RM2,500 starting pay enough for graduates?

graduatesWhen I started working, wayyyyy back in 1997, my starting salary was only RM1,400. Which was then raised to RM1,600 upon my confirmation after 3 months. Since I had no idea what was the “good” salary at that time, me being a fresh graduate and have no close connection with the people who are already on the job, I thought RM1,600 was pretty awesome.

But that was more than 15 years ago, where things were pretty much laid back and RM50 can get you so much more.

I read this article with the same title from The Rakyat Post and it struck me how so much different it is now.

RM1,600 back then was actually more than enough to for a fresh graduate to live comfortably in Kuala Lumpur. Rentals were affordable, food was cheap, public transport was more or less reliable… At the end of the month, I usually have some extra to put aside.

Now? Let me ask  you this question:

How much is more than enough for you to live comfortably in Kuala Lumpur these days?

The article mentioned that, in a study done by Jobstreet, most jobseekers who have degrees do not think that a salary of RM2,500 per month is enough, and that they expect at least RM3,500 per month as starters. Some even asked for RM6,500!

Being an oldtimer, let me just say this: Get real!

Depending on the industry, most employers will never even want to pay you RM3,000 if you are a fresh graduate. Especially when there are a lot of you out there applying for the same job. It’s a take-it-or-leave-it situation. If you don’t like the pay, there’s always someone else who does. So be realistic.

What you need to do is get a job first, stay for maybe one year, then start looking for better opportunities. One of the fastest way to get higher salary is actually by jumping jobs, but it wouldn’t make you look good in your resume if you have too many in-between companies. It gives the impression to your future employer that you do not intend to stay long in his company.

apartment

Living in big cities like Kuala Lumpur or Johor Bahru or Penang is really a challenge in cost management. From experience, after living in Kuala Lumpur for 17 years, here are some advice which you can take note, maybe even follow:

  1. Live within your means.
    If you want to buy something, ask yourself first, “Will you die if you do not have it?” Okay that was a bit extreme but you get what I mean. Hehehehe…
  2. Plan ahead.
    Especially if you have travel plans or own a car. Your car, because of the fuel, insurance, road tax and car maintenance, really put a dent in your wallet.
  3. Keep track of your spending.
    This is rather tedious since it basically means you have to record every single sen you spend. I did this for a few months until I lost focus and started to just take note of the big spendings. But this will really help you going in the right track.
  4. Get a part time job.
    There are a lot of options available out there. Unit trust consultant is a good one. Insurance agent is also good. Online business is very popular nowadays and, done properly, it can actually earn you more income than your full time job.

In short, it is never enough when it comes to money. You just have to learn how to manage it.

So, is RM2,500 per month enough? My answer is, it depends. On what, you ask? It depends on a number of factors such as where you live, whether you are renting or have your own place or you stay with your parents, whether you have a car or you use public transports, and what your spending behaviour is like.

Share with me if you have other factors that answer the question above.

Wanna say something cheeky? ;)