Sunday, July 14, 2013


Civil servants here made headline news recently when it was reported that as many as 80 per cent of personal loans from NBFIs, goes to government employees with household incomes of less than RM3,000 a month. NBFIs, or non-bank financial institutions, include among others, Bank Rakyat Sdn Bhd, Malaysia Building Society Bhd (MBSB), and development financial institutions (DFIs) such as Agrobank, SME Bank and Lembaga Tabung Haji.

These NBFIs are not supervised by the central bank. Easy loans plus job security lures many government employees into taking huge loans to pay for lavish weddings, imported cars, up scale housing, overseas vacations, and expensive gadgets like high end smart phones and audio-visual equipment, all of which they can ill afford.

Weddings as lavish as this can set one back hundreds of thousands of ringgit

Says one civil servant: “I have a pension and insurance. If you work in the government, it’s easy to get a loan. Just make sure that the loan does not exceed 60 per cent of your salary every month."

For civil servants, their jobs and pensions are guaranteed, even during a recession. This explains why NBFIs are ready to offer them easy access to personal loans. Those working in the private sector would never be able to secure hefty personal loans of RM100K to RM200K if their monthly take home pay is below M3000.

Whether we are working in the public or private sector, we don't want to be buried in debt, to see almost our entire monthly salary going towards servicing our loans or credit card debts. It's crazy to take out a RM120,000 personal loan from a bank to renovate and furnish your house when your salary is RM2,500 a month.

Source: The Star 10 July

Fortunately for us older folks, by virtue of our age and the experience gained from having lived through lean times, we are frugal in our spending habits and adverse to taking financial risks. We don't hanker for the latest products or the best service that often comes at high price. For many of us, a cup of coffee at the local kopitiam is value for money at RM1.80 compared to a RM10.50 cup of caffe latte at Starbucks. And tastes better too! We can get a MyVi for less than RM45K, and it will take us from A to B or C. So will a Toyota Vios but at more than double the price tag!

It is a good thing that as we age, we care less about appearance, and more about substance. Of course, if we can afford it and money is not a concern, we have the luxury to spend as we like, and enjoy the fruits of our hard labour.

With Hari Raya coming up, food is one of the biggest items of expenditure. Here are some useful tips on how to stretch the ringgit, courtesy of FOMCA (Federation of Malaysian Consumers Association).

Source: New Sunday Times 14 July

If you have a problem curbing your spending urges, it is best to opt for a debit card than a credit card. I used to gripe about banks discriminating against retirees who apply for credit cards. On reflecting, perhaps it's for their own good that retirees stick to one credit card and forget about applying for more.

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