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in 2020, more Malaysians googled finance-related topics. Keywords like "stock", "robo adviser" and "gold" increased significantly in searches*. But sometimes, it can be challenging to filter through the wealth of internet information.  


So how can we help? We dug deep to find internet's popular money questions and combed through the "People Also Ask" section on Google. Check them out below, along with our answers! 

Top question #1: How can I make more money?

Yep, you guessed it – how to make more money is a popular question...very popular.


Increasing your take home pay (either through a promotion or finding a new job) might be tough, so one way to generate more cash is through a second income or passive income. 


Many think of passive income as low-effort, but you usually have to invest some time and money. Some passive income options that can be sustainable include ad revenue-based income from a blog, YouTube channel or podcast, and creating and selling an online course or e-book. Other ways that we've seen include becoming a personal shopper, or trying out dropship. 


But if you have a bit of money to spare, investment can be a good option to generate passive income too. 


Question #2: Am I financially stable



"Stable" tend to be subjective, but there are some ways to check your financial health. Aside from your debt-to-income ratio and net worth, there are other, more personal ways to see if you're financially secured. As a financially healthy person, you should:


  • Spend less than you earn
  • Have emergency cash, and hopefully have leftover cash after paying expenses and financing commitments.
  • Able to pay your credit card bills in full and on time. 


You may also have plans for long-term savings or growth. Although many of us have made money mistakes, it is easier to move on from the past when our financial health is good. This means you should be focused on your financial future, and be able to keep track of your money without worrying about money all the time.

Question #3: "Good" vs. "Bad" debt? 

What are "good" debt and "bad" debt? Good debt can help you build your wealth or net worth. For example, a mortgage can be considered a good debt because you can build your net worth by purchasing your own home. Investing in yourself (like taking an education financing loan or financing) will also help you earn more in the future, so this can also be considered as a good debt. 


A bad debt is called as such because taking one will not really improve your finances. For example, you may use credit cards to earn rewards for consumable items like food, or clothes and vacations – good so far, yes? However, if you do not pay the balance in full, the outstanding debt would be considered as "bad".  Other bad debts can include high-interest loans, and even "good" debts that are not managed carefully. 


The key is to always consider if you can afford to take on the loan or product before saying "yes" to them. 

Question #4: How much to save every month?  

This can vary depending on where you are in life, but a general rule is to save at least 20% of your income. If you are not able to reach 20% yet, just start at an amount you can manage and slowly work your way up.


If you’re meeting your savings goals, have a full emergency fund and have extra cash to spare, you may be wondering if you should save more than 20%.


Although it’s good to have more savings, it may be better to invest instead. This is because interest rates for regular savings accounts may not be able to balance out the rate of inflation, and investing will help you preserve the value of your wealth. 

Question #5: Do I have enough for retirement?


How much you need depends on the lifestyle you plan to have. One rule of thumb is that you need 2/3 of your last drawn salary to have the same standard of living pre-retirement.


For example, if you are earning RM6000/month now, and want to continue your current lifestyle during your retirement, you would need RM4000/month for your retirement years. You should also aim for enough retirement savings to last you 20 years. So if you need RM4000/month during retirement, you should save RM960,000.


In the previous question, we say that 20% of your income should be saved. Once you have enough fund for emergency (6-months of living expenses), you can then take 10% to 15% to fund for your retirement.


This means that if you are earning RM6000/month, RM600 to RM900 should be saved for retirement. However, you cannot rely on savings alone. RM900/month means you’ll take almost 90 years to save RM960,000, and you also have to take inflation into account. This is why it’s important to plan for your retirement! 

Question #6: What to do with my bonus money? 


Your bonus can help you fast-track your goals – whether it’s emergency savings, retirement, an educational course. You can also use it to reduce bad debt. 


One smart way to get closer to your financial goals is to grow your bonus by investing it. Put it in a Private Retirement Scheme, or a fixed deposit account and see it grow. To find out other ways to invest – along with more finance-related tips – from our CIMB Life Goals articles.

This article is brought to you by CIMB as part of our ongoing efforts to raise the level of financial literacy among Malaysians. Financial knowledge and understanding are key to making well-informed and meaningful financial decisions that will improve all our well-being. This, in turn, achieves CIMB’s purpose of advancing customers and society.