Wednesday, December 17, 2014

2015: Getting Down to Business

I started this blog in 2012 and back then I was just getting started on my personal finance journey and feeling mighty proud of myself for "investing" in a VUL #facepalm.

In 2013 I continued reading whatever I could find on personal finance and got my first taste of stock investing thanks to Bro. Bo Sanchez.

This year, our finances got thrown up in the air because of the condo purchase. I'm happy to say though that my personal loans to my parents are 30% paid off with the amount decreasing steadily every month because aside from paying my parents a set amount monthly, I also pay their credit card bills and offset the amount with my debt (This is why I cringe when I hear about their new purchases).

For 2015, the theme is to keep on moving forward with our financial goals, and with no more big expenses to derail our wealth building mode, we should be chugging along smoothly. The two biggest goals for 2015 are to complete our emergency funds and transition smoothly to a new job with a bigger pay by the middle of next year.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Little boy (is feeling) blue

Early Friday morning as I was getting ready for work, the hubby reported that our son suddenly threw up. But seeing that the boy was up and about, playing with his toys, we chalked it up to one of those mysterious toddler things and forgot about it. Then while I was at work, the hubby called to say that Ace wouldn't stop vomiting and that he would be bringing him to the pedia ASAP.

The pedia, whom the hubby refers to as "Dr. Nice Lady" because she really is the nicest person in the world, diagnosed the vomiting as being caused by a mere virus that should pass within a few days. Being a virus, there was no medication for what Ace had and the primary thing was to keep him hydrated and rested.

The boy slept the rest of the afternoon, but by the time he woke up, the vomiting started again and wouldn't stop. Even the vomit medicine that was supposed to settle his stomach was promptly dispatched with about half an hour after he drank it. We decided to bring him to the hospital to get him hooked to an IV because he was losing liquids fast and was already weak.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Rappler Mention

It was such a thrill to be lumped alongside the likes of Randell Tiongson, Marvin Germo and Efren Cruz and be considered as a personal finance expert by affinity. Although to be perfectly candid, I'm more of a personal finance enthusiast than an expert, and to be clear, I'm not fishing for compliments, I'm just being real.

Anyway, here's the link to Ezra Ferraz' Rappler article on "9 financial-savvy tips for Christmas gift-giving" and I was amused that of all the tips I sent him, he chose my core philosophy in gift giving or that gifts are tokens of appreciation and love, so we shouldn't attribute anything else to them. They won't mend broken relationships, make up for lost time with family members or make someone fall in love with you, so no need to stress yourself over finding that one perfect, expensive gift. It's enough to show that you had your recipient in mind when you purchased or made that gift.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

To Jump or Not

I am honestly not happy with how my FAMI-SALEF funds are performing. After two years of sporadic investing, my money grew by a measly 7% lang. Ok, so granted that this is merely an average of my entire investing history with FAMI-SALEF. Also, when I looked at the chart, my very first investment has grown by 23.18% in two years, so that's not something to be glum about. But I thought it would be more impressive, that I would open my account and do a happy dance upon seeing my gains. Or maybe I'm just expecting too much? After all, one of the speakers in the RFP* seminar said that when it comes to mutual funds, you'll start seeing stupendous gains after a decade or so of continuous investing, once you've established your critical mass.

Anyway, I've been looking around to see if I should make the switch and came out with a chart to guide me.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Peddling an Experience

"Marketing is the mystical science of figuring out what makes people behave the way they do so you can make them behave the way you want." Paul Richard "Dick" McCullough ("Exploiting Human Nature: How to Successfully Market High-Tech New Products")

For a while now, I thought I was already immune to marketing strategies, because I've been on that side of the fence and I've seen how it operates. But after reading some posts on how marketers exploit human nature, I began to look around my house and I was dumbstruck when I realized that all of the products on my bathroom shelf are either colored blue, white or green. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A Scam?

Sometime June of this year, a friend in Kuala Lumpur went to the Regus office to inquire about their services. He recalls filling out an information form and talking with a Regus employee, but he maintains that he did not sign a contract to avail of Regus' services.

Fast-forward to August when he was emailed a bill from a collection agency from the Philippines demanding that he immediately settle his outstanding account with Regus Kuala Lumpur. He ignored the demand letter and then a few weeks later, he received another demand letter from a collection agency in Singapore!

How shady right? He INQUIRES about a company's services, then a few months later, he gets billed for services he didn't sign up for or avail of. And to make it even more interesting, his account gets passed around to different collection agencies overseas.

Regus seems like a legit company with a worldwide presence, so I'm surprised that this is happening to my friend. Maybe there was a mix-up of some kind and the information form he signed was treated as a contract of lease? Or maybe the information form WAS a contract of lease? Either way, I'll be very wary from now on about signing slips of paper when inquiring about services. For all I know, I might get billed for a house and lot after I merely asked about it at an open house. Brrr....

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Staying Still

I have a problem about being in the present. Even now while typing this, I have five other tabs open and my mind is jumping to the letter I have to draft within the day, while thinking about what else I have to accomplish for the day.

When I'm with my son, I browse Instagram and Facebook on my phone while he's watching TV. I tell myself that it's ok because when he turns to me, I put my phone down and turn my attention to him. Obviously it's not, and even he knows it, as he swats away my phone or grabs it and runs off with it, probably seeing it as the enemy to my attention.

It's the same with our finances. I get so overwhelmed about what I need to accomplish and the fact that I'm doing it all alone, that I try to shove it to one side and do bits and pieces blindly, without a general plan to guide me. Case in point was how long it took me to calculate my net worth and create a zero sum budget.

If I were to rank our financial to-dos, it would be as follows: