Thursday, January 28, 2016

Tough Lessons I Learned in my 20s

I just celebrated another year of my life. Officially 35 years of existence on earth. Hurray!

While I was contemplating day before my natal day (Friday - January 22), it came across me so many money mistakes I made in my 20s. I admire individuals who are at their 20s and have definite goals set in their mind. Also, those who were good steward of their blessings.

Unfortunately, how I wish I thought about all these money saving tricks and investing things way back in my 20s.

1. I thought that getting a stable job will make me rich. This is going to be true had I saved at least a 10th of my salary. Sadly, no. Wala talaga akong naipon. I was living paycheck to paycheck me utang pa.

 image from google

What to do:
When you start a job, save at least a 10th every pay period. You will be surprise at the end of the year how much you have saved. You can use this money for you to buy your much coveted item without having to touch your credit card. Or it can serve as your emergency fund or for you to enter investments such as mutual funds or UITF. Or a fund for any financial training. In any way, you wanted to spend your savings, it is up to you. By then, the habit of savings becomes an integral part of who you are.

2. I thought having credit card/s will look cool within my new found peers.Instead it buried me to so many revolving debts and interests.
image from google impact.clikhome.com

What top do:
Don't keep up with the Joneses. Yes, you have a new office and new set of friends beyond college friends and you wanted to show off. Horrible mistake though. Because if you wanted to be in, then you should be just the way you are. True friends will accept you for what and who you are. Also, think about the effect of this on your future. Having a secured finance will improve self confidence too.

3. I thought getting loans to start a small business was good until I realized I am not actually equipped with knowledge to run a business. It boils down to nothing with accumulated interest debts left unpaid.

image from google www.creditshop.co.za

What to do:
Before dipping your toes into just anything, you have to make your due diligence. Not because it is in, you go. Not because someone profited from it, you will get the same return of investments. You have to be physically, mentally, and emotionally ready for any journey you wanted to embark on. By the way, getting loans could be termed as a 'good' debt if you know the concept of OPM - Other People's Money. That is using other people's money to earn.

4. I thought that every insurance product/company will go bankrupt and I definitely resisted being talked about and I do not want to risk my money on it.

image from google teamwinston.com

What to do:
Just like venturing to any business, you will have to study everything on the insurance side and the company you chose to put your money in. Just remember that having an insurance will give you the peace of mind just in case you were called for earlier (or in this world of uncertainty such as critical illnesses or accidents) and you have beneficiaries depending on your income. Talking about the breadwinners of the family. Good to know that nowadays, these insurance has investment part as well, so if you live longer, you get to enjoy your fund value. Some preferred getting a term insurance and investing the difference. This is up to you.

5. My emergency fund was the cash advance I could get via credit card.
image from google www.bankingsense.com

What to do:
This is a big NO. The cash advance feature of credit cards is very enticing, yet you will be slap with high interest fee for withdrawing one. Stay away from these. Instead make savings for emergency fund your priority. Emergency fund should be just in case of unexpected lost of job, sickness, need to repair a broken car, etc. But never because the item you much coveted for a long time is on sale.

6. I showered my friends and relatives with gifts, groceries, food, and money with all I have. Even more than I could have.
image from google www.aubergeduquartierquebec.com

What to do:
There is something called tough love. Yes, you can give because they are your immediately family or friends or relatives. However, come to think of it, if you have given them that mindset, expect that you will have to do that until even if you do not have any source of income any more. They will depend on you. Learn to say no and decline from time to time. I know it is difficult to change the ways of other people, but you can be an example for them and teach them little by little how to stand on their own and make money too. After all, YOU are not an ATM machine.

In short, I lost every opportunity to save and invest the right way and lived my life like I only live on that moment. And now it took a toll on me.

At 35, I only have a million in paper investments, a little business venture, and an insurance for our little family. Take note that on that 1M, it is between us, husband and I. We don't own a house yet neither a car.

I have wasted so much time. But I am glad, though I am late, I/we started the journey. I am afraid that I will end up like almost everyone in our neighborhood that our retirement plan are our children who will provide for us in the future.

There is hope in every cases/situation. I just hope you learned from what I experienced. I am still learning until today and continues to find ways to enrich my personal finance knowledge. Learning doesn't stop.

Just sharing. God bless. :)

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

My First Buy This Year - Eye Glass

Husband and I made a trip to an ophthalmologist the other day after my work. However since I barely have 2 hours sleep the night before I was declined for consultation. We were asked to come back when my eyes have proper rest.

All I would like is to have my eyes checked up since lately I am having trouble reading using my current eyeglass on a normal reading position. Added to this is that I feel dizzy in front of my office desktop. More so, since I travel on a weekly basis, the discomfort I felt looking out the window of the bus. Although, the eyeglass still fits my long distance sight and still provide me clearer view, it just that, the one nearer is always blurry and gives me headache when I try to read. I thought maybe my eye grade soared up this time as the usual cases in the previous years.

Yesterday, we came back and I was admitted for eye check up. My eye grade is the same. So how come I am experiencing those I mentioned above?

I explain all these chief complaints to the ophthalmologist. I wasn't convince the first time so we've gotten second opinion on a different clinic. However, the findings are the same. And now I belong to 1 out 10 individuals, according to the doctor, who needs progressive eyeglass. This stage, the doctor said, which needed progressive reading eyeglass happened mostly to individuals over 40 years old and it struck me prematurely.

Main causes, as the doctor mentioned is my current nature of work - 8 hours in front of the PC screen. And age related. She mentioned that the exposure to UV damages and strains our eyes especially those coming from the PC screens and smart phones. She told me, she cannot ask me to stop working since it is what I do but I need this progressive eyeglass in order to protect my eyes from further damages. I asked if this can still be corrected. Sadly, she told me that there are no corrections at the moment. She asked me to have a semi-annual eye check up just to make sure everything is okay and to constantly wear my new eyeglass.

The eyeglass lens is pricey. And the frugal me refused initially since I can always remove my current eyeglass when I need to read on close range. However, after my husband further explained that this is something I need due to my line of work, I gave in. Good to know that my company health card will at least shoulder P2500 of the eyeglass amount. It lighten a bit and to this I am thankful. Overall, the cost is P5600 which left me paying the remaining P3100.

Last night, I was immersed into a deep thought just before I drifted to sleep, I made myself another goal - that is to take care of my eyes from here on because I still wanted to do/learn cross stitch when I get old. Hehehe. One of my life goals. So I need to religiously follow the doctor's advise. To eat more nutritious food for the eyes. To let my eyes gets enough rest. To slowly get away from PC screens and smart phones. And to finally meet my/our financial goals so I can change/shift career. It could be a full time housewife with businesses on the sides. I hope.

Photo source: www.adclinic.com

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Where We At Financially This 1st Month Of 2016?

Ito na yun! The most dreaded revelation of my post as an update for - Where We At Financially This 10th Month Of 2015? blog post. With the financial difficulty on the 2nd half of 2015, achieve pa rin kaya ang 1M target at the end of 2015?

Hm, okey, sabi ko nga sa mga earlier posts ko, as time passes by, there are changes and revisions na nangyayari sa mga nauna kong plans. And one of them is the category I used to describe where our money went. Category lang naman. Same pa rin ang contents and the numbers as well.

According to my excel tracker, 101.65% achieved! Yey!

Ang liit ng deviation but I am super happy. The reasons behind are that most of my stock picks are still in red. The mutual fund in equities as well as the UITF in equities are also in red. Added to these are our insurances fund values which are also less than our expectations. So maybe kapag kumikita na rin ang mga funds, mas mataas pa sa 1.65% ang surplus? Unfortunately, mababa kasi ngayon kaya yan lang ang lumabas after I updated my file based on the published numbers on the sites.

What keeps it afloat are those of low risks investments in bonds, treasury bills, and the continuous addition of my company retirement fund. Also, the steady source of income from our small businesses which are all diverted to other income generating funds. Yes, thank you to the book of Riches Man in Babylon. The children of the children of the source should also be producing an income.

Yun lang, we really are living a frugal life style. Every cents are accounted for. It was only in December that we bought new clothes for ourselves. I know, I sell fashion clothes and I should be fashionable as well. Pero, if people wanted the item and to buy talaga, they will, regardless how the seller looks like. Note, sa online shop ko rin lang binili damit namin. Same is true with the Christmas gifts. Nakatipid pa rin ako kahit papano.

Yun din lang ang buwan na we let ourselves grab some things we crave for a long time in the grocery but could not force our selves to buy earlier because it is too pricey for someone like us. What also compensate our surge in grocery items was that we do not have any dine out last December.  Generally, it was because we've been staying on weekends in my parent's house so that my visiting 90-year old grandmother can see my 2 year old daughter. Yes, we are now four generations. :)

Right now, I am thinking, is it true what they say that going to 2nd M will be easier than getting the 1st M? I am ecstatic to write about it when it comes. I just hope it is sooner than what my excel tracker projected.

Just sharing. :) God Bless.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Lessons Learned

In all honesty, I have so many things I wanted to do so that I can make money out of it. However, I do not have all the talents in the world. Hehehe. I wish I can be jack of all trades, even though I am master of none. I wish to travel. I wish to paint.  I wish to sing. I wish to write a romantic novel. I wish to do cross stitch. I wish to draw. I wish to do photography. I wish for so many things. But I know within myself, those are all wishful thinking. Because I am not creative at all. So how can I draw? How can I paint? How can I take photos?

It was long before, I come to realize that I can not be those I wish for because God has given me my own set of abilities and capabilities to hone.  He gave me a job which compensates good enough for the family permitting me to travel weekly so I can see my little girl. He blessed me with a loving husband to whom I share the paintings of my life. And a beautiful girl to whom I can sing whatever tune without her ever complaining and for her to listen to my story of love and princesses. He showers me with love and strong support from my family stitching me to become more unique individual knitted within the core of a what a family is. He makes me go through tough times to learn valuable lessons of life where photograph enough can't ever explain.

And to this I am grateful.

When I was young, I collected empty bottles and plastics so I could sell. Put those coins in my bamboo coin bank. To this date, I still do the same. Once, I/We have collected at least 2 sacks of empty bottles and plastic containers, I or my husband sells it to the nearest junk shop. The money is either use to purchase snacks or anything needed at home such as light bulbs or trash bags or trash cans. Usually, the selling happens every quarter of the year and I think it is helpful.

Even before, I tried a small lending biz to my previous office mates. Only, it did not prosper. I even tried joining networking selling supplements. Same thing happened. I started and then let go of e-loading business too. I sell basic commodities before and after a while gave up. For too many reasons I cannot understand before why it all failed. All those while, I thought entrepreneurship is not a thing for me. But, now I realize I was not equipped with the know how, the knowledge, the right emotions, perspective, and even the expectations for myself as the reasons why it all went to nothing

So some things can be learn in the process of looking within oneself pala. Right now, I am on e-loading business for a couple of years now. It is just a small income because all my present office mates are on post paid plans so my market is mainly for those in the province.

And I am back to selling. Selling clothes online and offline.

Started the rice business couple of years now with my father's management. It is doing good so far.

So it's true, after so many failures, I can always start anew. I just have to find my niche. I just need to be prepare.  And I can always learn something new. The world is full of opportunities waiting for me to discover. All I have to do is to be keen enough to know the difference.

Right now, I am thinking, "Should I go try being a financial adviser?" Hahaha. I've been the "go to" person now in the office when it comes to all sorts of personal finance inquiry. I was even able to pass some insurance clients to my agent. And so many times been told by different people to make a part time career out of it. Let's see. ;)

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Financial Goals 2016

Here we go 2016. It was a financially difficult 2015, however, thank God, we got out of it alive and kicking. We have completed some of our set goals as reflected when I revisited my financial goals of 2015. Hurray! Few will be carried over for this year and I am positive 2016 will even be better. I can do this!

Back in November, I was already drafting my/our 2016 goals so I did have 2 months to think it over, review, revise, and plan on it. Ever since I learned the value of writing down goals and plans, I have been addicted to it that even small details of to do list becomes an integral part of my system. It is a fact that when numbers and letters are in black and white that I tend to become more responsible, committed, and driven to achieve the set goals.

Over the course of having these goals written and regularly checking on it, I sometimes become frustrated over the numbers. Mainly, for the reasons that it seems a few are not reachable or possible on a time being. Then, slowly, as I progress I learned to breakdown the details and take baby steps to each written dreams and ideas. Truly, an experience is the best teacher. Now, I am encourage and full of hope that I can accomplish my set financial goals of 2016.
  • Continue completing our 12 month emergency fund - As of this writing, we are at 90.93% completion rate.
  • Complete the 52 week Challenge for only 10 pesos in reverse - The purpose of this money challenge is for the Christmas Gifts/Shopping for this year.
  • Start building the Good Fund - I have learned about this fund while lurking on a forum. This good fund is for those friends and relatives who would borrow money. Hey, I do not encourage friends and relatives of borrowing money, but I am realistic enough that there are actually times, when they come and ask for help. And when I can help, why not?
  • Open SB Peso Bond - This was one of the failed goal of 2015, so now I am targeting to subscribe on this on December 2016 once I have completed the 12 month savings challenge I read from a personal finance blogger. It starts with January of 200 pesos only and adding 200 each month until December.
  • Open ALFM Money Market Fund - March 2016 - I mentioned this on a previous blog that husband and I wanted to open an ALFM Money Market Fund but when we inquired about it, subscription was closed. I will try again to inquire about this 5k minimum initial investment. Where will I get the money? Our company will give a bonus by end of February and I am allotting an amount for this investment.
  • Open Philequity Fund - Like I said in my previous blog, I need to have my due diligence in studying this fund on a separate manner. I will not be opening an account via COL this time due to the implemented charges when funding the COL account via BPI or BDO. I will see about this.
These are all for now and will update these goals at the end of the year again. I hope to accomplish everything on these. I know, for sure, that as the leaf of the month fall away, there may be little changes that will be taking place. I will write it down then. Add to these. Revise when necessary. And enjoy the journey to working on our dreams.

God bless! :)

Monday, January 4, 2016

Financial Goals 2015 - Update

Before I post my/our financial goals this 2016 (yes, so many pending posts but I'll get on one at a time), I need to give myself an update of what happened to my/our financial goals of 2015.

The holidays literally filled my hands taking care of my little girl, hosting a little children's Christmas party, looking after a new born baby (hello there my cute little niece), a mini reunion on my father's side, entertaining visiting friends, wrapping and giving gifts to godchildren, relatives, friends, and family. Holidays makes me reconnect with the people around me that is why usually on these days, I am on social media hiatus including blogging. And now I am back to blogosphere. :)

Looking back of my post - Financial Goals 2015 at the start of the year, I have to admit that there are items left incomplete. And items that were revised, added, and totally left out for the meantime from the list.
  • Open BPI UITF (Philippines Index high dividend equity fund or Philippine Stock Index Fund(?)) - POSITIVE. Check out my blog about the BPI Philippine High Dividend Equity Fund.
  • Open SB UITF (SB Peso Equity Fund) - NEGATIVE. We opened a joint account however it was for another purpose - for the DMCI Bond. I have this added for the 2016 financial goals but no longer for equity since the purpose has also changed.
  • Complete the 52 week Challenge (20 increment in reverse though) - POSITIVE
  • Continue to build 12 month emergency fund (200k) - INCOMPLETE. To date, only 90.75% accomplished. It took a back seat when we started living on a single income. I/We will definitely continue completing the remaining percentage this 2016.
  • Start a new Business (?) or Maybe find another source of income - POSITIVE. The farm lots we signed up earlier of the year earned us a fair share on the 3rd  quarter. However, we reinvested the income again on another farm lot. And of course, the online shop - Sophia D Clothing.
  • Top Up EIP - POSITIVE. However, instead of one time placement, I regularly visit the BDO branch to add.
  • Top Up MF - POSITIVE. One time placement when I received my bonus.
  • Open Philequity Fund - NEGATIVE. My intention is to open an account for Philequity via COL. Initially, for the convenience and the no additional charges feature when funding the account via BPI transfer. However, I was not able to change my marital status yet with COL, so I ended up delaying it supposed to be for this year. Right today when I opened up my COL account, a notification prompt with the charges being implemented by BPI fund transfer with COL. Now I am having second thoughts. I will have to study further about this.
  • Continue paying for the 2 VULs - POSITIVE.
There. Those were my/our financial goals at the beginning of the year 2015.  And as the year progressed, there were additions made.

  • We have opened a BPI Short Term Fund for diversification.
  • The DMCI Bond as mentioned above.
  • We got a VUL for the husband.
I am positive 2016 is even better in terms of achieving our set goals. I hope for everyone to stay on tract in our journey to becoming financially independent. If not yet on it, we can always make this new year a fresh start. We just have to remember that we do not need another new year to start. Everyday is always a good start. I started this blog November. I started my very first mutual fund on the month of September. My very first RTB on November. My very first UITF on October. So yes, it is never too late as long as we have the drive in fulfilling our dreams.

God bless. :)