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Your 20’s and 30’s is a time when you are shaping your career, and as you move up the career ladder, you’re rewarded with higher earnings and more disposable income. You become more conscious of the money that you are able to save.


You start learning about finances: identifying those things that are worth spending your money on, and the opportunities you can realise through investing. These decades are the best years to begin creating your own wealth and to succeed at this, you need to start planning your finances.

Multiply your money


The popular saving strategy is to set aside at least 20% of your income for long term savings. However, if you do start early, you can save as little as 5% and work your way up to 20% when you have more income to stash away. The power of compound interest is that even small investments can really grow given enough time. Automate your monthly savings so that you don’t miss making regular deposits.


If you have enough saved, you can also look at alternative investment options that give you higher rates of profit. One option is an unfixed deposit that gives you a high profit rate on your deposits and also allows you the flexibility to withdraw money from your account before the maturity date without affecting your profit. The idea is to not let your savings sit idle, but find ways to multiply your money through low-risk investment products.

Start your budget and stick to it

Planning your overall budget can be empowering as it drives home the importance of understanding where every ringgit goes.


For starters, itemise your expenses as this helps you realise patterns in your spending habits. If you have never created a budget before, you can break down your expenses into two parts; fixed expenses (items that you need to pay like rent, phone bill, etc.) and miscellaneous expenses (items within your control like shopping, café hopping, entertainment related).


Once you have gotten insight into your budget, you can find ways to make the most of your money. A fraction of the cost of your daily Starbucks could cover the cost-per-day of a life insurance policy that you may have been putting off.


It sounds simple but as it is with exercising, it can be hard to consistently stick to a budget. Aim to manage your budget monthly and you will benefit from it tremendously no matter what your income is. 

Plan your big spends

Think ahead and set timelines for your personal goals – a car, a home, or that backpacking trip to Europe. Creating milestones will help you to plan your savings and to watch your spending behaviour. You will also be motivated to increase your savings percentage year on year to fulfil your personal goals. 

Increase your savings rate


As you move into your 30s, you’ll have more income to save and will ideally have gotten some debt out of the way. Think of savings as a percentage of income rather than an absolute amount. This ensures that your savings actually increase in proportion to your income. While you increase the percentage of your income that goes into savings, you can also explore investing for higher returns, with added focus on retirement planning.  


Most importantly, don’t forget to save for rainy days to avoid dipping into your long term-savings for unplanned, emergency situations. The general rule of thumb is to have between 3-6 months’ of your salary in an emergency fund. Experts recommend putting it in a high-yield savings account where its value can help offset market fluctuations. 


Saving isn’t rocket science. As the old adage goes “sedikit-sedikit, lama-lama jadi bukit”, these simple steps will set you up for financial security in the years to come.

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.