Friday, 14 October 2016
Many a motivational speaker will tell you that it’s okay to cry sometimes, that crying can make us stronger and help us mature.
Well, considering the state the Malaysian economy is in, it is perhaps time for some people to start crying.
Less than two months ago, our Prime Minister said the “A-” grade that Fitch Ratings had given Malaysia was a reflection of the country’s strong economic fundamentals. This was despite lower growth and shrinking trade numbers.
It seemed that even suppliers of mooncakes, enjoying robust sales ahead of the mid-autumn festival, were confident of continued recovery in consumer sentiment.
However, economists said the fundamentals were still weak.
This has now been proven correct.
A few days after the PM’s comments, RHB Research Institute estimated Malaysia’s real gross domestic product (GDP) for 2016 to be at 3.9 per cent, lower than the earlier forecast of 4-4.5 per cent.
One week later, the World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Competitiveness Ranking report for 2016-2017 showed Malaysia had dropped to the 25th position. In the previous year, it ranked 18th.
The WEF looks at data on areas as varied as the soundness of banks to the sophistication of businesses in each country. Malaysia declined in eight of 12 areas of competitiveness.
More surprises came about a week ago through HSBC Global Research. In its Asian Economic Quarterly, HSBC said the government could not afford any meaningful fiscal stimulus because it had overspent and it was lagging in chasing its revenue targets. There is a deficit at a hefty 5.6 per cent of GDP for the first half of 2016 and significant expenditure cuts will have to be made in the second half of the year to achieve the 3.1 per cent deficit goal.
There is a likelihood of similar fiscal constraints in 2017.
The current account surplus has shrunk and is way below expectation and the budget deficit is under pressure. Any further drop in oil prices will expose Malaysia to twin deficits, and that is not a good sign in the current global uncertainty.
The Purchasing Manager’s Index showed contracting manufacturing activity and further reduction in employment for this sector. As of July 2016, exports fell for the 22nd consecutive month and industrial production growth was disappointing.
One of the most worrying indicators is bank lending growth, which has decelerated sharply in recent months. And there is limited scope for rate cuts that will invite currency outflows.
Our forex reserves is the thinnest in Asia. As of September 30, it is only 1.2 times the short-term external debt.
Our national debt at the end of end 2008 was RM236 billion. By the second quarter of 2016, it ballooned to RM656 billion and guarantees were at around RM180 billion. This a RM420 billion increase in debt in just over seven years.
The size of the debt is not as much an issue as the question of what the money has been spent on. The interest payments, of course, have a direct impact on the national budget.
Some people are of the view that the negativity surrounding 1MDB, including the case brought to court by the United States Department of Justice, has already been priced into the market and investors have moved beyond that. We have to be cautious since there may be other jurisdictions coming forward on this issue.
Generally, improved fundamentals mean less debt, more growth, little or no inflation, more exports and less imports.
Given the Malaysian scenario described above, can we honestly say that our fundamentals are still strong?
Crying may be good for the soul, but it won’t cause spilt milk to return to the bucket.
Motivational speakers will also tell you that it’s okay to admit it when things are not positive. But such an admission should lead to corrective action. “Biar kita menangis sekarang daripada menangis di kemudian hari.” Let’s cry now, when we can still set things right, than to cry later, when it will be useless.
Saleh Mohammed is an FMT reader.
Source : FMT by Saleh Mohammed
Wednesday, 15 June 2016
Thursday, 12 May 2016
Working can be stressful, but it turns out the longer you do it, the longer you may live. That’s according to a retiring early could put you at an increased risk of dying younger.
Analyzing data collected from 1992 to 2010 from the Healthy Retirement Study, a long-term examination of U.S. adults run by the University of Michigan and funded by the National Institute on Aging, Chenkai Wu, the lead author of the study, found healthy adults who retired at 66 instead of 65 had an 11% lower risk of death. Even Americans who said they were unhealthy lived longer if they delayed retirement by one year. Those who were deemed unhealthy had a 9% lower risk of death. It didn’t matter if it was a blue collar or white collar job either. In the survey, those who worked a year longer than age 65 reported seeing a benefit. (Reading more, here: Working During Retirement: Making The Most Of It.)
While the reasons for their longer lives varies, the research indicates that by working past their retirement age people remain engaged and as a result get a health benefit from it. However, researchers from Oregon State University aren’t the only ones who see a correlation between working longer and health. A U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health 2014 study of French workers who stayed employed showed their health actually improved and working longer delayed the onset of dementia. That is particularly telling because Alzheimer’s and other dementia diseases is a huge problem in the U.S. plaguing millions of Americans and costing the nation $236 billion in 2016, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
So why does working longer improve your health both emotionally and physically? For starters, employees who prolong retirement stay engaged with their co-workers which helps not only their mental state but also their physical state. They are still thinking, problem-solving and socializing, all of which boosts their mental state and keeps their minds fresh. The physical activities associated with work, such as walking to the train or to get lunch, seem to play a role in maintaining an aging worker’s health. (Read more, here: The Best Jobs For Retirees.)
The Bottom Line
Lots of people dream about retiring early, but research from Oregon State University and others indicates working past age 65 may give you a longer life than retiring at a younger age. While more research needs to be done, the research implies that staying engaged with your colleagues can boost both your mental and physical health.
Saturday, 9 April 2016
Saturday, 20 February 2016
If you are going insane trying to make ends meet, you are not alone, and it is not surprising. Albert Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.However, don’t give up just yet. You may have been
wasting your money in these 10 ways
last year, but you can turn things around this year. Taking Einstein’s advice into consideration, the key is to do things differently. This includes spend differently or on different things.Here are 6 ways you can stop wasting money this year:
1. Identify non-essential spendingYes, we know, you really need that coffee to start off your day without stabbing someone in the eye with your Kilometrico pen. You can still get one without bleeding your wallet every day. Make your own.Let the numbers do the talking:[table id=247 /]The point of this exercise is not to stop spending but to control unnecessary spending.Examples of other non-essential expenses that you should (and must) cut from your finances are – the 16
pair of shoes just because they are on sale, the latest smartphone just because it is from Apple, or that set of rims for your car just because they would make you look cooler than other cars stuck in the traffic jam.Every time you are about to spend your money, ask yourself these questions:
- Is this absolutely necessary?
- What are the benefits of buying it?
- Will I be saving money in the long-run?
If your answers are negative to the above questions, move along.
2. Stop paying interest (whenever possible)Every time you pay minimum payment only for your credit card balance, you are incurring interest charges that can snowball into insurmountable debt (if it hasn’t already).For revolving credit like credit card, always try your best to clear your balance as soon as possible because for every month your balance is carried forward, you will be charged interest of at least 15%.One way of cutting down on exorbitant interest charges is to transfer your debt to a low or
0% balance transfer credit card
. A balance transfer is when you move debt from one credit card with high interest to another one that’s offering a low-interest special for new customers.Some credit cards offer balance transfer facility of 0% interest for the first 12 months. However, do read the fine prints as some cards come with an upfront fee of about 3%.[table id=248 /]To make the most of a
, make sure you can pay off your entire balance during the intro period before interest kicks in.
3. Set goals instead of resolutionsIf you are like most people, you would have your list of New Year’s resolutions and are determine to stick to them, but the reality is, these resolutions would likely become a distant memory by March.The worst part of resolutions is not our inability to stick to them, but its costs. One of the most popular resolutions is getting fit, which is why you see a surge of members in your neighbourhood gym. But signing up for a 12-month gym membership on your credit card costs money. And if you don’t utilise the membership, you will be wasting that money.This year, skip resolutions and set specific money goals. Unlike resolutions, goals are realistic, measurable and include an action plan that will lead you to success.Instead of staying fit, change it to “losing 5kg by end of the year” and you don’t have to sign up for an expensive gym membership to achieve it. Instead of saving to buy a house, change it to “saving 15% of RM500,000.” Instead of saving money, change it to “save 3-month worth of your salary by end of the year”.By keeping your goals measurable, you can easily track your progress and make the necessary changes to fast-track it.
4. Review your insurance coverageAccording to the Malaysian Insurance Institute (MII) CEO Syed Moheeb Syed Kamaruzaman on
Insurance Asia News
, the life insurance penetration rate in Malaysia grew from 41% in 2014 to 56% in 2015. By 2020, 75% of the population will have life insurance coverage.Getting more Malaysians to buy life insurance protection is a remarkable effort. If you already have coverage, it pays to review your coverage periodically. If you are one of those who own a life insurance, a full mortgage life assurance, an investment-linked life plan and also other insurance plans like personal accident and medical, it is time to ask yourself – do you need all of them?By over-insuring yourself, you are putting your money into protection that you do not need, which could be earning you better returns if invested it elsewhere. If you do not have any dependent, is not the sole breadwinner of the family and have other assets, chances are you need to review your insurance policies to ensure you are not over insured.Optimise your finances by avoiding under or over insurance. Know what’s your required or ideal coverage for each insurance plan, and also if you need the plan in the first place.
5. Compare everythingAs Malaysian consumers mature, they become more discerning towards what they are buying and the value they get in return. The best way to ensure you get the best value of your money is not merely checking the price but to compare similar products or services before making any financial decision.We’ve advocated product and services comparison for years, and we even allow our users to compare financial products easily through our various smart searches, from credit card to
. Only by doing your necessary due diligence will you be able to make smart decisions.Getting the wrong credit card can hurt your finances, but the right one can easily help you manage your expenses and also save you some money. And this applies for almost everything that you purchase.Find out which are
the best credit cards
according to your lifestyle and spending pattern.
6. Think long-termBeing penny-wise, pound-foolish is the greatest downfall of many people. It is a common mistake to make especially when one decides to take control of their finances.Yes, saving money is a good habit, but not to the point that it will incur more money in the long-run.Imagine this scenario: You are given the choice to take up a flexi home loan that allows you to save money if you regularly pay more than your monthly repayment, or a conventional home loan that does not come with all the flexibility to save money – which should you choose?A flexi home loan is best for those who earn irregular income that can be higher in certain months, and also those who have the discipline to sock away any additional money they have in their home loan. If your answer is no to the above two criteria, go for the conventional loan as you will be saving more without paying for the flexi facilities, such as the additional fees to maintain the current account that is linked to your flexi home loan.By keeping in mind your financial objectives and goals, you will be better equipped to make long-term financial decisions. If last year has not been kind to your wallet, make these 6 changes in your finances to ensure a better financial year for yourself.
The post 6 Ways To Stop Wasting Money In 2016 appeared first on iMoney Malaysia.
Wednesday, 3 February 2016
PETALING JAYA: Leaders are not made by dragging other people down because leadership has nothing to do with posts, positions or designations, said Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz (pic).
Commenting on the “Kedah fiasco” in a posting on her Facebook page on Wednesday, the former Cabinet minister said leadership had to do with the qualities of an individual and how he leads, performs, makes decisions and governs.
“It is about qualities that make us look up to them and entrust our well being with them,” she said.
Rafidah also feared that there would be more unresolved problems for the country.
“Things seem to be flaring up like crackers around us, one issue after another, one unresolved problem followed by several others.
“It is like we have our hands, fingers and toes in some sticky glue that refuses to be brushed or cleaned off, the feeling that we are stuck in a rut,” she said.
She said the Kedah political crisis was reflective of the political culture to which Malaysians seem to subscribe, “a political culture of self-interest and toppling down others to grab whatever position that is being eyed”.
“(It is) A culture that continues to divide rather than unite (people) for common good,” she said, adding that it could be regarded as greed.
She stressed that the nation would be better if everyone worked as a team, “complementing each other for collective strength to achieve common good”.
“Let good sense prevail and let us get down to repairing the damage which has already been done, because the country does not need more shenanigans,” she said.
source : Star on line