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By Asad Safuan Ab Maleki @ Ab Malik


As we are approaching Hari Raya Aidilfitri, consider these helpful tips if you are among those still struggling to manage their own cash flow as we adjust to life alongside Covid-19.

Aidilfitri 2022 is the first time Malaysians are celebrating this event with only minor restrictions thanks to Covid-19 which is still troubling the world since it’s emergence in late 2019.


With that in mind, we can expect plenty of excitement for this coming Aidilfitri! The big question is how do we manage our cashflow so that we are in control of our spending, without detracting from the thrill of enjoying the celebrations?

#1. Know Your Holiday Spending Limits Before You Spend


Budgeting is a way to set limit on your expenses and still enjoy the season. Here are some articles that can walk you through the process.

  • 7 Steps to Successful Budget-Setting for Couples

  • Is Preparing for the Holidays Part of Your Savings Plan?

  • 6 Steps to Get Your Finance Ready for the Holidays

For example, you may include your yearly holiday expenses in your financial planning by setting a realistic amount, for example RM5000. Break it down into your monthly savings portion e.g. RM400 – RM450 to be set aside every month specifically as a holiday/celebration fund. As the holiday date approaches, tally how much you have been able to park aside and manage your spending based on that.


Knowing how much you have before you spend is definitely a fundamental step in staying in control of your finances.

#2. Make Your ‘Naughty or Nice’ List


As an Islamic celebration, it’s important to recognize the distinction between actions that are wajib (compulsory), sunnah (advisable to do), or simply an adat (a practice, a custom) in our habits and practices for Hari Raya Aidilfitri, many of which were passed down over generations. Some examples of things to ponder about include:

  • Moreh (the practice of eating after performing tarawih prayer)

  • Duit raya (money given out to mark the celebration. Not to be confused with sedekah or giving charity)

  • Purchasing new furniture, curtains, carpets, etc.

  • Buying new clothes

  • Playing fireworks

Familiarize yourself with identifying what are categorized wajib, sunnah, or adat can help you make better decisions for yourself and your family when money is tight.


Make a list to include all the items that are wajib and those which you feel strongly about. It is also recommended to then include other expenses that you anticipate would be appropriate during the festival. For example:

  • Traveling cost

  • Clothing

  • Food / catering cost

  • Gifts

Put an estimate of how much you are intending to spend for each item and total them up. You may also want to consider having some “backup” money set aside in case you missed out any item or encounter any unexpected situations.

#3. Be Realistic About Your Budget


When it comes to financial planning, this is a very crucial point. Each and everyone of us are in a different condition. The example of RM5000 allocation for festival might not suit everyone out there. Adjust, adjust, adjust!


If you face social pressure to unnecessarily spend on status symbols, bear in mind how much you would like to be in control of your own finances. It’s easy for others to tease, but in the end they are not the ones paying the bills.


If you feel strongly about it, then it is better to focus on how you can save more for future celebrations and let it be that this coming celebration will be a lower-key one for you.

#4. Become a Point or Coupon Collector


Sales aren’t the only way to get great deals on the gifts you want for your friends or family. Before you shop online, perform a quick web search for coupon codes for your favourite online stores. Before you shop in local stores, comb through the coupons you received in your mailbox. While you search through the flyers, make sure to compare shops for the item that you’re interested in.


Savings can happen just by keeping your eyes on for discount and great deals.

#5. Give the Gift of Your Time


Our parents (or other family members and friends) might love nothing more than a visit from you. Another idea? Writing up a “free night of babysitting” card for your family members with young children, or “good for a home-cooked meal” certificate for your aunt that can be used when the time is right.

#6. Build Better Spending Habits


Now this is a tough one. It is not necessarily important only for festive season. But this habit needs to be cultivated from young age.


Each and every one of us has been exposed to different ways of upbringing which definitely has its effect on our practices or habits of doing things. Do our part by starting NOW by showing good examples to our children or if you don’t have one, you may be setting up examples for the people around you.

#7. Decorating Your House with Used/ Discounted Items


Be creative by coming up with an idea of decorating your home. Make full use of the internet by searching on what you would like to decorate. Whether by utilising whatever you already have at home (recycling unused items) or by buying discounted or used items and then redecorate them to your liking.


You can also get your children involved in this project and it helps you bonding better and get to teach your younger ones about money matters in the same time. E.g. – Money tree, ketupat which is nicely braided with different colours of ribbons, small wooden traditional Malay house made by ice cream sticks (diorama) etc.

#8. Organize Group Volunteering or Spring Cleaning


Plan a spring cleaning at your parents or grandparents house. If there is nothing much to do, you could then initiate a small gotong-royong at your neighbourhood or graveyard area (as one of the customs of the Malay Muslims is to go and pay tribute and say prayers at the graveyards in remembrance of those who had passed away).


You might want to consider doing this instead of organising open house or party every single time you go back for Raya.

#9. Share the Cost of Your Celebration


Prior to the festive season, check if friends or family are interested in joint purchases. Most of the times, buying things in bulk are cheaper compared to buying it individually.

#10. Start Your Shopping Early


Do not wait until the last minute (approaching festival days) before doing the shopping. Unless for certain items which would only be available closer to the festival date like food.


Look out for the mega sales or month-end sales period to get the best out of your money every time you want to buy something.

Conclusion


Practice moderation in each and everything you do especially when it comes to expenses – to talk about from the financial point of view. You may do what you like with your money if you have managed or planned it properly ahead. Talking about financial planning, it always boils down to you cash flow. Do you really know whether you have surplus or deficit? If you don’t, then it is best seek advice from the experts – licensed financial planner. They could help you analyse your cash flow and see what is/are missing in your own financial planning. You may also seek their unbiased advice on how to go about pertaining to you financial goals.


How do you plan to shop for your Hari Raya celebration?


About the author


Asad kicked off his career in financial services industry by becoming a Takaful and Unit Trust Consultant for 5 years. After that, he decided to make a career advancement from becoming an agent to advisory approach by pursuing Islamic Financial Planning (IFP) certification in 2021. He realised that his true passion is helping individuals to improve their personal finances situation by giving a holistic and unbiased advice. As an Associate Financial Planner with Wealth Vantage Advisory, he received full training and coaching from senior financial planners in the firm to equipped him better with consultation and financial planning skills. Asad wanted to make sure as Financial Planner, he can help his clients to understand their current financial situation, financial goals and risk profile before developing a full financial planning plan for them.




Oleh Mukhlis Mohd Nasri


Bulan Ramadhan kini hadir semula untuk disambut oleh umat Islam seluruh dunia. Ketahui langkah-langkah yang anda boleh lakukan untuk berjimat dan menambahkan simpanan pada bulan yang mulia ini.

Alhamdulillah, bertemu lagi di bulan Ramadhan yang penuh keberkatan. Bulan ini seharusnya menjadi bulan yang sentiasa dinanti-nantikan oleh seluruh umat Islam kerana pelbagai ganjaran yang dijanjikan oleh Allah SWT berbanding bulan-bulan yang lain. Kalau tidak direbut, mungkin peluang sebegini tidak lagi kita perolehi.


Kalau diumpamakan seperti menunggu tarikh-tarikh seperti 1.1 atau 12.12 dan sebagainya di aplikasi beli-belah Shopee dan Lazada, dengan pelbagai diskaun dan promosi yang ditawarkan sehingga rambang mata untuk memilih namun anda memilih untuk berbelanja sehingga tiba tarikh yang dinantikan. Itu adalah contoh dalam hal dunia yang sementara, walhal dalam hal akhirat, terdapat pelbagai promosi dan diskaun yang diberikan. Amalan sunat tidak lagi mendapat pahala sunat sahaja tetapi boleh mendapat pahala fardhu dan pahala amalan fardhu menjadi berlipat ganda. Buat sedikit tetapi ganjaran diperolehi akan berganda.


Keistimewaan bulan Ramadhan adalah ia sebuah manifestasi perjuangan melawan hawa nafsu, perjuangan untuk membuat perubahan dalam kehidupan kita ke arah yang lebih baik. Perlawanan menguruskan nafsu sehingga kita tak sangka kita mampu menahan diri daripada makan dan minum selama sebulan di waktu siang. Jadi tidak mustahil untuk kita membuat perubahan-perubahan lain ke arah yang lebih baik.


Dalam konteks pengurusan kewangan, bulan Ramadhan boleh menjadi medan perubahan kewangan ke arah yang lebih baik daripada sebelumnya. Sekiranya kita mampu berubah pada bulan ini, ia akan menjadi pemangkin perubahan di bulan-bulan yang lain.


Artikel ini akan berkongsi 7 tip untuk berjimat pada bulan Ramadhan. Kenapa perlu berjimat selalu sehingga masih dibincangkan pada bulan Ramadhan? Tahukah anda, individu yang berjaya dalam pengurusan kewangan mampu mengetepikan sebahagian wang mereka untuk simpanan. Simpanan ini akan menjadi satu rutin untuk mengawal nafsu dan membantu anda mencapai matlamat kewangan. Artikel ini akan memfokuskan untuk berjimat dan mampu membantu anda menjadikan simpanan satu rutin.

#Tip 1: Merancang Perbelanjaan di Bulan Ramadan

Antara masalah yang sering dihadapi oleh kebanyakan individu adalah kesukaran untuk menyimpan, walaupun gaji dan pendapatan meningkat setiap tahun. Mereka buntu dan berasa seperti seekor tikus yang berlari dalam bulatan roda, bergerak tetapi hakikatnya tidak ke mana-mana. Mereka berpendapat bahawa jika pendapatan naik, mereka boleh membelanjakan wang tersebut dengan sesuka hati mereka.


Akhirnya mereka menyedari bahawa masalah tersebut berpunca daripada tiada perancangan dalam perbelanjaan, jika ada duit semuanya akan dibelanjakan. Untuk menyelesaikan msalah tersebut, perancang kewangan boleh membantu untuk menyusun kewangan dengan membuat perancangan perbelanjaan, mengenal pasti apakah keperluan dan kehendak dan berpegang kepada perancangan tersebut. Hasilnya, simpanan yang konsisten dapat dicipta.


Kembali kepada bulan Ramadhan, bulan ini mampu membantu untuk kita merancang perbelanjaan dan menyimpan. Jika perbelanjaan untuk makan pada siang hari sudah tiada, anda boleh menyimpannya, kerana jika tidak, wang tersebut mungkin akan dikeluarkan secara berlebihan untuk makanan berbuka puasa sehingga menyebabkan pembaziran. Ia adalah satu kerugian, jadi ambillah kesempatan ini untuk membaiki aliran tunai dengan merancang perbelanjaan pada bulan Ramadhan.

#Tip 2: Berhemah dalam Berbelanja

Sekiranya anda mahu mempunyai simpanan, anda perlu berhemah dalam berbelanja dan berfikir sejenak sebelum membeli. Pada bulan Ramadhan, terdapat pelbagai iklan makanan yang menggiurkan untuk menggoda ramai untuk membelinya. Misalnya apabila anda ke bazar Ramadhan, anda mungkin terdorong untuk membeli hampir semua jenis makanan tetapi hanya sedikit sahaja dinikmati kerana jumlahnya yang banyak. Tidak termasuk lagi makanan yang tidak dinikmati kerana rasanya kurang memuaskan. Alangkah ruginya apabila berlakunya pembaziran sedangkan ramai lagi mereka yang kurang berkemampuan dan tiada juadah untuk berbuka. Tidak termasuk lagi sebarang perbelanjaan untuk menyambut hari raya.


Oleh sebab itu, untuk berhemah dalam berbelanja, hendaklah sentiasa berfikir adakah akan berlaku pembaziran apabila kita membuat pembelian. Sekiranya berlaku, maka bulan Ramadhan adalah peluang untuk kita berubah kepada yang lebih baik.

#Tip 3: Bersama Masyarakat di Masjid dan Surau

Kebanyakkan masjid dan surau di seluruh negara akan menyediakan juadah berbuka dan moreh sepanjang bulan Ramadhan. Jika anda merancang untuk berjimat, anda boleh bersama-sama memeriahkan masjid dan surau dalam aktiviti berbuka puasa. Selain mengeratkan persaudaraan, secara tidak langsung anda tidak perlu mengeluarkan belanja yang tinggi untuk juadah berbuka puasa.


Aktiviti sebegini mampu memakmurkan dan merapatkan komuniti masjid dan surau selain menjimatkan wang belanja untuk berbuka puasa. Ia hanya berlaku pada bulan ini sahaja dan rebut peluang yang ada ini untuk membuat penjimatan.

#Tip 4: Menyediakan Juadah untuk Berbuka Puasa


Salah satu cara untuk berjimat di bulan Ramadhan adalah anda boleh memasak juadah berbuka dan sahur sendiri terutama bagi yang berkeluarga atau mereka yang bujang dan tinggal bersama rakan serumah dengan berkongsi perbelanjaan barangan dapur. Memasak juadah sendiri adalah lebih jimat berbanding makan di luar atau membeli juadah di bazar Ramadhan.


Barangan makanan yang bernilai RM100 di bulan Ramadhan mungkin dapat menyediakan juadah untuk 3 hingga 4 orang selama tiga hingga empat hari. Jika dibahagikan kos untuk setiap orang, seorang akan berbelanja RM11 sehari untuk juadah berbuka dan sahur. Dibandingkan dengan bulan lain, nilai tersebut boleh menjadi untuk sekali makan sahaja. Persediaan juadah sendiri sedikit sebanyak membantu menjimatkan perbelanjaan seterusnya membantu anda untuk menyimpan dengan lebih efektif.

#Tip 5: Infaq atau Bersedekah


Infaq atau derma yang dikeluarkan secara mata kasar kelihatan seperti mengurangkan harta kerana anda menyerahkan wang anda untuk diberikan kepada pihak lain. Bagaimana infaq dapat membantu dalam langkah berjimat? Apabila seseorang memberi sumbangan dan melihat bagaimana sumbangannya telah menggembirakan penerima serta mengubah nasib penerima, ia dapat membangkitkan jiwa dan secara fitrahnya penyumbang juga akan bahagia kerana sumbangannya dapat merubah kehidupan seseorang.


Hal ini menyebabkan penyumbang akan berusaha untuk terus memberi infaq. Penyumbang sedar bahawa untuk mengeluarkan infaq yang mengubah orang lain, maka dia perlu membuat sesuatu dalam pengurusan kewangan agar dirinya sentiasa mempunyai lebihan untuk diberikan kepada pihak lain. Belum pernah lagi kita mendengar seseorang jatuh miskin kerana memberi sumbangan, sebaliknya ramai yang jatuh miskin kerana berbelanja di luar kemampuan mereka.

#Tip 6: Tingkatkan Ilmu Pengurusan Kewangan


Bagi mengelakkan diri terus terjerumus dalam kesilapan-kesilapan kewangan, anda boleh melengkapkan diri dengan ilmu pengurusan kewangan. Ilmu ini dapat memberi pencerahan dalam menguruskan kewangan dan melabur untuk ilmu adalah sesuatu yang tidak pernah merugikan. Anda boleh mendapatkan pelbagai maklumat pengurusan kewangan seperti di laman MyPF.my.


Sekiranya anda tidak mempunyai masa untuk membaca atau buntu dalam menguruskan kewangan anda, dapatkan bantuan daripada Perancang Kewangan Berlesen dan mereka akan membantu anda secara menyeluruh dalam menguruskan kewangan selain menambah pengetahuan kewangan sedia ada.

Tip 7: Banyakkan Berdoa


Sebagai seorang muslim, doa adalah sesuatu yang tidak dapat dipisahkan dalam kehidupan kerana ia manifestasi pengharapan seorang hamba yang bergantung harap kepada Tuhannya. Apabila melibatkan perancangan dan pengurusan kewangan, boleh jadi ia tidak berjaya seperti yang kita harapkan walaupun pelbagai tip dan langkah telah dilakukannya. Namun begitu, semua perkara berlaku atas keizinan Tuhan. Maka berdoalah dengen penuh pengharapan agar setiap perancangan dan langkah yang diambil, Allah SWT akan memudahkan dan mendorong kita untuk mencapai matlamat kewangan kita.


Malah di antara waktu yang mustajab dan doa dikabulkan adalah ketika sebelum berbuka puasa sebagaimana Rasulullah SAW bersabda:


“Sesungguhnya bagi orang yang berpuasa itu ketika dia berbuka doa yang tidak akan ditolak”. Maka pohonlah kepada Tuhan yang Maha Memberi.

Kesimpulan


Umat Islam perlu mengambil kesempatan pada bulan yang mulia ini untuk membuat refleksi diri supaya mampu menentang godaan hawa nafsu dan meningkatkan ibadah untuk Allah SWT. Gunakan peluang ini juga untuk berjimat dan tidak membazir terutamanya semasa berbelanja untuk makanan dan juga persediaan menyambut hari raya Aidilfitri. Berbelanja dengan bersederhana amat digalakkan dalam Islam. Semoga Ramadhan kali ini mampu menjadi pemangkin kepada perubahan dalam kehidupan kita walaupun kecil serta memberi makna kepada diri dan orang sekeliling.


Apakah langkah yang sudah anda ambil untuk berjimat pada bulan Ramadhan ini?

About the Author: Mukhlis Mohd Nasri Mukhlis started his career as an academician in Institut Pengajian Tinggi Islam Perlis (IPTIP), a private college in Perlis. Then, with an enthusiasm for helping people in financial planning, he moved into the financial sector in 2019 as a financial advisor with Wealth Vantage Advisory. He received a Bachelor of Shariah and Islamic Studies from Yarmouk University, Jordan. Mukhlis is an Islamic Financial Planner with focuses on providing holistic wealth management services to improve Malaysians' financial situation.


By Kian Ng


Financial planning for the LGBT community certainly is essential with some unique considerations. Let’s look at these 5 financial planning considerations.

The term sexual diversity refers to all the diversities of sex characteristics, sexual orientations, and gender identities. They are substantially more likely to identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT). Rights affecting LGBT people vary greatly by country or jurisdiction which includes everything from the legal recognition of same-sex marriage to the death penalty for this community.


Th presence and contribution of LGBT community is a fact that cannot be denied. Many of them work hard to align with their personal goals such as retirement planning as well as ensuring they are sufficiently protected or covered with medical benefits. Thus, financial planning with this LGBT community is equally important with some unique consideration on their planning.


An Experian survey among 500 LGBT respondents found 62% of them find that their gender identity or sexual orientation caused them to experience financial challenges.

The following are some of the personal finances challenges faced by members of the LGBT community, which may help financial planners as well as LGBT community better work together to increase success in tackling them.

Insurance


What if we die tomorrow? Insurance is the mechanism that helps safeguard our loved ones in the event of our death. The following are common obstacles that the LGBT community face when it comes to insurance.


Firstly, there is a concern from some applicants when an insurance application form requests for HIV tests to be done. Hence, a detailed understanding on the insurance questionnaires is important to ensure the LGBT community understand their rights and coverages under any policy contracts.


The second issue is more profound as it revolves around rights of a life partner for those of the same biological sex. By law, legal marriage is not an option for these individuals. Any individual who passed on not married, their immediate family will be the beneficiaries under the Distribution Act 1965. Their parents will be the legal receiver of the insurance proceed under the Trust Act 2013. This situation creates a dilemma for those who want to leave a legacy to their life partner in the event of death.


Unfortunately, this also may lead to the same people ending up not getting any or enough insurance protection for a greater purpose, which was a very sad situation. For example, some don’t even take up any insurance protection to ensure their fixed assets are protected. The issue that they are dealing are the outstanding balance of the loan with banks will not be paid upon death of the property owner.


Therefore, whether the LGBT individual is currently single or attached, there should be a discussion about expecting joint financial planning once there is a committed life partner. That way, they are far more likely to see the need and take action on protecting them with proper and suitable insurance policies and better understand what options are available for their unique situation.

Retirement


The next consideration is what retirement lifestyle that you would like to adopt. As members of the LGBT community, a detailed retirement planning is important to ensure the assets accumulated can either generate passive income to fund retirement, or carefully liquidate assets at certain time to ensure funding is always there.

Like for other retirees, a LGBT people need to consider their expected retirement lifestyle.


The area to pay attention will be on personal expenses, family expenses and retirement planning. As there are different methods to calculate for retirement planning, a good and prudent assets allocation to includes inflation, future price hikes as well as where they stay determine the sustainability of their retirement fund.


A LGBT people may need to consider proper assets allocation, lifestyle expenses, and potential passive income to ensure not to make financial mistakes at their retirement. The usual target for those scams is retiree which stay singled as they are easily felt the affection from people that they trust.

Medical Coverage


Medical coverage is an important element for personal finances in the LGBT community as they are likely to stay single. Thus, ensuring a proper, meaningfully sufficient protection over arising medical cost for future is another important consideration.

No one would want to have to borrow from a friend or family member to pay for cost of their medical treatment. Thus, a comprehensive medical coverage ensuring no financial difficulties which may put pressure on the other planning. The consideration is to ensure sufficient medical coverage with suitable and sufficient limit based on the financial capability.

Legal Documents


Many LGBT people may still face hostility even within their own family over their identity. It is more likely that the surviving spouse or partner may face unwelcomed involvement from unfriendly relatives. This likely to happen during some difficult time such as hospitalization or upon passing of one partner. Some legal documents such as power of attorney, trust and will are done and available to execute the couple wishes on their property and other assets designation.


A will writing can help to designate the assets accumulated over the years and help solving the issues of the surviving partner to be turned down by the immediate families and unfriendly relatives. Thus, it provides some form of legal protection over the rights for the surviving partner to claim the estate from the deceased, which may be a joint effort over time and money on those assets for the couple.


A trust can be set up to ensure surviving partner is protected with proper instructions set up during lifetime by the deceased. However, that depend on the complicity of the total assets holding in order not to complicate the whole distribution process.

A financial planner role is extremely important to help review and access the changes for the wishes and update. This will bring peace of mind for the settlor or the testator can have a clear understanding on their legal rights to protect their surviving partner and families.

Aging & Long-term Care


There is a need for LGBT individuals to plan and consider a home for their old age to ensure long-term care-taking can be provided as needed. This is especially important for those who stay single or intend to live alone.


Having a plan to finance their old age (not just retirement) is vital to ensure they do not fall into financial constraints. Giving serious thought on how to manage aging and long-term care with the available assets is critical to ensure deployment of such benefits when needed.


As financial planner, we really welcome solutions continue to be designed for this purpose. The recent announcement by CAGARMAS, which is the National Mortgage Corporation of Malaysia to launch Reversed Mortgage Programs can be a solution in time to help not only the LGBT community, but all old folks who own properties and stay single. This is a way to secure a fixed monthly income throughout your retirement years.


Whichever plan you choose to help to take care of your old age needs, it is important to have the discussion and carefully deploy the plans to ensure the sustainability of such plans.

Conclusion


As human beings, it is a part of civilized behavior to look out for one another. A licensed financial planner should be unbiased and not influenced by stigma when it comes to providing professional financial planning. As such, members of the LGBT community should seek out licensed professionals who will treat them with respect and create holistic plans that suit their needs well.

What other financial considerations that is important for LGBT community?


About the Author: Kian Ng Kian Ng is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) under the Financial Planner Association of Malaysian (FPAM). He also holds a Capital Market Services Representative License (CMSRL) and Financial Advisor Representative License (FAR) from Securities of Commission (SC) & Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM). Kian joined the financial industry back in 2007, starting with providing singular solutions in unit trust investments. Since seeking holistic solutions to craft total financial solutions to suit his clients' needs, he is now a licensed Financial Planner with Wealth Vantage Advisory (WVA).