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29. Finances 101: 10 Perspectives - From my point of view. 3. Five Perspectives: Values. Value #2: B

Last week, in my first post, I wrote a bit about thankfulness as a value to apply in my life.

I move on this week on building foundations as I go along. What foundations am I talking about? I mean… starting right!

Part 1: Tertiary Education

I go back to the days when I was deciding on a course to take for tertiary education.

My personal choices, coupled by my own personality traits, allowed my tertiary education bill to be as low as possible.

I decided to take a course locally, so that I can as much as possible, pay local currency, and save money on overseas travel back and forth as well as save on overseas accommodation.

Then, I decided to take a three year program as opposed to a four year program, more savings there by cutting short a year.

After that, I chose an external degree program, meaning I don’t have to go overseas at all for a foreign degree.

Then, not really having a specific career in mind, and having the usual (at that time) choices of doing engineering or law or accounting etc, I decided to choose accounting, based on the sole fact that I thought mathematics skills may come in handy.

I ended up studying for a Diploma in Economics in HELP Institute after my A Levels and following the diploma with 2 more years here in KL to obtain a BSC in Accounting and Finance. (An external degree with the University of London).

Now the good thing I felt about the arrangement was the fees for the 3 years in KL were basically local tuition fees in local currency, which was quite affordable at that time, plus a certain fee in Pound Sterling for the exam fees every year.

Even at that time, I knew the potential burdens that could plague a student after graduation, so I intended to reduce the ammounts to be paid as much as possible during my stay in HELP Institute. By doing above average in my A Levels, I had a small bursary for my Diploma in Economics (Year 1 equivalent). By studying hard and as smart as I could in the Diploma year and Year 2, I also managed to obtain small bursaries in my Years 2 and 3 respectively. This further reduced the annual fees to be paid for my tuition.

That is the first part of my foundation building: let your debt going into working live be as minimal as possible.

Part 2: Arrangements while starting your first job.

I don’t know about you, but my starting salary in year 2000 was less than RM2k. How to live on this amount on your own? Use the resources that you already have, if you can. What did I do?

Thankfully I lived with my parents in KL, so I countinued to stay with them for the first 8 years of my working life.

Many plus points here, but I'll only highlight financial ones: save from having to get your own accommodation, save on spending on eating dinners outside and having to shop for groceries etc, can borrow dad's extra car for transportation to work until having enough to pay your own instalment for your own car.

Part 3: Courting my future wife

You might be wondering what this has to do with finances, but let me tell you a secret, it has everything to do with it. Focusing only on financial aspects, this goal in my early life led me to plan carefully for this. In my planning with my girlfriend/fiance/wife, a marriage at the start will mean double income, and we sat down to clarify our financial goals, which were, in all important areas, the same. While courting, we drove one car to both our places of work. This meant that we got to spend hundreds of ours together, stuck in the car in traffic jams on the way to and from our workplaces. Many plus points from a financial point of view:

  • 3 years of transportation costs for two people with the price of one. What a bargain!

  • Having dinners with each other's families during getting to know you sessions saves dinner costs too.

  • Spending evenings after work chilling out at each others homes, chatting and getting to know one another better, reduces dating costs tremendously.

Let's stop here for now…those are a few areas where finances can be managed, but remember, this is just from my point of view.

Next week, I cover the event that started the lifelong commitment of marriage for me, my wedding!

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