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Getting married soon? Learn some of the ways couples can save money on their wedding.

Getting married, especially in Malaysia is not cheap. According to The ASEAN Post article of Rising Wedding Costs in Southeast Asia, the average cost for a wedding in Malaysia last year is between RM50,000 to RM200,000 without including the honeymoon expenses and starting new-life-together expenses.


But, along with the pandemic comes a major shift in event management, including weddings.


For couples who are about to get married, take this situation as an opportunity to organize a simpler and more budget-friendly wedding that won’t quite burn a hole in your pocket so that at the end of the day you might have enough surplus to carry forward into married life.


Here are 6 ways you can have a budget-friendly wedding.


#1. Reduce your in-person guest list


If you want to tone down most of your wedding expenses, start looking at your guest list.


The size of your guest list does significantly influence how much you spend. For every 10 guests, you will have another table and other decorations and more invitations cards to be given.


With the Government demanding events including weddings to be scaled down in view of the on-going pandemic, take this in stride while obeying the law. Trim down your guest list. Afraid you will hurt people’s feelings by not inviting them? No worries, as people tend to be more understanding given the circumstances.


You could also consider hosting a virtual wedding where you can host your event online and your guests can participate through a livestream on video conferencing apps or social media. This would be a money-saving option for both you and your guests, especially those from outstation and overseas. In this way, you can cut down your in-person guest list and have your wedding on a much smaller scale while still having many dear friends and relatives witnessing your special moment.

#2. Opt for less expensive food and beverage options


If you are familiar with weddings in Malaysia, usually it involves food. Whether a traditional sit-down meal or buffet-style meal, both options can be quite expensive and lead to food wastage if they are not handled properly. You can compromise to try something like a high-tea or breakfast reception that requires less time and less formality compared to a lunch or dinner meal.


Another option you can choose is to prepare prepacked the meals for guests to bring home. It might not be a popular choice as it is a break from tradition, but with the on-going pandemic your guests might even thank you for doing it this way. By having prepacked meals, you can certainly trim down your budget as you won’t need tables and chairs for guests, or many wait staff on hand. As a bonus, prepacking meals can also reduce the chance of food wastage too while helping to break the spread of the dreaded virus.

#3. Use virtual invitations


With the on-going pandemic, we would want to cut down on meeting up with people. As such, instead of handing out physical wedding invitations, consider using virtual invitations instead.


E-card invites save you a tidy sum of money compared to traditional physical cards. You save on printing costs and also travel costs if you had intended to personally hand out invitations. You can still add the personal touch by sending out the virtual invitations personally to each guest.


Not only are virtual invitations good for a budget-friendly wedding, they are also a green option for those who are concerned with sustainability since there is no physical waste created at the end of the day.


By using e-cards and virtual RSVP, couples can better track guests’ expected attendance using a wedding website and more effectively budget for the venue and catering.

#4. Choose a smaller venue


With fewer people invited to your wedding, you can use a smaller and possibly cheaper venue and save on a big expense for the wedding. Do look for one that is inclusive and provides enough seating, lighting, and space. Consider where is the best location to set up camera if hosting a wedding livestream.


You could even choose to do it in your own home if you have enough space, thus reducing more on wedding expenses.

#5. Consider cheaper options for wedding dress or suit


Buying a wedding dress can be expensive, especially if you are using a big-name designer for your dress. But, instead of splurging your money on that, why not consider some other options?

  • Rent your wedding outfit. You could still get designer dresses and it would be a lot cheaper. You also won’t have a problem of not knowing what to do with your outfits after the wedding is done.

  • Buy a less expensive outfit ahead of time and get it altered tastefully. Make your purchase 6 to 12 months earlier and consult an affordable tailor for cheap materials that can still give a classy finishing touch.

  • Buy your outfit second-hand. With the many platforms out there such as Carousell and Mudah, there are plenty of options to consider.

How many outfits do you need for your wedding? Consider having just one set of outfits for your wedding. If you really must have a different look, consider making partial changes instead, for example a tie to a bow tie for him, switching accessories from one color scheme to another for her. This can help you to save money.

#6. Simpler wedding favors


In Malaysia, especially for Malay people, wedding guests never leave empty handed as they will be given favors (little gifts) as a token appreciation from the bride and groom or their family.


These small gifts can add up to inflate your wedding budget.


Consider choosing non-expensive items to give to your guests. For example, a small wooden spoon that only cost RM2 to RM3 per piece or a small cup with nice engraving that you can source from souvenir shops. Anything that can reduce cost and yet bring benefit to your guests.


Another idea that could help avoid food wastage in your ceremony is to pack your guests’ food from the event into a pretty container before they leave. Doesn’t that sound practical and tasty?

Conclusion


Planning and budgeting for a wedding can be a stressful task especially when you want to save money and shrink your wedding budget. But, if you know the right way to adjust your budget and make the most out of this pandemic period, you can save more for the next step, your married life.

What preparation do you take before getting married?

By Rafiq Hidayat Mohd Ramli


A licensed financial planner shares his journey of buying a new car after 16 years of using his old car.

I recently bought a new car for myself earlier this month, after having used my previous car for the past 16 years. Buying my new car was a decision that I did not make in a split second, but rather took some deliberation, as most of my major financial decisions are made.


While I am interested in cars in general, I subscribe to the view that cars are liabilities and their main function is to get you from point A to point B safely. Having a view like that which is contrary to how many other Malaysians think has certainly created interesting situations in my life, including the annual occurrence where my mother would attempt to get my son to convince me to change my car.


I would like to share with everyone the 4-step process that went into my decision of buying a new car, from the beginning until I received the my new car from the dealership.

Step #1: Do you need a new car?


A new, expensive car is always considered as a status symbol which shows that you have made it in life. However, the question is, how do you identify whether you do need a new car? The following is a simple checklist that I used in order to make my decision before purchasing my new car.

  • Changes in circumstances e.g. number of family members have increased. While a 4-door hatchback might be sufficient for a family of 3 or 4, it becomes uncomfortable and not safe when you family grows larger than that.

  • Costs of repairs are either the same or more than the monthly installment that you would have paid with a new car which will probably come with warranty of major parts, potentially up to 5 years.

  • Total lost (accident or stolen) – self-explanatory. You don’t have a car anymore, and probably need a new one.

For me, it was a combination of the first 2 reasons which led me to decide that it was time to proceed with buying a new car.

Step #2: What type of car can you afford?


I actually wrote a post on this step for CTOS a couple of years back.  Two main guidelines that people generally use are as follows:

  • Monthly salary x 12 months = The car you can afford to buy

  • The value of the car you should buy with a loan should equate to

  • monthly payments that don’t exceed 15% of your monthly salary, and

  • with a loan repayment period that must not exceed 5 years.

In my view, the best way to estimate our ability to buy (afford) a car is to take into account all the expenses in advance such as housing, food, children, savings or investments (minimum of 10% of the monthly salary), insurance or Takaful, and other needs.


Only after taking into account all commitments and expenses, we will be able to estimate the remaining balance. Take that balance and divide it into two. Why two?

  • One half is the amount we can afford for monthly car payments,

  • The other half is set aside to maintain the car, including fuel, toll, and so on.

I do recommend you take extra the step into researching how expensive it is to maintain the car model that you plan to purchase. In my case, I checked with my mechanic, who told me the general costs involved. I took his feedback into consideration before I made my final decision.


The guidelines above shows the maximum value of a car that you can purchase. This does not necessarily mean if you can afford a more expensive car, you should go and buy one. I certainly didn’t.

Step #3: Financing the purchase


The ‘cheapest’ cost in purchasing a car is by using cash to purchase it as you would not be paying extra to the bank or financial institutions on the financing that you would have taken. However, most of us, would not be able to purchase a new car with cash. So, how do we go about financing your purchase?

  • Trade in or sell your current vehicle. Your current vehicle might still have some resale value. Generally, trading in to the dealer that you are trying to purchase your new car from might be your best option, as they are interested to close the deal to sell you your new car. If not, you can still shop around to second hand car shops, forums like Mudah.my or even new startups like Carsome and Mytukar in order to find the best price possible in trading in / selling your car as this will help reduce the amount of financing that you need to take.

  • Use part of your savings (if you didn’t have a vehicle to trade in), and still need to pay down payment (at a minimum), then whether you like it or not, you still have to take some money from your savings. It is not advisable to take a personal loan here to pay for the 10% deposit. If you have to do this, then you probably can’t afford that car in the first place.

  • Applying for hire-purchase financing from banks. This would be the standard method, most of us would use in purchasing a new car. The process is fairly straight forward, and generally your car salesman will assist you with applying for the hire purchase financing. Some questions that you need to decide on

  • Do you then take a 5-year, 7-year, or 9-year tenure? I usually take the 7-year option, but will settle my hire purchase within the 4th as I would put aside money that I would have used to pay a 5-year tenure in investments, and by the time I reach the 4th year, I would have more than enough to do a full settlement of the financing amount.

  • Do you take a fixed-term or reducing-balance financing? In a lower interest rate environment, a fixed-term is always better, as you won’t be exposed to increase in profit rates when the OPR rate is increased. Please do your calculation to identify how much profit (interest) that you would pay if you take either financing to know the actual cost of your financing.

Step #4: How much should I protect my car for?


There are a few things that you need to take into account when you want to take protection related to the new car that you just purchased, but will also be relevant for any cars in general.

  • Protection on the car – please ensure that if your car is still under financing with any financial institution to request for a coverage based on an agreed value e.g. if you still owe the bank RM50,000, take a coverage for RM50,000. Don’t choose the market value option (or worse still go for the minimum), and if something happens to the car (total lost or stolen), you will probably have to top up some additional amount to your respective financial institution. You can also opt for additional riders like windshield coverage or flood coverage if you feel that there are higher probabilities of that particular incident happening to your car.

  • Protection for the owner – in recent years, banks or financial institutions have introduced Hire Purchase Reducing Term Assurance or Takaful products which will pay off the balance that you owe to them if you were to pass away, so that your beneficiaries will not be burdened with your liabilities. This is a similar concept to the MRTA or MRTT concept for Mortgage Financing for your properties. If you do not have sufficient life coverage, I would advise you to take this option up (you have the option not to take it – I didn’t, as I have sufficient Life or Total Personal Disability or Critical Illness coverage from my term policies). Please be advised, that this type of coverage generally covers in the case that you pass away only.

Conclusion


Those are the 4 general steps that everyone should go through when they are planning to purchase a new car, whether it is a brand new car or a used car. Please take note, that if you can’t answer Step 1 or Step 2 properly, then my advice is to hold on to the purchase of that new car as you probably have other more pressing needs to focus on. Do talk to your licensed financial planner if you need help with your numbers.


Sign up to engage with your licensed financial planner today

What do you consider before buying a new car? Share with us in the comment section below.

Adakah anda sudah bersedia untuk menempuh alam persaraan? Ketahui tanda-tanda anda masih tidak bersedia untuk bersara dari dunia pekerjaan

Menurut statistik oleh Bank Dunia, dianggarkan sehingga 49 juta orang menghadapi risiko kemiskinan akibat pandemik Covid-19. Untuk rakyat Malaysia, menurut tinjauan yang dijalankan oleh  Agensi Kaunseling dan Pengurusan Kredit (AKPK) mendapati bahawa sebanyak 53% individu tidak bersedia untuk menghadapi sebarang cabaran kewangan dan hanya satu langkah ke kancah kemiskinan jika berlaku sebarang krisis ekonomi.


Bersedia untuk bersara bukan sahaja bermaksud anda bersedia untuk tidak lagi mempunyai rutin bangun pada waktu awal pagi untuk bekerja dan boleh melakukan perkara yang anda mahukan tanpa perlu berfikir tentang kekangan masa tetapi ia adalah lebih daripada itu.


Perkara yang paling utama untuk menghadapi waktu persaraan adalah memahami perancangan kewangan anda. Ia bermakna anda perlu memastikan belanjawan adalah kukuh, perancangan pelaburan yang berkesan, rancangan perbelanjaan terhadap simpanan sedia ada, jumlah hutang yang masih terkawal dan juga bagaimana anda mahu menghabiskan hari-hari persaraan anda dengan bermakna. Terdapat beberapa perkara yang menandakan bahawa anda masih tidak bersedia daripada aspek kewangan untuk bersara.


#1.  Sukar untuk membayar bil dan komitmen


Jika anda menghadapi kesukaran untuk membayar segala bil dan komitmen peribadi tanpa pendapatan bulanan, persaraan boleh menjadi satu perkara yang sukar. Menurut Kumpulan Wang Simpanan Pekerja (KWSP), rakyat Malaysia perlu mempunyai sekurang-kurangnya RM228,000 apabila mereka mencecah umur 55 tahun. Simpanan tersebut merujuk kepada jumlah yang mencukupi untuk menyara kos persaraan diri selama 20 tahun bermula dari umur 55 tahun hingga 75 tahun.


Anda perlu mengenalpasti samada simpanan sedia ada adalah mencukupi untuk menjalani persaraan yang selesa tanpa perlu berfikir bagaimana untuk menjana pendapatan tambahan. Anda juga perlu mengambil kira kos lain yang akan bertambah semasa bersara seperti kos pengangkutan untuk ke hospital bagi menjalani sebarang pemeriksaan kesihatan ataupun bagi membiayai yuran pengajian anak-anak di universiti.


#2. Jumlah hutang yang tinggi


Jumlah hutang yang tidak terkawal mampu memberikan tekanan terhadap simpanan sedia ada apabila anda bersara. Individu yang mempunyai hutang melebihi kemampuannya untuk membayar berisiko untuk menghadapi tekanan yang besar terhadap kesihatan mental.


Menurut laporan The Edge Markets, jumlah yang dibelanjakan oleh rakyat Malaysia melalui kad kredit mencatatkan peningkatan hampir dua kali ganda kepada RM10.25 bilion pada Julai tahun ini jika dibandingkan dengan RM5.3 bilion pada April ini.

Statistik ini menunjukkan trend yang membimbangkan terutamanya apabila rakyat negara ini menghadapi risiko pengangguran dan pengurangan jumlah pendapatan akibat pandemik Covid-19. Kebanyakkannya mula beralih menggunakan kad kredit bagi menggantikan wang tunai yang semakin berkurang.


Membayar hutang sebelum bersara mungkin bermakna anda perlu bekerja dengan lebih keras dan tidak mustahil, anda akan memilih untuk bekerja selepas waktu persaraan iaitu selepas umur 60 tahun. Ia bukan pilihan yang terbaik tetapi terpaksa dilakukan untuk memastikan semasa persaraan, anda tidak mempunyai sebarang komitmen yang mendesak.

#3. Tiada rancangan untuk perbelanjaan masa depan


Jangan tunggu semasa anda bersara untuk membuat pengiraan semula perbelanjaan besar seperti membaiki rumah, menanggung pendidikan anak-anak atau mahu menunaikan ibadah haji. Kesemua perbelanjaan yang besar akan menjadi lebih berat apabila anda hanya bergantung dengan wang persaraan sahaja, oleh sebab itu, amat penting untuk anda memastikan bahawa simpanan sedia ada mencukupi bagi menampungnya.


#4. Tiada pelan kewangan yang tepat.


Apabila anda bersara, anda akan kehilangan gaji bulanan namun masih ada komitmen seperti bil utiliti yang perlu dibayar pada setiap bulan. Jika anda tiada pelan kewangan yang baik, amat sukar untuk mengenal pasti aliran tunai bulanan.


Oleh sebab itu, amat penting untuk anda membuat aliran tunai bulanan sebelum bersara. Merancang aliran tunai bulanan bermakna melihat semula jumlah wang yang dapat dikeluarkan daripada akaun KWSP anda sebelum bersara dan jenis-jenis komitmen bulanan yang perlu diselesaikan.


Lebih baik lagi jika anda mempunyai senarai perbelanjaan yang dalam kategori berbeza yang boleh dianalisa untuk melihat samada ia akan berubah semasa tempoh persaraan. Beberapa perbelanjaan mungkin akan berkurangan seperti hutang pinjaman bank dan perbelanjaan perubatan dan melancong akan meningkat.


Mengetahui perbelanjaan semasa membolehkan anda merangka semula jumlah pendapatan yang diperlukan untuk membayarnya. Dengan ini, anda juga boleh mengenal pasti samada simpanan sedia ada mencukupi atau tidak untuk anda bersara, dan jika perlu untuk bekerja selepas umur bersara atau memotong sebahagian daripada perbelanjaan semasa bersara.

#5. Portfolio yang tidak stabil


Mengambil pendekatan yang pasif semasa melabur adalah kurang berisiko semasa anda lebih muda dan mempunyai masa yang panjang untuk pulih daripada sebarang kejatuhan pasaran. Namun, apabila anda semakin mencecah umur persaraan, adalah lebih bijak untuk memastikan portfolio tahunan anda lebih seimbang dan memberi fokus terhadap pendapatan bergenerasi dan juga perlindungan aset.


Pesara seharusnya memastikan portfolio mereka terdiri daripada pilihan yang pelbagai, memelihara modal, memperoleh pendapatan dan juga mengelak daripada risiko. Kepelbagaian daripada segi kelas aset (bon, stok dan lain-lain) serta melabur dalam industri seperti kesihatan dan teknologi akan membantu memelihara nilai portfolio anda apabila pasaran merudum terutamanya apabila satu instrumen atau aset tidak memberikan pulangan yang baik jadi anda mempunyai aset lain yang memberikan pulangan yang baik.


#6. Anda risau untuk bersara


Walaupun portfolio anda baik dan stabil, terdapat kemungkinan anda tidak bersedia untuk meninggalkan kehidupan bekerja.  Tempoh pekerjaan memerlukan tenaga yang tinggi dan sebilangan individu mungkin berasa risau, dan tidak teruja apabila memikirkan bahawa mereka tiada sebarang aktiviti untuk mengisi masa lapang selepas bersara.


Jika anda mengalami perkara sebegini, mungkin anda boleh mencari pekerjaan tambahan selepas bersara, misalnya melakukan pekerjaan bersifat separuh masa atau menjadi sukarelawan untuk organisasi bukan kerajaan. Ia mampu memberikan perasaan diperlukan dan membuatkan hidup anda mempunyai perancangan. Jika anda bersara tanpa sebarang perancangan untuk aktiviti selepas bersara, ia adalah lebih bahaya kerana anda berisiko untuk menggunakan wang persaraan dengan tidak terkawal.


Anda juga perlu mengambil kira jika anda tinggal di bandar yang besar atau tinggal di kawasan luar bandar yang mempunyai kos sara hidup yang berbeza. Ia mampu memberikan perbezaan yang ketara terhadap persaraan anda terutamanya jika simpanan anda masih tidak mencukupi untuk bersara dengan selesa.

Kesimpulan


Anda perlu bertanya semula pada diri anda adakah persediaan untuk bersara mencukupi? Kerana ia memerlukan perancangan yang berterusan. Mendapatkan nasihat daripada penasihat kewangan berlesen mampu membantu anda menjawab persoalan dariapda aspek kewangan semasa bersara. Mereka akan membantu anda untuk menyediakan perancangan kewangan yang berkesan dan holistik.


Apakah antara tanda-tanda lain lagi bahawa anda tidak bersedia untuk bersara? Kongsi dengan kami dalam ruangan komen

© 2020 Wealth Vantage Advisory

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