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  • Writer's pictureZoe Yong

Supporting Your Parents Financially: A Fresh Grad's Guide

You’ve just graduated, and you’re going through the process of landing your first job. While adulthood may be something you’ve been anticipating for a long time, it also comes with a new set of challenges and responsibilities. 


In Malaysia, or at least in Asian culture— it is a norm to give our parents money. What is the significance or importance for this you may ask?


Most of us believe in the act of giving back to our parents for raising us. Providing a roof over our heads, putting us through school, getting us to where we are today. The least we can do when we land a job is to give back to our parents monetarily!


However, with the rising costs and inflation rates in Malaysia, and most fresh graduates earning an amount that they themselves find hard to live on, it really poses the question on how much exactly you should give your parents.



In this article, we’ll dive into some factors you can look into to determine how much you should be giving to your parents. 


Your current financial situation

It is important to understand your current financial situation in order to determine how much money you can give your parents. 


Income and savings

Do you have a stable job, or multiple streams of income that allows you to be less rigid with your finances? You will need to analyse and understand the stability and reliability of your sources of income for a more accurate picture of your financial situation. You should try to set a portion of your income towards a savings account or a savings plan, for rainy days. 



With that said, have you heard of the 50/30/20 rule? This is where you would allocate 50% of your income to your necessities, 30% on lifestyle choices, and 20% to your savings. However, this article has tweaked the rule to include investments, where it is proportioned into a 50/20/10/20 rule. 50% goes to necessities, 20% towards your lifestyle, 10% into savings and 20% into investments. Give it a read and understand how you can save AND invest as well!


There are also a few market money funds in Malaysia that offer returns that are greater than most traditional savings accounts. These financial instruments are short-term, which also means that if there is a time you urgently need the money, it is always available for you.


Loans and expenditure

You will need to learn how to portion out your disposable income in order to understand how your money is distributed.  Firstly, do you have outstanding loans or debts? Maybe you’ve just made your first adult purchase on a house, or even a car. It is vital that you create a feasible repayment plan that will help reduce or even eliminate debts, to create financial stability in the long run. 



If you have outstanding debts and are struggling to strategise the best way to pay them off effectively, read this article to learn more!


Secondly, you could list out all your essential monthly expenses. This could include your rent, groceries, insurance, utility bills, and more. Once you are able to grasp how much your monthly expenses are, you can set aside an amount for it, and allocate what is left accordingly. You should be able to proportion the remaining appropriately towards savings, spendings on wants, and how much can be given to your parents.



There are also other means to give back to your parents rather than the conventional monthly allowance. Here are some ways you could give back instead:


  • Help pay for what’s needed at home


You can offer to pay for the weekly groceries for the house, or even help with the utility bills. This will definitely help lessen their financial burden, especially if your parents have retired and do not have a job.


  • Weekly treats


Take your mom for a spa-day, bring your dad to his favourite restaurant— these can be a means of giving back to your parents, and you can also spend some quality time together as a family! Those who are working may be spending less time with our loved ones, relative to when adulthood has not made its grand entrance yet. 



My personal experience

In the early days of my career, my monthly earnings amounted to RM2500. While embarking on this exciting new chapter, I was also eager to express my gratitude to my parents for their unwavering support throughout my journey. However, as I divided my income between savings and essential expenses, I found myself with little left to offer in monetary support.


With that said, I sought alternative ways to demonstrate my appreciation. I took on some household chores, prepared meals for my family on weekends, and indulged in occasional "mommy-daughter" outings to the nail parlour. 


As my career progressed and I transitioned to a new role with a more substantial income, I found myself in a position to provide financial support to my parents. Now, I can comfortably allocate RM200 monthly to my mother, and contribute to my father by assisting with utility expenses at home. It's a small but meaningful way to reciprocate the love and sacrifice they've poured into my life.


As you navigate this new phase of life, remember the importance of financial responsibility and open communication. While expressing gratitude through monetary means is commendable, it's equally vital to secure your own financial foundation. By balancing your obligations and aspirations, you can support your parents while safeguarding your own financial well-being. Ultimately, the goal is not just to give back, but to do so responsibly, ensuring a harmonious balance between supporting your family financially and your personal financial goals.


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