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.

The First Six Learnings: Agency transitions

This is me trying to revive and return to my oft-neglected blog. Enough with the string-laden Facebook status messages and depending on hashtags (#happify), it’s time to get back into writing and put a little order on the thoughts rummaging in my head – a thousand words per nano-second.

May the grammar nazi be kind to me.

There are so much adjustments and challenges a person encounters when you work full-time, more so, once you’re part of the production and project management team.  Eight-hours a day extending to twelve hours our fourteen can be exhausting.  So much has happened over the last few months since I got back in Manila from the short yet adventure-filled life in Myanmar (you may find my blog HERE), How I wish I was able to post a little bit more than what I started but I guess, it’s never too late to share stories and get it off my head to archive.

Life in Myanmar was character-molding and definitely slower than slow even though they’re trying to be up-speed from the backwards practices to catch up on the modern western world.

Being back in Manila has given me the front seat and the wheel to drive faster than Screen shot 2015-04-10 at 5.23.43 PM60kms/hr. I can’t deny I have missed it by a percentage but sometimes, It’s good to slow down and take it easy.  As of time being, I have transferred to five (5) desks in eight (8) months from where I am presently employed. I have been managed by three (3) separate departments before they conjoined all project management departments together and have lingered moving to a new department where my strength in business development, tapping partnerships and building a network of connections would be highlighted. It’s been 8 months, about 8-10 accounts executed and monitored. Sounds a lot? Not even.

Tons of learning curves, growth pains, adjustments and realizations. Leadership and management skills were definitely honed, sharpened and microscopically well attended.It was busy, crazy, awesome, stressful, and (in between the madness) fun. What have I learned so far?

The First Six:

1. Over-communicate. 

Communication is the key – regardless what industry you’re in. Think of it as a relationship.  teamwork is your marriage.

When I started in the agency, the first contribution I have instilled was to make use of a much efficient app called Telegram. I am a sucker for immediate update of things, every movement and status. If you’re in a huge organization, having to update everyone on a fine print where you can scroll down and up would help on aligning and reminding you on what has and what is yet to transpire from the account. In this world where messengers are abundant, pick one that can send, upload and download files, archive chats, and would also secure conversations.

2.  Respect schedules and alignments

It’s crucial that your team would know where you are and what you’re doing on certain times. This would make everyone just check on how their day is like, what their focus is and when work sessions are. It gives everyone the sense of time, urgency and work flow.  Let your team know if you’re working from home and what you’re working on.

3.  Client Briefs

You may have known the brand by heart and your campaign but often times because of wanting to do so much things, we do get out of focus and tend to forget what is really written in fine print in terms of deliverables and what the vision-mission of the brand. Client briefs are golden, it’s useful on keeping your campaign focused, organized and a reminder on what your Key Performance Indicators are.

4.  Audit reports

Ugh. You may hate the numbers but this will save you from clientele and agency expectations. It’s important you get to have the contract work side by side with your audit report, quantify and justify what has been done. This is a great indicator if you’ve over performed or under performed, if there are service credits that can still be used or you’ve given much more than what was asked for – this, in turn, we call as delight or sweeteners to please your client.

5. Manage Expectations

When dealing with a client, because they’re the client, they have the “customers are always right” in-mind; you’d have to protect yourself and the agency by managing expectations and having it all written in an agreement or a trace that states what their thoughts are and always inform them on consequences should they be late in terms of submitting necessary information or requirements.

6. ASAP – Everything is ASAP, not just one.

RUSH doesn’t mean you’d have to do less, it just means you’ve got to prioritize something up however it’s best to say that once you rush one, the entire team would need to rush the entire deliverables, too. Delays are definitely not negotiable. If things are to be done in a lightning speed, everyone should know that quality may also suffer not for just one but may also be for the rest of the following.

What have you learned so far?

Saving Habit

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Do you remember saving your allowance in your piggy bank? Imagine feeding that coin box Php 28/day in 365 days would surprise you with Php 10,000? What a feat!

Here are few ways on how you can save:

1. Separate accounts
– Automatic transfers per payroll would do best. Have an account that you’ll consider like a utility bill and let it grow by itself. You may open a Direct Deposit or a UITF for higher returns.

2. Practice the Classic
– A coin box or any piggy bank would do the trick. Don’t take those coins for granted.  Try saving all those Php 5 or Php 10 coins every each time you receive one and make sure you feed your piggy bank just like how you feed your pet everyday.

3. Variable Life Insurance
– A savings booster that will make you commit, make time work for you. A plan which will give you living and death benefits including hospital allowance allocation for those emergency confinement needs.

Fulfill your financial goals.  Keep yourself motivated!

Financial Road Map Analysis is FREE. You may drop me an email and I’d be glad to help.

Unstable: Here’s How to Fight it.

It’s pretty normal in Asian countries that their children stay within their parents quarters as long as they want or could.  Being in a country where family ties are very much intact and instilled, this somewhat makes our life a little bit more comfortable.

Having to live abroad for a year filled with challenges, changes and uncomfortable situations, I can’t help but somehow miss the independence (as much as I abhorred it). When you’re nearly thirty and went back to live with your parents; you can’t help but compare your situation from others. I admit, I have been falling into the comparison trap.

Taking an inventory of your life and others are natural, I assume. However, often times I find myself unhappy, irritated and disappointed of what I’ve been accomplishing. Being a person who’s always looking into a much brighter and better days, it doesn’t seem to give a cut.  I couldn’t help but ask myself “Am I coming up short, all the time? – Is this how my life should be? – in terms of career, finance and possessions.”

When these thoughts pop up and end up upset with my well-being. Here’s an approach that may seemed helpful in picking yourself up away from dragging yourself down.

1. Re-visit your Grateful Bucket

Everyday, I post a recap on how my day went. A nutshell of thoughts to be grateful for.  You may also have this noted in a journal, Tweet it or probably have a mason jar wherein you’d fill it with grateful thoughts everyday.  Having to think of how you day went makes life worthwhile.

Re-visiting your everyday thoughts would serve as a quick reminder that you’ve been living a brighter and better day, everyday.

Instead of focusing on what you don’t have, you can appreciate all the great things that make your days fulfilling.

2. Compare yourself with no one but yourself.

Comparing yourself with others is a habit one should get rid.  Don’t sabotage your own happiness. If there’s someone you must compare, it’s nobody else but who you were in the past and who you are now.

Keep working on your goals and be not side struck by others accomplishments. Makes sense?

3. Commit to Change. The Good one.

I’ve realized that when I feel down, upset, disappointed or negative in general; I tend to lounge around and do nothing.  Inactivity would make you lose a day, waste precious time. Get out there, MOVE.

Take advantage of what you have and reach out. There are endless possibilities. Curate a plan, write down a strategy and implement it. Set timelines. There really is no other way but to ACT and BE THE CHANGE.

What’s your game plan?

Happify: Face the Situation

Today’s Happify made me think through difficult times and had me face it head on. It’s hard to move forward when you just lost a dear soul whom you’ve taken cared more than anyone you’ve ever did. I can’t help but repost and have these thoughts shared for your own reflection:

unlock your happiness, happiness skills, happiness test, studies on happiness, how to be happier, blue brain, join happify, With greater self-knowledge, we’re better able to make hard decisions that reflect our own nature, interests and values. This is easier said than done, because often we’re scared to think about what we really want. The next time you’re facing something uncomfortable, like asking for a raise or ending a relationship, ask yourself the “Five Fateful Questions”:

  1. What am I waiting for?
  2. What would I do if I weren’t scared?
  3. What steps would make things easier?
  4. What would I do if I had all the time and money in the world?
  5. What is the worst, and the best, that could happen?

Being a HAPPIFY pioneer certainly has its perks and one of which is that it has continuously been supporting me throughout to stay grateful and look into the brighter side of things especially when the going gets tough.

Join me on Happify, I promise you nothing but smiles which can brighten up your day.

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.

Lessons from and for a working environment

Progress and productivity are my personal choice of a drug.

I’m grateful for clients who trusts me on such exciting projects they’re venturing on. What motivates me most are the lessons you’ll learn along the way, honing your skills sets, fulfilling check lists and accomplishing tasks on the time table.

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From learning how to curate business financial plans, readjusting according to the budget, coordinating to purchasing; sales and marketing, it has been an exciting journey surprising yourself on what you’re capable of doing and maturing when it comes to work ethics.

Here are few things I discovered:

1. Never fall for gossips, let them be

– there are so many things left laid on the table, don’t waste your time resolving gossips however when these gossips happen to touch morality, better face the gossiper.

2. People tend to compare their salary to yours and they may create issues behind your back just to get rid of you.

– sometimes these people tend to forget that their job scope is different from yours and they agreed on how much they wanted to receive as their salary. Let them be. You don’t owe anyone justification.

At the end of the day, what matters most are the production, the numbers and the accomplishments. These distractions from other people are hindrances against your capabilities.

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If they don’t respect you, let them be. They will eventually. Have the proprietor mindset at all times agains the employee who’s filled with idle time and Coffee breaks.

Chin up,ignore as much as you could but stand firm once they reached your limit.

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.