December Blues

This is the month of December. Two years ago when I was the head honcho of the retirement agency fund, this is the month that would see the most number of fund members coming to see me appealing if their long term retirement fund can be taken out - if not the whole amount but just a little to cover their children's school expenses and other odds and ends. I would have to explain that their retirement funds are for retirement and that they are not allowed to withdraw other than for purposes which are allowed under the law governing that fund. For most of the fund members, their retirement fund seemed to be the only savings that they have.

December can be a distressing month for many people - the cost of outfitting a child for government school despite the fact that there is no monthly fees and free text books, can still be about a $100 a child - made up of school uniforms, shoes, bags, workbooks etc. If you have more than one child, then those expenses will certainly add up. If your children go to the private schools, then there will be added costs for the coming year school fees to pay for as well as textbooks to buy. If you have other expenses such as a wedding to prepare for as December seemed to be the month when most couples marry, December will be a very expensive month indeed. The more fortunate families go away for their holidays - the expense for a week in Singapore. Bangkok or KL can be quite expensive. Whatever it is, December is expensive.

However there are also those who find practically every month to be expensive. There have been many theories as to why this is so and there has been enough entries on this blogsite about it in the past, so I would not comment further. One commentator wrote yesterday on my entry on the colours of Brunei money - '... despite the varieties of colours of money, I am sad to say that I am one of the unfortunate few to come across the majority of our common people in Brunei who never get to enjoy the colours for long. I find it sad that most people end up with few dollars in their pockets by the second week of each calendar month. Going through the means of the people I came across saddened me. To think how they can feed their children, their own being, schooling, attires, it is so stressing. I wonder where we went wrong ...'

Indeed, where did we go wrong?

Comments

Anonymous said…
we r simply living beyond our means... at our our office we hav the gardener who has 12 kids, he still makes ends meet... remarkable eh, and i hav lots of respect for him, a lesson to us all. d brunei ani, duit ampai2, jual nasi bungkus pun laku...
Anonymous said…
There are some kids at Delima area who begged me twice for a dollar. They did look poor to me but where did they come from, beats me.
St.Jackal said…
Duit ampai ampai, they can see it, but they need someone else untuk putik and unjukkan kedorang.

Or maybe gomen boleh baik hati sikit, buat short term fund, boleh bayar monthly instalment, then bagi dividend tahunan~~~
Anonymous said…
When I was kid, nothing was made freely available. My dad was so good at keeping his money that it was averaging more than $10k in his cash box .. pretty amazing becoz' that was sheer discipline considering my dad's earnings. We've envious of other people's ability to spend on things which we don't have.

The good thing about it is that we learn to appreciate the value of money which we keep instilling in our kids minds despite having the capacity to spent. It does now make more sense what was my dad's real intention back then.
Anonymous said…
When I was kid, nothing was made freely available. My dad was so good at keeping his money that it was averaging more than $10k in his cash box .. pretty amazing becoz' that was sheer discipline considering my dad's earnings. We've envious of other people's ability to spend on things which we don't have.

The good thing about it is that we learn to appreciate the value of money which we keep instilling in our kids minds despite having the capacity to spent. It does now make more sense what was my dad's real intentions back then.
Anonymous said…
When I was kid, nothing was made freely available. My dad was so good at keeping his money that it was averaging more than $10k in his cash box .. pretty amazing becoz' that was sheer discipline considering my dad's earnings. We've envious of other people's ability to spend on things which we don't have.

The good thing about it is that we learn to appreciate the value of money which we keep instilling in our kids minds despite having the capacity to spent. It does now make more sense what was my dad's real intention back then.
Anonymous said…
bruneians!
when they can afford an old corona, they want the new vios...when they can afford the new vios, they want a pajero...when they can afford a pajero, they want a mercedes....when they can afford a mercedes, they want a porsche.
how bout if you can afford a mercedes, buy a vios instead, and save up for rainy days
Anonymous said…
For sure they wont be able to help themselves, for them, the only solution is to borrow more money!Rarely i find people who save up instead of borrow more..its just so sad. Maybe wat they really need is some financial education..have that necessary financial literacy so they would know how to save, how to increase, how to invest their money..
Anonymous said…
how about just don't have kids (simple enough concept but completely alien to people here) to become an instant semi-millionaire. duh. what's the point of having kids.
Faith Healer said…
Our elders used to remind us that children are assets from God ("rezeki nya orang tua-tua") and at the same time they are also "AMANAH" or 'TRUST' given to us by the AlMighty. Not to be compared with the only too familiar issue to our knowledgeable BR of "Tabung Amanah Pekerja", kids are still big responsibilities entrusted to all parents. And they can become liabilities to the Society too if not nurtured in the holistically-balanced ways of life.

The Malay proverb "Melentur buluh biar dari rebungnya" (To bend a bamboo, it has to start from the offshoot?) should be the benchmark practise in teaching financial planning or how to spend money 101.

For Muslim parents, the best methodology is through 'FAITH' or "IMAN". That is basically the problem with us all i.e. Lack of Faith or "kurangnya Iman di dalam diri kita semua", yours truly included. And it's something most fundamental that we must work on!

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