Financial Priorities

10:44 PM

Salam Doctor, I want to study MRCP to be a specialist. Can I know the salary of a private hospital specialist or consultant? I hope to earn RM 30K – 40K by age 35 – 40 so I can retire early by 50. Harap tuan doktor boleh beri pencerahan. Terima kasih.


I’m sorry Aishah, I do not have the exact details to answer your question. What I do know is, as in any business (private practice included), the more demand there are for your service, you can generate more income. If you do well enough in your area of specialty, your services will be very sought after. In actual fact, you do not have to put a cap on how much you can earn. You just have to make sure that you provide the best professional service around. However, I seldom see excellent consultants retire early. Most of them continue to practice throughout their lives. They will find ways to contribute in any way towards medicine and society in general.

I think what you are looking for is FINANCIAL FREEDOM

Surprisingly, financial freedom has NOTHING to do with how much you earn (active income). Have you heard a story about a doctor earning RM 25,000 per month but with monthly loan commitments of RM 40,000?

Here’s a real life scenario. I’ve seen it happen among quite a number of my colleagues.
Household income: RM 15,000 (including locums)

A continental car, renowned for frequent breakdowns: RM 1,300 per month (loan commitment)

A Honda Civic: RM 1200 per month

A large RM 500K+ semi-D landed property (joined loan): RM 2600 per month

Personal loan commitments (used for wedding ceremony): RM 1500 each (RM 3000)

Credit card commitments: RM 2000 each (RM 4000)

Husband uses a Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

Wife uses an iPhone 6.

Their total loan commitments are RM 12100; an astounding 81% of their income. They have a total of RM 2900 to live by.
This causes a few problems:
1. Banks will NOT provide any loan to the couple. The cut off point for debt to income ratio is between 60 – 70%. This will hinder their ability to get an income generating asset (property) in the near future.

2.With RM 2900 left for bills, food, fuel and toll, will there be any amount left for savings?

3. The 2 cars they own are NOT ASSETS. The price will depreciate by more than 20%. Just look at the price of Volkswagens in the secondary market.

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4. The semi-D house they live in is NOT AN ASSET. In fact it is a liability. They will have to fork out money for quit rent, taxes and maintenance of the house.

What can be done?
1. Restructure the finances. Prioritize on NEEDS and WANTS. A big house may not be a good idea earlier on in life. You may NOT NEED to live in a condo with a swimming pool view. A normal apartment will suffice. The maintenance fee for a condo with a swimming pool may cost at least RM 200 a month.

2. Start early to benefit from compounded interest. Start with funds such Amanah Saham Nasional or Unit Trusts. It is the easiest and cheapest entry into the world of investing. As you progress, try and understand how the stock market work and how you can be your own fund manager.

3. Read books on investments.  There are plenty of good ones with easy to understand language. No need to buy the big textbooks on financing.

4. Be credit worthy. Check CCRIS often. DO NOT default on any loans. If your CCRIS looks nice with very low commitments (no commitments can also be a blunder), banks will LOVE you. It will be easier to apply for housing loans.

5. Start small with properties, then make your way up. Buy properties with mass market potential, not the luxury ones. Make proper analysis on potential property purchases. Make sure that the property will have reasonable cashflow and capital appreciation. There is NO SUCH THING as “ALL PROPERTIES ARE ASSETS. If buy and keep, sure untung later”.

Of course, all this is easier said than done. What is important is to start early. 

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