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It is in this order: salary – savings – invest. Which stage are you at today?

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I read an interesting tweet by Elizabeth Tai, a personal finance writer who writes from the Malaysian perspective. Do read her articles here. Elizabeth was asking about the tendency of writers to just write about investing when everyone should start by focusing on savings too. She’s right. The fundamental for financial management is about saving money. What happens after one has saved enough is to start investing. The reason is a fundamental one.

The reason why we need to save is so that after some time, we are able to use some of that funds we saved for investment. With investment(s), then our wealth would grow faster than if we had just saved, saved and saved. Long time ago, when the life expectancy of Malaysians in general was around 60 years, saving money alone was enough. Imagine working for 30 years and retiring at 55. The savings over the last 30 years when we were working would be enough until the day we bid goodbye to this world.

Today, the life expectancy is 75 years and this will continue to rise with every passing year. This is why saving money every month and keep doing it religiously is no longer sufficient. No one can save enough unless they were saving like ‘crazy’ for 30 years (when they were working) so that they have enough to last the 20 years after they retire and their income has stopped.

However, before we even come to the stage of saving money, we need to first start with earning enough money. In this case, the starting is monthly SALARY. It is super important for anyone who thinks they need a higher pay to understand why they were paid lowly in the first place. if it is because of qualification and they do not have the means to pay for tertiary education, could they find out and learn a new skill which they could learn and thus earn a higher pay instead? Here’s one place to read further on some the available courses. (IF ONE TRULY wants to learn)

As for those who already own a home and a car and thinks they are doing just fine, then perhaps it is time to find a second income stream. There are many ways to do this. Selling something online via part-time basis. Check out all those tutorials from the online shopping sites on how to start. We can also start writing a blog and making it big enough to turn it into a Sdn Bhd after a few years. (kopiandproperty.com is one such blog). Alternatively, it can even be as a real estate negotiator. Just get all your friends and family members who want to buy a property to buy through you.

Once we have started to earn enough salary every month, please do not spend it all. SAVE and after you have enough, then INVEST will be next stage. To know why is personal finance so important, please read Elizabeth’s articles or my good friend Suraya’s famous blog at ringgitohringgit.com and please start taking personal finance very seriously. Happy understanding actually taking positive steps.

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Next suggested article: Clueless Americans when it comes to personal finance? Malaysian too I think

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