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This article first appeared in Personal Wealth, The Edge Malaysia Weekly, on December 26, 2016 - January 1, 2017

In financial planning, I always recommend two important things before looking at investments — insurance and emergency funds. Insurance is fundamental to all planning. It is crucial to have an insurance plan that will cover the rising medical costs. Since you only intend to migrate in five years (that is a long time), I suggest getting the insurance.

There are many plans available, such as whole life, investment-linked and term plans. Term plans should work for you if you are looking for a short-term plan. You should also include critical illness and personal accident coverage in your plan.

When you say migrate, do you mean for good? If you are keeping the option of returning in the future open, I suggest that you keep your medical insurance in Malaysia until you have a job and insurance in the country you move to before cancelling the plan you have here.

Remember, there is always a waiting period before you are covered under an insurance plan. I have clients who have medical cards in both Malaysia and the country they now reside in as they are keeping the option of returning open.

This article first appeared in Malay Mail Online, on April 1, 2017

KUALA LUMPUR, April 1 ― Finance Minister II Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani’s suggestion that Malaysians put off home ownership to avoid long-term debt is valid advice, according to a wealth advisor.

Financial advisory firm Harveston’s Annie Hor, who concurred with the minister, also added that Malaysians who buy homes before they are financially ready may not be aware of the total cost of home ownership.

“Maintaining a property can be a concern when the house starts to show signs of aging and you have no funds to fix them,” she told Malay Mail Online.

This article first appeared in Personal Wealth, The Edge Malaysia Weekly, on January 8, 2018 - January 14, 2018.

Issues surrounding inheritance have been at the heart of an increasing number of family feuds in recent years. Industry experts say these incidents, coupled with the increasingly global and complex nature of wealth, have spurred the demand for multigenerational wealth planning and transfer solutions.

Today, ultra-high-net-worth (UHNW) and high-net-worth (HNW) individuals in the region are more open to discussing details of their wealth. This is a vast difference from how the previous generation used to approach this matter, says Carolyn Leng, head of CIMB Private Banking.

“We are seeing a trend in Malaysia where the patriarchs are more willing to sit down and acknowledge the fact that they need to plan. I think that’s a huge step forward compared with maybe six or seven years ago, when they would consider such matters a taboo subject,” she says.

The increase in importance of wealth planning is in tandem with the rise in HNW individuals’ wealth in this part of the world. The largest HNW individual market is in the Asia-Pacific, according to the World Wealth Report 2017 by Capgemini. There are also massive intergenerational wealth transfers occurring in the world as baby boomers prepare to hand over their assets to their heirs.