‘Financial well-being at dismal levels’

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PETALING JAYA: One out of five working adults did not manage to save any money over the last six months, a survey has shown.

The Debt Management and Counselling Agency (AKPK) survey also found that three out of 10 working adults had to borrow money to buy essential goods.

AKPK chief executive officer Azaddin Ngah Tasir said the majority involved either earned less than RM2,000 or were self-employed.

“The main reason why many of them were unable to save was the high cost of living,” he told reporters.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail had earlier launched AKPK’S inaugural financial behaviour survey report at its Financial Literacy Symposium 2018.

The survey, from January to July, involved more than 3,500 Malaysian working adults. Six advisers from public and private institutions of higher learning were engaged.

“As shown by the survey, the financial well-being of the respondents was at dismal levels.

“Many did not set aside money for emergency needs and medical expenses. They would not be able to cover three months of expenses if retrenched,” said Azad­din.

The survey also found that government employees formed the highest percentage of borrowers of personal loans and that more than half of those about to retire were still servicing housing and car loans.

It also found that those working in the agriculture, security and enforcement sectors scored lowest on financial well-being.

In her speech, Dr Wan Azizah said as of September, 13,338 Malay­sians were declared bankrupt.

She said financial planning did not start only when one encountered financial problems and that all should have a financial budget.

“The Finance Minister presented the national budget two weeks ago, which among others, outlined the country’s revenues and expenses.

“Why can’t we, then, as individuals start with an annual or a monthly financial budget, outlining our own incomes and expenses for the period?” she asked.