I have recently begun to worry about money. While researching for a financial literacy article, I came across some scary facts – the Asian Institute of Finance (AIF) latest study revealed that 75% of Malaysian Gen -Ys have at least one source of long-term debt and only 28% claim to know how to manage their finances.
I have always assumed that I was doing pretty well as I do not own a credit card and my monthly salary sufficiently covers necessities such as rent and food, with money left over for wants like entertainment and the occasional luxury item.
Seems peachy, but there is actually a hole in my reasoning – what about a rainy day fund? Sure, I am aware of the importance of saving, but I have never gotten around to actually doing it as I saw no urgency to – I am young, healthy and my parents will be there to bail me out if I need extra money. It is safe to say that there are many young working adults out there who share my mentality, as clearly shown by AIF’s statistics.
I figured out that it was high time that I had a proper savings account (stashing loose change into a glass jar is not going to cut it!), hence my New Year resolution was to establish my very own squirrel fund – by saving a fixed amount of 15% of my salary each month. And I am proud to say I have been doing so without fail for the past 3 months.
Plans do not always go without a hitch, though, and mine appeared in the form of a gym membership. I was quite the sportsperson in school and since I started working, I missed playing group sports. My girlfriends had the solution – sign up for a gym membership and join them for Zumba and Body Pump. The thing was it will cost me RM220 a month, an extra expense which would bring down my monthly savings to 10%.
While I was contemplating what to do, I recalled a nugget of information from a book I read, Money is Simple by Jean Chatzky; when faced with a financial decision, sleep on it. And that was exactly what I did (even though I was VERY tempted by the 1-day only registration fee waiver).
Spending some time mulling over it made me realize that the gym membership was an unnecessary cost– there is already a gym in my condominium (which I am already paying a steep rent for) and during the weekends I will go to the park for a run anyway.
That evening, I went for a run in a nearby park that I have never been to before, and I chanced upon a pick-up Frisbee game. Apparently the group meets up every week to play and train together. To cut the long story short, I now have my weekly dose of group sports, made an awesome bunch of friends and am part of a team who regularly joins Frisbee competitions! All without me having to fork out a dime.
Anyway, the moral of the story is – always weigh your options carefully before making a financial decision.
The views expressed here are solely of Reena Kaur Bhatt, writer at iProperty.com Malaysia and do not represent that of iProperty.com Malaysia and should not be construed as professional advice. Readers are encouraged to seek independent advice prior to making any investments.