A Letter from Idaho, USA
The Star, Monday May 28, 2007
Most of us spend more than what we can afford
AFTER reading “Can you retire” (The Star Online, May 27), I agree with what is actually going on in our country.
Most of us spend more than what we can afford. A lot of people try to keep up with others and due to this, a lot end up with not enough money to spend.
But there are also other problems. I have been living in the United States for almost two years and I can save more money compared to when I was working in Malaysia for four years.
I am not converting US$1 to RM3.50 but am talking at a dollar to ringgit parity (US$1:RM1). As an example, a fresh degree graduate executive in US earns about US$3,000 after tax a month while a fresh Malaysian graduate earns about RM3,000 after tax.
Everything in Malaysia is expensive. For example, the cheapest car the 600cc Kancil is about RM25,000 while a similar car in the US is only US$8,000.
The Government always says that the cost of petrol is cheaper than in the US. But a full tank for a 1,800cc car only costs US$35 while for a similar car in Malaysia it is RM80.
High-speed Internet Streamyx at the lowest speed cost RM50 while it is only US$30 for 1.5Mbps here. A laptop which costs about US$800 is sold at RM2,000 in Malaysia.
The average price of a house in the US is about US$250,000 for a 1,700 sq ft bungalow compared to RM200,000 for a 1,200 sq ft terrace house in Malaysia.
With all this debt and burden, how can you expect Malaysians to retire at 55? In most households, the husband and wife have to work so that they can support their family.
Boise, Idaho, USA.