Friday, October 24, 2008

Case Study : middle income group

This morning I over heard a case study from radio station 988 :
A young man earning $4000-5000 a month. $1000+ pays to house loan, $500+ pays to car loan etc and every month he has a remaining of $500 for saving. His question is what he should do with all his loans. He also has some credit card debt.
The answer given by the expert on radio is :
Use the $500 to clear all credit card debt, then car loan and then only start talking about money earn money.
While the answer given is typical and 'correct' by the standard of Personal Finance Planning, but I would want to add a few points :

1. The way the guy asked the question has a flaw. He deducts all the payment and then only come up with a saving of $500. The correct mentality is to Save First Use Later ( see old post ) If he HAD the Right mentality at the first place, he would most probably not getting into the credit card debt he mentioned. A very small difference made in approach can bring a whole different result, and that is why all I want to emphasize ( and the only thing ) is to setup a System to Automatically do saving for yourself without you having any control over it.

2. The answer given shows one of the common limitations of Finance Consultants. He also said,
Credit card is charging one of the highest interest in the market, NO finance consultant CAN GUARANTEE you ANY FINANCE return of 15% or above. Therefore, you can NEVER get any tool to over take this Credit Card Charges, therefore you HAVE TO settle it ASAP.
Again, first of all above statement is correct and what I am going to say is only an addition to it. What he was referring is FD, Insurance and Mutual Fund would probably NOT ABLE to provide you a return of 15% Consistently. If you refer back my Finance Pyramid, there is a "Stock" or share market on top of the pyramid. I leave it there to break this 15% barrier.

Many finance consultant leaves Stocks out of their portfolio due to its speculative nature and leave those to the stock broker. But
we are in charge of our own life,
and we get any 'tool'
that we can handle
to achieve any target
we want to set,

else there is really no point planning if 15% is the 'proven' limit.

The 2nd thing the finance consultant missed is ... Income. Below is one of the VERY FIRST picture I posted in this blog. This same picture is actually printed on my name card too ( coz I think all the answers are all covered in this simple picture )

Credit Card Debt is something one shouldn't get into at the first place. If you do the ONLY first 2 things I stress everybody to do ( earn an income and save automatically ), you would have a much less chance to get into credit card debt.

If you already get into such debt ...

Actually Ah Long's Debt
is the SAME as Credit Card Debt,
both are charging at 18% a year
and calculated Daily !!

Ok, if you already get into such debt, you should very well realize its a Personal Finance MISTAKE. Most often, the mistake is made because you have a GREED to be satisfied - you wanted to own something first BEFORE you have the ability to own it -

a Personal Finance Mistake is not necessary a Personal Mistake

A mistake like this DOES NOT eat into the "Automatic Saving" system I setup. It actually eats into your income. Basically if you use your future income, then you will have less income in future. Therefore,

If you get into credit card debt,
you MUST increase your Future Income

So other than paying it up, these are the potential solutions too :

1. Dispose the item to reduce debt if appropriate
2. Get a Pay Raise ( if the credit card debt is initially to increase the chance of this, then its a good call isn't it ? )
3. work 2 or multiple jobs
4. Become creative and innovative to earn more ...

In short, don't forget Income is the ENTRY stage into Finance Planning. When all else IN your finance plan can't earn you the 15% to cover up the 18% credit card charges, then you will have to RETURN to your Income and work on IT !!

Like wise if you are one of those who can never increase income, then you should very well know what to do with your scissors and credit cards. And come borrow money from me please, you may as well be my finance slave than others ... isn't it ? :)