By Dr. Muhammad Ridzuan bin Abdul Aziz
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused some unexpected economic conditions. In these conditions, it’s important for individuals to manage their personal finances wisely to avoid facing financial difficulties. Ideally, people should only spend on their needs and postpone their spending on what can be considered as “wants”. If possible, increasing savings will help long-term and people should try to refrain from making risky investments.
Luckily, there is a wealth of information out there for people who may need help. Borrowers who are facing difficulty meeting their loan repayments can get assistance from an agency under Bank Negara Malaysia, the Credit Counselling and Debt Management Agency (AKPK). AKPK can provide repayment assistance and free financial advice to individuals.
Borrowers can also opt for the loan moratorium granted by the bank as a temporary solution to their repayment difficulties. However, it’s good to bear in mind that the total cost of borrowing will increase as interest or profit for the loan or financing will continue to accrue on the deferred repayment. Similarly, they can also discuss with their banks to reschedule or restructure their loan in accordance with their financial circumstances.
Under the i-Citra initiative, Individuals can make a withdrawal from their account with the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) not only if their income is affected, but also to increase their liquidity. Individuals with no immediate need for cash are urged to save the money withdrawn from their EPF account in Tabung Haji and Amanah Saham Bumiputera (ASB) which can be withdrawn freely should there be a need for cash arises.
With all this useful financial information in mind and more online, let’s remind ourselves to spend wisely and plan for the future!
Source / Reference
Bank Negara Malaysia https://www.bnm.gov.my
Credit Counselling and Debt Management Agency https://www.akpk.org.my
Employees Provident Fund https://icitra.kwsp.gov.my