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Saving vs Investing, Should I Save Or Invest?

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This is one of the most heated debate in the financial industry, saving vs investing. Before we get into it, let’s first take a look at the definition of saving and investing.

“Saving is income not spent, or deferred consumption. Methods of saving include putting money aside in, for example, a deposit account, a pension account, an investment fund, or as cash. Saving also involves reducing expenditures, such as recurring costs.”

-Wikipedia

Saving is your income, either from your monthly salary or sales commission, being put aside somewhere. This could be in your savings account or cash.

“Investment is the dedication of an asset to attain an increase in value over a period of time. Investment requires a sacrifice of some present asset, such as time, money, or effort.”

-Wikipedia

Whereas investing is putting in your money in an instrument where you can watch it grow. The longer you invest, the bigger returns from your investment.

Saving vs Investing

As you can see from the above, you won’t be able to invest if you don’t have money in the first place. Which also means that if you don’t have any savings, then you can’t invest.

And did you know that according to statistics, 75% of Malaysians can’t even come out with RM1,000 for any emergency? The culture of saving is sorely missing in our community.

In case anything untoward happens such as meeting with an accident, car repairs, or dengue fever which requires hospitalization, then you may have to resort to borrowing money from family members or friends. Worse if there’s no one to help, then you turn to ‘ah long’ and be trapped in a vicious cycle.

RM5.2 Billion Lost To Scammers

According to the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani, there were 71,833 fraud cases recorded since 2020 until May 2022, with a loss amounting to RM5.2 billion.

Hang on a minute, but didn’t you say that Malaysians don’t save but they have tons of money to invest, and ultimately gets scammed in the process?

It goes to show how poor we are in managing our finances. We don’t have savings, and we invest in investment that is not legitimate or scams. When we lose it all to scammers, then we don’t have anything to fall back on – because we don’t have any savings.

Of course everyone wants the fastest way to getting rich, myself included. But bear in mind that investment should be a long-term game. For example you want to build up your retirement fund, and you have 30 years until you hit the retirement age of 60. That means you have time on your side, and still can afford to make mistakes.

Compared with someone in his 50’s and have less than 10 years to retire, he/she needs to invest for a shorter time period and take lesser risk.

Save Before Invest

That’s why you need to get your priorities right. Save at least 3-6 months of your monthly salary. If your salary is RM5,000 per month, have at least RM15,000 in an emergency fund for rainy days ahead. Best if you can have RM30,000, to better prepare for any emergencies.

If there’s anything that the pandemic has shown us, is that no plan can prepare us for something of that magnitude. Even if you have done the necessary preparation, you should still feel the effects of it.

Let alone those who didn’t have any savings. Thankfully the government came out with many schemes to help us out.

Now you know what to do when faced with the dilemma of saving vs investing?

Invest In A Diversified Portfolio

I’m sure we all have heard of the phrase, “High risk high return”. Which literally means that in order to get a high return, you need to take a high risk.

And I’m also pretty sure that you have heard of “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket”.

Combine the two of them, and you should be investing in a diversified portfolio – some in low-risk instruments (with low returns) such as fixed deposits or money market funds, some in medium-risk instruments (with medium returns) such as unit trust or property, and some in high-risk instruments (with high returns) such as stocks and crypto.

By having a diversified portfolio, should any ‘basket’ were to fall and break all the eggs inside it, you will still have other basket of eggs that can compensate for your loss.

But in the case of saving vs investing – make sure you have some savings first before deciding to invest.

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