Invest in Yourself

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They weren’t kidding when they said every dream has an equivalent cost. Just like any asset, it needs to be worked on and built up. Costs doesn’t equate to sole monetary value, it may also mean having to spend hours,days, weeks, months or years before a dream unfold. It requires effort, research and a whole bunch of experience.

Gone are those days when careers are on unilateral path. The new generation has been blessed with more options, specializations, and owning an expertise. Careers are even more defined, and de-boned according to task as a focal point.

Oddly, the more it’s been identified, all the more people have been glorifying themselves as a workaholic. From 8 hours shifts, we’ve become occupied and au fait to 12-14 hours (or more) work hours mistakenly calling it as an acceptable trait called ‘passion-driven

Do you really think that having to spend so much hours, beyond required work hours could take us to the throne we’re trying to sit on? We’ve been victims of this perception.

Do we really need that much time on being in front of the screen, typing away our thoughts, exchanging correspondence and probably being on our stiletto or suits to gain the success we wish to achieve? Would having more money define us or our career stature?

Although, I’d have to say, we all have our own perception on how we define success and investments. Lest not forget other things that matter.

Invest in YOURSELF for YOURSELF

Face it, money matters however if we live paycheck to paycheck; it may not be as sustainable as we thought it’s been. Most would say, it’s always best to build your own business, heck, if you can, your own empire but to those who still don’t have the luxury to do so – it’s time to work on that goal. pay yourself at least 3%-10% of your salary into an investment account, there are also auto-debit programs which can help you without even having to notice from your payroll.

Health is Wealth

Life is short. While you still have your youth, or at your prime, take good care of yourself. Eat clean, exercise, sleep well and give yourself time to breathe. Make time for yourself because nobody else will for you. Don’t let all the bad habits catch up and make the rest of your life filled with pain rather than spending more time with your loved ones playing at the park, chatting with your future grandkids or probably cruising the world.

It’s easier said than done but with effort, it can be done.

It’s never too late nor wrong to invest on Education

Kids typically take this gift for granted. If only I could bring back time, I would tell myself to take education more seriously and ace every test with full understanding of each topic discussed. With the kind of diversified options we have for our career, continuing further education may also bring more good to validate your practice and interest. Having to attend to further education may also help you have a better perspective.

Pause and Breathe

When you’re all dedicated to what you do, we all tend to say YES to everything without rationalizing if it can be done within timeline. Honor your day offs and stay away from your email, and work obligations. It’s the only day wherein your colleagues and the majority would understand. This also applies for your mini-breaks within work shifts.

Avoid getting burnt out and simplify your life. Not only will you be able to manage stressors and exhaustion, it will also make you have sense of time management according to tasks.

Balance

Our bosses may call us a machine but in reality, we’re only but humans who also needs to recharge and get to have a time-off. Just like a computer, it needs its reboot, system upgrade and ample rest.

Going for the full-throttle can be impressive, sure, you may opt for this direction however once you reach the finish line; Don’t forget to give yourself some slack and a pat on your back for a job well done. Attend to your family, laugh and live. You deserve it.

Dreams do have a cost but each dream needs its healthy supplements. Let’s celebrate each achievement as we see the fruit of our labor and at the same time, having to know we enjoyed the process. Success should be fulfilling, satisfying and gratifying. Make that dream worth every minute and effort without neglecting our well-being.

Your Social Security System Application

It’s not rocket science that every individual should have his/her own Social Security number for the sole reason that not only does it validates you as a citizen but also includes you into the social insurance program of your country.

 

Typically, your own Social Security Number will be given to an individual once they start employment. Every pay day, there will be a certain contribution amount which will be deducted from your salary and earns throughout the years providing you retirement and health benefits as a working class.

Remitting every month to your Social Security allows you to be supported by the Government for such calamities with reasonable rates applies.

Now, what if you have never been employed and you’ve been a freelancer or been working abroad – are you eligible and would you be allowed to have your own Social Security? Definitely.
Here’s how:

  1. Log on to the website: SSS
  2. Check on the Registration Page on How can one register with the SSS?         A person registering with the SSS for the first time as a prospective employee should accomplish SSS Form E-1 (Personal Record) and submit it together with the original/certified true copy and photocopy of any of the following: baptismal, birth certificate, driver’s license, passport, Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) Card or Seaman’s Book. In the absence of these documents, any two of the following, one of which recent photo and date of birth, are acceptable.
  3. Be guided by the SSS Contribution Schedule
  4. Download the RS-5 form and have four (4) copies printed upon remittance and have it duly filled.

You may check on your contribution online to make sure if you have completed and accomplished your social security obligation.

What if you were once employed and then decided to go freelancing or not work for the meantime? paying your contribution through the SSS Form RS-5 using the previously assigned SSS number to you by your employers will change the status of your membership from covered employee to self-employed, OFW or non-working. Should you be age 65 and above, You may voluntarily contribute however you must fill up the  Application for Voluntary Payment of Contribution.

Remember that your SSS contribution is for your goodness sake.  Don’t be afraid to go generous on your contributions as this will turn out to be part of your pension once you get older. You may have your contribution remitted at Bank of the Philippine Islands by issuing the RS-5 after you have it encoded on the cueing system.

If you have failed to pay in advance, make sure that you get to tackle and remit your contributions for the entire year on or before the 31st of December.

UITF: How do one get started?

When the going gets tough, it’s best if you’ve got yourself covered.

When you’re on your early teens towards your twenties, these investments aren’t much of a youngster’s concern back in the day but for someone who has always been wondering, wandering and curious on how my parents were able to send me to school, hand me allowance everyday and get to pay for all these miscellaneous fees, I was taught how to save at an early age and was able to experience that as much as how money may provide happiness — all these materialistic things are nothing but temporary however if you get to invest your money in right avenues, money can work for you.

For starters, here are few necessities one should invest on:

  1. Health Care
  2. Security & Savings Insurance
  3. Emergency Funds

Once you have already acquired those of which listed above; save few bucks for Unit Investment Funds and have your mid to long-term seeds of investment work for you in the long run.

What are UITFs?

Unit Investment Trust Funds (UITFs) are ready-made investments that allow the pooling of funds from different investors with similar investment objectives.  These funds are managed by professional fund managers and are invested in various financial instruments such as money market securities, bonds and equities, which are normally available to bigger investors only.

How do I get started?

First of all, I am not sponsored nor endorsing Banco de Oro as my funds are also diversified to other banks but for UITF’s, with the guide of my friends from OFW Usapang Piso group, I was able to smoothly open an investment with a minimum investment amount of Php 1,000

Here are the steps:

1. Have a BDO Savings or Checking Account. Make sure that it’s being funded for.

2. Ask for a UITF Sheet for assessment and check on the UITF Equity Fund.

3. Choose from the form on how many times in a month would you like to AUTODEBIT and remit to your UITF. You can choose either once a month on a specified indicated date (Php 1,000) or twice a month which equates to Php 2,000 on two different dates.

4.  Practice cost-averaging. It’s better to start slowly and small if you’re conservative. Once you have already completed the entire Php 10,000 investment, you will receive a certificate investment from BDO and you may review the Equity investment should you desire to pull-out or continue investing.

What is Php 1,000 a day compared to paying for a cup of starbucks and spending it on junk food?

It’s easy breezy. Just make sure you’ve got your account funded for every month, then you’re all set. It’s worry free!

Next stop: Stocks and get the debts over and done with.

7D’s That Ignite Passion

Last Friday, I was invited to attend a financial business seminar on how one can increase their success rate on achieving their goals at the same time, get to spread financial education as an advocacy.

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John C. Maxwell Trainer, Ruzette Pineda-Cadungo who was also Avon Philippines Sales Director then amongst other things was our speaker. She is presently a top achiever, seller and business manager of one of the many units of Sunlife Financial Philippines.

It was a whole day event filled with motivation, inspiration and passion. Let me share to you her success formula:

The 7 D’s that Ignite Passion

1. Dream
2. Desire
3. Decide
4. Develop
5. Discipline
6. Delegate
7. Dedicate

Dreams are goals with deadlines and these dreams usually are departmentalized according to the 10 areas of your life.

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Together with every dream, there’s a burning DESIRE to make ways, and get your dreams worked on. It is important that you get to DECIDE the direction of your focus,
stand firm and get to categorize your priorities.

Through constant education and associating yourself with like minded individuals, You get to DEVELOP the DISCIPLINE that would challenge your excuses not to out-win you.

Don’t be afraid to DELEGATE tasks.
Focus on DEDICATING time management for a balanced lifestyle.

We were reminded to stay humble and be obedient to our superiors regardless of age.

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Although there may be situations wherein you may disagree, it is important that you voice out respectfully.

Love what you do and it will love you back. Be sincere and always have your heart applied to every task or engagement.

Pursue. Just keep on going.

The formula may sound easy but it sure takes a lot of work and practice. The discipline may be tedious at first but if you want results, nobody reaches the finish line by just standing.

We asked our speaker how she schedule in engagements, balance her time management and what her priorities are.

1. God
2. Family
3. Business

She plotted out an empty calendar and filled out according to priorities.

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She blocked out her bible study and church day, dedicated her children and husband’s travel time (home/school), date night with her husband, and then her client engagements. Errands were scheduled in between.

What inspired me most was that she starts her day as early as 7am with her clients, ends the day at 5PM to make sure she will be with her family and yet still get to log a productive 6 hours each day, 10 faces met each week for her to produce results.

She reiterated that excuses should be challenged by how firm and goal-oriented you are. Never let procrastination and time killers take away your chances.

Nobody reaches the finish line by just standing but rather by taking one step at a time, one foot after another.

I hope somehow this post motivated and inspired you. Go ahead, revisit your goals and start making things happen.

Goals are what dreams are made of

Not too long ago, I sat down with myself with a pen, paper, few markers and my planner. I wrote down my short term goals and my year end goal as if there were no financial hindrances.

I am unstoppable.

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My short term goals were:

– Avail of a health card wherein it will also cover or have my parents as my beneficiary/dependent

– Avail of an emergency ambulance for my family and grandma. Medical service within convenience

– Diversify: Bonds, Time deposit, Equity, bank savings

– School

My long term goal was only but ..

– A car.

I decided to just have one long term goal in order for me not to be overwhelmed and be overly pressed. (The thought of a car was overly overwhelming already, actually.)

The next thing I had to thoroughly think of was a game plan. Plot out an achievable and realistic strategy.

I accepted as much projects I can handle, contributed for dailies, magazines or even online (every centavo counts!) and challenged myself to learn a new industry which was Selling

Everything came into place when a job opportunity opened near where I live (literally a 5 min walk away) which saved me from paying the dreadful toll charges, transportation costs and travel expenses such as meals.

Selling certainly wasn’t easy but definitely doable. I learned that product knowledge was the key in order for you to present properly.

From selling one account after another, it was consistency and goal setting on how many accounts per month should I close and settle which made my short term goals worked on and gradually saved up for my long term.

A year’s timeline, reminding myself week after each week, reassessing month after each month was all that I obsessed on.

No kidding.

It was delightful and motivating as I crossed out one goal after another. There were times when I had second thoughts and doubts but looking at my list and budgeting everyday surely kept me grounded and focused.

Before the year ended, I invested on the following:

– Health card: Caritas health shield which was 5 years to pay, 10 years coverage. It was the best proposal I encountered after window shopping on other health cards. The best part was that after such time, There will be a cash back since it also has a life insurance attached to it.

– Emergency Ambulance was through lifeline wherein I was able to avail for my family and my grandma. My grandma also was able to use the in-house medical service within her convenience. Exactly as planned.

– Diversified savings: Bonds was settled (it was the hardest for me to get into but after a year, the annual report definitely made me say worth it!), Got myself a variable life insurance with Sunlife Financial inc (my third account to date since I was 17 years old), a time deposit wherein I was able to also get a mileage credit card on hold out (translation: no debt!) and bank accounts which were divided for certain goals (car fund, everyday fund, untouchable fund).

All accounts were fully paid — in cold hard earned cash! I need not to think of those annual payments. I am debt-free!

PROUD! A dream come true.

The school? I enrolled for a term but having to learn selling was “school” itself. I realized that life has tons of lessons. The world is your university.

I left selling for awhile and entered consultancy. It was a real life MBA. The job involved an immense test on patience and resourcefulness.

Along the way, when I crossed out the last on my list; I was gleefully impressed knowing I was ahead of schedule.

The car was blessed and it was a deal which was worry free and definitely cost efficient.

That deserves a separate post.

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This year, 2013, it’s all about working on a bigger goal. My short term goal is to pay off my car, leave no debts on my credit card, have another variable life insurance, and save up on the long term goal before I hit 30 which is my own home.

10 years ago, these were all dreams which were hoped for; dreams which were all floating through “what if” but as we get older, we realize that starting early surely works tons of wonders and setting goals with deadlines.

How about you? 10 years ago we were asked about our hopes, dreams and aspirations. Can you still remember what those were? How was your journey? Think about it.

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How do you foresee your financial future?

People invest on different reasons but majority of which are because they either want to

A) SECURE their future from distress.
B) live COMFORTABLY upon retirement
C) get RICH and have both A and B.

However most of us prioritize job security, live in the moment and care not to worry about tomorrow; which is actually a good mindset BUT neglecting preparing for the future is something that won’t make you not “live in the moment” when that day comes if you’re shacked and rattled by financial distress.

Ask yourself on why are you working so hard today? Aside from the bills that are piling up, have you ever thought about your situation if this is the kind of life you’d want to live with day in and day out?

Set your priorities.

Recently, I realized on how much I have been worrying about tomorrow that I don’t get to reward myself today as often as I used to. I have learned and still continuously learning to not fall for an impulsive behavior and always ask myself “Is it worth it? Can you use that more than once? Is it practical and something you can use long term? Or possibly, can that thing work for you?”

I have been saving and investing in order for me to get RICH, live COMFORTABLY and have that SECURITY once I finally have my own kids, retire and get old. Today, I may be living paycheck to paycheck or as funds arrive but the sacrifice of preparing for tomorrow certainly is something id rather have a peace of mind.

As a financial consultant and planner who’s learning tricks and on the quest to understand things through my own lifestyle. My goal now is to make both today and tomorrow work for me rather than I, worrying.

The #1 rule is to quit saying and thinking that “I have no money” but rather just accept and say “I’m not currently liquid but how do I get to afford it? Will work on iit, if its still worth it by then, I’ll go for it” always stick to the positive light of reality and sheer away from blocking your thoughts for that dead end.

Commit: Your everyday expense list

People have the same needs and desires and it all involves money – whether we like it or not.
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Unfortunately more and more people are living paycheck to paycheck which later on they regret on not investing earlier and making time and money work for them. People abhor those who call them or ask them about “investments” as if it were a scam juicing your money’s worth instead of keeping their minds open.

Investments aren’t all about trading. There are different kinds and types of investments but it is only up to you on how you foresee them.

Others find collecting bags as an investment, shoes and expensive clothes but the question rises: would these items work for you in the future?can it pay for your kid’s tuition, medical bills or feed your retirement? Would they double the cost and continuously help you be liquid?

This is where I come in. This year, 2013, I aim to help others by helping themselves. I want to work in an environment wherein it lives with an advocacy. Let me help you, help yourself.

We all can’t depend on luck nor live without guarantees. Would you rather work day in and day out without a goal in mind nor be well invested for retirement? Don’t be a slave. Let that hard work pay off.

Let’s start with the basics. Have a pen and paper, situate yourself in a quiet room and write down your monthly expenses – start with the fixed bills (rent, monthly dues, electricity, water etc) then write down the additional bills that you subscribe (laundry, mobile phone, househelp etc) and then your day to day expenses going to work and back.

I would like you to contemplate as you sum up your expenses. Do you think you’re on the right track or you’re actually indebted by credit card purchases?

Mark down which of which can still be worked on and write down a game plan. Use the trial and error up until you find the right numbers and efforts.

The goal is to pay off the credit card bills without financial charges, cut down on grocery and stick to what is needed; focus on a lifestyle change to lose weight and save more.

Through that list, have you even thought bout allocating savings? The rule is to save at least 10-20% of your income for your emergency fund but at the rate on how much our cost of living has increased, having an emergency fund by putting it all in the bank is not enough as it doesn’t grow nor would it work for you through the years.

There are other venues such as time deposits, bonds and mutual funds but these are locked without covering your life’s needs.

I was once like you who has ventured and saved through time deposits other than keeping them stale at the bank. It grew a few more cash however its not much, unlike when I invested few of my other savings on insurance, with the same amount of years kept and added, it has grown far more percentage as dividends which is now being used as my mom’s retirement allowance from me. The time deposit? it has remained in the bank which will be moved for a mutual fund.

The trick is always to diversify.

I would tell you more along the way but for now, the goal is for you to work out on your daily and monthly expenses, work out on a game plan and allot savings. Stick to it.

As soon as you’re done, always get back to it, write the changes you’ve done and see what else can be done.

Lifestyle change doesn’t happen overnight and does include a lot of realization.

Good luck! I’ll tell you more about where and how can you prepare for retirement, educational funds for your future kids or simply by having to save more for your future needs.

Commit to change and accept it.

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Types of Assets & Funds 101

There are two (2) ways a person can reach his/her financial goals: Saving and Investing. However, a lot get hurt once they choose the latter due to misinformation or lack of knowledge.

I’m not claiming to be a genius but rather I am here to share the basic knowledge I learned as I undergo financial goal-setting training in order to equip me on how to save and invest for the betterment of my future.

There are six (6) types of investment assets that a person can explore on:

  1. Mutual Funds
  2. Fixed Income Securities
  3. Common Trust Fund
  4. Propeties
  5. Insurance
  6. Equity Securities

Let us run through a quick brief of each. For this post, let’s talk about the first.

Fixed Income Securities are investments with a fixed principal amount, a fixed period of time (called Term) and a specific rate of interest (or coupon). Essentially, this type of investment asset, the investor loans money to a company or the government organization and they, in turn, guarantees to pay a certain percentage of interest every year. Then at the end of the pay period (term), the original amount loaned is returned to the investor.

Invested: PHP 10,000

Term: 1 year

Interest: 5%

At te end of the term, you will get back the PHP 10,000 you initially invested plus PHP 500 as interest. Generally these types of assets offer a lower return on investment because they guarantee income. (Much better than leaving your money in a savings back, right?)

There are two (2) types of fixed Income Security Assets:

  1. Money Market Securities – ” cash and deposits” These are deposits instruments with maturity of one year or less and therefore very liquid and accessible. (i.e Time deposits, money-market savings)
  2. Bonds – debt loans that pay a specific interest over a fixed period of time. The indebted entity issues certificates or bonds to the investors tha state the interest rate that wil be paid and when the loaned funds are to be returned. (Safest to keep your money in this kind is 14 years)

Check on the next post for the second type of Assets.

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Plastics & Income

Remembering the first time I held my hand on a supplementary credit card from my Parents back in High School, I was too ecstatic knowing I can swipe and sign. My dilemma then was if I’m going to make my signature short, creative or long. I was given the card for “emergency” purposes only to end up thinking that everything that I see are for emergency and that with my little allowance, I’d be able to pay for the excess of my credit limit.

Most of the charges were on food, cinema, gifts and gym memberships. As much as I felt generous giving gifts to friends – I have forgotten the essence of “emergency” and have always thought that not being able to attend the gym would be the death of me.

For a whooping Php 5,000 credit card bill in the 90’s, that sure was huge. My parents had to terminate my credit card. The day they confiscated it made me felt powerless and whined for days. I had to deal with what I receive everyday and proved to them that I can spend within the savings I allocate from my allowance.

At the age of 16, I was already paying for my own phone bill. Dad accompanied me at the nearby Telecommunications office, gave the necessary documents and signed the contract for me provided that I will pay for my dues on time and never will he use a credit card or ask him to pay for my dues.

At the age of 18, I already signed up paying for basic insurances.

The financial freedom of paying for my own bill was quite liberating at the same time overwhelming but up until this date, I pay for my own mobile bill and have never asked for their money to pay for any of the phones I’ve had.

If it wasn’t because of that credit card experience and the confiscating, I don’t think I’ll be able to step up and prove myself  that I can be financially freed to achieve what I want and to acquire what I need including food and cinema tickets or even shopping sprees.

Years after, fast forward. I now have my own credit card and owned two.Terminated one, kept the other which adds up mileage points and rewards, declined other bank offers and currently practicing the act of diligence, self-control and embracing the value for money.

Always keep in mind that Credit Cards are money that aren’t yours but you can reverse that by maximizing and using it wisely. Swipe and pay at the end of the day through online banking and do daily monitoring of your finances – call your bank, they’d gladly reverse all additional charges just so long you pay always in full or you pay accordingly everyday. That way, you earn points and don’t accumulate interest. Keep your credit limit to minimum so you won’t go overboard.

At the age of 25, not only am I paying for my own phone bills and insurances but also other investments (and shopping).I’m still learning but hopefully, I will get there.

Hopefully before I hit or by 30, I’ll be able to generate enough money to sustain and propel. For now, I aim to educate myself on becoming financially literate and get to find the type of income that would help me flourish not only my bank account but also my future.

Three types of Income:

  1. Earned Income
  2. Portfolio Income
  3. Passive Income

One of my greatest dream is to earn more by doing less from Passive Income.

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