My Financial Life

I trust that since the first part of my article, you, my dear readers, have been keeping well and have been keeping an eye on your finances as well.

In this concluding article, I would like to share a few more stories of my financial life. When you are done reading, you may think, “ah, but this is a typical situation in most people’s life”. And right, you are, after all, I am your regular ‘man-in-the street’ as well, do read on…..’

Shortly after my maternity leave, I was driving outstation for my sales job. There I was, feeling like Michael Schumacher overtaking cars round the bends on the road from Seremban to Kuala Pilah when lo and behold, I saw an on-coming timber lorry and I was on the wrong side of the road!!!! I turned cold and started praying very hard. At the same time, I try not to imagine what happens if the lorry hits me. Fortunately the good Samaritan beside me saw my predicament and slowed down his car to let me in, whew!

After that close-shave, I reflected as a continue on my journey, on what would happened if I had been hit. It then dawned on me that my poor baby girl will have no mummy to take care of her and she is so young. It was a disturbing thought. So I told myself as soon as I get back to I need to get a Will done and ensure that I appointed a good guardian for her should I die. Also, in my Will I could apportion some of my assets to secure her education because when I die, I am unable to provide for her anymore. That done, I felt a big burden is off my shoulder.

My agent then gently reminded me, “If you die, your Will can take care of your assets. What if you don’t die? Landing in hospital is a costly affair

and no doubt your employer will pay, but it has a limit. Anything more, is your responsibility. There are people who are totally disabled temporarily through accident and their life insurance will not cover that, but a personal accident will. Plus it will pay an allowance for each day the person is in hospital, so that it helps defray daily expenses until that person is out of hospital.”

I found out that the cost of a personal accident is affordable and decided to add on to my protection plans for my own peace of mind. I picked a small plan to complement what my employer has already provided because I found out from the insurance company that I can increase my coverage later should I leave the company and start my own business, hence needing a compre- hensive personal accident coverage.

My next focus then, was my r etirement. As a large chunk of my savings is put aside for my daughter’s education, I decided to start working on my retirement needs. Based on what I already had in EPF and also contributing, I calculated to see if it is enough for me to retire. Oh my, I realised that if I want to have RM3,000 per month when I retire at 55 years old, and if I cap my inflation rate to a low of 4% per annum, I will need to have about RM1.3 million at retirement. This RM1.3 million I will need to invest for a minimum of 6% return per annum, only then can I have my retirement income until the day I die, and die I must for by then I will run out of money.

If you have guessed that my EPF is not enough, you are absolutely right! What to do? Well I had to wait for my next increment at the end of the year and put aside that increment each month to start building a retirement fund. Yes, no Private Retirement Scheme at that time. Whilst waiting for the year end, I started using part of my EPF in Account 1 to invest in unit trust with the intention of getting a better return in addition to the dividend payout by EPF for the balance that is kept in EPF.

At the same time, I drew up my retirement game plan. In Plan A, I started looking at ways to increase my income, reduce my current and retirement expenses and optimise my investment returns before and after my retirement. My Plan B is to continue working past my retirement so that it will make up for the shortage that I currently have in my retirement fund.

With my plans all properly laid out and having put them into action, I was very pleased as I felt my financial life was in order and is beginning to take shape very nicely.

I fell into a nice routine in my life, until I fell sick.

I started to lose weight, I felt constantly tired, edgy and could not stand heat. Imagine, even on a cool day, I felt hot. All sorts of things crossed my mind, “I am too young to be pre-menopause, am I dying? What is wrong with my body?”. I was busy executing my financial plan and thought myself too busy to do anything. When it got really bad and my hands started trembling and I started feeling it a chore to wake up in the morning, my family and friends urged me to go for a check up. I headed to the nearest lab, did a blood test and took it to a doctor for diagnosis.

The result was hyperthyroidism. Thank goodness it was something I felt is manageable and not more serious. So I started medication and my life was back on track again.

Another life’s lesson learnt, one must not only focus on our financial health only and take for granted other areas of our lives, we must have a balanced life! So I started an exercise regimen for myself which is on-going.

The secret of a happy life is to have balance in these five aspects of our lives; physical health, emotional health, intellectual health, spiritual health (yep, no man is an island, we need to connect with others) and financial health. For me, it is in that order, for without the first four, it will be challenging to focus on earning money to build your financial health. Today, I am happily chugging along, living my life to the fullest. Of course, I do check and tweak all my life plans each year to ensure they are on track. And this, my dear readers, conclude the second part of my financial life. It is my hope that you find it informative enough to take a page from it and apply it to yourself for a better quality of life.Till my next article, have a wonderful life and may all of you be well and happy.