Did you remember when you started planning your finances and your future with your loved ones? Well, I remember when I was single, financial planning was definitely the last thing on my agenda. However, when I started going out with John and we started planning for our future, the first thing we thought was buying a house. That was when we needed to start planning our budget and finances well. That was 12 years ago. Today, we are still thankful that we planned and bought a house early on before the prices skyrocketed to three times the value today of what it was.
Financial planning became even more crucial when kids got into the picture. Nine years ago, our eldest Josiah was born followed by Jordan three years after. I can say, a large chunk of whatever we earned went to the kids…from their food, to daycare, to clothes, toys, school and more. 9 year on that amount only grew larger and we are not even talking about the college expenses yet. Therefore, I had always known, we cannot live day to day without thinking about financial planning for our family. It might be ok if I have nothing, but I cannot let the kids suffer for sure.
This year I decided to take a look at the statistics from the Prudential Relationship Index and see where we are as a nation. The PRI Score is actually current relationships in Malaysia measured against needs and expectations. This survey was done in Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and Malaysia. Last year Malaysia was actually placed 5th so our PRI actually dropped and now we’re in a worrying 6th place.A score of 100 on the PRI means that a person’s primary relationship delivers 100% of what they want from that relationship and Malaysia scores 68/100. This shows to me the instability of relationships in Malaysia at the moment and the low satisfaction level. However, through these surveys, we can also find ways to improve and change for the better.
When I was at uni, I studied Information Technology and Creative Multimedia. Our technology wasn’t great at the time, imagine we didn’t even have internet back then. However, today everything has changed. Lots of things run by technology now and it is supposed to make planning for our finances easier and more effective. It is so much easier now to do online banking without the need to go to the physical bank. I do find that I can plan better with a host of information at my fingertips. When we took our loan for the house 12 years back, we just went to the bank closest to us and most convenient to us. Little did we research on which bank offers the best BLR or better package. This year, we refinanced our home and we were able to easily find the better deals just with a search online. With technology, the bank officer was able to calculate for us and plan for us within a few minutes. I know exactly how much is used on our cards so we don’t have to overpay or pay too little every month. It is also easier to budget and calculates everything with the computer. What’s more, with high-end technology, we even ventured into our own online business which helped with our income and planning for the future education of the kids. So, I’m all for growth in technology has made planning easier for us.
However, there’s always a negative side effect of using too much technology. One of our biggest problems is using the phone at the dinner table. Sometimes we get so used to it that we forgot to stop using the phone and focussing on each other. Now with kids who beg for the iPad at meal times, we begin to see how big the problem is. Therefore, for most times we decided that we shouldn’t let the kids use the ipad while eating at the same time we shouldn’t use the phone while eating. This is because, traditionally, meal times are the time to catch up on each other’s lives, to talk about our day, to have real conversations. Playing with the phone takes away our concentration on each other and that is a very negative effect on the relationship.
Having said that, it is just as bad when it is not meal times. Generally, we notice more men spending time with their phones than women. Well it is the truth. 62% of men say they spend more time than their partner looking at their phones. Sometimes it’s not that the phone is at fault. It is just that when you are talking to your spouse and he is just looking at his phone, it tells you that he doesn’t really care about what you are saying. Therefore, put that away if you want to have a better satisfaction in your relationships. I have been to Cambodia and I don’t see a lot of people playing on their phones a lot. That is because internet is pretty expensive there too. That could be why they have the 1st spot on the rank of PRI.
Download the Prudential Relationship Index 2017 for yourselves for an in-depth look at the many statistics involved and see how your relationships can relate to our fellow Malaysians.
Basically, the idea is to plan ahead before it’s too late. We can never predict what happens tomorrow so we made plans because we love our family.