By Jessica Wee

Every day can be a fresh start when you make a decision to do so. For those who have been meaning to get their finances in shape to achieve FI/RE (Financial Independence/ Retire Early), please start building your financial goals.

Plan for your financial goals
Once you set your goals, it’s time to break each goal down. Let’s say your goal is to save an extra RM10,000 over the next 12 months. It could be money for a down payment on a house, to buy a car, or to start a business.

Whatever it is you are planning for, you’ll need to save about RM830 each month.

Money trees don’t exist unfortunately so in order to actually accomplish this goal, you’ll need to fit it into your budget, figure out where to cut back, think of ways to possibly increase your income, and make consistent deposits to maximize your results.

Financial goals are just goals if no action has been take. Although there will be setbacks and failures when it comes to your financial goals, it’s important to keep yourself motivated.

Little actions that you take consistently (like budgeting, saving money on a schedule, making consistent payments towards your credit debt or student loans, etc.) will help you get better each time and improve your overall performance so don’t beat yourself up if you don’t meet your early goals and focus on the bigger goal.

Here are 20 steps you can follow to kick-start your journey!

  1. Pay off your highest interest rate loan eg: credit card/ loan shark/ payday loan
  2. Build an emergency fund of 6 months worth of expenses which will be your safety net in case you become unemployed or there is a medical bill you need to pay.
  3. Maximise your pensions (EPF) contribution at your company – pay the highest tier available
  4. Make additional payments into your pensions (EPF) monthly, up to RM5k per month online
  5. Be specific about every monetary goal eg: start investing in UT or buying a Birkin bag
  6. Categorise each financial goal into short, mid & long term
  7. Check your monthly bank statement – Know how much you have vs what you still need to save
  8. Set a target date for each financial goal
  9. Prioritise each goal- critical, need or want
  10. Unsubscribe from emails selling you things (Eg Lazada and Shopee updates!)
  11. Check on subscriptions, direct debits and standing instructions for payments- cancel unnecessary ones
  12. Consolidate your bank balances into 1 high interest Savings Accounts instead of using a Current Account – cheque books belong in a museum!
  13. Dig out unspent gift cards/vouchers
  14. Arrange to write or update your Will
  15. Start or update your tax returns receipts record for next year’s e-filing
  16. Check out what tax relief you can get next year at Budget 2022 to be tabled on 29 October 2021
  17. Switch credit cards to get a better deal
  18. Go over your insurance policy details
  19. Check your credit score on
  20. Draw your expenditure budget

Surround yourself with friends who have the same goals that you do. This is one of the best ways if you’re looking for how to stay motivated. This way you can encourage each other to be accountable for your respective financial goals.

The dreams and desires you have are usually only achievable if you have the financial capacity to make them happen.


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