Minimalist, Personal Finance

Things that have changed the way I manage my finance

At the end of last year, it became apparent to me that the best way I can manage finance is beyond writing money diaries. Keeping a personal website is a feel-productive project, but the real action is outside.

I know some of you out there who are still reading my blog, you have been my encouragement. And I still want to talk about finance, without shouting in the street. So today, I like to share, for a start, three things that have changed the way I manage finance today. 

Embracing digital (Robo investing & digital marketing)

Part of my investment is now in ETFs that I semi-actively manage.  Robo-investing is a great tool. But I believe we need to have an exit strategy and not blindly ride on the robots when there are earthquake level events like the flu, interest cut, government coup. For example, I move my funds to Gold and Bonds ETF, given the current trade climate. On the side, I also started doing digital buying. I like that it’s automated with about 10-15 minutes of work a month. I typically invest USD 10 with an average return of MYR 300 a month.

There’s so much potential in this space, but I am still at the beginning of this.

Credit cards 

I am getting “rewarded” by optimizing how I use my credit card for work and personal spending. Last month, I got a total of RM160 cash rebate. This month, I redeemed USD 165 worth of dining vouchers. This is how I treat my parents to smacking good seafood. Next month, I am expecting RM500 Grab wallet credit to be my food fund. 

The prerequisite is to have a good credit history and rating with the banks. Unfortunately, it’s hard to access these deals for someone earning minimal wages when it actually makes the most difference to their budget.

The downside of making this work is meticulously tracking all the statements and due dates.

Dividends

A guilty confession, I have not saved up much since I moved to KL city (writing a post soon). However, it didn’t hurt at all. As a result of serious-frugal savings over 5-6 years ( embarrassing things that I do in the past, like collecting salt and pepper at fast food outlets), my fund can now depend on dividends for its growth. It is nowhere near financial independence yet. Nevertheless, I can expect at least RM400 a month.

The prerequisite is to save to invest in high dividend equity. In Malaysia, the dividend income tax is paid by the corporation before distribution. This means there is minimal paperwork involved on our side. You probably don’t need to hire an accountant. 🙂

Conclusion

All in all, these three products bring about RM1,000 to my budget. It significantly contributes to my monthly finance and changes my view about career and expenses. I want to bring in more methods to make these more automatic and scale-up dividends. They are like my backup plan.

I hope you’re inspired to chart your own path in these. What are the tools you use?

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