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Personal Finance 101: Fresh Engineer and the monthly salary. So little, how and what to do?

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Personal Finance 101: Fresh Engineer and the monthly salary.

So little, how and what to do?

Anyone here who does not want to complain that their pay is low? Well, even engineers are also complaining, not just those with non-technical degrees which the supply is much higher than the supply of fresh engineers. My brother and my two brother-in-laws are all engineers. They have been engineers for a long time and I think they will retire as an engineer. All three are holding senior level positions today. However, all three started from that low starting salary like many fresh engineers.

Save, that’s the fundamental

All three drove Protons. My brother drove my father’s Proton Iswara. My brother-in-law 1 drove his father’s Proton Wira. My other brother-in-law bought a Proton Wira. All three did not feel inferior even versus all those driving ‘supposedly’ superior Japanese branded cars (just like how many love to do today). In fact, all three drove the Protons for many years and while I lost count, it was definitely more than 9 years (the length of a typical mortgage loan). How much did they save, really?

A typical new car may be RM70,000. If one is to pay for this over 9 years, the total comes to RM85,650. Typical 9-year and typical interest rate of 4%. So, the total savings is RM70,000 for the two fresh engineers who drove their father’s car. As for my other brother-in-law, the Proton Wira 1.3 manual he bought was RM46,000. Compared to the typical car price, he has saved RM40,000. Yeah, savings is really the fundamental

Career progression, that’s critical

All three worked hard and they continued to progress in their career. Please note that without career and the salary growth as a pillar, then nothing further will happen because it the savings would not keep increasing every year. Frankly, there are engineers who remain engineers because they think of their career as a job. They do it as a job. Thus, their salary increments would follow inflation. That’s not good news yeah. Two of them (brother / brother-in-laws) are at Manager level while another one is a Head of Department.

Investment, that’s what matters for the future

All three purchased properties. Happily, I have to say, all three bought properties which I told them to. Haha. Today, all three of them are staying in properties which has nearly tripled in price and thus we can safely say that as long as nothing unforeseen happens, this property they have would be a good asset for them. In fact they could even sell the property in the future to do many other things. Imagine, if they rented. The following would be the rental which they have paid for the first 10 years they work.

RM1,600 (typical 1,000 sq ft apartment with facilities in Penang) x 12 (months) x 10 (years) = RM192,000

Well, they could have lost it all versus currently owning a property which has nearly tripled in price.

Okay, what car do they drive today?

All three could now afford above average cars yeah. They deserve it and they could afford it without much financial pressure nowadays. By the way, there is really no need to save up every cent yeah. Spend to enjoy a little when you can afford it. That would motivate you to work harder too.Win-Win.

One is driving the latest Hyundai Staria (look at the price here) Another is driving a Volkswagen Tiguan (price here) and another is driving a Honda Civic (price here)

Another thing in common for all these three engineers?

They work in Penang. They are still working in Penang. They will most probably work in Penang until they retire. Penang is a good place with lots of great companies for engineers. This is why many engineers choose Penang as the place they like to forge their career. So, fresh engineers who want something like the above life, the above can be an easy example to follow. Of course, one would have to graduate as an engineer first. Study hard okay!

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2 Responses

  1. Thanks to the guidance and insights I received from’s founder, I was inspired to pursue a career as a real estate agent. For the past ten years, I’ve been working in the industry, helping others make wise property investments that can yield significant returns in the long run.

    One of the most important lessons I’ve learned is the value of investing in property over luxury purchases like a new car. Even though I still drive my second-hand Avanza that only cost RM44k, I’m confident that my rental income will soon cover my car instalment.

    If you’re interested in learning more about how property investment can help you achieve financial stability, I’d be happy to offer a free consultation. Please feel free to reach out to me at 0127772756. Thank you for considering me as your guide in your property investment journey.

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Charles Tan The Founder The Writer Kopiandproperty
Charles Tan

Charles is Founder of He writes from his investment experience for the the past 20 years in investments including property, stock, unit trust and more as well as readings and conversations with many property gurus in the industry. is an independent property blog which is not affiliated to any media company, property developer or even real estate agencies.


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