Sunday, February 28, 2021

EPF declared 5.2% (conventional) / 4.9% (shariah) dividend for 2020

After a long time waiting, the Employees Provident Fund (EPF, a.k.a. KWSP) has finally declared the dividend rate for financial year 2020.

For year 2020, the dividend declared for conventional account is 5.2% while for Shariah account is 4.9%. The dividend has already credited into members' account, and you can check for it by login into your EPF i-Account.

Year 2020 was the 4th year of dividend declaration for Shariah account, while dividend for conventional account has been declared annually since 1952. The dividend for Shariah account in all the years from 2017 to 2020 were lower than the dividend for conventional account of the same year.



The 5.20% dividend for EPF conventional account in 2020 is 4.59% lower than the 5.45%  dividend declared for 2019 (last year).

Calculation: (5.20-5.45)/5.45 = -0.25/5.45 = -4.59%

It is 6.12% higher than the 4.90% Shariah dividend declared for the same year.

Calculation: (5.20-4.90)/4.90 = 0.30/4.90 = 6.12%

The table below shows the historical EPF dividend payout rate since 2000, for you to judge yourself whether the dividend payout rate in 2020 is satisfactory or not.



Thursday, February 25, 2021

How to register for COVID-19 vaccination using MySejahtera mobile app

You can now register for COVID-19 vaccination in Malaysia using MySejahtera mobile app.

Before you start, make sure you have already updated the MySejahtera app in your phone to the latest version, which should be Version 1.0.29 (dated 24 Feb 2021) or above.

After opening the MySejahtera app, tap on the Close button at the top right corner to enter its main screen.


Then, tap on COVID-19 Vaccination for the registration.


On the next screen, you should be able to see "Vaccine for <your name>". Tap on it.

On the next screen, remember to tap on CLICK HERE to fill up the form. Do not tap on the Close button without filling up the form.


Fill in the questionnaire, and your registration will complete when you are able to see the Thank You screen as below.


Now, you just need to wait for your vaccination appointment message for the next course of action.

You might want to repeat the same process above for your family members registered in your MySejahtera app. Just select their name and fill up the questionnaire for them to complete their vaccination registration.


Wednesday, February 24, 2021

PTPTN announced 2020 dividend for SSPN-i and SSPN-i Plus

The Malaysia National Higher Education Fund (Perbadanan Tabung Pendidikan Tinggi Nasional, PTPTN) has just announced dividend for year 2020 for the education savings schemes SSPN (Skim Simpanan Pendidikan Nasional, consists of SSPN-i and SSPN-i Plus) on 23 February 2021.


The 2020 SSPN dividend payout rate is 4%, amounting to RM201.3 million. This rate is the same as previous payout for 2015-2019.

This 4% dividend has already been credited into our SSPN accounts respectively on 24 February 2021.

In 2020, the amount of deposits in  SSPN was RM1.99 billion, with 436,101 new accounts opened by depositors.

According to PTPTN, the number of SSPN accounts opened to date is 4.82 million.

Historical SSPN-i dividend payout rate is as below:

·   2020: 4.00%

·   2019: 4.00%

·   2018: 4.00%

·   2017: 4.00%

·   2016: 4.00%

·   2015: 4.00%

·   2014: 4.25%

·   2013: 4.25%

·   2012: 4.25%

·   2011: 3.75%

·   2010: 3.25%

·   2009: 2.50%

·   2008: 4.00%

·   2007: 4.00%

·   2006: 4.00%

·   2005: 4.00%

·   2004: 3.00%

You can proceed to the Online SSPN-i Statement of Account website to check the transactions and amount of savings in your kid's SSPN account.

You are also highly encouraged to read about Online paying PTPTN / SSPN-i with credit card through Boost.


Sunday, February 21, 2021

Did you overdraw your bank account? Here is what to do

 

Photo by Adam Satria on Unsplash


Did you mail a cheque only to be notified that it bounced? Or perhaps you tried to buy something with your debit card, and when you checked your online statement later, you were shocked to find a negative balance. You just spent more money than you have, so what do you do to fix it?

First, don’t panic. It’s not a fun situation to be in, but it happens. Follow these tips to get back in the black as soon as possible:

The Consequences of Overdrawing Your Account

The consequences of an overdrawn account depend on your bank’s specific policies. If you have opted-in to overdraft protection, then the transaction you were trying to make will still go through because your bank will cover the amount. In this instance, your bank will charge you an overdraft fee, which will likely be around $33. If you don’t have overdraft protection, though, then you may be charged an NSF fee (nonsufficient funds fee) that is a similar amount, but your card will decline, or your cheque will bounce.

Overdrawing your account now and then isn’t the end of the world if you can pay the fee, but relying on overdraft protection too often could result in your bank terminating your account. It may also report you to a debit bureau that may make it more challenging to open a new chequing account in the future.

Plus, it may not be your bank who takes action against you if you’re in the red for too long; services you pay for may cancel on you if they don’t receive payment in time. 

What to Do if You Overdraw Your Account

Those are a few examples of consequences, but what should your next steps be?

Don’t Spend Anymore

This should be obvious, but it’s worth repeating: don’t spend any more money with the overdrawn account. It’s understandable if you have essential expenses coming up, but don’t use the account at all, if possible. Check on your upcoming subscriptions or auto-payments that could put your further in the red. Only once you have replenished your accounts’ funds should you resume spending.

Keep in mind that if you don’t have a backup source of money, then your bank will automatically use your next deposit to cover your negative balance. Your negative balance likely includes the fee, so factor in this change for your monthly budget.

Replenish Your Funds

You probably guessed this one, but replenish your account as soon as possible. Don’t let it remain negative for too long, or your bank may charge you extended overdraft fees, which can accumulate quickly. Use your savings or another backup account to bring your overdrawn account back up to zero, preferably higher.

If you don’t have any other sources of money to make your checking account positive again, then consider borrowing from someone you trust, picking up a side-gig, or selling items you don’t need.

Another option is to use Earnin, which allows you to access your income on time if your bills are due before your paycheck arrives. Pay cycle delays may have been the reason you overdrew your account in the first place, so next time, you can use Earnin to take out up to $100 per day, $500 per pay period, and avoid paying overdraft or NSF fees. Earnin then deducts the amount you used from your paycheck once it’s deposited.

Check if You Were Charged Overdraft or NSF Fees

You have to opt-in to overdraft protection, but if you aren’t sure whether you have it or not, it’s possible you signed up for it without realizing what it is. Though you’ll know when making a debit card purchase immediately (the card will decline if you don’t), double-check with your bank if you realize you are about to overdraw your account with a written check. In this situation, you have time to contact your bank and the recipient and void it before it’s deposited. Likewise, look for an NSF fee on your account so you can pay it before you plan next month’s budget.

Contact Your Bank

If you attempt to make a transaction that overdraws your account, contact your bank’s customer service center and find out if they can remove any fees that will put you in further debt. It never hurts to ask, and the worst thing they can say is no. Bank representatives may be even more inclined to help you out if you have been an outstanding customer in the past or if you explain your situation to them.

Enable Low Balance Alerts

You can connect various apps to your bank account that will notify you when funds are running low (including the previously mentioned Earnin). This way, you’ll know how much money you have in your account before you attempt to make a purchase with non-sufficient funds, and you can avoid an NSF or overdraft fee altogether.

Overdrafting your bank account can be alarming, but here are strategies you can use to get back in the black quickly and (hopefully) avoid paying additional fees.

  

This article originally appeared on Earnin.

  

Please note, the material collected in this blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be relied upon as or construed as advice regarding any specific circumstances. Nor is it an endorsement of any organization or Services.


Thursday, February 11, 2021

Cash out refinance: How to know if it is time

 

Photo by todd kent on Unsplash

Traditional refinancing entails swapping out your current debt, often a mortgage, for another loan with better terms. For example, many people choose to refinance their homes when housing market interest rates drop so they can pay less money in the long run.

What is a cash-out refinance, though? It’s a little different. Instead of trying to pay less, you borrow more than your house is worth and use the extra money for other debts, purchases, or payments.

How do you know if acquiring funds this way is right for you? If it is, when is the best time to do it? Let’s dive into why people choose to go through this process.


What is a Cash-Out Refinance?

You might use a typical term-and-rate refinance to exchange your mortgage for one with lower monthly payments or another benefit. However, a cash-out refinance means you switch out your mortgage for a larger one. 

Why would anyone want to borrow a bigger mortgage? It’s a way to access the value of your home that you own through a loan instead of selling it. If you have paid off any part of your mortgage, then you have built “equity.” You cannot use your home’s equity to make purchases in illiquid form, so taking out another loan and using your equity as collateral allows you to use that value as cash.


How Does a Cash-Out Refinance Work?

Next, how does a cash-out refinance work? Most lenders limit the amount you can cash out to between 80% and 90% of your property’s equity, so you cannot withdraw as much as you might hope. 

Because you are borrowing against your equity, you need to have accumulated a sufficient amount (in other words, you have paid off a sizable portion of your mortgage). It’s also advisable to keep around (and sometimes required) 15-20% of your equity once the process is complete. For example, if your home is worth $400,000, you could take out another loan worth 80% of your home’s value, which is $320,000. How much money you have left to spend on other things depends on your mortgage balance. If you have $150,000 in equity and $250,000 left to pay, you would have $70,000 left over.


What Can You Use a Cash-Out Refinance For?

How you use your refinance money is up to you. Many people use their new cash to pay for: 

        Outstanding bills and debts, including credit cards

        Make a significant purchase, such as a vehicle

        College tuition

        Major home renovations.

 

Do you want to modernize your kitchen but can’t afford to? Do you want to go back to school but don’t want to burden yourself with high-interest student loans? While there are other options you should consider first, cash-out refinancing can provide you with the funds you need for significant expenses.


Is it Necessary for Me to Cash-Out Refinance?

No, it is not strictly necessary for anyone to exchange their mortgages for a larger one and withdraw the difference. You might hear of your neighbours and friends refinancing their homes in the traditional sense because the market is optimal, but the cash-out variety is not a trend you need to jump on if you don’t need to.

People have different reasons to refinance their homes this way. Some might owe a wide variety of debts and want to consolidate. Others might have fallen on hard times and need a large sum of money as soon as possible, but they don’t have any other options than to sell their possessions if they don’t want to move. They cannot sell their equity, though, so the best option is to use it as collateral for another loan.

You might be considering cash-out refinancing because delays in receiving your paycheck have made you miss important payments. You had to dip into your savings, which you prefer not to do, but having larger savings from your home’s equity could be useful in the immediate future. Instead, you can turn to apps like Earnin that allow you to access your money on time, up to $500 per pay period. Instead of doing a cash-out refinance to borrow a large sum to pay off monthly bills, you can use Earnin to take out your own earnings.


What are the Disadvantages of Cash-Out Refinancing?

There are several disadvantages to consider before you cash-out refinance. One of them is closing costs, which are typically between 2% and 5% of your loan and can, therefore, amount to thousands of dollars. Similar to how you must pay for private mortgage insurance if you put less than 20% when buying a house, you will have to pay for PMI if you borrow more than 80% of your property’s value. 

Time is also an essential factor. It may take longer to pay off your house, and your monthly mortgage payment could increase. Though interest rates associated with this kind of refinancing may be lower than HELOCs or home equity loans, your lender might charge you a higher interest rate than the first time around.

Cash-out refinancing has its uses, but consider the pros and cons carefully and talk with a financial advisor before deciding it’s right for you.

 

This article originally appeared on Earnin.

 

Please note, the material collected in this blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be relied upon as or construed as advice regarding any specific circumstances. Nor is it an endorsement of any organization or Services.


Fixed Microsoft Outlook unable to open any URL link in email problem

If you are using Microsoft Outlook as your email client, and facing the problem of unable to open any URL link in your emails, this could be a workable solution for you.

The symptom: whenever you click on a link in your email, expecting your web browser to open the link, or in the case of a mailto email address link, expecting Outlook to open the New Message window for you to write a new email to the recipient, you will get this pop-up error message instead: "Your organization's policies are preventing us from completing this action for you. For more info, please contact your help desk".  


However, if you are using Outlook in your home computer, or your IT personnel told you that they didn't impose any such restriction on your computer, then the actual problem is possibly due to corrupted Windows registry.

You can try to fix it by resetting related Windows registry entries to their original form.

To do this, use Notepad or any text editor to open a new plain text file, copy and paste the following content into it.

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\SOFTWARE\Classes\htmlfile\shell\open\command]
@="\"C:\\Program Files (x86)\\Internet Explorer\\iexplore.exe\" -nohome"
[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\SOFTWARE\Classes\htmlfile\shell\opennew\command]
@="\"C:\\Program Files (x86)\\Internet Explorer\\iexplore.exe\" %1"

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.htm]
@="htmlfile"
[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.html]
@="htmlfile"
[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.shtml]
@="htmlfile"

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\htmlfile\shell\open\command]
@="\"C:\\Program Files (x86)\\Internet Explorer\\iexplore.exe\" -nohome"
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\htmlfile\shell\opennew\command]
@="\"C:\\Program Files (x86)\\Internet Explorer\\iexplore.exe\" %1"

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\.htm]
@="htmlfile"
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\.html]
@="htmlfile"
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\.shtml]
@="htmlfile"

[-HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Classes\htmlfile]
[-HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\.htm]
[-HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\.html]
[-HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\.shtml]

Save the above content in plain text as "fix-my-links.reg".

Login as a user with Administrator rights, and double click on this file fix-my-links.reg to fix your Windows registry.

After that, you should be able to open the URL links in your emails in Outlook now.


Tuesday, January 26, 2021

My L01 handphone selfie stick and tripod with Bluetooth shutter button

You might have awared that I am using Iruin to make use of my handphone camera as computer webcam.

This solution works pretty well. However, I found that I need a mini tripod to hold my handphone to get a better camera shooting angle, and I have found this L01 selfie stick which can also act as a tripod stand. Its price of below RM20 is very affordable.


The length of this L01 selfie stick, when folded, is only about 18.6 cm, which is very handy to carry along. It has a pretty light weight of 155 gram. It comes with a nice pouch too.

To use it as a tripod, just hold your handphone with its clamp, and unfold its 3 retractable legs.


The clamp is flexible to hold handphone of width between 5.5cm to 8.5cm, including the thickness of protective casing, if there is any.

Its length can be extended up to 70cm, by pulling out its stainless steel pole.


Obviously, you can use it as a selfie stick as well, by folding its 3 legs.

Its handphone holder is 360 degree rotatable, so you can take photo and video in portrait mode as well. 


The holder can be tilted up to 200 degree, to adjust the camera shooting angle.

This selfie stick has a handy Bluetooth shutter button, which is detachable.


The shutter button is powered by a CR1632 battery inside it, which is changeable.

To pair this Bluetooth shutter button with your handphone, just long-press it, and confirm the Bluetooth pairing in your handphone.

After pairing, you can use this button to take photo with your handphone.

The button will automatically disconnect and shutdown itself after 600 seconds of non-operation.

This L01 selfie stick is multi-functional, very easy to use, and made with pretty solid material. I like it very much.


Sunday, January 24, 2021

What to do if you need cash quickly?

 


Emergencies happen. Bills are due, but you don’t have sufficient funds in your account to cover them all. Unfortunately, failing to make a payment could negatively impact your credit score and result in you owing more thanks to late and various other fees.

You can try calling your respective creditors or service providers to discuss your options. What if they’re not understanding, though? You need to know how to get money in your bank account, stat, or you might lose a necessity until you can pay up.

If you’ve overdrawn your account but want to avoid the dangers of payday loans, here are a few legitimate ways to get quick cash:

Use Financial Apps

Let’s say your internet bill is due during the second half of the month, but you don’t have the money to cover it because you need to prioritize rent, water, and other necessities. Even worse, your employer’s pay cycle delays when you receive your paycheck, so you probably won’t get paid for several more days. You can’t overdraw your account, but you also don’t want to find an internet café whenever you need to get online.

You could borrow money from a friend, but there’s an easier option: use an app. One great example is Earnin, a community-driven app that enables you to receive your money after you’ve earned it. It’s more than a quick money app because those funds are rightfully yours — you can get the $65 it will take to cover your internet bill, and Earnin deducts the amount from your paycheck after it comes in. It’s not your fault the pay cycle screwed you over, after all!

Sell Your Possessions

This option isn’t fun, but you might decide it’s necessary if you’re in a tight enough spot. Selling your stuff has no upfront costs, and you get to keep 100% of the profits if you do 100% of the work.

Host a yard sale or go to a pawn shop to see how much you can get for various items (preferably those you don’t need, such as clothes and unused electronics). You can also sell possessions on apps like Letgo, Decluttr, and Poshmark, which broaden the range of customers you have access to. Some of your items may also be rentable.

Perform Odd Jobs

If you don’t want to sell your stuff and have the time to squeeze it in, sell your labor and take up “gig” work. Common ideas include driving for rideshare services, delivering food, or house (and pet) sitting. One of the advantages of side-gig work is that you can do it on your own time, can choose what you participate in, and you can do it as often or as little as you’d like.

Apps like TaskRabbit connect users to a wide range of opportunities in their local areas. Maybe someone needs help mounting a TV, assembling a piece of furniture, or cleaning their kitchen. Whatever you’re willing and able to do, performing odd jobs is a convenient way to earn quick money.

Take Out a Credit Card Advance

Despite your current situation, is your credit in decent shape? You might be able to take out a credit card cash advance. You’ll have to pay a fee and interest (unless you pay off the balance by its due date), so be careful about putting yourself in further debt unless you know your financial predicament will improve in the near future.

Request an Advance from Your Employer

On a related note, consider asking your employer for an advance on your paycheck. You will receive your salary or wages early if your employer agrees and will pay it back through payroll deduction over the next pay period. The worst your employer can do is say “no,” so it never hurts to ask.

Apply for a Loan

If you need a substantial amount of money that none of the options above will cover, then you may consider applying for a personal loan. Some lenders allow you to borrow within a day, but you’ll need good credit unless you want to be stuck with a staggeringly high interest rate.

You can use a personal loan for something clever, though: consolidating debt. Between medical bills, utilities, rent or mortgage payments, student loans, and everything else, those are lots of obligations to keep track of and associated fees to pay. This piece of advice isn’t so much to get you quick money as it is to save you future headaches, but you can roll your debts into one and make a single, consistent monthly payment.

It’s understandable if you find yourself facing difficult financial choices. You have more options than you may know, though, so consider your time, assets, debts, and other factors when you need cash quickly.


This article originally appeared on Earnin.

 

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Online check your car current market value and NCD information for free

When it is able the time to renew your car insurance and road tax, you might want to check for the latest market value of your car, and also confirm its entitled No Claims Discount (NCD) percentage for the upcoming car insurance policy.

MyCarInfo website provides a reliable source for you to check for such information, for free.

You can click here to check for the current market value of a car in Malaysia, by providing the following information to do the search at the website:

  • Year manufactured
  • Make / brand
  • Model
  • Engine CC
  • Transmission type
  • Variant-series


The result shown includes:
  • National Vehicle Identification Code (NVIC)
  • Vehicle description
  • Market value
  • Valuation date

And you can click here to check for the next NCD percentage entitled to your car insurance policy, by providing the following information to do the search at the website:
  • Vehicle registration number
  • The owner's NRIC number

The result shown includes:
  • Next NCD percentage
  • Next NCD effective date
  • Current policy period of cover
  • Current NCD percentage
  • Current NCD effective date


The result shown includes:
  • Insurer
  • Type of cover
  • Policy status

With the information acquired above, you can now visit to another website called CarBase.my to estimate for your next car insurance premium amount need to be paid.





Monday, January 11, 2021

Weekly, monthly & more: How your pay schedule affects you

 

Photo by Vitaly Taranov on Unsplash


Let’s say you had a job as a cashier at your local grocery store that paid every two weeks. You quit that position and got a new job in an office, but this one pays once a month instead. What gives?

There are different kinds of pay schedules that determine when and how often you receive your paycheck. Businesses usually set their pay schedules to benefit themselves. Payroll management entails labor and costs, so companies will go for the option that is more convenient and saves them money. 

Employees (as opposed to freelancers) don’t normally get to decide how often they get paid, so it’s critical to factor your pay cycle into your weekly or monthly budget, especially if you live paycheck to paycheck. Will you have your money when you need it?

Here are four common types of pay schedules:

Kinds of Pay Schedules

Weekly Payroll

Some businesses pay their employees weekly, which means employees receive their income on Fridays. This schedule is more common amongst freelancers, contract workers, and trade industries like construction and manufacturing. These job types commonly have irregular hours, so it makes sense to pay workers according to a shorter time frame.

While weekly schedules are a favorite amongst employees because it means you have more regular access to your money. If you drained your bank account on bills last week because it was the end of the month but want a night out with your friends, no worries — you get paid on Friday, so you can afford that night out as long as you save enough for your upcoming expenses.

However, most businesses avoid the weekly system. Payroll vendors frequently charge money every time a company (their customer) runs payroll. Doing so weekly takes extra time to process, so companies will opt for more extended periods to reduce costs and add convenience.

Bi-Weekly Payroll

A bi-weekly pay schedule means you receive your paycheck every two weeks. This cycle amounts to 26 or 27 paydays per year. Many businesses prefer bi-weekly timelines because they save money processing payroll and can calculate overtime more easily (each paycheck accounts for approximately 80 work hours). As such, bi-weekly payroll is more common amongst businesses that pay their employees hourly.

Bi-weekly schedules are not challenging to manage, but two months out of the year will have three paydays instead of two. Accountants need to factor in these paydays when calculating voluntary employee deductions, like healthcare, which are equal in a bi-monthly pay schedule.

Bi-Monthly Payroll

Bi-monthly pay means your employer pays you twice per month, also known as semi-monthly. As such, you might receive your income on the first of and in the middle of the month (likely on the 15th), or in the middle and end. A bi-monthly pay schedule entails 24 payments per year, which makes it distinct from bi-weekly. If you earn $45,000 per year on a bi-weekly cycle, your paychecks (not accounting for taxes and deductions) will be around $1730.77 each, whereas your paychecks will equal $1,875 on a semi-monthly schedule. It’s the same amount of money but divided differently.

Bi-monthly payroll is common for salaried employees. Calculating deductions is easy for accountants, and you always know which dates you will receive your income.

Monthly Payroll

You guessed it — monthly payroll means your paycheck comes in once a month. This format is ideal for businesses because it makes accounting easy and reduces processing costs, but it’s disadvantageous for employees and contractors because they have less frequent access to their money. If you work a job that pays monthly, you need to be extra careful with budgeting because you’ll only receive your income in lump sums 12 times per year.

How Does Your Pay Schedule Affect You?

Your pay schedule does not affect how much you get paid in a year, assuming you work the same number of hours either way. However, your pay cycle does influence how often you have access to your hard-earned money, and therefore the way you budget.

For example, let’s say you paid all your bills last month and now don’t have much left in your savings. Your job pays you bi-weekly, so you’ll have enough money to pay the first round of next month’s expenses, but your next paycheck won’t arrive in time to pay the rest. Now you’re in a tight spot.

One option is to make an early paycheck request from your employer. If your employer agrees, they will provide you all or part of your paycheck before they usually would, allowing you to pay your bills, but it lengthens the time between your next paycheck.

Another option is to use financial apps. Your job’s pay cycle is out of your hands, but you can control when you get paid with apps like Earnin. Earnin allows you to take out up to $500 of your earnings per pay period. This way, you won’t have to worry about missing a bill because your employer’s pay schedule isn’t in your favor, and you won’t have to pay mandatory fees for convenience.

Your pay schedule affects your ability to pay expenses and for recreation, so it’s important to know how often you’ll receive your income when applying for a job or managing your finances. Though your pay cycle might not always work in your favor, there are ways you can control having access to your money.

Restrictions and/or third-party fees may apply, see Earnin.com/TOS for details.


This article originally appeared on Earnin.

 

Hint: Click on the "Older Posts" link to continue reading, or click here for a listing of all my past 3 months articles.