Sunday, April 27, 2014

The worst reason in the world to buy anything is just because someone else did

How many times you can find yourself buying something as a result of just following the crowd or because someone else did?

It could be a hand phone, a gadget, a book, a music album, a drink, a food, a car, a property, or even an investment instrument (stock counter, futures, forex, mutual fund, etc.).

Why is it being the worst reason in the world to just follow someone else to buy something? Well, the keyword in the sentence is "just".

It is really a bad idea to blindly follow other people, particularly in buying, without your own reason(s) to do so.

Always remember the saying: one man's food is someone else's poison.

So, do not simply buy a stock just because Warren Buffett bought it. You need to find several other reasons to convince yourself before making the order.

Do not simply buy a property just because people around you have bought theirs. You need to assess your own financial situation, your gut feeling about the property, your planning, your willingness to manage it, etc.

Do not simply buy certain brand of smartphone just because people around you are using that phone. Have you find out the pros and cons of the phone? Have you find out the features and map them to your own need? Have you compare it with some other alternatives?

A lot of time, if we chose that worst reason in the world to buy something, we might end up buying the wrong thing, or buying the unnecessary, or even buying a nightmare. This is particularly true in the investment world.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

EPF i-Account Android app launched

The Employees Provident Fund (EPF, a.k.a. Kumpulan Wang Simpanan Pekerja, KWSP) has recently launched their Android mobile app called EPF i-Account, which is now freely available in Google Play Store.

You can click here to download the EPF i-Account app from Google Play Store.

It is an HTML5 based mobile app, which you can login your EPF i-Account with the same username and password which you've setup in the web-based EPF i-Account at

The EPF i-Account Android app enables us to view our EPF account status and the monthly contributions detail. The EPF statements for current year and previous year are also available.

We can also see our personal profile info stored with EPF.

Other features are listed as in the screenshot below.

Currently, the EPF i-Account Android app can only be used to view information. It doesn't have function to make withdrawal request or make change request.

This app is currently having Malay language user interface only.

So far, more than 10,000 people have already installed the app. Have you?

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

BNM to postpone execution of 50 sen cheque processing fee from 1 April 2014 to 2 January 2015

There is insider news from local media that Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) will soon announce a postponement of the execution of 50 sen cheque processing fee from 1 April 2014 to 2 January 2015.

About one year ago, I have written here that BNM reduced  the processing fee of Interbank GIRO (IBG) money transfer performed online via internet banking or mobile banking to 10 sen only, effective 2 May 2013.

At the same time, BNM intended to discourage the use of paper cheque by imposing a processing fee of 50 sen per cheque transaction on top of the existing 15 sen stamp duty, making the transaction per cheque to cost 65 sen to be borne by the cheque issuer. This is supposed to start soon on 1 April 2013.

Now, we are glad to hear the news that this policy will be postponed until year 2015.

In my previous article, I ended by saying that BNM really need to think through carefully before enforcing the "discouraging mechanism" of using cheque in order to get people to use electronic money transfer.

Now that after one year, we are still having a lot of questions which need clear direction, including:

  • We can write cheque that honours a large amount of money transfer, such as hundreds of thousands to millions. How will this be handled in electronic transfer, which only allows a small amount of money to be transferred per day?
  • We can have current account that requires 2 valid signatures on the same cheque before it is honoured. How will electronic transfer handle the requirement for co-signature?
  • In certain scenario, we can make use of cheque to act as deposit/guarantee, which is kept by the recipient but will not be banked in immediately. How can electronic transfer handle this kind of requirement?
I hope that BNM can at least come out with a list of FAQ with answers, before the cheque processing fee is imposed, be it on 1 April 2014, or 2 January 2015, or other date.

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