Here’s The Extra Push You Need To Stick To Your Financial Goals
Having trouble sticking to your financial goals?
You’re not alone. Although 76% of Malaysians have a budget, two in five have trouble keeping to it. According to Bank Negara Malaysia, a majority of Malaysians “focus on instant gratification” over long-term financial planning.
One in five working Malaysians did not save anything in the past six months. More than half of urban households in Malaysia do not have any savings, and 20% would not be able to survive for more than three months if they lost their sources of income.
In short, many Malaysians don’t lead a financially healthy lifestyle.
Why do healthy financial habits matter?
Having great financial habits isn’t about hoarding money – it’s about living life on your own terms. Being in control of your finances allows you to:
- Reduce money-related stress. Have to survive on instant noodles because you’ve overspent on social activities? Can’t afford your medical bills because you forgot to pay your insurance premiums? When you take control of your budget and practise good financial habits, you can avoid situations that cause financial stress.
- Achieve life goals. Want to own a home, afford an overseas education for your child or go on a globe-trotting vacation? When you’re mindful of where your money is going, you will know where to cut down and save up to reach specific aspirations.
- Retire comfortably. If you diligently save and invest, you’ll build a comfortable nest egg over time. This means being able to enjoy your retirement, without being forced to work out of necessity.
If you don’t practise healthy financial habits, you may have a lifelong relationship with money that’s riddled with stress and anxiety. You may not reach your life goals, and you risk having to work past your retirement age.
These habits can transform your finances
So, what do healthy financial habits actually look like? Here are five habits that can transform your finances:
1. Budget and save
When it comes to budgeting, the question does not lie in how important it is, but in how one can stick to a budget. We all know tracking your spending will give you an insight into your finances so you can trim unnecessary expenses and channel that into your savings.
However, it’s easier said than done. The first rule of budgeting is to make sure it is realistic so you don’t set yourself out to fail.
A popular rule of thumb is the 50/30/20 rule, which suggests that you should spend 50% of your income on necessary expenses, 30% on ‘wants’ like shopping or dining out, and save the last 20%.
To ensure your savings don’t take a backseat, consider setting up automatic monthly transfers to a separate savings account. This way, you won’t forget to set aside your savings, and you won’t be tempted to spend the money.
To truly grow your money, you’ll need to invest part of your savings. This gives you a potentially higher rate of return compared to a savings account or fixed deposit. The power of compound interest means that just a slightly higher rate of return could translate to a much larger portfolio over time.
3. Review your insurance coverage periodically
As you grow older, your life circumstances may change. You may have higher lifestyle expenses, more financial commitments or more people who depend on your income to survive.
You’ll need to review your insurance coverage periodically to make sure that it is keeping up with these new circumstances. For example, if you’ve just welcomed a new child into your family, check if your life insurance plan can still take care of your family’s higher living costs in your absence.
Having adequate protection gives you a financial safety net in the event of certain emergencies or unfortunate events; this is crucial to being financially healthy.
4. Look for value
When you’re trying to be frugal, it’s tempting to always go for the cheapest products to save money.
But this can backfire on you. Sometimes, buying the cheapest items could mean compromising on quality. These items can cost more money in the long run, as they break more often and require frequent replacements.
Whenever you purchase an item, consider how much value they provide. A higher-quality item could be pricier but give you better value for your money. For example, a RM30 pair of shoes could last you three months, costing you RM10 a month. But a RM300 pair could last five years, costing you RM5 a month.
5. Always consider the opportunity costs
There’s a trade-off in every decision. For example, spending RM10,000 on a down payment for a car means that you can’t use that money to pay off high-interest debts. This trade-off is known as an opportunity cost – it’s the value of the choice you’ll have to give up in order to choose something else.
Whenever you make a financial decision, consider the opportunity costs. This can help you avoid impulse or unnecessary purchases. For example, instead of buying a new sofa that you don’t need, consider the opportunity cost – you could instead put that money into your retirement fund instead and get closer to your retirement goals.
Opportunity costs also help provide frames of reference when making big financial decisions. Let’s say you’re deciding between buying and renting a home. The opportunity cost of renting a home is the potential appreciation of the property, while the opportunity cost of buying a home is being able to invest the money you would have used for the down payment.
Make it a habit to apply this concept – it will help you become more aware of what you stand to gain and give up in each financial decision, allowing you to maximise the value of your money.
Need more motivation?
Humans are funny creatures. Although we know some things are good for us in the long run, we still get sidetracked by instant gratification. This is why having a bit of motivation to stay on track is important to ensure we reach our end-goals.
A-Life Wealth Care is a unique investment-linked insurance plan that rewards you for healthier financial habits. On top of giving you a financial safety net in times of need, it can provide the support and motivation you need to make better decisions with money:
- Wealth Account Benefit. If your premiums are paid up to date and you do not make any withdrawals, you will receive a sum of money into your ‘Wealth Account’. You can cash out this money when your policy matures.
- Wealth Booster. This increases the sum of money you’ll receive at maturity if you choose a longer/higher coverage amount, or if your premiums are paid up to date and you do not make any withdrawals.
- Life-stage Celebration. You can withdraw up to 100% of your Wealth Account for each life event, such as getting married or starting your own company, and still be entitled to the Wealth Account Benefit and Wealth Booster. This means getting the motivation you need to save, and at the same time being able to use your savings for big life goals.
When you sign up for A-Life Wealth Care, you’ll also be a part of AIA Vitality. This is a science-backed programme that empowers and motivates you to lead a healthier life. As a member, you’ll enjoy an additional benefit called the Vitality Wealth Booster.
Depending on the healthy choices you make, Vitality Wealth Booster rewards you with even more cash value when your policy matures. You could also get rewarded with discounts with participating partners like GrabFood and Shopee!
If you’ve been wanting to transform your finances, but have struggled with sticking to your goals, A-Life Wealth Care plus AIA Vitality could be the motivation you need.