Hypothetical Me: Big Spender, or Struggling Everyman?

Last post, I made an example out of hypothetical me, who apparently uses up all his hard earned monthly pay on things. But does he really spend frivolously, or is he living nyawa-nyawa ikan? Let’s break down his cost of living in Brunei.

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TAP, SCP and You

As a gainfully-employed citizen or permanent resident of Brunei, part of your pay is deducted automatically for both TAP and SCP.

What are those?

Say I earn $1000 per month. On every payday, 5% of that, or $50 in this example, is whisked away, and put into an account managed by an entity. Another $50, this time from my employer, is also saved into that account. This $100 totalled per month is used by the entity to generate more money for me, and when I manage to reach the retirement age of 55, the whole sum of money my employer and I have put into said account through the years will be handed back to me with dividends, possibly in a duffel bag I don’t know. That’s TAP.

But $35, another 3.5% of your money,  is also deducted and put into another account. Employer also matches, and the same entity as above works this money, but instead of getting a lump sum at 55 years old, I’ll have to wait 5 more years, trying not to spend that sweet TAP money all at once, and from 60 receive a legally-mandated minimum of $150 per month* for the next 20 years. This is SCP.

The entity? YOU The Employees’ Trust Fund, or better known as Tabung Amanah Pekerja.

Of course, life is not that simple, and neither are things that are to do with money. I’ll try to break down how both of them work, and how to make them work for you.

Before I do that though, imagine a hypothetical me from above who started working from when he was 25 years old, and for some reason, never thought to ask for a raise or move to a different workplace with higher pay all throughout his working life, and calculate how much he will get from his TAP and SCP when he retires at 55.

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Trim The Fat

I’ve been trying to lose… a lot of the things I own.

After moving homes for the 8th time, with 3 of those within the last two years, I realised that having too many things is a big burden.

Clothes, books, gadgets, CDs and DVDs, these are all strewn about somewhere in my room or in boxes throughout the current house. Mostly things that I bought, “wants” that eventually became “uncared about” as it collects months to years’ worth of dust.

I boasted to myself (and others) that I hadn’t fallen into the trap of buying a fancy car as soon as I started work, as many are wont to do, but 8 years has gone by and I really don’t have anything to show for it.

I made a rough calculation that if I had saved even 1/3rd of my take-home pay for the length of the time I had been working, I would have had a 6-figure sum sitting tidily in my bank account today. Easily.

Where did that money go?

At least the people I felt so superior over had something physical to show for their years of work, and something they can sell to recoup at least some of the money they had spent on it.

No use crying over spilt milk. Just acknowledge the problem, keep trimming the fat and move forward.

Speaking of fat, I need to lose some of that too. That’ll be something for another day.