A cautionary tale to all greenhorns new to the working industry
At some point of time, we have all heard of stories about young people or friends that sank into an endless snowball of debts after overbuying stuff with their newly obtained credit cards following their entry into the working industry and earning money post graduating from tertiary education.
However, this story of a young man who is dangerously tip-toeing on the brink of bankruptcy stood out among the many others, because he is by no means, financially insecure- he is simply struggling with his financials just because of a car.
Singaporean now-graduate, Johnny had himself a bright future in his university days- having already received multiple job offers even before graduating.
Following his graduation, Johnny secured himself a job with a good pay at a local bank- a very comfortable $4,500 (RM13, 185). He was earning bigger bucks than the rest of his peers and was considered by his peers and family to be a young guy who was set for a debt-free life.
Like many other greenhorns who are new to the working industry, he experienced a culture shock of sorts. He was pocketing a mere $600 (RM1847) a month when he worked as a private tutor during his university days. All of a sudden, that measly $600 (RM1847) ballooned up to a whopping $3,600(RM11, 087) (after his CPF deduction)- which he admitted, was too much to take in at the time![caption id="attachment_5317" align="aligncenter" width="614"] Thinking that he could conquer the world with his above-average pay, Johnny foolhardily applied for nearly every credit card promoted at shopping malls and MRT stations.[/caption]
One by one, he received piles of credit cards and was feeling ‘rich’ from the credit limit given to him. He truly believed that he had become $100, 000 richer, simply because every bank was so willing to loan him money.[caption id="attachment_5318" align="aligncenter" width="599"] Little did Johnny know that offering credit cards to eager youngsters fresh in the working industry was one of the many tricks by banks.[/caption]
However, it wasn’t the little pieces of plastic that became the root of his financial problem. His troubles all started when he decided to buy a car one day.
At the time, it was possible to purchase a car with only a pay slip. Wanting to drive a car that properly portrayed his success, Johnny decided to purchase a luxury car.[caption id="attachment_5319" align="aligncenter" width="720"] Johnny walked away from a local BMW dealership one day, with a brand new BMW and a gleaming smile on his face.[/caption]
But here’s the thing– the monthly instalments had to be fulfilled without fail, or he would lose a reasonable amount of money.
Johnny paid $1, 000+ (RM3, 079+) every month for the car’s monthly instalments and all was good for Johnny—with him earning $3,600 (RM11, 087), he could still survive on a remainder of $1,000+ (RM3, 079) for his monthly expenses.
However, a few years later, he lost his job.
We are not sure on whether or not Johnny was retrenched or fired- but when he lost his job, Johnny couldn’t find the will to part ways with his beloved car.
The first thing he did, was find a job- fast. He secured a job as an executive in a financial institution but was forced to settle for a pay of about $2, 000 (RM6, 159), which was just about enough to only pay for his car’s instalment, petrol and maintenance for his car.
His friends, family members and everyone that knew him saw him as the successful banker who drives a BMW. He would rather survive on a diet of instant noodles and bread than to lose the only status symbol that was keeping his successful image alive.
It has been a few years now, and with him drawing only $2,000++(RM6, 159) and paying $2,000 (RM6, 159) on a monthly basis for his car, his concern now is what measure of action he would take next year (2017), when the COE of his car expires. By then, he would be scraping the bottom of the barrel and will not have enough money to renew his COE or buy a new car.
As Johnny penned his story to send to Goody Feed he was still on a diet of only instant noodles and bread.
He ended his e-mail to Goody Feed by saying ‘What was I thinking?’.
Johnny isn’t the only one with such a situation. Many others share the similar predicament as Johnny.
If anything Johnny’s story has taught us, is that the latest policies on car ownerships do more harm than help consumers.
The moral of the story is simple and concise- don’t buy a big hat if you have a small head.