Sprucing up your finances takes time. It doesn’t just happen with one weekend of intense number crunching or expenses and income juggling. As you focus on it, you will start to be aware of what matters to you. Whether it's keeping that affordable luxury like Starbucks which I do enjoy at least once or twice a week because its a moment of stillness and coffee recharges me or letting go of excessive going out eating with so many people which increases your gut width and takes away the important time to ponder of life and work.
That is exactly what happened to me as I started looking seriously into my finances all those years ago. I wanted to live a meaningful life and yet not have to give up so many things which mattered to me. For a spell, I stopped going out with friends and cooked dinner at home while working and studying at night. While people may say that I am slaving away for the company, it gave me valuable skills. Cooking at home saved me quite a hefty sum every month too. The pandemic also made me realise that I can live on less and still be happy.
While the lockdown did make it impossible to have face-to-face client meetings, and markets were volatile, this reduced active income didn’t impact me because I had prepared for times like this a long time ago. Many years ago, I had a real look at my finances, filling up my income and expenses every month and seeing how much I could put away. When I was younger, putting away seems too hard because I earned so little. However, I knew that I had to start. I tried my hardest to put away 10%. Frankly, after taking away the room rental, the transportation & food, there was barely anything left for savings. I would be happy with RM200 (would you even bother to save RM200?)… But save I did. I had no idea that the saving habit would have a snowball effect in my later years enabling me to leave a toxic workplace and to pursue a Master’s programme.
Saving money however little is nothing to sneeze at. While the amount seems paltry and the act seems plebeian, this incredible saving grace (pardon the pun) will show its strength many years down the road. Why? Because disasters will happen. We have already seen what the Subprime Crisis did, and how the pandemic displaced workers of certain sectors. Today, we are proud to say that we help clients to save more than RM10,000 each month. Imagine what RM120,000 savings can do for you when you really need it.
So ready to supercharge your savings ability? I hope these quotes will help you move forward to that goal.
Pay more attention to the quality of time spent and connection made rather than the gifts given or things purchased
Believe me you will need more firepower when you get older for necessities, out-of-pocket healthcare - I represent this remark.
Sometimes owning things and having to keep paying for them are millstones around the neck, making you unable to move to another state, take a lower-paying job in a new but future-proof role or just to take time off work to get over an illness or worse, stay in an abusive relationship.
- not the clothes... While wearing beautiful clothes make you feel better, there is no need to spend an arm and a leg on clothes... well unless your job needs you to... but if you could get away with a grey Mark Zuckerberg t-shirt daily, do! Also, I realise that my worth was intrinsic... I am confident and lovely because of who I am, not what I wear. However, I do caution about dressing appropriately for the occasion.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that earning money isn’t important... it totally is because you need to earn money so that you can save it. However, do you think it's easier to earn more money or easier to save? If you decide it's easier to save, know that the saved and invested ringgit over many years will become much larger. If you do not believe me, go talk to successful retirees - those who don’t gripe about not having enough. I have a friend too who retired in his mid-40s because he could - after saving and investing every single month for 180 times over 15 years
I believe the greatest battle is to start the habit of saving. If you have that down pat, you have won 60% of the battle… now you just need to devote another 40% to learn how to invest and do it wisely.