When you have impossible dreams, you learn about the people around you. When you achieve your impossible dreams, you learn about yourself.
This is the story of how a client achieved her impossible dream and set herself on the path towards financial freedom.
Her journey started with a dream and a savings plan.
Year 0: Lifestyle
Earning a modest fresh graduate’s pay, she considered herself frugal as she didn’t splurge on designer clothes or expensive overseas holidays, drove a locally-produced car, and lived with her parents. Yet, it seemed her money was shorter than the month was long.
Year 1: Saving
As her salary increased, she found she still couldn’t save much despite having very strong motivation to save for the beach wedding of her dreams. This is because after learning how much it would cost, she was ready to ditch the idea altogether.
However, her money-wise fiancé taught her the concept of paying herself first. He analysed her cash flow and helped set up the auto-transfer of funds via her online bank account. Before long she was automatically saving a cool RM2,000 into a separate and not-so-easily accessible account each month, which she then promptly forgot about.
Year 2: Reaping
A year later when planning her wedding, she was surprised to see RM24,000 in her bank wedding fund account. It was surreal. And all because she had set-up an auto-transfer feature. Perhaps she could have her dream wedding after all.
Year 5: Realising her dream
Three years later, she had saved up a six-figure amount for a church wedding in Kuala Lumpur followed by an eight-course Chinese dinner, and her dream beachside wedding in Penang.
She learnt that money had a way of slipping away if you didn’t stash it some place safe and less accessible.
She also learnt the power of compounding, where even a one-time RM10,000 deposit saved in a low-risk investment giving 4% annual returns compounded over 10 years can yield an extra RM4,800 (or total returns of 48%).
Three important lessons
1. Saving is the first step towards achieving your financial goals, dreams and aspirations. There are no short cuts – just discipline to pay yourself first.
A good rule of thumb is to have six months’ worth of your income in your bank account before using the extra cash for investing.
2. Delay gratification and invest for tomorrow. Earning an income is sufficient to survive but it is imperative to invest your hard-earned money to live a more comfortable life.
Investing requires having a plan and being diversified while not being greedy. Sounds like a mouthful but it’s really doable once you break down your plan into small, achievable actions you can take over time.
3. Approach your personal finances as a team effort. Talk regularly to your licensed financial planner. This professional knows your goals and dreams including your plans to raise a family, own a dream home, and retire early comfortably.
Your financial planner also provides access to an extended team including lawyers, financiers, and tax specialists based on your needs.
It is important to work with a financial planner you trust because you have to be honest about your financial situation in order to receive accurate help.
When yogurt is more than just yogurt
There are many who buy cheap instead of considering the value of an item. They take the cheapest brand on the shelf, deprive themselves, and end-up feeling poor.
But learn to view where you put your Ringgit in terms of value. For instance, your favourite brand of yogurt costs RM5 more for a 1 kg tub compared to other brands of yogurt available.
But look beyond the slightly higher cost and see it in terms of “cost per unit” (RM/g), nutritional value, and even the joy derived from eating it.
Cheap does not equal value. The key here is to invest in something that has value. Like investing in equities whether directly in stocks or through a fund.
If there’s a company or market sector you are interested in owning or believe in, study it in more detail. A publicly-traded company’s financial records are freely available online.
First, you need to calculate how much you think the company is worth per share on your own or get access to investment insights.
Next, check the price per share that the company is offering. If your fundamental analysis (FA) shows the company is offering lower than what you calculated, it is then good value to invest in that company. If the price offered is higher, then it is not good value to invest in it.
Having said that, not everyone wants to learn how to select and build their investment portfolio. Everyone has different interests and strengths.
For example, someone with a financial background may not necessarily have the time or interest to do fundamental analysis. So, do what you do best and leave the rest to professionals.
Start putting down your financial goals in words and take action to realise them.
Approach a licensed financial professional. And a good financial professional firm would be backed by an entire team who are able to provide support, insight, and assistance in all your financial needs from investing to wealth distribution.
Many have the misconception that one must be a millionaire before needing a financial planner. Or, we think that hiring a financial planner is expensive. It isn’t.
Personal financial planners through MyPF are fee-based at a very affordable RM1,000 for one (1) whole year of professional engagement helping you plan your finances holistically.
You will also get full access to MyPF Premier market insights, event invitations, and a supportive community which includes dozens of licensed financial planners.
Dreams are achievable. It only requires simple action to get started and to embark on your journey towards financial independence.