A true MyPF story from one of our clients about her lessons learnt in achieving impossible dreams.
When you have impossible dreams, you find out about the people around you – who supports and who disagrees. When you achieve your impossible dreams, you find out about yourself. This is my story of how achieving my impossible dream set me on the path towards financial freedom.
Weddings are Expensive, Especially Nice Dream Weddings
I started my journey towards money-wisdom with a simple setup: a dream and a savings plan.
Year 0 – Lifestyle
I started working not too long after completing my bachelor’s degree. My pay then was a modest sum each month, as befits a fresh graduate. I considered myself frugal because I didn’t splurge on designer clothes, I didn’t take expensive overseas holidays, I drove a locally-produced car, and I was even still staying with my parents. My weekly visits to any of the shopping malls were mostly window shopping than actually buying anything at the mall. Yet, it seemed that my money was shorter than the month was long!
Year 1 – Saving
As time went by and my salary increased, I still couldn’t save much. This despite having a very strong motivation – to save for my wedding of a lifetime. My dream was to have a beach wedding and after doing some research, I wasn’t quite as optimistic anymore. I was ready to let go of my dream if not for my money-wise fiancé. Somehow, he had found out about my money saving struggles despite my not telling him about it. Thankfully, he then taught me the concept of paying myself first. He helped me go over my cash flow to understand how much we were working with and set up auto-transfers of funds via my online bank account. Without further ado, I was automatically saving a cool RM2,000 into separate and not-so-easily accessible account every month, which I then promptly forgot about.
Year 2 – Reaping
A year later when we sat down to do serious wedding planning, I was surprised to see RM24,000 in my bank wedding fund account! It was surreal. For the first time in my life, I had managed to save so much! And, just by simply setting up an auto-transfer feature. At that moment, there was a glimmer of hope that perhaps I could have my dream wedding after all.
Year 5 – Realizing My Dream
3 years later, we really did have our dream wedding at a beautiful beach-side hotel in Penang island underneath the stars and serenaded by the waves. We had saved up a six-figure number for our church wedding in KL followed by a Chinese 8-course dinner, and of course our dream beach-side wedding in Penang. We even had more than enough to splurge and get our favorite band to perform at our wedding. ‘Til this day friends who attended our wedding remember it fondly. Thanks to my money-wise hubby who encouraged me to save and helped automate my account; my dream wedding that seemed far-fetched 3 years before had became a dream come true. Truly, the impossible had become possible!
As simple as my dream wedding story is, I learnt that money just has its way of slipping away if we don’t stash it someplace safe and far from easy reach. In fact, since then I’ve learnt about more than just saving my money in a regular bank account. I’ve since learnt about the power of compounding where even a one-time RM10,000 saved in a low risk investment giving 4% annual returns compounded over 10 years would yield an extra RM4,800 (or total returns of 48%!).
3 Important Lessons I’ve Learnt
Tucking away 7 years of marriage to my money-wise man, I have learnt a few things despite my lack of background and interest in finances.
Firstly, I learnt that saving is the first step towards achieving my financial goals, dreams and aspirations. There are no short cuts to that but it just takes discipline to pay myself first. A good rule of thumb to start out is to have 6 months’ worth of your income in your bank account before using the extra cash for investing which is the next step. To get a more accurate sum to save before you invest, do take this short quiz.
Secondly, I learnt to delay gratification and invest for tomorrow. Earning an income is sufficient to survive but it is imperative to invest your hard-earned money to live a more comfortable life. For me, this was to have a little bit extra for traveling, eating out occasionally, and just having peace of mind for my future retirement years. Investing requires having a plan and being diversified while not being greedy. Sounds like a mouthful but it’s really doable once you break down your plan into small, achievable actions you can take over time.
Last but not least, I learnt to approach my personal finances as a team effort. My husband and I regularly talk about our finances with our licensed financial planner. Our financial planner knows our goals and dreams in