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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).

Oleh Juliyana Mohd Yatim


Sejahtera kewangan adalah satu konsep yang membolehkan sesiapa sahaja mencapai tahap kewangan yang lebih baik menerusi pengurusan yang bijak. Ketahui 5 faktor mengapa sejahtera kewangan adalah baik untuk para pekerja

Tekanan kewangan dalam kalangan pekerja semakin meningkat. Dalam kaji selidik terkini oleh John Hancock menunjukkan kadar tekanan telah meningkat dua kali ganda semenjak pandemik Covid-19 bermula.


Data tersebut menyatakan dua pertiga individu mengalami tekanan dengan 27% daripada mereka melalui tahap tekanan yang membimbangkan. Disebabkan keadaan pandemik, ramai yang mula:

  • Menggunakan duit daripada tabung kecemasan untuk memenuhi perbelanjaan bulan (28%)

  • Meningkatkan had kad kredit untuk menampung perbelanjaan bulanan (19%)

  • Mula merasakan keadaan kewangan semakin menurun atau rendah (35%)

Apabila ditanya apakah yang dapat membantu mereka, 3/4 responden kaji selidik menyatakan bahawa program Sejahtera Kewangan yang dianjurkan oleh majikan akan memberikan kesan positif dalam menangani tekanan yang mereka hadapi.


Sebagai majikan, adakah ini merupakan satu keperluan yang perlu dipertimbangkan? Berikut adalah 5 sebab mengapa sejahtera kewangan perlu dilihat sebagai satu keperluan yang membawa manfaat untuk para pekerja.

#1. Pekerja Akan Menggunakan Khidmat yang Disediakan Melalui Program Sejahtera Kewangan.


Dalam Kaji Selidik Sejahtera Kewangan Pekerja, para pekerja telah memanfaatkannya. Berdasarkan responden yang menjawab kaji selidik, 70% menggunakan khidmat yang disediakan untuk:-

  • Persediaan persaraan (47%)

  • Kawal perbelanjaan (29%)

  • Membayar hutang (29%)

  • Simpanan (29%)

  • Pengurusan aset (29%)

  • Mengurus perbelanjaan kesihatan (18%)

#2: Pekerja yang Tertekan akan Menjejaskan Prestasi Syarikat atau Organisasi


Dengan bertambahnya tekanan kewangan, tidak disangkal lagi bahawa sebahagian para pekerja mula berasa keperitannya. Apabila tekanan kewangan ini dibawa ke tempat kerja, ia akan mengakibatkan syarikat atau organisasi terpaksa menelan belanja berjuta ringgit pada setiap tahun.

  • Separuh daripada pekerja yang berasa tertekan dan walaupun 10% daripada mereka tidak mengalami tekanan kewangan – mereka masih tetap terganggu dengan masalah kewangan sewaktu di tempat kerja.

  • Satu daripada 10 pekerja tidak hadir bekerja disebabkan kebimbangan kewangan

  • 50% pekerja yang tertekan dan 1/3 yang tidak tertekan – menghabiskan 3 jam atau lebih setiap minggu untuk menangani masalah kewangan peribadi.

  • 2 daripada 5 pekerja yang tertekan merasakan kesihatan mereka merosot berpunca daripada tekanan kewangan.

  • 35% pekerja masih belum memiliki simpanan untuk persaraan.

Dengan mengurangkan gangguan atau tekanan kewangan, para pekerja akan dapat mengurangkan masalah ketidakhadiran, malah mengurangkan kemalangan berlaku di tempat kerja serta membantu menyasarkan mereka untuk bersara pada masanya.

#3. Sejahtera Kewangan Mampu Mengurangkan Kehilangan Pekerja


Merekrut dan melatih pekerja bukanlah proses yang mudah – dan biasanya memakan kos yang tinggi. Kaji selidik yang dijalankan oleh CAP mendapati kos untuk menggaji seorang pekerja adalah di antara 16 hingga 213 peratus dari gaji tahunan, bergantung kepada tangga gaji dan tugas mereka.

  • 16% bagi perkerja yang bergaji kurang dari $30,000 setahun

  • 20% bagi pekerja yang berpendapatan $30,000 dan $50,000 setahun

  • Hingga ke kadar 213% bagi jawatan eksekutif berpendapatan tinggi

Kaji selidik yang dijalankan oleh PWC mendapati 78% yang mengalami tekanan kewangan akan lebih berminat untuk menyertai syarikat atau organisasi yang mengambil kira keadaan kesejahteraan kewangan mereka. Bagi syarikat atau organisasi yang prihatin terhadap keadaan kesejahteraan kewangan pekerja, hampir separuh pekerja akan kekal setia bersama syarikat atau organisasi tersebut.

#4. Sejahtera Kewangan Membolehkan Persaraan Pada Masanya


Persaraan yang ditunda dilihat semakin meningkat dan seterusnya akan mendatangkan kesan kewangan terhadap majikan. Data terkini menunjukkan 20% pekerja yang berumur 65 tahun masih bekerja dan 25% merancang untuk bekerja sehingga mencapai umur lewat 70 tahun.


Data daripada kaji selidik The Tenth Fidelity Plan Sponsor Attitudes Study mendapati setiap pekerja yang melangkaui kebiasaan umur bersara akan menelan kos ribuan ringgit terhadap syarikat atau organisasi setiap tahun:

  • Kos kesihatan meningkat – pekerja yang berumur 65, kos tangungan kesihatan adalah dua kali ganda dari mereka yang berumur 45 tahun.

  • Kadar produktiviti yang menurun – 1 dari 4 pekerja pekerja berumur 65 tahun dan ke atas adalah kurang produktif.

  • Kos setiap pekerja bagi tempoh 1 tahun persaraan tertunda adalah bernilai $50,000 dan terus meningkat setiap tahun.

Menyediakan program sejahtera kewangan akan menggalakkan pekerja untuk turut sama dalam perancangan persaraan dengan membekalkan info maklumat dan kemahiran membuat keputusan bijak dalam kewangan yang membolehkan mereka bersara pada tiba masanya.

#5. Sejahtera Kewangan Mampu Memberikan Pulangan yang Lebih Baik dalam Hidup


Program Sejahtera Kewangan meliputi keseluruhan skop penting daripada bajet atau belanjawan peribadi, pengurangan hutang hingga sasaran matlamat dan juga pengurusan kewangan semasa waktu krisis seperti pandemik dan bencana alam yang akan membantu untuk membina pulangan pelaburan yang kukuh kepada syarikat atau organisasi yang menawarkan program seumpama ini.


Data dari Enrich menunjukkan pekerja yang mengikuti program sejahtera kewangan akan mengalami perubahan sikap kewangan yang lebih positif:

  • 32% merasakan mereka berada dalam landasan tepat untuk mencapai matlamat kewangan

  • 28% mampu membayar baki hutang kad kredit setiap bulan tepat pada masanya

  • 27% mempunyai simpanan kecemasan antara 3 hingga 6 bulan

  • 15% mula menyimpan untuk rancangan persaraan

Peserta program sejahtera kewangan akan menunjukkan penurunan tekanan kewangan sebanyak 23% sepanjang 12 bulan. Ia seterusnya mengurangkan kadar ketidakhadiran ke tempat kerja, kos admin, cukai gaji, premium untuk menampung kos kesihatan, kemalangan di tempat kerja akibat kecuaian dan juga kos menggantikan pekerja yang berhenti.


Kesimpulan


Selain menambah manfaat kepada pekerja, program pembangunan pekerja akan dapat mampu meningkatkan produktiviti serta solusi kewangan holistik yang tidak berat sebelah kepada para pekerja. Wealth Vantage Advisory menawarkan Program Sejahtera Kewangan bagi membantu mencapai misi dan objektif syarikat dan organisasi.

Dalam keadaan baik atau kurang baik, pekerja amat memerlukan sejahtera kewangan dan berharap pihak majikan mereka akan menyediakan manfaat ini. Melaksanakannya akan membuahkan hasil win-win, kedua-dua pihak, samada majikan dan pekerja mendapat kebaikannya.


Berminat untuk mengetahui dengan lebih lanjut tentang Program Sejahtera Kewangan (Financial Wellness)? Lawati pautan ini.




By Helwa Sofni Md Isa


Taking charge of your personal finances is simple with these steps, regardless of your gender and situation.

Enough is enough. Your personal finances (whether individual or household) is messy and nobody is truly aware of what is going on anymore. Maybe you’ve never taken stock of it before, maybe one of you has done it before but didn’t maintain it properly, or maybe you’ve just started out and have to start from scratch. No matter which you are, you want to take charge now.


Before we begin, let’s talk about whether gender matters when it comes to taking charge of personal finances. In Malaysia, it’s a common cultural expectation among the older generation that men are the breadwinners and also the money managers. It’s a heavy burden on men to focus on growing income and watching expenses like a hawk. Why just men? Women can certainly do just as much in the realm of personal finances as well!


Don’t believe us that women are good enough? Here’s some data to open your eyes. According to Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM), women participation in the workforce was at 55.8% in Quarter 1 2020 compared to 45.5% in 2010. This shows that Malaysian women are increasing their earning power. Wouldn’t it also make sense that women can also take charge of personal finances?


Regardless which gender you are, the topic of personal finances is relevant because it is your own money and you need to learn to handle it. No more laying blame on your spouse or your parents for not giving you enough, for not controlling your spending, for not teaching you what to do, etc. Welcome to adulthood. The good news is that it’s simple to get back on track with taking charge of your personal finances.

Get ready to be more involved. Get ready to take charge. Let’s look at these back-to-basics and learn!

#1. Organize – Knowing Where Everything is

“Did you know that research says we spend up to six years of our lives looking for things? Getting organised is a totally doable dream” – IKEA

IKEA sells us the ideal state of every home, which is to be well-organized. When everything is in the right place, we reduce clutter, therefore appearances are neater, we know where to find everything, and overall leads to less stress for ourselves when we’re in a rush.


Day- to-day, we deal with a lot of documents, bills, records, bank or loan statements. These can be in the hardcopy form or in the digital form but regardless, it is important that we keep them properly organised, e.g. in clearly labeled folders. Examples of documents to keep organized include:

  • Birth certificates

  • Insurance policies

  • Wills

  • S&P Agreements

  • Any other form of ownership agreement, e.g. gold certificates, FD certificates

  • Loan (debt) agreements

Regularly remind your household where you have organized all these documents. Go over them together once in a while. Let them be familiar with your system. After all, these are paperwork are important to them too.


This habit is extremely important to have already in place when a sudden event occurs that such as death, accident or illnesses. That way, nobody is scrambling to find things but instead can quickly grab the necessary items and keep your sanity for focusing on your loved ones.

#2. Track – Keeping an Eye on Your Money Movements


You need to know where you money is coming from and where it is going to. If you are serious about taking charge of your personal finances, then it’s necessary to get used to tracking every sen. This step allows you to keep track your money movements better as well as facilitate your budgeting process.


This can be as simple as opting for cashless transaction when paying your bills. Not only it is easy and save time (time is money), indirectly it provides you a good record for your future reference.


You can also have different bank accounts for different purpose. For example you have one bank account for your salary and monthly expenses and another bank account for rental income and its related expenses.


The ultimate reason for having a system is so you can keep an eye on your cash flow which is the heart of your money or wealth management. One must have record of the inflows whether they are fixed, variable, active or passive. As expenses may involve many line items, it is recommended that you group them according to their category. This could be kids related expenses, home expenses, financing commitment or for your leisure activities and hobbies. There are plenty of apps currently available to help you manage your record or it can be the traditional excel application for easy computation.


Your system doesn’t have to be perfect from Day 1. Give yourself a few rounds to adjust it. Then, get into the habit of daily expense tracking, thoroughly making use of your overall system that works with your expense tracking, and regularly check to make sure you’ve not missed out anything.

#3. Assessing – Collecting & Understanding Personal Financial Data


In personal financial management, 3 main records are:

  • Cash flow: As the name suggests, knowing your money coming in (income), and the money going out (spending).

  • Asset listing: This is about what you have with the attached value. From your saving accounts, investments, properties, gold, jewelries to your insurance policies. All of these must be recorded properly.

  • Liabilities/Debt: The amount you owe, either to any institutions, income tax or to any persons must also be recorded properly and accurately.

You cannot say you want to focus on only 1 or 2 of the 3 main records listed. It is necessary you must take charge of all 3. Chances are that you have already seen to most of them if you have been following our previous steps outlined in #1 and #2. Take a few minutes to think what have you missed out, jot them down, and work them into your system crafted in #1 and #2.


Next, you probably may already notice this, but take a moment to see how these 3 main records fit together like a jigsaw puzzle.

  1. Your liabilities/debt is what you owe others. Your objective and priority in personal finance management is to clear debt.

  • You don’t own that house/car/dress until you clear your loan and credit card bill, else it’s the banks that own them even if you live there or wear it.

2. Your assets are your accumulated wealth. Your objective is to gradually increase this so you can have a comfortable life, use them to pursue your life goals, and eventually leave a reasonable legacy for your family.


3. Your cash flow is how you use your income and expenses to reduce your liabilities/debt while gradually increasing your assets.


By understanding how they jigsaw together, you can also understand the importance and value of making sure you properly track and maintain these 3 main records. But wait, there’s more.


You next need to come up with a plan to address the urgency of matters. Once you have the 3 main records, you need consider future planning on how you want to intentionally make positive changes.


For example, ignoring debt repayment can lead to potential financial loss eg penalty of late payment, higher interest rate and risk of your property being auction under extreme case. Therefore, say you are now committed to paying off monthly repayments, but your current monthly income and expenses don’t leave you enough to do so. Then, you need to assess your expenses and see what you can trim. Else, look at your income and think of ways to increase your income either in amount or multiple income streams. This brings us to the next step!

#4. Onboarding – Discuss, Review, Reflect as a Family


After steps #1, #2, and #3 are in hand, it’s time to discuss your findings. Talk it over with your spouse, your family, and maybe even have some internal dialogues with yourself. Review the data, reflect your financial situation, talk about what your dreams/goals are for the future (e.g. retirement, vacation, education, financial freedom), and think about what you can do now to get the ball rolling towards that dream.


You can prioritize what is important and only keep or work on what you and your family values. Discarding on what is less valuable is an important part of the process because it provides opportunity to learn from your past experiences. This process allows you to avoid repeating the same mistakes or waste which in turn can save your money in a long run!


Another important aspect here also is about expectation setting. If you and your partner have a clear communication on this, it can help in prospering your relationships too. Remember, all you need to do is to have transparent, sincere and consistent discussions and take into consideration the changes that happened along the way.

“Having that same curiosity that you would have on a first date would be helpful” – Kathleen Burns Kingsbury, Wealth Psychology Expert at KBK Wealth Connection
“Discard everything that does not spark joy” – Marie Kondo

#5. Support – Recognizing Who You Should Count On


Ask yourself, who are your next important person after your family and parents. They could be your siblings, friends, neighbours or even your helper. It can be any or all of them.


What matters most are the relationships that you form with them. During crisis or an unexpected events, having a good support system can mitigate the impact to your financial state. In other word, this is your risk management aspect. It takes beyond money to address this. Perhaps the pandemic situation that we are dealing today has taught us better about this. Support system is required to keep our overall wellbeing healthier. Having a trusted and dependable persons surrounding us is priceless.

#6. Praise Your Finances


This is the last step to conclude all the earlier efforts that you have taken. There is always something to celebrate. What you cannot forget is the tiny everyday victory. In other word, “what you appreciate, appreciates”. It means (1) open your eyes and become aware of it; (2) hold it in high regard; and (3) be deeply grateful for the joy it brings you.

Conclusion


Regardless where you are at this point of time about your finances, start doing it is the key. This is because knowing and doing are two different things. If you can understand why you made decisions with a little of financial awareness, not only you protect yourself but also the one that you love most.


All you need is to start believing that with the right mindset and sound knowledge, women are beyond capable in managing their personal finances other than family, fashion and profession. If you are a fan of Marie Kondo, who is famous with her KondoMari method in organising, you can apply the same concept; Tidy-Valuable-Spark the joy”, even with your own finances. Enjoying the process is the key.


Consider to speak to the financial expert like a Licensed Financial Planner if you need further help. It can save your time too!

So, are you ready to step up and be more confident in managing your personal finances?



About the Author: Helwa Sofni Md Isa

Helwa Sofni has more than a decade of experience as a Chartered Accountant and held many positions in corporate sector before venturing herself as a Licensed Financial Planner with one of the top leading financial advisory in Malaysia, Wealth Vantage Advisory Sdn. Bhd. This mother of three who resides in Negeri Sembilan, is also a certified Islamic Financial Planner. She truly believes that financial literacy is crucial for everyone in order to live life confidently and peacefully while pursuing one's dreams.