2016 is fast coming to a close and we’re all preparing to welcome the New Year in style. The past year has presented a host of financial challenges for all Malaysians, especially with the continuation of the GST which has seen the continued rise of living costs.
Some of us may be making resolutions about our personal lives or physical selves, like wanting to travel more or wanting to lose some weight. If you’re thinking about making New Year resolutions about your finances, we’ve got some great suggestions right here:
Start Saving for Rainy Days
No one can predict what will happen in the future. Even though none of us want bad things to happen, it’s always better to prepare an umbrella for a rainy day. Many people have this superstitious belief that if you put aside money for emergencies, you actually want negative things to happen.
There really is no truth in that, so this coming year, you can resolve to start an emergency fund. Having a fund just for tough times can help cushion you from any unexpectedness and remain financially safe while you get back on your feet. This way if you need a large sum immediately, you won’t have to beg or borrow.
Start a Small International Business
Before you get intimidated by the title and scream “Impossible!”, let us point out that this is one of the ways to turn the drop in the Ringgit’s value into a blessing for yourself. Use your skills to offer products or services online, and target consumers that will pay you in valuable currencies like the USD and GBP.
All you have to do is create an account in an international merchant site, like Ebay or Amazon, and sell locally-made goods or specifically Malaysian products. To have a better idea of what to sell, check out our article on what’s worth buying internationally online.
Plan for Retirement
No matter how young or old you are, it’s never too early to think of how you’ll fund your retirement. Not everyone is fortunate enough to have a pension after they retire.
Some of you may have savings in the EPF, but the bad news is that EPF themselves reported that 65% of all contributors don’t have enough to retire on. This is why it’s important to explore alternative ways to invest and generate enough finances for your retirement.
Pay Off Your Largest Debts
One key resolution that you should have for the coming year is to focus funds into paying off loans. You can consider restructuring you loans so that more of your money goes to paying off the actual principle, rather than interests.
Another option is to refinance your loans so that you bring down the interests. If your debt is in your credit cards, explore the credit transfer option to consolidate your debt and minimize interest payments
If you’re planning to apply for a credit card this coming year, you can save much more in the indirect way by applying for credit cards with cash back. Remember that you’re not alone as you face the challenges of this new year, and careful financial planning and wisdom will definitely get you through.