After allocating RM360,000 for rental, we still have RM140,000 for food. (RM500,000 minus RM360,000 for rental)

How much is RM140,000 for 15 years? That’s RM25 per day… Oops…It means that every day, we have RM25 for three meals.

That’s RM8+/- per meal. I am very sure we could still afford roti canai and the tarik at that time with RM8 right?

This is why the title of this article says RM1,000,000.

With RM1,000,000 savings, after allocating RM360,000 for rental (which is very conservative), one would have RM640,000 left for food and whatever other things which you like to do. What if we allocate RM50 for meals every day?

That is RM50 x 30 (days) x 12 (months) x 15 (years) equal to RM270,000.

RM640,000 (leftover after rental) minus RM270,000 (for meals) means we still have RM370,000 for our spending on things we love from the time when we celebrate our 60th birthday to the time when we celebrate our 75th birthday yeah.

Let’s not debate on whether RM370,000 is enough or not enough by then. Heck, even you managed to save RM1 million, who would know whether it would be enough by then.

Read: Property Investing In A Post-Pandemic World, 4 Things To Consider


Let’s take note that if we decided NOT to buy and pay for a RM500,000 home today, we will need to save RM1 million so that our life will be more secure when we retire. Would you rather buy a property today and forced to pay mortgages or being forced to save RM1 million when we retire at 60?

There you have it, either you can save RM1 million on your own. Or you can save RM1 million by buying a property.

About the Author

Charles is the Founder of (a leading independent property blog in Malaysia). His articles and views have appeared in national newspapers, magazines and property listing portals. He is also a judge for property awards including for Agents Advertising Awards and PropertyGuru Asia Property Awards (Malaysia). 

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