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Finally, Bank Negara Malaysia has told us what all Malaysians knew: we can’t afford to buy houses here.

For many, owning your own house is a life goal. Put in a down payment in the first decade of work, and then spend the rest of your career paying it off.

We spoke with a former financial adviser who wishes to remain unnamed, who challenged the notion that you need to own a house in your lifetime.

According to him, a house is just a liability.

There are opportunity costs that comes with paying off the mortgage: the simple fact that you are tied to a brick-and-mortar property for years.

For many, the house will be the biggest investment of a lifetime, and most will be borrowing money to make the purchase.

However, he urges caution that needs and wants change often.

1. Career changes

The concept of “job-for-life” has diminished with time. No longer do people think they will stay with one employer for decades.

Jobs are also wider spread. Once, a majority of white-collar jobs were located in KL city. Now, offices are spread all over the place.

No longer only found in KL city.
(Picture credit: Unsplash)

Opportunities are also abundant elsewhere. In fact, 93% of Malaysians will jump at the chance to work overseas.

A longer commute wastes precious time and ups travel expenses, whereas renting allows you the freedom to move closer to your work and save on time and money as a result.

2. Life changes

Even simple things such as picking up a new hobby or adopting a pet kitten will introduce different needs into your life.

One day, you may want a bigger kitchen with an oven, or a landed house with a garden, or a condo with swimming pool or gym facilities.

One day, you may have children, and one day they may move out.

At different stages of your life, your needs for a house changes. It will be almost impossible to predict what your needs will be in the first half of your life, so why commit yourself to a house before you’re ready?

3. Economical changes

Sometimes, life deals us bad cards. The economy can, and has, taken a turn for the worse.

Our former financial adviser recounts a story that happened to him during the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis.

At the time, he was renting a big bungalow near the city center. However, he lost his job during the economic crash. Suddenly jobless, he made the decision to move his family into a much smaller house to cut costs.

Imagine trying to pay off this house after losing your job.
(Picture credit: Voiz)

He claims that if he had been in the middle of paying off the large house, there would have been no way for him to make such a quick decision to save his family from financial ruin.


If we don’t have the same kind of job stability as we did decades ago, why should we chain ourselves to a geographical commitment so early on in life?

The few lucky ones who have more-than-enough money to make quick purchases of houses can easily buy property without worrying so much about it.

For the rest of us who view a housing purchase to be a lifelong investment may want to reconsider whether or not it’s the best option for us right now.


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(Being positive about job changes)
(Most Malaysians would consider leaving to work overseas)

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