Starting with a ‘peanut’ salary? Think ahead.

Saw a sharing an article about a fresh grad sharing what he can do with his ‘peanut’ salary. He said his salary was only RM2,500. After deducting everything, he had nothing left, not even enough to give to his parents and to treat his girlfriend. Obviously he is getting an above average pay as a fresh graduate because many may not get this pay. Anyway, assuming fresh graduates are really paid ‘peanuts’ as a starting pay , what can you actually do? Let me propose something based on my 17 years of working experience in Malaysia.

First of all, work harder at our job. Learn more. Truth is, majority of all full-time employees are not working as hard as they should, yet. Most of the time, unless pressured or forced, many would be complacent and do enough to pass the day. So, often at the end of the year many would complain that their bosses do not appreciate them and yet they could not find a better job because their skills remain the same year after year. Note, if we can complain that our bosses do not appreciate us, then we must be able to get an offer from another new boss who can appreciate us. Otherwise, the problem is not with our bosses, it is with US, unfortunately.

Once we have safeguarded our job with hard work, let’s take a longer term year view of our lives. Start with the first 5 year plan. Cross out those which would definitely not help us in your 5 year plan. My plan goes like this.

Keep costs low. There is really no need to sign up for the best broadband package so that you can watch latest movies etc. There is also no need to buy a Japanese branded car, whether first hand or second hand just so that your peers see you ‘higher.’ Buy a car with low maintenance and low fuel consumption. The last I checked, it is still very possible. Starbucks? What’s wrong with buying 15 packs of 3 in 1 white coffee instead? Cendol? Once per month is okay. You cannot be eating per day, you will get diabetes. Focus on smartphone, not Samsung smartphone or iPhone.

Stay cheaper. Further away is okay, change the time you start travelling. If you have to travel earlier, then start earlier! Fyi, there are lots of cheap rooms for rental in Selayang, Damansara Damai, Kajang, Kepong etc. You do not need to stay in Mont Kiara, KLCC, Seri Hartamas etc. Needing to show off? Well, you are just a fresh graduate, what is there to show off. Plus, if you are renting a room in a high-class neighbourhood, you really want to bring your colleagues to view your ROOM?

Invest. No, not buy stocks and properties Invest in YOU. Invest in books, invest in workshops, in seminars. Read, learn, read, learn and stop reading useless entertainment magazines. Those Korean stars are not going to make you rich. Read what the successful businessmen did to be successful. Read why investment is the only reason why some people are able to retire earlier. If only everyone is able to improve themselves, we would do much better as a nation instead of the current ‘blame’ culture of both sides. The ‘other’ side is always wrong….

Action. Yes, if you have kept costs low, if you have spent less on your stay and you have invested in yourselves, surely you are ready for some actions. If it’s property, you may need to save for 3-4 years to have enough for a secondary property which you can buy and then rent out the other two rooms. By then, you can start saving for your investment property. If it’s stocks, buy stocks which are really undervalued and have faith. With a little bit of luck, your investment should give you returns which are many times that of FD.

Actually when you graduate at 23 or 24, have you ever thought what would happen to you when you reach 28 or 29? One property which you are paying and second property in planning? By 33, second property and third in the planning? By 37, third property? Remember, everyone has to start somewhere. It’s best to start NOW. Oh yeah, majority of all your peers would always be the usual average and typical full-time employees. They do the same thing everyday and hope for better rewards. Oh yeah, even at 24, you can still be a property tycoon. Read here: Just 24 already a property tycoon, how?

Long time ago, there were no such opportunities. Even if you want to buy more than one property, the banks would not lend you the money. If you somehow managed to buy a second property, renting it out is tough. Selling it is almost impossible unless at almost the same price. It’s okay to disagree. Just keep doing what you are doing, there’s nothing wrong, really. As long as all of us are happy in our own little ways. Cheers.

written on 24 June 2015

Next suggested article: Oversupply, Yes. Crashing down? No.

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