Zero per cent interest rate campaign is no longer limited to cars, appliances or other big items. It's now goto dining.
Over the past weekends, Biz Buzz saw a signboard in front of a less-known shabu buffet restaurant in Season Square’s Srinagarinda branch that advertised a 0% interest, 3-month instalment promotion for users of kasikornbank’s credit cards, provided the meal billing is at least Bt1,500.
This small signboard may hint of a bigger picture of Thai economy that household debts have ballooned to constitute over 80 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product. On each individual, it implies small cash flows are left over, for extra spending, as a majority of incomes have to go for repaying debts.
MBMG, a Bangkok-based personal financial and tax advisory firm, last week issued a report “the Cost of Raising a Child”, which suggested its clients to prepare early for “the potentially huge cost of education” for their children. It cited the latest study by a British insurance company which estimated the cost of raising a child in UK until his or her 21st birthday at over US$384,000. Of the total, 32 per cent or US$122,912 will be education; 29 per cent for childcare & babysitting; 9 per cent for food; 7 per cent for holidays; 5 per cent for clothing; 4 per cent for hobbies & toys; 3 per cent for leisure & recreation; and 2 per cent each for pocket money and furniture.
Putting it into the local context, MBMG came up with the average price of tuition fees at some 8 international schools in Bangkok: the tuition fees [excluding enrolment fees) start from Bt421,439 for student at between 3-4 years old age to Bt619,734 for 17-18 years old student.
The advisory firm suggested that its clients may look at the choice of investing in an education fund that they can make monthly contribution for accumulating money for meeting the future expenditure need of their children’s education. “The key is to examine current education fees, use these figures to predict future fees and then calculated monthly contribution in order to meet the objective,” says the report.
And then it came to the bottom line, “like other types of financial planning, there are many funds on the market, so it’s important to find the one that best suits your needs….to ensure this is the case, ask an independent, impartial advisor who knows the products available on the market.”
Nevertheless, when considered a Bloomberg chart [which was also included in the MBMG report] that showed the steely rise of US college fees, that having been grown up by 538 per cent since 1985, investing on a fund that invests in the US education sector or its related industries may also be a nice idea.
A war for talent in Myanmar
Finding qualified candidates in Myanmar has been a headache for most companies looking to step into Southeast Asia’s hottest emerging economy. Learning of that difficulty, a Thai executive made a proactive move by going to visit a leading university in Yangon and asking the dean of its graduate school to help recruit MBA students for his firm. The dean did not reject his request. But as time went by, there was only silence from the university. The executive only learnt later that all the students there had been “booked” by large local enterprises since they enrolled in the college.
Myanmar’s scarcity of white-collar workers is only expected to get worse. A senior executive of a leading multinational company told Biz Buzz that an international telecom company that recently won a mobile-phone concession in Myanmar is offering 300-per-cent salary increases for qualified candidates tapped from other companies operating there.