How a Broke Geek Settle his Debt and still Own the latest Apple Products

One Sunday afternoon in October 2008, I met a geek at the Switch Store (an Apple products retailer) in a shopping mall.

I was browsing the apps installed on the demo iPod Touch. A short chubby guy in plain white T-shirt came in and walked straight to the tall male sales assistant.

“Do you sell iPhone casings?” asked the chubby guy, taking out his brand new iPhone from the right pocket. Obviously, the iPhone was brought in from oversea because it is not yet available in Malaysia at that time. I knew it because I had one too, bought in Hong Kong.

Being eager to interact with someone who possesses a rare gadget, I approached him and introduced myself as an iPhone fan. Shortly after that, we were chatting enthusiastically on the couch at the nearest Starbucks.
That is how I met Steven, a 22-year-old Apple geek.

Steven is a hardcore fan of Apple. Beside the iPhone 3G, He owns an iPod Touch, a Macbook Pro, and also an iMac.

“It must be fun to own all these wonderful invention.” This is the statement that sparks the conversation to reveal Steven’s financial worries.

Knowing that I am a personal finance author, he told me more about his financial situation to seek for advice.

After 30 minutes of hearing his stories on how he got into credit card debts, he said, “I am thinking of getting a personal loan to pay off these credit card debts. What do you think?”

Before I tell you my response to his suggestion, let me summarize his situation as below:

  • He has two credit cards, maxed out the total credit limit of RM12,000
  • Besides all the Apple gadgets, he also bought a 40” Sony LCD TV and also the Sony Playstation3, all on 24 months easy payment scheme. It is because of all these gadgets that he can’t afford that put him into credit card trap.
  • His monthly cash flow is very tight. The monthly salary he receives is barely enough to pay for all his expenses including the credit card minimum payments.

I am curious that since Steven has no savings, how he got the cash to buy the iPhone 3G from oversea. It turned up that he maxed out his second credit card by withdrawing cash advance to pay his friend who helped to buy the phone at Singapore.

He used to enjoy all these gadgets but when it comes to the due date to pay credit card bills, it was a nightmare!

Imagine that you are in Steven’s situation, what would you do?

Most people will do some of the following actions:

  • Cut expenses drastically (stop eating out, surrender insurance policies, say “no” to all entertainment and social activities etc).
  • Take up a part time job.
  • Cut the credit cards with a pair of scissors.
  • Choose to ignore the problems as long as there is no legal action yet.

I told Steven that there are many solutions to his financial trouble. There are many actions he can take. Some are effective and some are not. Most of the actions are not enjoyable. But the most important action is to set up a system.

He did set up a system.

The system he follows is very simple, but extremely effective and efficient.

It is elaborated in the FREE report I just created. You can download the report at Money Automation System.

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53 Comments

  • Awin

    Reply Reply August 11, 2010

    Steven’s situation is more or less similar to mine.
    My credit card total limit is about RM18k, and I did almost use it to the max. Now I’m tied with the installments. And still I’m having problem controlling my ‘need’ to shop. This sometimes raises arguments between my husband and I.
    May I know the detail of the “system”? Can the system help me?

  • Hilda

    Reply Reply August 11, 2010

    Hi KC,
    I like reading your blog. Your case studies are so real and i believe most of us can relate to it. I know i do! This is very important, so that we can take action either on our own financial problems or making a move to start investing right.
    So thank you so much for sharing and I hope to attend your MA$ course soon.

  • Sayeed

    Reply Reply August 11, 2010

    Hi KC;
    Here are few steps that we can suggest to our friend, Steven :

    a. IF he had max out his credit cards worth $12K, rather than taking a personal loan or other loans, it is best a few options for him :
    i. If he can apply additional credit card and use the credit card as a balance transfer which gives lower interest rates return and some even offer 0% for the 1st 12 months. – but the most important thing is he need to have the discipline to lock his new credit card (used for balance transfer in a safety box).
    ii. If he owns a property and have a revaluation value that can support his debts, he should look into refinancing.

    b. Both the above options comes with the 1st ruling, Steven need to do his monthly account balance sheet statement with conditions :
    i. IF the balance statement is negative cash flow: Steven need to see what is his capability of payments on paper taking into consideration all expenses.
    ii. Status of the cash flow if he takes actions on his balance sheet either income column or expenses column without impacting his promised debts(not missing his engagements) – so a commitment and discipline is required from him to work out his income/expense columns.
    iii. Setting financial goal to reward himself with the next Apple products would be important commitment.

    KC, it is not easy to be out of debt within a short period. It may take him another 8-12 months to do so. But a strong commitment, persistence and discipline is needed. It will be like maneuvering a sail through a rough sea, he is not in control of the wind and waves, but he holds that sail!!!
    Hope this helps, of course you know better, sitting with him and going through the details is more important.

    My system have always been the Balance Sheet and treat my household as a company…Sayeed.Inc “we are the CEO”. But wish to learn from you more.
    Thank you.

  • Fan

    Reply Reply August 11, 2010

    Since Steven has raise up his intention to pay off his credit card card debt, it means that he is ready to commit himself to a systematic procedure that need a lot of perseverance and self restriction. First, he needs to settle the credit card debt with another source, whether it is a balance transfer, personal loan or from siblings/parents help because these choices will end the high interest charge to his current credit card. After that, it is necessary to set a time frame where Steven is able to settle the debt within this time frame. Why time frame? This is why in the first place we say paying credit card debt need perseverance. If one cannot persevere, we are unable to settle the debt NO MATTER HOW. Therefore, time frame is important. Of course we need to set a reasonable time frame, relavant to how much we can pay monthly after we receive our salary. There are so many forms of balance transfer and personal loan offerred out there and we need to look at the interest rate and time frame. Choose something we can do and if possible something strict that make us obey. At the same time, Steven needs to abstain from impulse buying, always remember when we buy we need to bear the consequences of hugh debt later. If case that family members that we are seeking help to settle the debt, it is good in case that we can have interest free or lower interest than any other sources, but mind you if you are not discipline enough, it will have adverse effect, causing more debt or even spoiling the good relationship. As a conclusion, it is not easy to settle credit card debt if we are not committed enough eventhough there are a number of ways we can choose from.

  • Siang

    Reply Reply August 11, 2010

    I have been cutting a few credit cards this year, thanks to the credit card tax inroduce by PM.

    The best way I think is to cut all of your credit card if you are in this situation. If you still need a card, get a debit card, no credit card tax also! :) and of course pay back the credit card debt.

    Also all these gadgets only get you “wah…” and “oh….” from other people, but these “wah…” and “oh…” cost that much ar?????? I have an old touch screen smartphone, not anything near to iPhone2, but I can do as many things that iPhone can do. I know some people buy iPhone and make phone calls only, not even sms! Why do you need iPhone to make phone call? Again the “wah….” and “oh…” really can burn a big big hole in the wallet.

    btw, KC you moved to Bt Maung already? I saw your address changed.

    • KCLau

      Reply Reply August 11, 2010

      Yeah .. had moved to Batu Maung a year ago. Thanks for the constructive comment.

  • Simon

    Reply Reply August 11, 2010

    The post you stated is more negative about credit card. Are you going to explain to benefits of credit card? If you need to know the benefits. I can tell you all. Because credit card is a good tools for emergency cash.

  • Hadrian

    Reply Reply August 11, 2010

    Very nice story but how

  • TCKhew

    Reply Reply August 11, 2010

    People who don’t have self-control ability should always avoid using credit card. Debit card is always the best choice for those who enjoy cash-free shopping. I have ever fallen into a credit card trap previously. Below is the link sharing about my own miserable experience due to the misuse of credit card.
    http://www.dunmiscue.com/finance/is-credit-card-our-friend-or-fiend

  • kris

    Reply Reply August 11, 2010

    The best way is to avoid using credit card for daily expenses but use cash. You will be more cautious about money management if you pay everything using money. You can feel the pitch of spending money away physically compared to swapping a digital plastic card.

    On spending, never try to keep up with the Joneses. Instead, know one’s financial limitation as what Sun Tzu saying: You must know yourself well before attempting to defeat an enemy..

    Kris of knowthymoney.blogspot.com

  • SilverIsle

    Reply Reply August 12, 2010

    I’m about to start applying for my first ever credit card, would really love to know how to manage my financial effectively from you, KC. Thanks! =)

    • Sayeed

      Reply Reply August 13, 2010

      Hi Silverlsle;
      From my experience, there is only 1 word : Discipline. I am not against credit cards and I find them very handy. I own 2 as well. But experience have thought me to be aware of where we charge it.
      The use is simple, for those currently we are paying cash for daily, weekly and monthly expenses – that is replaced with credit card usage. For those that we charge the CC for items that we have non-planned, something like a beautiful handbag at 70% off and we still need to charge $300/$400, we need to know if we have budget to pay it off.
      Most people makes mistake as we don’t see the real money moving, so we keep the “pay later” attitude although dozen of books says “pay now, play later”.
      Thanks.

  • Alice

    Reply Reply August 13, 2010

    Agreed with what Siang wrote.
    People mostly greed about the credit card points, therefore have been misleadingly swipe it easily. They never know the interest charged will be as high as “credit card interest% x 12 months” – ie. 12 times higher!! ..if the debts are not settled in time. And by the time we realised that we’re only paying the interest most of the time, it’s a pain in the neck.

    Credit card points can also make a rebate but I found out the interest charged is higher than the rebate. So why risk it? Unless your debts are able to be settled.

    Steven’s condition is because he has no self control & there’s no satisfaction in his life. So spending is one of this way but which leads to debts in his pocket. He should have balanced out his life, and invest in something that can give him a return.

    Suggestion to Steven:
    Sell his luxury gadgets and pay off his debts 1st.

    Let me know how you deal with this situation further KC. Thanks.

  • Andy

    Reply Reply August 13, 2010

    I think many of us has gone through similiar situation as Steven, and unfortunately not many can get help.

    There are so many solutions out there but the end point is the same, “to reduce debt”.
    Some that I started to practice..

    a) stop using credit card (i have sort of limit it down, also cut a few cards)
    b) reduce our expenditure
    c) start savings and pay the debt slowly but surely
    d) track our cash flow on a paper, it helps us to see the bigger picture
    e) last but not least DISCIPLINE & COMMITMENT

    I am the one of the fortunate one to have bump into KC Lau’s blog.

    Thanks a million KC, it does helps a lot when you put your knowledge for free here…

    Keep up the good work!!

    Cheers,
    Andy

  • john c. keller

    Reply Reply August 13, 2010

    some suggested to borrow from relatives, family and friends to settle for credit-card outstandings. but they themselves are burdened with their credit-card debts! best solution for me so far, personally, is personal loan. i got debt totalling 40k from 3 credit-cards. i took 50k loan from a bank, total payback of 87k for 7 years in Apr 2004. then i cut 2 cards, remained 1 to use for my international/oversea purposes and so-called convinient. for all i know, it’s already been 6 years 3 months i’ve paid back my personal loan, at RM913 per month instead of at least paying 2k a month (5% minimum payment and never grow smaller) for those 3 credit-cards 6 years ago. yesterday i called that bank, i’ve only 8k balance to pay, with discount 3k if i settle them early. i went to the bank and paid 4.9k instantly and close my loan account. now i’m very happy, got a lot (really really a lot!) of extra cash since 6 years ago, controlled myself from getting those latest “Apple’s” “Sony’s” and etc, just enough with my old 1st gen Dopod PDA and semi-basic Nokia. the keywords are… Controlled & Discipline!

  • David

    Reply Reply August 14, 2010

    This is my 2 cents worth about credit cards…

    I stopped carrying credit cards since 2004 when I realized that I couldn’t control my spending if I did. I used to carry 3-4 cards back then and was always in financial difficulty and in debt becos of it. If you’re in the same situation, do you feel as if no matter how much you pay monthly, the debt doesn’t seem to end? Now I ‘overspend’ whenever I have the money to and hold back on things I can’t afford till I can afford it. To me, CASH is the word of the day.

    I still have other financial problems but it is manageable, partly thanks to KCLau for all the financial knowledge! The best part is, credit card debts are the least of my problems cos I don’t have any! To many people, the 2 words that make them is also the 2 words that break them. Want to know what the 2 words is?

    It’s called = Instant Gratification. Another sentence that will make u or break u is called ‘Keeping up with the Joneses’. Don’t know what it is? Google it and you will find out! I’m not here to be cocky but to share what I have learnt along the way.

    There is an old Cantonese saying and it goes like this. If you don’t have a big head, don’t put on a big hat.

  • Diana Tan

    Reply Reply August 14, 2010

    Saw your new book in MPH, Gurney Plaza and read quite a bit on it. I like the illustrations and cartoons that come with the book. It is interesting to note the various ways to save money like cutting down on Astro, newspapers (instead read news online), etc. Keep up the good work!

  • Eric

    Reply Reply August 14, 2010

    I feel happy when I have my first credir card on my hand. But, now feel regert and desperately want to clear off the outstanding balance. Hope that through this blog I can find the way out of the rat race
    Thanks KC, who share his financial knowledge through his blog to increase people financial awareness.

    • doralin

      Reply Reply August 16, 2010

      ohh me to….;(

  • mrjus

    Reply Reply August 15, 2010

    HI KC

    I have been following your blog frequently. I have also read your book. It is very informative and helpful. Frankly speaking, schools in MY should include financial literacy as one of its core subject. just my 2 cent.

    • Sayeed

      Reply Reply August 16, 2010

      100% agree with mrjus!

  • Dr Reddy

    Reply Reply August 16, 2010

    Hi
    KC
    You have suggested the steps threadbare. Infact, nothing nnew but people’s attention is not drawn to them. More over these things cannot be mentioned to the friends and relatives face to face and some medium is necessary. Your column fulfilled it. Thanks.

  • Jeiyaraj

    Reply Reply August 19, 2010

    Hi KC,

    Firstly, I thank you for the efforts you have put into the report, in your website & in helping The Average Joe cope with their mounting debts in general. I sincerely think you are one of the unsung heroes in the Malaysian Cyberspace. But enough with the ‘jacking’. Let’s move on.

    For all people who say that credit cards are useful, good, etc, it only is if you know how to use it properly in the first place & you have the discipline to repay on time. The key point is to use the card only if you have the means to pay it back. If you haven’t thought on how you plan to repay before using your credit card, DON’T go for it. Most people can’t resist the temptation of spending on impulse if you have a card handy, which explains the credit card debts situation in Malaysia & the world in general. Bottomline, if you can’t handle it, DON’T !!

    About Steven in your report, similiar to countless stories about settling credit card debts (including the guy in Rajen Devadason’s book), there is always a Good Samaritan (in Steven’s case, his mom) who helps bail him out & phe pays later. While this is ideally the best solution, not all of us know someone who is in a position to help us in this way.

    I’ve had some credit card problems myself, & nobody to bail me out. I realized that I’m on my own. It may not be the best plan in the world & subject to criticism from the other learned people around, but bear in mind that there was nobody who could advise me solidly on this. Criticize, yes, help, no. So, this is what I did:

    1) Firstly, a hard, long, deep look at myself to see how I got into this mess in the 1st place. My weakness was the #1 reason of incurring debts, which is not delaying gratification. Most of the purchases I made were for stuff I couldn’t really afford (or REALLY need, on hindsight!). Credit card made it that easy to overlook this, hence my situation. Most of the time, I used the card without a thought on how I’m going to meet the monthly payments, & I actually didn’t have any funds to afford the monthly payments. Realizing this fault was the key to preventing accumulating more debts. This told me that having easy access to money that is not mine but which is going to cost me even higher in the future was not good for me. I cancelled all my cards, regardless of how badly I wanted to keep at least one.

    2) Secondly, I had to sit & work out on my income & expenses. With only 1 income & multiple expenses, I had to categorize the expenses into critical & non-critical. Critical included existing loans (i.e. car, house, etc,),petrol, toll, meals, tuition for kids, household sundry, bills, etc. This actually should include the credit cards, but I left it out for the time being. Non-critical expenses were for stuff like eating out, buying gadgets, going to cinemas, gym, snooker, cigarettes, etc. This is similiar to our fine friend Sayeed’s Monthly Balance Sheet. Obviously, this would show me how my income-versus-expenses situation really is. From here, when my expenses exceeded my income, the first thing that I would look at cutting down is on the non-critical expenses, of course. We are not robots & need some kind of entertainment to keep us sane by reducing the stress. However, NOT always does this have to mean expenses. Outings with the family were limited to nearer places instead of the annual vacation, cinema trips were reduced to once in 2 months instead of weekly, dining out were in the local hawkers or restaurants instead of buffets at hotels, etc. ‘Live within your means’ became my motto.

    3) Take another look at the amount that we have allocated for the credit card payments. Sometimes, applying for a fixed-term loan is even more expensive in the long run compared to keeping to the credit card term. Remember that for fixed-term payments (i.e. personal loans), the interest is calculated for the full amount, unlike the credit card interest which is calculated only on the remaining balance every month. I tried to apply for credit transfers & personal loans, all were turned down because of my poor repayment history. I found out that if I kept paying slightly above the minimum payments per month (which was the best that I could afford), I would not be saving on interest. But at this point, I only wanted the banks’ legal teams off my back. So I kept to the amount I could afford. I worked it out on an Excel spreadsheet, & I noticed that after a while, the amout that I can afford monthly becomes moere than the required minimum payment monthly. At this point, if I kept paying the same amount instead of reducing to the monthly minimum, I would start to save on interest charges. Of course, this requires discipline. I had to constantly fight urges to buy things I wanted but couldn’t afford.

    4) I contacted the banks to let them know of my repayment plan. Of course, they will not readily agree, but if that’s what you can afford, there is no other choice, is there? So, as long as the committed amount is paid & on time, they will relatively stay off your backs. Initially, they will keep calling oyu to remind you that they are watching, but as long as the schedule is kept to, they will leave you alone after a while. Most importantly, it prevents any demand calls, notices & legal action, which apart from being stressful, also costs a lot of money.

    4) Reducing debts is all good, but to be truly out of this mess, I needed to think on how to increase my income, so that I could afford to pay more monthly. Not only will I realize bigger savings on interest charges, but also, once I’ve settled my credit card debt, this additional income will become the base of building my savings (at that time, I had none). So, I ventured into some small-time ventures that most importantly, didn’t cost me much. I did things that I was good at, like repairing computers for friends, giving tuition to my neighbour’s kids, etc. I also worked after hours as a private taxi, or ‘Private Sapu’ as it is known in Malaysia. I only made trips to the housing areas near to mine so I was also reachable in case of any emergencies at home. I also sold off some personal junk like my hardly-used watches, my guitar & other things I could live without. Everything I earned went towards paying off my credit card debts. A part-time job would be fine, as is doing some business like MLMs, insurance, unit trust or freelancing what you know (in my case, tuition & computer repairs), or even trading online like eBay, Buysell.com.my, etc.

    Within a space of 24 painful months, I managed to settle off my debts of around RM 18,000. It was a big relief & a bigger lesson for me. My only regret is that I had to put my family through this because of my failure. If only I had thought of all this before I started accumulating my debts. I’m now building my small savings. As much as possible, If I make a purchase, I make sure that it is with cash that I’ve saved up, not on debts.

    Hope this post helps some of you out there. Remember, anything is possible as long as you put your heart in it. ‘Plan Your Moves & Move Your Plan’.

    Cheers!

  • KCLau

    Reply Reply August 19, 2010

    I would like to thank everyone who had participated and help to spread the news. There are many insightful comments posted here and I am sorry that I don’t have the time to reply each one of you.

    Now, here are the winners:
    1. Awin is going to get the first membership spot of MA$ course. @Awin, you are facing financial difficulty and I wish that this course will take you back on track really soon. Congratulations!

    2. Jeiyaraj is going to get the latest book by Azizi Ali – Get Rich Faster.

    Winners will be contacted through email.

  • Laikos

    Reply Reply February 17, 2011

    My experience:
    Scenario:
    Want to buy let say iPad RM1500

    Option A:
    Swipe card and pay 12 months installment

    Option B:
    Save RM500x3 months

    My take:
    Bring that stack of hard cold cash to Switch and get the iPad with 100% satisfaction
    FYI: when pay cash you always can ask for freebee like screen protector or pouch. I got mine free when paying cash n show pity face

    • KCLau

      Reply Reply February 21, 2011

      Hi Laikos,

      I believe that whenever we ask, there is always a possibility to get something back in return, provided that we ask in the correct way (such as pity face).

  • Caca

    Reply Reply February 28, 2011

    in 2009 i was in credit card debts. my financial was in a mess. i had 3 credit cards and every month the amount of debts just kept increasing eventhough i was still paying it but of course with the minimal payment. it was a nitemare because everytime the statements come. i wished to just throw it away. banks called me many times asking me for the payment as i was always late. i felt ashame with the calls chasing me for the money but in the same time the temptation to spend for luxury clothings, fine food, clubs and others had lured me to forget about all the debts i was in.

    Then, in 2010, i received my bonus. immediately, i settled the debts wit some help from my boyfriend. since then, i have changed my spending pattern and payment. Currently, i am keeping 2 cards only – one is actively used for necessary things and the other one is for back up. just in case anything happen that i need extra credit.

    i will use cash whenever i go. 90% of the time i will use cash. people always advice me to swipe the cards and get points. but, i have to sacrifice the points because i do not want to go back to the old spending pattern for the sack of getting extra points and exchange for a simple gift.

    next, whenever i have to swipe the card for expensive items, i will remember the amount and i have develop a discipline that i will pay half of the amount the next few days. by the time the bill comes, i just left the other half amount. if feels much easier to pay off the debts by then. i will never feel fear to look at my statements now. :)

    • KCLau

      Reply Reply March 1, 2011

      It is really great to hear about your sharing, very inspiring for those who are currently in debt.

  • Joyline

    Reply Reply March 9, 2011

    I always believe in system as system makes everything works out well
    human had lots of nerve and our toys just getting more expensive when we grow up more.
    Credit card is not an issue to me as I never maxed out or even hardly used it.
    Debit card would be a better choice to me as it deduct directly from my account yet I still can keep track on it.
    Well, I still believe that Steven can make through this and do it better with a system with him.
    Cheers KC~

  • LOUIS WONG

    Reply Reply March 24, 2011

    Well, i am still an undergraduate student. After reading the MA$ report, i realize that it is very important for us to keep an eye on our financial status as well as our own system. Without the system and awareness, it is very easy for us to be trapped by those attractive matter. Thanks again to KC who have wake me up before i enter the attractive society and the trap as well. Hopefully there will be more MA$ report soon to help those person who not yet realize their danger status. Once again, thank you.

  • Concerned Citizen

    Reply Reply March 25, 2011

    Pros of credit card:

    1. Incase you lose it and people mis-swipe it. You can retain your money once you informed the bank, and let the bank take the heat against the thieving swiper

    2. Emergency: Incase your saving account drops to zero, you can still survive by buying food with the cost accumulated high enough to enable you to pay with credit card

    Cons of credit card:

    1. I want to get more treat point to exchange hi-fi, home-theater system. (which is, for example, about 489,000 point or something like that.) Each treat point = RM 1. So in order to get that home theater system you need to swipe a total of RM 489,000 just to get it, whereas the system itself if you get it with cash from Sony will just cost roughly Rm 10k perhaps, for instant. I’m speaking from experience just 1 month ago

    2. Aiya, it’s ok la, my salary can cover-up instalment la. Try to sum up all the instalments you need to pay per month and check the difference of it with your salary. Don’t forget to budget it rentals and daily need, not to forget, savings. Again, from experience.

    Last month, I was broke with wallet RM 0 and saving RM 0 due to miss-budgetting, and i survived 1 week purely one credit card, on petrol, and food. Till my bonus arrive, I started to rethink my mindset, and my approach towards credit card. It is helpful as friend when you have zero cash bill, and definitely a fiend if you give in into your greed (perhaps due to “oh he has one so i also want too”)

    At least I can spare my 2 cent here.

  • Concerned Citizen

    Reply Reply March 25, 2011

    Sorry for some miss-typos

  • Adrian

    Reply Reply March 31, 2011

    It is true that C.C comes in very handy in those awkward situations when I don’t have enough cash on hand to make purchases. And there is always a small voice inside my head saying that my income would eventually be sufficient to cover for these purchases. However, almost always the eventual income will be used to cover for something else, and I ended up paying only slightly above the minimum payment. Today, I have decided to let my wife do the planning with my income as I think she’s more apt in handling money issues. She’s help me so far to reduce my credit cards from 5 to only 1. I am still struggling, but definitely less than before. I was listening to Robert Kiyosaki on the CD about financial intelligence and one thing that he said struck me most was the rich always looks for ways to buy more assets while the poor looks for ways to buy more liabilities.

  • OWUSU RICHARD NYARKO

    Reply Reply May 6, 2011

    IN FACT, ALTHOUGH I AM A MEDICAL STUDENT, IUSE MY LEISURE TO READ ON FINANCE AND ECONOMY, EXAMPLES OF THE BOOKS I HAVE READ ARE FRANK WOODS, HOW TO AVOID ECONOMIC RECESSION, BUT SINCE I STARTED READING PRACTICAL KNOWLEDGE OF FINANCE FROM K CLAU THINGS HAVE STARTED TO CHANGE AND WITHIN TWO DAYS I HAVE BEEN ABLE TO SAVE $ 5O. I NO LONGER USE MY VISA OR CREDIT CARD ANY HOW, THANK YOU K CLAU, KEEP IT UP AND YOU WILL HELP SAVE THE WORLD FROM ECONOMIC HARDSHIPS.

  • Mak Chee Keong

    Reply Reply June 16, 2011

    I want to be financially free.

  • Zahid Izam

    Reply Reply July 13, 2011

    it’s great to have a financial freedom. the question is how?

    • KCLau

      Reply Reply July 13, 2011

      There are many ways. The difficulty most people find is how to have the determination to carry it through until success.

  • Hairi

    Reply Reply September 6, 2011

    I am getting older.. no saving except EPF. Having problems with credit cards lately.. and is trying to figure out how I could turn this around.. Steven is still considered very2 lucky.. I wish I was in his shoes..

  • ching

    Reply Reply September 15, 2011

    Can we make money without much capital??? Can MA$ course helps in this situation? Anyways, I believe the_winner_takes_it_all.
    TQVM

    • KCLau

      Reply Reply September 16, 2011

      it is a myth that only a lot of money can make big return.
      See how Mark created facebook from his dorm room in college.
      He doesn’t even have the money to rent a server.

  • SL

    Reply Reply September 23, 2011

    It’s glad to know I am not as Steven to max out the credit limit….I have reduced my credit cards from five to two cards now after realising I have overspent by swipping the card.

    It is always good to use cash than money. If there is unexpected case where I need to spend the money, I will make sure I keep the same amount of money into my money box. That would ensure I have money to pay the bill at the end of the month when it due.

  • Esa Rosdi

    Reply Reply September 23, 2011

    My personal view is most of us do not have self control over temptation to have / own something we want. We should buy what we need rather than what we want. Be aware about simple thing, like do not be fooled by Mega Sales or promotion, when one tend to buy something unnecessary or buy more than needed just because it is ‘cheap’. Try to avoid impulsive purchases by having a list of thing to buy before going shopping.

    In addition, we should teach our kids to manage their own finance from young age. May be give them pocket money only once a month. If they finished it early, they need to work for it or get a FaMa loan & they must repay the loan.

    I have several Signature & Platinum cards but I treat each one as a debit card. Meaning I pay all in full each month. I only use them if I think I pay in full when the bill come. Otherwise I don’t use my credit card

  • jonathanw

    Reply Reply September 27, 2011

    I guess Steven is another lucky fella in today’s world where the low and middle income groups are heavily debt as a result of rising cost of living.

    how many “Stevens” among us has walked out of the debt unharmed? I think we all should learn to control spending and to invest wisely. No doubt, the latter requires a lot of learning and keeping abreast of the current financial markets.

    Nonetheless, this is good stuff.

  • Chan

    Reply Reply September 28, 2011

    Hi KCLau,
    After reading your blog/story, I wish to join your MA$ course too. I do have financial problems which unable to solve.

  • stephen

    Reply Reply October 18, 2011

    I like reading your blog. Your case studies are so real andI believe most of us can relate to it and make gd use .you are really financial expert This is very important, so that we can solve our own financial problems or making a move to start investing right. So thank you so much for sharing and I hope to attend your MA$ course soon.”

  • Elaine

    Reply Reply November 18, 2011

    Hi Kc Lau,

    i do have my story to share, 8years ago, we had our financial crisis due to credit card debt about more thn 50k++. the debt accumulated after our wedding and moving a new house. We had no way to turn to and not as lucky as Steven whereby the mother helping him to free his debts. We also need to care the in law as they are ageing.
    The money seem not enough to cover our expenses as well as parent in law medication. The pressure of financial getting worse when I was pregnant for the 1st son after married for 2 years. My husband had an offer to work in oversea and agree to go for it due to the high paid. During my pregnancy, we have to separate as he worked in oversea to pay off the debts. Every month, he would send about 80% of his salary to pay off the debts of unuse credit cards while my salary would go to loans & others expenditure. We manage to clear all the cards debts
    within a year with total accumulate 60k++
    We make sure to pay all the cards full payment to the banks. Previously my husband using about 4 cards and now cutting to 2 cards only. Previously I’m using 2 cards now only 1 card in order to control the card usage. We need to be careful and disciple in using credit card as not to fall into the debts again. At the same time keep on updating the knowledge of financial management.

    Sorry for the late input as my career acquire to work nearly 12 hours per days. I find your blog is useful and resourceful. Thank you.

  • Jackson MMA

    Reply Reply January 10, 2012

    I can consider myself as one of the lucky few, as I’m a non-credit card subscriber. In fact, I did apply for Citibank-Air Asia credit card in early 2008, but then, my application was rejected as I wasn’t “eligible”. Yes, I’ve no regrets at all (for not getting that “privilege” card); knowing that I can’t afford to pay hefty, late payment charges. Financial woes are my greatest nightmare!

    I think it’s by the end of 2008 that Air Asia has included the direct debit payment via online banking, and that’s verily convenient for purchasing the air fares. Therefore, I always make sure to put aside a portion of my net income in my current saving account to purchase my monthly, to-and-fro air fares.

    Credit card for me?!

    Thank you; NO… I prefer to pay in CASH!

  • Liam

    Reply Reply January 31, 2012

    Self discipline (weakness of mine as well) is often equated with absence of freedom. We prefer to act to what we feel than how we think. The pleasure and thrill of the moment may be too much a sacrifice for some of us (the undisciplined). I found the quote “the price of discipline is always less than the pain of regret” motivating and am obviously taking some positive steps toward it … otherwise I would not be here right?

  • JJ

    Reply Reply February 4, 2012

    Being financially shrewd is absolutely vital. Being irresponsible, apathethic, overspending and being laden with debts is suicidal. Your tips are very practical. Thx

  • Simon

    Reply Reply March 9, 2012

    After reading the story of Broke Geek , I found it make sense to me. I would like to find out more about Money Automation System. How it works? and etc….

  • Jynee

    Reply Reply May 16, 2012

    Seen like Steven is in very deep hole. Really curious on how can he get out from the credit card trap…

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