Once upon a time, a young couple met and fell in love.
They shared many similar passions; the love for food, the passion to travel and most importantly, the desire to start a family of their own.
So down the wedding aisle, they went.
You see, they had it all planned out. They would both climb the corporate ranks, raise two loving kids, travel the world and live in a big beautiful house.
But then, reality came crashing down.
They began to realize how hard it was for working-class families to make ends meet.
Wait a minute, how hard can it be, you might ask? Quite difficult, in fact.
While it is not impossible to live a comfortable life, the path to attaining one can be rather challenging.
To give you an idea of some of the challenges faced by young Malaysian families, I’ve put together a little list:
1. CAR & HOUSING LOANS
According to The Star (source: Middle class malady), the average middle-class household rakes in a monthly income of around 8 – 9k per month. That sounds like quite a lot doesn’t it?
But take that amount and deduct around 4k per month to cover the cost of your house and car loans and we are left with just half of what you earned.
Half! Oh, the heartbreak!
I for one can feel the aching pain every month when my salary gets siphoned to pay for the house and car even before it gets to warm up my bank account.
2. HEALTHCARE BILLS
Now, take into consideration our family members’ health.
If we have babies and toddlers, we’ll need to send them for immunization shots once every few months.
Not to mention all the medications they’ll need for the occasional cough, sniffles, and allergies that just never seem to go away.
And how about caring for our aging parents?
My husband and I are blessed in the sense that we don’t have to face this kind of challenge, but there are families who spend a fortune to care for their frail and aging parents. And oh, and don’t forget the insurance bills for the whole family too.
So we can count ourselves lucky if all these healthcare bills set us back by another 1k per month.
3. GROCERIES & ESSENTIALS
Let’s face it. We need food and toiletries. Every single day. Plus our babies need their milk and diapers too!
Also, there will be times when we’ll allow ourselves to indulge in a little shopping spree or two (Christmas shopping or a Shoppe Mega Sale anyone?).
Aside from that, our cars need to guzzle down some petrol and we need to keep the electricity, water, and internet coming right?
So all in all, maybe another 2-3k down the drain?
4. YOUR CHILDREN’S EDUCATION
Last but not least, we have our children’s future to think about.
These days, sending our little ones to school simply isn’t enough.
With the ‘kiasu’ wave washing up the Malaysian shores, parents are frantically signing up their kids for all kinds of enrichment programs.
And as if that wasn’t enough, more and more parents are opting to send their kids to private schools which spells ‘ka-ching, ka-ching’.
Another 500 – 1k gone perhaps?
So you see, at the end of the month, after deducting all taxes and expenses, middle-income families are truly left with very little savings for the future.
To overcome this, many opt to work 2 – 3 jobs while a few savvy others invest in shares, REITs, unit trusts and a fearless minority try their hands at some other forms of business investments.
Whatever it is, we salute all these families, all these tireless warriors who are working hard, trying to pave a way for a better future.
We wish every single family out there all the best.
For more articles on poor financial situations, read: I Was Broke and Divorced at 38. Here’s How I Survived and Breaking up Because of Money and Status. A Girl’s Story.