Get financially fit in 2017 with these six easy tips

By IMoney
WITH 2017 just around the corner, now is the perfect time to set out the goals you want to achieve. While many people make promises to themselves to hit the gym in hopes of being more fit, many forget the importance of being financially fit as well.

In a recent survey conducted by iMoney, 87% of 1,200 Malaysian millennials cited the high cost of living as their major financial concern. Findings also show that there is a lack of money management skills with many placing retirement savings low on their priority which puts more burdens on their financial situations.

It can seem overwhelming to pay down your debt and save for the future. However, here are six quick and easy tips for you to be financially fit in 2017:

1. Get Educated!

If terms such as ‘bonds’, ‘REITs’ or ‘compounded interest’ leaves you baffled, then it is time to hit the books. It is important to understand what the different types of investment available are before you lock-in a chunk of your hard-earned money.

A simple way to get started on educating yourself is to choose a couple of things you do not understand and make it a goal to learn them. There are many websites that gives easy-to-digest information for free including

2. Pay more to save more

Most people use the “minimum payment” term as an excuse to take their time to clear off that outstanding credit card bill. However, if you pay more than the minimum, you will be able to clear your debt quicker and save more money by avoiding the interest charged.

Another step that can be taken to whip your finances into shape, is to clear your outstanding PTPTN loan. The good news is that under the 2017 budget, graduates gets up to 15% discount to settle your payments. You can even opt to do a monthly repayment through salary deductions or direct debt.

3. Maximise that lifestyle tax

You don’t have to scale back entirely on your lifestyle, as the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has implemented new tax reliefs for you to claim on a yearly basis.

The yearly cap for the lifestyle tax relief is RM2,500 and includes reading materials, newspapers, computer, sports equipment, smartphones and tablets, broadband subscriptions and gym membership. Be sure to keep those receipts!

4. Get insured

According to a study, four to five out of 10 Malaysians do not have life insurance and among those who have one, have insufficient coverage for their loved ones.

There are different types of policies available. Life insurance policies helps ensure that those you care about will be provided for financially, in the event you are no longer around or lose the capacity to provide them.

Medical insurance on the other hand protects you financially in the event that you are diagnosed with an illness or met with an accident. This covers your hospitalisation and treatment cost so you won’t fall into debts with the increasing medical inflation.

5. Get a
part-time job

Malaysians will still deal with the rising cost of living as they enter 2017 and one way to mitigate this financial burden is getting a part-time job.

Never short of options, among the easiest side-hustles is ride-sharing. By just working six trips and four hours a day, you can earn between RM2,248 and RM2,373 through GrabCar or UberX.

6. Establish a no-spend week (or weekend)

Incorporating a spending freeze into your budget is healthy on your finances. Do this by challenging yourself to a no-spend week or start small with a weekend once a month. You will be surprised at how much you can save if you do not dine out or shop on a weekend.

Some things that can be done to alleviate spending –

• Whip up a meal with whatever is in your pantry
• Visit free art galleries and exhibitions instead of the happy hour
• Spring clean your house and sell pre-loved goodies online

And it all begins here and now

Reality is, most of us will usher 2017 with either some burden or debt to finance. While it will require some sacrifice, there will always be ways to improve your financial situation.

Start off by coming up with a plan that transforms your sources of stress into goals that can be achieved, step by step.  Commit to them and be disciplined. Get started now and keep track of your spending and progress. For more information, please visit
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