When it comes to saving for the future, the best time to start the habit is when you are young. No matter how much you earn, the financial decisions you make today can affect your lifestyle for years to come. The good news is that you don’t need to be a finance expert to take charge of your financial future. You simply need to understand a few basic concepts and these can help you to secure a better future for you and your family.
Here are a few personal finance tips:
1. Have a clear Financial Objective, a Timeline and Stick to it!
Make saving a habit as soon as you get your first job. I remember when I first started working I had a very simple and clear three year, five year and 10 year plan. Unlike most of my colleagues who bought flashy vehicles, I borrowed a car from my father to drive to work because I had a three year plan to save up enough money to buy a car and also for the deposit for my first home. My five year plan was then to invest in another property and in ten years time to invest in a second property. From there, I worked backwards as I knew how much I needed to put aside in order to realise these goals. I was relentless in sticking to my plans and was constantly inspired and encouraged by my mum.
I have nearly completed the payments for these properties, which is part of the plan to be debt free by a certain age. All made possible because I planned, had clear objectives and I swore by it!
2. Boost your Savings; Control your Spending.
Sounds easy, but as the cliché goes: it’s not how much you make that’s important – it’s how much you save. Make a clear differentiation between needs and wants, because every dollar we spend on something we do not need is a dollar we don’t have to save for something that we do need!
3. Put your Eggs in different Baskets.
Start by opening a basic savings account and be committed to putting aside a fixed amount of your salary every month – do not withdraw. When you get accustomed to doing this find out about Takaful. This is an excellent tool to help you save because if you withdraw your Takaful savings before the maturity – you do not benefit. One of the main advantages of having a takaful plan is that, it helps to provide financial security for your family in the event of emergency. In Brunei, the government has a mechanism through TAP and SCP schemes which encourage people to save. Talk to your financial planner to assess your personal financial situation and get an understanding of the various investment options which may be suitable for you.
4. Be Financially Literate Read and learn!
There is an unlimited amount of resources on finance both online and on print. I particularly enjoy reading regional resources as I personally find that they are a lot more relevant to our lifestyle and culture. Plus, the investment opportunities available are much closer to home.
Attend financial workshops and talk to as many financial planners as possible. You can almost always get free advice from different financial institutions, as they are always keen to promote their products. Be discerning and evaluate the best option for you! This year, BIBD will have 23 certified Islamic Financial Planners to serve your needs, we will also be conducting free regular financial planning workshops for the public. Speak to the customer service advisors at any of our branches to register your interest.
5. Borrow only to Improve Your Wealth
As a banker, I have seen many instances of clients who take out personal loans which they could hardly afford in order to purchase the latest gadgets, new cars, furniture or even to pay for holidays. What they do not realise, for example, is that the seven days of pleasure which they experience while on holiday may mean seven years of debt to pay off. You should think smart. Borrow for the right reason and invest this money wisely – for example invest in education or property as you will not regret this and it will undoubtedly pay off in the future.
Hjh. Nurul is the Deputy Head of Consumer Banking and the Head of CSR in BIBD. She has worked with BIBD for over 18 years in the areas of Finance and Investment banking. Her current portfolio includes managing the Sales & Distribution Channels of Consumer and Retail Banking. Hjh Nurul holds a BA in Accounting & Finance from the UK and was an IBB scholar.