17th January 2022 - 8 min read
In just a blink of an eye, 2022 is here, and Chinese New Year is just around the corner. With just about two weeks to go before families can once again gather for reunion dinners, lou sang, and “HUAT AHHH” cheers – all in accordance with Covid-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs), of course – you may also want to mark your calendars for the auspicious date of li chun.
If this is the first time you’re hearing of li chun, it is a date in the lunar calendar that denotes the beginning of spring. But that’s not all; many believe that when you deposit some money into your bank account on this one special day, you could gain maximum ong for the rest of the year.
So when is li chun this year? Set your alarms for 4 February 2022, as li chun 2022 falls on that day – just three days after the first day of Chinese New Year.
Given that li chun is regarded as the “official” start of the spring – 立 (li) meaning to set up or start, and 春 (chun) to mean springtime, youth, or joy – it is inevitably tied to the idea of revival and growth after a period of barren winter. Ancient agricultural societies took this day to pray for a good reap for the next year, but as civilisations became more modern, this tradition also morphed to become symbolic.
Today, the act of depositing money in one’s bank account during li chun signifies the sowing of the first seeds of the year. With this, it is hoped that you will be blessed with steady income and abundance – just as how the seeds will also grow into bountiful harvests.
And now, to the highlight! This tradition calls for more than just simply depositing money into your bank account at any time during li chun. To do it right, feng shui masters say you need to time your deposits according to auspicious timeslots meant for your Chinese zodiac – that’s how specific it is. Deposit during the wrong hours, and 2022 might just turn out to be less prosperous for you.
This year, li chun is set take place between 4 February (4.58am) to 5 February (3am). So, what’s the best time to deposit your money based on your Chinese zodiac for this year’s li chun?
As you can see, some zodiacs will have more timeslots to deposit their money; those born in the year of Ox, Monkey, and Rooster, for instance, have up to four timeslots to do so, whereas those born in the year of Horse, Sheep, and Dog only have one. Most of you can aim to carry out the li chun tradition on 4 February, between 3pm to 5pm as it is the most auspicious hours for all zodiacs – except for a select few.
Traditionally, people – especially those from the older generations – will make their li chun deposits at the automated teller machines (ATMs), which is why you can expect to find long queues at the banks during this particular day.
However, as public acceptance of digital payments and mobile banking grew following the onset of Covid-19, it is fast becoming acceptable for you to make online transfers instead of visiting a bank in person to perform the deposits. The Chinese community in Singapore, for instance, used to be especially enthusiastic about queuing up to make their li chun deposits, but a report in 2021 hinted at a growing shift to online transfers instead.
For 2022, Malaysians are urged to skip the queue and continue using instant online transfers – also known as DuitNow transfers – for their li chun deposits, given its convenience and safety. While the number of daily Covid-19 infections is slowly decreasing, the dangers posed by the pandemic continue to linger on the horizon, especially with the emergence of new variants such as Omicron and Deltacron – so it’s always better to stay safe!
While li chun is a fun tradition to try and earn yourself some good fortune, it’s also wise not to leave everything to luck. Here are a couple of concrete steps that you take to actually boost your finances for 2022.
High-interest savings accounts and fixed deposits
One option is to channel your li chun deposits into high-interest savings or fixed deposit accounts, where you can gain some earnings via the interest paid!
In Malaysia, there are several high-interest savings accounts that offer rates that are just as good as fixed deposits (if not better – some offer up to 4.30% p.a.!), but they typically also need you to meet some extra requirement to earn them. Do check out our article for the best high interest savings accounts in Malaysia, which is updated regularly throughout the year.
Meanwhile, fixed deposits are great for those who would like to earn interest without having to jump through any hoops, but note that your money will be locked in for a specific period of time. Our Best Fixed Deposit Accounts In Malaysia article is updated every month, and includes any FD promotions of the month as well – so do refer to this page before you sign up for any FD.
Finally, you should also keep an eye out for li chun promotions from banks as we inch closer to the date. Some banks may offer special rates for li chun deposits, or even run one-day campaigns catering to this need. For instance, Hong Leong Bank ran several li chun promotions under an umbrella Chinese New Year campaign last year, entitling their customers to special fixed deposit rates. Similar promotions may make a comeback this year!
If you’re up for it, you may even consider “planting” some seeds in more unorthodox avenues, specifically investment products. There are a range of options for you to choose from, depending on your risk profile. Some alternatives include money market funds, which are very low risk investments that tend to yield FD-like rates but without locking in your funds.
But if you’re really looking to plant some seeds for the future, you can also consider depositing funds into your EPF account (via self-contribution) or your PRS account. EPF self-contributions are easily done via many online banking platforms, while PRS funds can be done via your PRS account’s fund management platform or third-party ones like FSMOne. Both EPF and PRS deposits lock your funds until retirement, and the EPF has a proven historical track record of delivering high dividends. As for PRS, this is the only tax-deductible investment you can make (aside from EPF self-contributions) – so do take advantage of it! Not to forget, the EPF dividends compound over time, so your money will really grow the longer it stays in there.
Finally, you can even reach out to licensed financial planners for advice, and turn your li chun deposit into the first step of an annual financial plan for yourself.
First time indulging in this tradition with families and friends? Here are some tips to make the experience more… “authentic” for you.
Tip #1: Some feng shui masters will advise you to make deposits of a specific value for added ong. Think the “lucky” number eight, or any numbers that are said to carry prosperous connotations. Popular amounts include RM28, RM80, or even RM88 (you can also ask your mom, grandma, or any other elders for advice on this; we’re sure they have a long list of numbers you can choose from).
Tip #2: Some li chun timeslots are considered to be more auspicious than the others (if you have more than one timeslot). Feng shui masters are not joking when they say “the most auspicious hours” (between 3pm to 5pm on 4 February). The other timeslots indicated are good…but not as good – so don’t miss out on this chance to maximise your ong!
Tip #3: No, making several li chun deposits during different auspicious timeslots won’t give you extra EXTRA ong. No double-dipping rewards here, unfortunately.
While it can be all great fun rushing to meet your li chun deadlines with families and friends, this tradition is a symbolic reminder that saving and investing money is an important part of securing your finances. Be sure to equip yourself with the necessary knowledge, and with that, we wish you a very Happy Chinese New Year!
Subscribe to our exclusive weekly newsletter and we’ll bring you the week’s highlights of financial news, expert tips, guides, and the latest credit card and e-wallet deals.
Stay tuned for what’s to come next in the personal finance world