Are You Earning Enough Money?
The quest to earn “enough” is one that is without end. Greed or ambition aside, the amount of money a household needs to just survive is being driven up year after year by the common working man’s worst enemy: inflation.
As reported by Trading Economics, inflation has increased from 1.9% in August 2013 to 2.9% in November 2013. Gleaning from the various price hikes in 2014 and the impending Goods and Service Tax (GST) to take effect on April 2015, to see a drop in this percentage is an unlikely event.
The biggest contributor to price hikes in 2014 is the increase in electricity tariffs by 15% which has affected companies across all industries.
In light of this revelation, are Malaysian households still earning enough money to “survive” or have they fallen below the poverty line?
According to Maybank Investment Bank chief economist Suhaimi Illias to The Star, a household income of RM3,000 was enough to keep a family’s head above water 10 years ago. This figure has more than doubled since as he now estimates that a family of four living in Kuala Lumpur would need a “survivable” household income of RM7,000 to RM10,000 after taking into account the cost of owning two vehicles, a home mortgage, child care expenses, day-to-day expenses, and monthly savings.
On the other hand, RAM Holdings Bhd group chief economist Dr Yeah Kim Leng said the same family of four could just scrape by with RM5,000 a month.
What are the implications of this new estimation?
This new estimation is unlikely to severely affect a family of two breadwinners – which incidentally, is common in most families, earning at least RM3,500 per month per person.
Conversely, a couple without children living in the Klang Valley can do with just RM2,950 a month:
For the majority of households still earning less than RM3,000 a month – which makes up 80% of Malaysian households or 5.2 million families however, this spells heavier financial burden and unrealistic cost-cutting.
What can one do to lighten the burden?
In this day, age, and economy, getting a second job still makes sense – albeit with much reluctance, to most. But doing so may not be feasible when one has marital and perennial obligations to tend to.
Hence, it would appear that the better solution to get above the rising costs of living is to find a better paying job. Gleaning from the 2013/14 Salary Guide by Kelly Services Malaysia, it would appear that the three highest-paying industries are:
Additionally, speaking to Forbes, Thomas Frey, author of Communicating With The Future laid out six growing (and high-paying) professions of the future:
- Logistician: Companies seek out logisticians to streamline production and cut costs.
- Ethical hacker: Companies hire ethical hackers to purposefully hack their systems to find problems in their security measures.
- Actuary: The skills of an actuary is sought after by insurance companies, banks, consulting firms, and the government.
- Epidemiologist: Advancement in technology is predicted to benefit those in this field of uncovering the cause of ailments and illness, review of sterilisation techniques, and creation of containment protocols.
- Front end engineer: Companies seek the skills of front end engineers to help make their websites more intuitive and effective.
- Food chemist: The task of food chemists is the development and improvement of the taste and texture of food.
Time spent on job listings and attending interviews aside, landing a job in any of these industries will require you to upgrade or acquire a new skill (in some cases, even further education) to meet the requirements of the job.
Some may find that saving more money by getting a higher paying job is not enough to combat the rising inflation rate. Other ways one can create more wealth is by managing the money earned in a more intelligent way, such as investing wisely.
However, these temporary burden and inconveniences are well worth it in the long-run as cost-cutting and reliance on 1Malaysia People’s Aid (BR1M) payout, despite being increased in Budget 2014, will no longer enable a family to live a comfortable lifestyle in this troubled times.
So, are you earning enough money?
If you fall into the group of people already earning at least RM3,500 and above, it’s safe to say that with better management of your monthly expenses and some cost-cutting, you’re prepared to face 2014.
For those earning minimum wage of below RM3,000, short-term sacrifices in regards to lifestyle and time must be made in the pursuit of better employment.