This is a guest post by Louis Teo, a bright young man who managed to take control of his finances after being in debt.

Coming from a mid-income family, getting the opportunity to work with a multi-national company while tertiary studies fee 90% being sponsored by employer means a lot to me, a young 19 years old fresh STPM school leaver at the time. By taking the offer, I can achieve my dreams to earn big bulks of money, drive big car and live in a luxurious house, because this company promises greater career prospect.

Bank account is like a transit

All my dreams started to fade away when I realize that the income earned always not enough to cover my lifestyle. The reason why not enough is because I like to buy branded stuff and live in luxurious lifestyle. No matter how hard I work, my net worth will become “~RM0” at the end of the month. For me, bank account is like a transit place for the money. Once the money goes in, in less than a month time, it will go out. Sometimes even worst, it will go out more then what it supposes to. (I am spending my future money with credit card due to uncontrollable spending habits) Worst! Right?!

I have been living with this lifestyle for 2 years. I started to realise I need to save money when I find out that I don’t have initial capital to buy a house. By merely listening to friends advise, I took up my first ever investment, which is buying an investment-linked insurance. But I don’t feel comfortable after that. I have many sleepless nights because I am afraid of losing money.

Find a mentor

One day, I took up the challenge to search for “What is Investment-linked Insurance?” And I found KCLau Personal Financial Blog that explains about it. I clicked on it to read the article. I found the article very impressive and this prompted me to start browsing his blog to look for other articles. Wow!! I found lots of interesting articles which I have been looking for. I signed up for his newsletter, read his book preview. Folks, you know what? My journey to financial freedom begins.

I bought “Top Money Tips for Malaysians” book as Christmas present for myself end of 2009 and started to read it. Amazingly, I complete reading the whole book and even read repeatedly for 2 times in less than 2 weeks time. I am so impressed with practical tips provided by KCLau, he wakes me up I can be my financial genius, not financial idiot. Ask yourself, you want to be financial idiot or financial genius? I bet you will answer: “I want to get control of my money, I want to be financial genius”. If so, you must read his book.

Get financial education

Besides, I also spend a few hundreds of ringgit to buy Aziz Ali’s series of financial book. Yes, it cost me quite a lot to buy the books, but the money spend is well worth to increase my financial knowledge. For me, money spent to make myself becoming more “asset” and not more “liability”, is worth, it is worth!

I practice the tips learnt from the books and now I am on the correct path towards my financial freedom dream. I am happier and I always thankful with what I have now.

My Money Tips for You

Below are some of my tips to KCLau blog readers:

1. PAY YOUSELF FIRST. You are the most important asset to yourself, so you must pay yourself before paying other bills.

2. Make sure you have at least 3 months of equivalent emergency fund, preferably 6 months. Some may ask why 6 months? Ask yourself, the chance to get the 2nd job if you got sacked from your 1st job is higher in 3 months or 6 months? The answer is always 6 months.

3. Start your investment as soon as possible. You will lose if you don’t start early. Read the story of twin brothers, James and Jeremy (Pg 3) in KCLau’s “Top Money Tips for Malaysian”

4. Make sure you know what you are investing. Don’t invest in something that you don’t know or too complex to manage.

5. Divide your saving into separate accounts for separate objectives. Don’t mix them up. In this way, you are much clearer with the amount that you are lacking for each objective. It looks tedious, but if you don’t separate it, you will be tempted to spend your money.

6. If you are a working employee, make sure you read “The Millionaire in Me” by Azizi Ali. You will be amazed how an ordinary employee can be millionaire at your retirement age. The book teaches us how to remain an employee and still become a millionaire. (*Note: this book is one of Azizi Ali’s best-seller)

7. Tips No.7? Subscribe to KCLau’s newsletter and stay tuned with more practical personal financial tips. It’s free, by the way! So why not signing up?


Personal finance author and trainer

    19 replies to "Money Tips from a Young Employee"

    • hoo

      Kc Lau,

      i may want to ask, lets say i purchase a property with my brother, and at CCRIS report, it will stated there total outstanding of the loan even its joint account, consider to the Debt serive ratio, will the outstanding loan be divide by two when i want to count my DSR?


      • KCLau

        Most banks will divide it by 2.

    • John

      Hi KCLau, I’m new in stock investment, I’m stil waiting for my investment account to be approved soon. I would like to ask of your advice which Bursa Malaysia counters are best to invest in as long term or buy for keep.
      Thank you!

    • CY Wong

      Dear KCLau. I’m 26 years old. I have been struggling hard in life. Had only RM2000 in my savings account. I’m working as a full-time volunteer with only Rm400 allowance. Free 3 meals a day + Clothing + Hair cut + Free Laundry & dry cleaning & delivery + Room + Electricity + Water + Car & Petrol all take care of by my company. What advice can you give me to improve my current situation?

      CY Wong

      • Louis

        You current income is insufficient to let you achieve your financial goals.

        1. You must find a new job that pays higher salary. Believe me, you can find a better employer without much difficulty.
        2. Educate yourself so that you can become more marketable and can earn more.
        3. Don’t forget to educate yourself with financial matters, because making more money itself doesn’t help if you are financial illiterate. You must be good at both making more money and let the money work hard for you 24/7.

    • Eldy Voon

      Tips no.7 = great !

    • Azam Zaki

      The probability to get a new job within 3 months is almost impossible.
      The period of waiting for the HR to call you is around 3 months
      The period of waiting after the interview is around 1 month
      The period of waiting to start a new is around 1 month
      The period to get the first salary is 1 month.

      So the total amount of time that you need to wait for first salary is around 9 months.

    • Gerald Fernandez

      Good advise. Young employees should start early to gain as much knowledge as they can on investment and finance. Attending workshops, listening to experience people and learning from them, reading a lot and of course subscribing to KC Lau’s newsletter and reading his blog and other blogs are the best way. You need to gain the knowledge before putting your money in various investments. But start early.

    • zam

      Good advice and thanks for the info. Always makeup your mind to pay yourself first before others, treat ourself happy with our hard earn money

    • Christina

      This is really a good tip. I can really make use of it.

    • Yap Ming Hui

      I totally agree with the 7 tips that you have shared, especially on item 4. When I coach my client on their investment, I always make sure that they know what they are investing into. When considering an investment proposal, it is important that we know how the investment is supposed to generate the promised ROI. If the person who propose the investment to you also not sure or don’t know the ROI is generated, you need to watch out.

      I also agree that on item 6 & 7. Both KC Lau and Azizi Ali has been sharing very good tips on personal financial management. It really helps a lot of people to be become better money manager.

      If I may add one tip, I would suggest you to set clear and specific financial goals and draw up a comprehensive financial plan for yourself to know where you are now in your journey to financial freedom. Some people may want to call the comprehensive financial plan as their roadmap to financial freedom. Only when you know where you stand now, you will know how much you should save and invest and for what ROI. In that case, you will alway be on track to your own financial freedom. Every now and then, you also get to measure your progress and take the necessary corrective actions. If you are interested to find out more, you can visit my website to read the relevant articles.

    • Jayce

      My tip to working employees. Get a blog and start make money with it just like KC. :)


      good tips and article as well.

    • doralin

      Thank you for sharing this post. I’m in the same boat, but you are luckier. I have to pay for my education loan and I’ve make many bad decisions in life and learning now to turn my life around. It wasn’t easy, but I’m adjusting and learning.

      • Louis Teo

        Doralin, it takes time to learn and adjust. But I am sure one day you will make it. Let’s work hard towards financial freedom. In my opinion the first step you can do is to cut down all the unnecessary expenses. You can do it by recording all your expenses, label them with priority code accordingly, 1 for mandatory, 2 for essential, 3 is for nice and 4 for worthless crap (I learn these from Azizi Ali’s “The Millionaire in Me”) and review them end of the month. Try to get rid of expenses that labeled with “4”. By this way, you will be more alert and think twice before spending.

        • doralin

          Thank you very much for the tips. (Sorry it takes a long time for me to read the reply). Thank you too about the tips. the last few months have been very challenging and hard for me as I learn and managing my money. Turn out, I’m bad at managing my money. I do not know where my money goes, even though I’m not a big spender. Having tempted from a friend for all sorts of fun is also not helping. Getting to know that I unable to do things I want because of money also makes me more frustrated, I guess, this is where discipline comes. Thanks.

    • LEE

      Agree with you Louis.
      My english level is so so….but KC’s blog really change my thought and i am “acting” now to do investment.
      But before i talk about investment , i got to settle all my debts 1st , i should admit that i am not a good financial planner before this :
      1. Credit Card – 23k
      2. A car under my name (CCRIS now) – got to settle 15k , discounted by
      collection department (waived legal fees)

      My savings is not much and as u said my account is like a transit only.
      So , After reading KC’s blog , I’d decided to do REFINANCING to clear all debts .
      But my name is under CCRIS now which do not allowed me to do refinancing.
      I got to borrow money from relatives to clear the above 1st then to clear my record in CCRIS and once i got top up money from refinancing , i will return those money to my relatives and can do some short-term or long-term investment. (I dont know whether this is a good move but really clear all my burden of receiving calls from collection department and high interest on credit card)

      Stay reading KC’s blog , it really change your life .
      Thank you KC.

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