Article from BERNAMA Online dated 6 January 2014
KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama) -- As at November 2013, 244,517 Malaysians have received counseling from the Credit Counseling and Debt Management Agency (AKPK) and of the figure, 40.7 per cent or 99,347 people had to enlist in debt management programmes.
Among the main factors causing their financial problems were poor financial
planning (22.9 per cent), high cost of medication (18.3%), business failure (15.2%) and uncontrolled credit card usage (11.1%).
To cope with the rising prices of goods and services, consumers need to change their spending habits and lifestyle towards one of moderation, said AKPK corporate services division general manager Azman Hasim.
He said the people need to be thrifty and create an emergency fund while avoiding taking up new loans for a stable personal financial position.
"Discipline oneself and focus on small measures such as reducing the frequency of eating out, saving electricity and water while saving 10 per cent of the total income are some of the effective ways to face the rising cost of living," he told Bernama.
Azman said the easiest way was to have a budget list on income and important expenditure.
However, he said many people are aware of the problems of an unbalanced budget but they did nothing, leading to problems in the family and at work.
Meanwhile, AKPK director Datuk Mahani Tan Abdullah said members of the public could seek free services from AKPK on financial education, debt management and credit counseling.
"Through the services offered by AKPK, they can obtain free counseling and budget advice to manage expenditure.
"With these services, I believe they could plan their expenditure wisely especially in times of rising prices of goods," she said.
She said consumers could obtain AKPK services by calling its toll free number at 1800-88-2575 or visit any AKPK branch in the country.
Meanwhile, a financial consultant Phua Lee Kerk suggests one should purchase according to priority.
"There should be a list, ranging from the necessary to the unimportant items.
"Apart from that, they should also set a limit on their purchases to avoid wastage and emotional spending," he said.
He said young people tend to follow the latest trends in buying gadgets and clothes.
"Sometimes they buy such items to show off when such expenditures are
"Some even incurred heavy debts in chasing such trends and in the end they could not settle their borrowings," he said.