A metal hit my car during a night drive on North-South highway.
It made a hole above the right rear wheel. So we sent the SUV to a nearby workshop the next morning. The technician told us that we might be able to claim the repair cost from PLUS.

We had never known about this information that you can ask for compensation for accidents happen on the highway, from the operator. I thought we should find out more.

My wife handled the case. The first thing she did was calling PLUSLine 1800 88 0000. The customer service representative told her to do the following:
– File a police report
– Print the pictures of the damage
– Provide the original receipts of the repair (it is about RM600)
– Provide the proof of using the highway (Touch ‘n Go records)
– Fill up a claim form at any PLUS servicing office situated at toll exits.

So my wife went through all the hassles. The police report took more than three hours. We went to the nearest PLUS office to file the claim, and it cost one hour of both our time. We missed some documents, so I went back another day and spent another hour there.

After a month, we got the official written response.
How much did we get?
.
..

NIL…. the claim is not approved.
My wife called in again and spent another 30 minutes speaking with them. We can choose to appeal. But should we proceed?

At first, I already considered the whole process in term of opportunity cost. We spent more than 5 hours, just to claim RM600, which is not even secured yet. Frankly, is it worth our time to do so?

The result showed that it is not worth going through the hassle. But my wife wanted the experience of going through the process, which I have to agree because I am a good husband :). Maybe I am afraid of my wife as most husbands do…hehe. Speaking the truth, I just want to save the time of putting up an argument, since she will be doing much of the legwork, not me.

Every day, we face many different decisions, which cost us either time or money. What’s your rule of thumb to make a wise choice that gives you the best return?

The keyword — OPPORTUNITY COST.

It is to forego one opportunity for another seemingly better chance available. Opportunity cost is that cost that we pay when we are giving up something to get something else.

Every action has an opportunity cost. How do you weigh the various opportunity cost?

The opportunity cost figure is nothing but the difference between the value of the selected alternative and the value of the next best option.

Funny Munnee Comic - Opportunity Cost

The Dummy’s Guide to Estimate Your Time Cost

The most straightforward calculation is to use time cost. Calculate how much you make in an hour. Here is an easy method to estimate your hourly wage without using the calculator:

Take your total gross income per year, remove the last three zeros and halve the result, so RM100,000 becomes RM100, which halved is RM50. So your wages is RM50/hour. It is an effortless way to calculate your hourly rate in a blink.

It is based on 8 hours workday, 5 days work week, and 4 weeks of working month. Try calculating the precise number, and it won’t differ too much.

RM100,000 / (12 months x 4 weeks x 5 days x 8 hours) = RM52.08

Hourly Rate = Annual Salary / 1000 / 2

You can tell how much an hour costs to you. Take-up any activity or process and figure out how much time it takes to perform for everyone involved. Then you can decide which option you should choose among all the available choices.

Compare the tasks you have to do with the time cost. It is easy for functions that can be measured directly with money. For example, suppose that you have two options – to work on a project that pays RM50 per hour, or to teach your child English. If you can find a tuition teacher who can coach better than you, and she only charges RM25 per hour, the choice is obvious. You will be better off with working on the project while your kid gets a better education.

RULE: Always Think Long-Term

Sometimes, some choices involve not just tangible return, but long-term intangible benefits as well. An example of such project is writing books. As an author, you may not get the returns instantly. But you get the returns after a period. In the future, you might get long-term royalty payment and other related business opportunities.

So if you have multiple options to choose from, make sure you analyse all the available options thoroughly and then select the best option. Opportunity costs never cease to exist. So make a wise decision, and always look at the long-term benefits.

After all, our time on earth is relatively short. What’s your rule of thumb when it comes to making choices? Share with us in the comment.


KCLau
KCLau

Personal finance author and trainer

    1 Response to "Warning: Every Decision Has an Opportunity Cost!"

    • LAI SENG CHOY

      Thanks for sharing, KC. I agree with you! I have been doing the same by explaining to my wife on opportunity cost we’ll have if we focus too much on small issues. Most of the time, she gave way. She says she trusts on my judgement and decision. May be she also would like to skip all unnecessary arguments that might enlarge the opportunity cost to us. 🙂

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