Anwar reached out to me in 2018 as he needed help with his personal finances. As the only son in his family, he was the executor of his late father’s inheritance. His father passed away many years ago due to cancer, and he remembered clearly the financial drain from cancer treatment.
34-year-old Anwar is a lecturer at one of Malaysia’s largest universities. His wife is a housewife taking care of their two children, aged 7 and 4.
“Although my father’s death hit us badly, we were thankful that he did not leave us with massive medical bills. This is because our prudent father had a healthy emergency fund,” shared Anwar.
Being the main breadwinner of his own growing family, he needed to prepare for such emergencies. Just like his father, he wanted to ensure that his wife and children are well-provided for in case anything happened to him.
Anwar’s father was a banker and had taught his children about saving money. Anwar also has a keen interest in personal finance and investment, and had read books and attended a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) course from a financial guru.
However, he found that the information was too overwhelming and didn’t know where to start with regards to his own personal finances. Having been approached by unit trust and insurance agents, he was wary as he recalled, “They were more interested in pushing their products for commission rather than to put a roadmap and direction for me to achieve my financial goals”.
Here are the 3 values of a full financial planning.
1. An Expression Of Love
Anwar and his wife know how dire their financial situation will be if Anwar passes away prematurely. People tend to forget verbal reminders easily. But if it is written in the form of a will, wishes, hopes and dreams; it helps tremendously.
Furthermore, the engagement allows him to translate his expression of love, his long-term and short-term goals into actions, and not just a wish. During our discussion, one of Anwar’s goals is to support his wife’s pastry business once his financial situation has improved.
After the third year of our advisory engagement, Anwar manages to make his wife’s goal into a reality. (You can check it out on Instagram Pastreen; it’s really delicious)
2. Aligning Strategy With Financial Goals
We provided insights to help him map out the strategies to reduce the Debt-to-Service Ratio (DSR), ideal asset allocations for his financial resources and guidance on financial products he should consider getting with the time horizon he needed in order to achieve his financial goals.
Since he was willing to start early, he will have more options and opportunities to optimise his wealth. As his financial planner, my role is to guide him with the options available so that he can take ownership in his financial planning by making an informed decision.
Anwar now understands the importance of building a healthy cashflow, and how to lead his ideal life within his means.
3. Financial Needs And Wants
A common situation is the relationship between savings for building cash reserves and other goals in life such as buying an asset. Many are unsure if they are over-committing one financial goal at the expense of another.
With a holistic financial plan, we can see how extra commitments will affect other financial goals. It helps to adjust our actions, weighing the pros and cons before deciding. Most importantly, it is a tool to effectively communicate your financial situations and life goals.
Anwar is a real-life story of “It is not about how much income you make, but how well you manage your income”. Without a roadmap and direction, we might spend unnecessarily and make poor financial decisions. Financial mistakes are painful.
Similar to inflation, financial goals and financial freedom are a challenge to understand and to manage, because it is intangible. Only after acknowledging what an ideal life is, you can move on to support your goals in life.
About the Author
Saidah Asilah started her career as a graduate trainee with Securities Commission Malaysia. Then, with a deep interest in investments, she furthered her studies in MSc in International Business and Emerging Markets, graduating in 2013 from The University of Edinburgh, UK. She is a Licensed Financial Planner, CFP Professional & IFP Certificant and describes herself as a multi-talented adventurer with a positive impact to whomever she meets. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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