The Importance of Personal Finance

Posted by Kris | Tuesday, February 26, 2013 | | 0 comments »

Found this in my email archives from my friend. This is a story on how you are going to stuck in a corporate rat race if you do not maintain good personal financial habits.

(Sorry about the weird spacings (looks like a poem format), lazy to fix it, so just copy and paste)

Things to ponder.... 

Nice story or shall I say Reality... 
Read till the End and Decide whether you want to be YOU or Ah Kau... 

The Ah Kau Story 
Ah Kau is a guy who sells newspaper every morning next to 
your apartment, and you are one of his daily regular 
customers. Before dashing off to your office every day, 
you will go to his small stall and buy The Star 
newspaper. Wearing a newly pressed shirt, a tie, and a 
pair of Clarks shoes, you grab a copy of The Star, pay 
RM1.20 and exchange smiles with Ah Kau and greet him. 

Apa macam Ah Kau ini hari? Bisnes ada baik? 
The normal greeting like you do every day. Yes, Ah Kau 
doesn¡¯t speak English. He speaks Chinese and knows a 
little bit of Malay. He speaks a little bit of Malay but 
with a very thick Chinese accent. 

Biasa saja¡ ini bisnes aa, kadang kadang baik, kadang 
kadang tada untung oo¡. 

Biasalah hidup. Kadang kadang ok, kadang kadang tak 

You give Ah Kau a pat on the back. You smile and 
walk away and get into your car. You start the engine and 
start driving to your office, a multinational 
semiconductor company located in a premier industrial 
area. You are a young and promising finance executive and 
the future looks bright for you. 

A year goes by and things look pretty good on the track. 
You decide to marry your fiancĂ© and have your new wife 
moves in to your place. Both of you feel happy because 
you can save more money as the two of you will be sharing 
one apartment and can live as one. 

Ah Kau is still selling the newspaper as usual. Sometimes 
in the morning your wife gets the newspaper from Ah Kau 
instead of you. 

A year later a child comes along, and you decide to buy 
and move into a newly developed condominium just across 
the street. This place is bigger so it will be perfectly 
fit for the 3 of you. But since both of you are working, 
you decide to get a maid to take of the household and 
your kid. 

By this time you're offered a managerial job from 
another multinational; the remuneration package offered 
is much better in terms of the pay, contractual bonus, 
medical benefits, ESOS scheme and a few others which make it impossible for you to decline. So you join this company happily. 

You get busier. You realize that you spend less and less 
time with your family. When your department is busy 
preparing for the next audit, your working hours become 
more and more ridiculous. Any internal issues arising in 
the office means you'll be stuck in the office until 8 
or 9 pm. Sometimes, during the weekend, you'll spend 
your time in your office, buried under paper works and 
documentations, instead of taking your family for a walk 
in the park. 

One morning, on your way to get your copy of The Star, 
you realized that Ah Kau is no longer in his stall. So is 
his rundown motorbike. Instead, there's another young 
Chinese guy at the stall. 

What happen to Ah Kau? You ask out of curiosity. 
Oh, he is still around, but he is no longer taking care 
of this stall as he has opened up a new grocery shop down 
town. I am running this newspaper stall for him. 

Ok, you smile. You feel happy for Ah Kau. At last he manages to improve his life. 

Your normal life continues. A year passes by and at the 
end of your company's fiscal year, you're rewarded for 
your effort with a 5 months bonus pay-out by your 
employer. Wow. Now that is a very handsome reward. You 
feel your effort has been equally compensated. To 
celebrate, you decide that it's time to trade your 
5-year old Proton Wira to the latest Honda Civic model. 
It won't be much a problem to you to get a loan scheme 
from the bank as your pay slip will provide you an easy 
gateway to access financial help from any bank. 

One day, the hardest reality of life hits you right on 
the face. The company that you've been working for years 
announces that they're moving their business to China 
for cost and competitive reason and has asked you to find 
a job somewhere else. What? You scream out cold. I 
got a lot of liabilities on the card! Who's gonna pay 
for my mortgage? My car? My credit card? My gym fees? My bills? You yell like there's no way out. 

This is the first time you feel let down by your own 
employer. All your hard work seem to go up on the smoke. 
You feel sick. You now hate your company. On the way 
home, you stopped by at a mamak restaurant for a cup of 
teh tarik while pondering about your future. Alone. 

Suddenly you saw this new, shiny BMW 3 series being 
parked nearby. And to your surprise, it was Ah Kau. Yes, 
Ah Kau who used to sell newspapers nearby your old 
apartment. What happened to old Ah Kau? You whisper 
to your self. 
Ah Kau still recognizes you, and sit next to you, and 
shared his story. 

To make it short, Ah Kau had accumulated his money from 
selling newspapers to open more stalls, one after 
another. Every new stall is run by his workers so that he 
focused on opening more and more stalls, which in turn 
give him more and more money. Over the years, he had 
accumulated enough cash to open up new grocery store 
while at the same time buying more assets to grow his 
wealth. And his current wealth and success is achieved 
without any loan or financial help from banks and other 
financial institutions. 

There you go. That's the story. While Ah Kau is set to 
become financially free, you're back to where you're 
started before. Ground zero. 

Before leaving, Ah Kau gives you a familiar quote, 
Biasalah hidup. Kadang kadang ok, kadang kadang tak ok. 
He gives you a pat on the back and walks away. 

In reality, if you're observant enough, there are a lot 
of Ah Kaus out there, that you will see every day and 
every where you go. The names are different, but inside 
them is every character of Ah Kau. They might be Uncle 
Dorai, Ah Chong, Pak Abu, Makcik Gemuk, Pak Man nasi 
lemak or others. 

They look to be struggling on the surface, but if you 
look carefully and compare with you life, many of them 
are living with little or no liabilities. They ride an 
old kapcai bike. They live in an old rundown house. 

They don't have credit card to swipe. They wear a 
10-year old shirt and short. No new, shiny Toyota 
Harrier. In short, their living means are far below than 
yours. But what you don't realize is that many of them 
can save more money than yours, and over the years 
generate enough money to expand their business, or invest 
in properties. Their asset columns are much thicker than 
that of yours. 

So the next time you see Ah Kau, never look down on 
them, and never under estimate them. Or else you're up 
for a harsh reality.