Well done on consistently growing your savings! It’s no easy feat and your hard work is paying off. 🎉
Here’s the next big question: what are you saving for?
There are many reasons, from being financially prepared for emergencies to making a purchase off your wishlist. 📜 A financial goal is any plan you have for your money.
🎯 To keep it simple, here are 3 types of goals:
- Short-term goals
- Mid-term goals
- Long-term goals
You can have short-term financial goals (like saving up RM1,000 in a year) or long-term financial goals (like investing for retirement). Having specific financial goals helps you identify the best place to put your money and keep you motivated.
Short term goals: Meeting Life’s Smaller Milestones
Time frame: A few months – 2 years
What you can save for:
- An emergency fund to cover unexpected expenses
Paying off large unexpected expenses can be incredibly stressful – especially if you’re unable to. An emergency fund helps you pay off sudden medical bills, job loss, and car repairs without draining your bank account.
It’s recommended to have 3-6 months’ worth of living expenses saved for this fund.
- Pay off debt before they snowball
Some debts – e.g. a house loan, car loans, and education – are necessary as they help you take further steps in life.
Our tip? Pay off high-interest debt as soon as you can. This avoids the interest on your debt from snowballing into bigger debt. This also applies to credit card debt. Paying it off on time ensures a healthy credit score – qualifying you for better interest rates and terms on loans, credit cards, and mortgages.
- Your personal interests and wants
Let’s face it, we all want to enjoy our hard-earned income like purchasing the latest gadget, pursuing our hobbies or traveling overseas. However, these indulgences can be pretty costly. Instead of adding to your debt by subscribing to an installment plan, consider it a short term goal and save for it in advance.
Save consistently. Rather than leave your savings stagnant in a savings account, grow your savings with very low risk investments e.g. fixed deposits, or money market funds like Versa Cash. This way, you are assured that your goals can be met in a set time frame.
Mid-term goals: Aiming for Better Things in Life
Time period: 2 – 10 years
What you can save for:
- Your own car 🚗
Not owning a car is a bother when you want to get around in Malaysia. So whether you plan to buy your very first car or upgrade your current vehicle, saving for a fund helps you keep track of how soon you can make your purchase. It also makes it easier to handle unexpected expenses.
- Starting your own business
While it can be profitable, starting your own business is a pricey and risky venture. With savings set aside, you will be able to make a more realistic business plan without dipping into your everyday expenses.
If you have a good financial foundation and are okay with taking risk, try looking into medium risk investments as you’ll have a few years to ride market ups and downs. This allows you to potentially earn higher returns than a low risk investment. The trick is knowing where and when to invest.
Long term goals: Looking at the bigger picture
Time period: 10+ years
What you can save for:
- For a comfy retirement
While you already do have a retirement fund i.e. your Employee Provident Fund, why not liven up your retirement with an additional retirement fund? With this additional fund, you can lead a more comfortable and well-deserved retirement.
- To own your own home
If you’ve wanted to own your own home, there’s no better time than now to start planning. Having your own home gives you stability to settle down comfortably.
- For your children’s education
Are you a parent? If you are, now’s a good time to start thinking about your children’s education. After all, a good education can open a lot of doors, especially when it comes to their career. Plus, by starting an education fund now, you’re helping to ease the financial burden that often comes with student debt once they graduate.
This is the perfect time to consider investing in growth assets. Sure, these types of investments come with more risks, but markets have a tendency to trend upwards over time. And with your financial goals being over 10 years away, you have the time to ride out any short-term fluctuations. This means you’re more likely to see long-term gains in the end.
If you’re more of a cautious investor, it’s worthwhile to look into well tried-and-testing strategies like Dollar-Cost Averaging.
As you get closer to your deadline, it’s a smart move to start thinking about switching to more conservative investments. This way you can reduce your risk and make sure you meet your goals on time. It’s all about playing it safe as you get closer to the finish line.
It’s good to have your own financial goals
Not only does it keep you motivated, it also helps you decide where you want to head in life. Accumulating wealth is a slow process, but remember the key to achieving your financial goals is to save and invest consistently. As the saying goes, sikit-sikit lama-lama jadi bukit. #YouCanDuit