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Car or Home? Setting Investment Priorities Right as a Young Investor
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12 Oct 18
clock 12-10-2018
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Do I get a car or a house? This investment question might be one of the most-asked questions for young investors. It is easy to answer when you understand your own needs.


Getting a car or a house first or both at the same time is a complex challenge. Both big-ticket assets may seem to be the foundation of the society today. Getting either one of them or both together could negatively affect our cash flow greatly. This investment dilemma isn't something that should be taken lightly. In fact, it takes months, even years, to plan for it and find the exact one that meets your standards.

There are a lot of aspects to take into consideration over the course of making your decision, especially with the constant changes in the market and economy. While there is no one plan that will suit every individual, understanding your needs will help shape your financial goals and portfolio.

The Financial Stages of Life

You will have different outlooks on investment plans depending on what life stage you are in. What is right for your money now may not be so great in the next five to ten years. What is right today when you start working may change as you start a family tomorrow. Buying a home or a car will make up some of the biggest purchases many of us will make, though it is often not a one-time process. As our lifestyles and financial status improve over time, we will find the need for more space, or less space, better locations and look for different amenities. Although the property market remains a firm investment favourite, property experts say that many millennials today are opting against it for the time being and focusing instead on lifestyle purchases.

While millennials' financial priorities may change once they hit their 30s, experts say that those in their 20s now do not have property purchases on their minds, unlike those in this age group some 20 years ago. Understanding which phase you are in can greatly help with understanding why certain investments are necessary and how they fit into your overall investment portfolio, making the uneasy feelings about investments more understandable and why they may be necessary. Not only do financial markets fluctuate, but your financial needs also change over time.

Reality vs Peer Pressure

People must look at the purpose of property or car ownership rather than fitting in with their peers. Naturally, everyone wants the best, whether buying a home or a new car but they need to balance their needs with their financial capability. Instead of making financial decisions based around what will be best for us, we start doing things based on what others will think. If we're not clear about whom we think we are, our own values and our own goals, then we are just playing keep up with the Joneses.

Quoting internationally-renowned speaker and best-selling author, Kim Kiyosaki, “Your financial plan is your own. Your reason why and your current financial situation, are unique to you. Certain notes of your story might match up with other people, but at the end of the day it's your life, and no one else's. So your financial plan must be as unique as you are. Meaning, it shouldn't start by asking what Tom is investing in, or what stock Cheryl is really confident about. It should start by looking inward, increasing your education, and making decisions based on your own experiences and attitudes.”

Your Assets in the Shared Economy

For individuals who are looking to make some money out of their assets, take note of these modern trends: Co-living, co-working and ride-hailing are the new way of living for city-dwellers. This sharing concept is not only great potential for personal revenue growth, it is an attempt to create a conscious community that can live a sustainable lifestyle, by sharing the resources or the space provided to them. It is reinventing the way people invest money. Airbnb took a profit monopoly away from big corporations in the hotel industry and gave it to individuals; Uber created an opportunity for ordinary people to earn money only by knowing how to drive a car. So, the notion that cars do not generate income for you is somewhat untrue now.

This disruptive trend is forcing individuals to step up their passive income game. More real estate players are flipping their properties to meet the increasing demand for communal workspace, a new strategy that is expected to keep them afloat as the market goes through a correction period. In fact, according to a statistics research, there are over 31,900 listings in Malaysia on Airbnb, with the annual median income of hosts averaging RM4,725 a month.

Taking all these factors into consideration and understanding your own needs, you can have a plan instead of feeling overwhelmed by all the statistics and figures, the application process, and the responsibility of being a home or car owner. Take this opportunity to learn how you can be a better, more responsible grown-up and make calculated decisions.

Is it an easy choice? Property or vehicle? Economically speaking, a house will appreciate over time whereas the car will depreciate. However, your ultimate verdict should reflect your needs instead of wants so that you will get the most profit from whatever upgrade you choose. In the end, it should really come down to which one will serve you best. Which one will serve you best for the next 5 years of your life?

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