Happy Father's Day 2020! Celebrate Father's Day (21 June) this year by learning these 10 awesome financial advice, lessons and tips we received from our local Malaysian dads that can be useful for you.
Apart from being a pillar of strength and stability, dads are also traditionally known for their loud belches, face-palming jokes, and their never-ending attempts to outsmart Waze in traffic jams. But all that aside, they also pass down lots of wisdom to help us avoid the same mistakes they made growing up.
Ask any dad around and they’ll tell you that their ultimate wish is for their family to live happy, healthy, and prosperous lives.
To celebrate Father’s Day 2020, we wanted to hear about some of the best financial lessons our Malaysian friends and readers learned from their dads. Here are 10 money saving tips from dads which we hope you’d find helpful in your own way:
1. “If you want to buy something that costs RM50, make sure you have RM100.” - Nicole N, 22, writer
Nicole tells us that her dad started his career with only RM30 in his pocket. After 20 years, he’s now an incredibly successful senior manager in one of the biggest FMCG companies in the country.
“He’s very financially savvy, and I definitely learned a lot from him,” she tells us. “He told me that if I want to buy something that costs RM50, I must first make sure that I have RM100.” Without having twice that amount in the bank, there were times when Nicole had no choice but to slowly save for big ticket purchases.
Not only does this reduce the chances of impulsive buying (which are often painful mistakes, let’s be honest), but this also makes sure that you live very conservatively within your means.
“I wanted to get the iPhone 8 when it first came out. Even though I had the money to buy it, I didn’t have enough money to save,” she tells us. “I held on to my father’s notion and continued to save… and now I bought the iPhone 11 Pro to upgrade my broken phone.”
2. “Eat the eggs, not the chicken.” - Kuhan V, 40, insurance trainer
Don’t worry, Mr Chicky. You’re safe today!
Okay, it’s not really about the chicken. While we all strive to save as much as we can, Kuhan’s dad told him to save with a very specific goal in mind: “He taught me to save enough money to the point where I can live off my interest.”
Well, let’s be real… unless you’re a millionaire with spending habits of a scrooge, this is going to be pretty impossible. That’s precisely why Kuhan, who already has his own insurance business, has a diverse portfolio of investments with varying risk levels to help him grow his money.
“I know that I won't be able to get there in the next year, but at least I have a goal to work towards,” he adds. “My dad is comfortably retired and I want to be able to do the same in my golden years.”
3. “Invest in gold.” - Ryan N, 32, advertising client lead
Everyone wants to grow their money. While it may be tempting to go for high-interest investments, it’s important to think twice, thrice, frice (?!) before making any investment in this current economic situation.
Ryan tells us that his dad worked in banking his entire life before comfortably retiring a couple of years back. “During that time, he had dipped his hand in all sorts of investments - from stocks to property, copper to cryptocurrency,” he tells us. “However, from the very beginning of my working life, he told me to buy some gold and forget about it.”
Funnily enough, 10 years down the line, Ryan *did* actually forget that he bought some gold from a local bank. Needless to say, he was ecstatic when he checked its value at the start of the MCO. Gold is believed to be one of the safest types of investments, mainly because its value often increases during economic swings.
“Let’s just say, I’ll have enough to keep me afloat for a year if I were to lose my job at this time,” he tells us.
4. “Invest in yourself.” - Viktor Tey, 24, photographer
“My parents didn't teach me, but sent me for a series of classes,” Viktor tells us. “I guess I had a better opportunity than them to learn.”
In what feels like a lesson in self-investing, Viktor tells us that his dad had a very varied career path. “He started as a civil engineer, then a salesman, then a motivational speaker, then to a salaried corporate job and a regional executive, before retiring to do business at 50,” he says. “He made a loss then, but went back to a salaried job. Now, he’s retired and is looking to teach Feng Shui and calligraphy.”
Viktor adds that his dad encouraged him to read and find ways to upskill himself, and most importantly, to be financially literate so that he can save himself from making costly mistakes. Apart from sending him for classes and courses, his dad also invested in Viktor’s photography company, Viktey Visuals, during its inception in 2018.
“He believed in me and also put money in my company when I started it two years ago. He always encouraged me to try,” Viktor adds. There were also times when his savings went down to zero and had to find ways to get by, but his dad injected some money to help him sustain his business. “He's always given me advice on stuff like clients and agreements. I'm really glad to have him as a dad.”
5. “Pay off your bills and commitments within 60 minutes of getting your salary.” - Egi T, 31, fashion buyer
Egi tells us that her dad always warned her against delaying paying off her bills and commitments. “I used to think that he was very naggy, because he’d accuse me of procrastinating if I paid my bills ONE day after getting my salary,” she says. “He was so strict and kancheong, and it totally irritated me.”
As Egi moved out from her family home, she actually did fall into a bad habit of delaying her payments. “I stopped paying my PTPTN loan thinking that I could slip under the radar,” she admits. “But that actually bit me back when the immigration officer stopped me from flying out of the country. I almost ruined my own holiday trip to London.”
“See? I told you right?”
She tells us that she now follows through with what her dad says, and has made it part of her second nature. “The minute my salary is in, I force myself to open my banking app to clear all my payments,” she says. “Even if I’m out, I’ll still do it, even if I have to excuse myself to go to the toilet cubicle.”
Actually, the easiest way to go about this would be to automate all your payments. Paying off your bills and loans on time don’t just help you stay out of trouble - they actually help you keep your credit score healthy. Missing payments to something as small like your electricity and water bill can actually destroy your credit score! Read this to learn if you’ve been sabotaging your own credit score unknowingly.
6. “Be diligent in comparing FD rates.” - Kelly L, 25, special ed teacher
If you have a Fixed Deposit account, chances are you’re just leaving it there to slowly grow until the day you actually need to make a withdrawal.
But as for Kelly, comparing and checking FD rates is something that dad actively does. (Actually, both parents - not just her dad.) “When I was young and whenever an FD account would reach full term, my parents would bring me to the bank,” she tells us. “We’d withdraw and use that money as fresh funds for another FD account with higher rates.”
She adds that they also have consultants in different banks to let them know if they have higher rates. While the latest reduction in the OPR rate has affected FD interest rates, the best they can do is to be patient to see how things develop after the MCO.
7. “Diversify your income. Don’t just rely on your monthly paycheck.” - Anis S, 25, writer
If you’re still living paycheck to paycheck, now would be a good time to consider how you can have various other sources of income. Plus, if you ever get retrenched in this economy… okay, let’s not go there. *touches wood*
Growing up with parents who are professionals, Anis was taught very early on to have multiple income sources instead of relying on a monthly paycheck. “Apart from my day job as a writer, I also have other forms of passive income and savings plans, such as Amanah Saham and a private retirement scheme,” she tells us. “I also do some freelance writing on the side.”
Anis adds that her father, a retiree who used to work in palm oil, is still busy finding clever ways to grow his money. “Among others, he also invests in bitcoin and unit trusts,” she says.
“In fact, he’s also getting my sisters and I to join him in a potential new business venture - a 24-hours laundromat!”
Read also: 50 Low-cost business franchises in Malaysia you can join right now
8. “Never carry a balance on your credit card.” - Subashini M, 27, home baker
Credit cards are extremely convenient and rewarding to use (credit card with 15% cashback - say what?!), but it’s easy to fall into the debt trap. Subashini tells us that her dad was very strict on her credit card usage, and would always tell her to clear her monthly owings and never to carry over a single cent.
“My dad’s a typical dad - he would always tell me to live within my means and to save instead of spending unnecessarily,” she tells us. “He nags quite a lot, so over time I just took his words for granted.”
It wasn’t long before Subashini found herself paying additional fees simply because she avoided checking her credit card statements. “I know it’s illogical, but I just couldn’t look at the statement,” she says. “They just stressed me out.”
As credit card interest rates can be pretty high (think 15%), it didn’t take her long to double her owings to the bank. “Yes, it’s convenient to have a card, but I think a lot of youngsters take credit card debt very lightly,” she tells us. “It’s easy to lose track, and when you do, that’s when you’ll learn a very valuable lesson in money management.”
Read also: Credit Card Tips from a Credit Card Junkie
9. “Prioritise your family first and put your needs second.” - Faheem N, 30, graphic designer
When it comes to supporting a family, there’s a lot that can be learned from our own dads. Faheem grew up in a family of 6, and one of the things he learned from his late father was to always put the needs of his family before his own.
“Even though I was much younger back then, I remember that our family could manage our finances as my dad saved a lot,” Faheem tells us. “It was rare for us to see him spend on himself. All the money would go to the family, the house, our family holidays, our savings - so on and so forth.”
Faheem, who is now married with a kid, practices this same lesson. “As a dad, I mostly focus on my wife and my daughter’s needs and put mine second,” he says. This helps him ensure that his family is well taken care of. “It also feels almost therapeutic for me to see my family’s happy faces,” he says.
He adds that he has his own special way of treating himself: “I like collecting coins and have been doing so for years. After a year, I will use the total amount to buy something for myself.”
10. “Have debt? Pay off the ones with the highest interest rate first.” - Arif M, 26, freelance web developer
Growing up in a household with multiple debts, Arif shares that money was never his father’s forte. “Granted we weren’t drowning in debt, but my dad did take up some loans here and there to sustain his business and our family of 7,” he says.
To strategise his debt management, his dad prioritised paying off loans that came with the highest interest rates. “He would still pay off the other loans as much as he could, but he would allocate more money to pay off the most critical loans,” Arif adds.
It’s easy for debt to snowball, as rates are compounded over time. Thankfully, there are a few ways to manage debt fast, such as taking on a debt consolidation loan.
Okay, hold up. We know what you’re thinking. It may seem counterintuitive to get another loan to pay off your loans, but debt consolidation loans simplify this mess by combining all your debt into one. Think of it as a bank buying all your existing debt from other creditors, and in exchange, you repay that total amount - with a single interest rate - to only one bank. Not only is this a lot easier to manage, but it can even save you money in the long run if one of your debts has a higher interest rate.
Read also: 7 Strategies To Get Out Of Debt Fast During The COVID-19 Pandemic
Well, dad’s a lot of money tips!
While we couldn’t publish everyone’s responses, we’d like to thank all our friends and readers (and their dads… thanks, uncles!) for taking the time to share with us these little nuggets of wisdom. We hope they help you get smart with your money!
Now, we’d usually end our articles by reminding you to be responsible about your finances and all, but we’ll do it differently today…
… with some
bad dad jokes you’d hate to love:
- Why is money called dough? Because we all knead it!
- I saw a sign that said “Watch for children,” and I said, “That sounds like a fair trade.”
- Why did the man put his money in the freezer? He wanted cold, hard cash!
- What type of investment do Wall Street traders call a “007”? A bond.
- Never lend money to a friend. It's dangerous. It could damage his memory.
- What do you get if you cross a sorceress with a millionaire? A very witch person.
If you still have your dad around, go on and give him a hug (or a back pat, if you’re too awkward for hugs). If your dad isn’t around anymore, we hope this brought back some sweet memories of your time with him… even if it includes those of his embarrassingly loud sneezes and goofy laughs.
From all of us at CompareHero.my, Happy Father’s Day! ❤️
Related: Money Lessons I Learned From My Dad