Saturday, October 12, 2019

The Invisible Hand and the Bleeding Hearts

I attended a two-day seminar on the Philippine Competition Act last week and during the Q&A portion, someone asked the Philippine Competition Commission chair about his earlier statement that the rice tariffication law* was a good example of competition at play. He was asked if he really believed that, considering the hardships that our local farmers were now experiencing with the lowering of palay prices. 

I don't remember if the commissioner answered, but one of the speakers, an economist from the US Federal Trade Commission, replied that the rice tariffication law was indeed ultimately good for the consumers because it would give them the lowest price for the best goods. She emphasized that all the players would be forced to compete at optimum level making the consumer benefit and have a higher purchasing power.

Saturday, September 21, 2019


Regular readers may have had a surprise when they saw the blog's "new-old look." It's new-old because this was how it looked like before I moved to my own domain and spruced up the blog with a template that I tweaked and personalized.

The past few weeks have been rife with challenges as my blog became the subject of a brute force attack. It's a good thing that my husband is an IT/ web design / tech magician so he knew exactly what was happening and how to go about it. The following logs were lifted verbatim from his Facebook page:

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Ready to Pivot

One of the most mind-blowing television series I've ever watched was "The Good Wife". The premise itself isn't all that fantastic (it's a legal drama), but the idea that a 40 something year old woman who had been out of the legal world for more than a decade can start again and compete with others almost half her age, really struck me.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Leveraging Your Credit Cards

I first saw a credit card in action when my US-based cousins came back for a vacation and they would give the waiter a plastic card to pay for our meals or would hand the card to the cashier, who would then swipe it before handing my cousin his/her purchase.

It was pure magic and I wanted to be doused in its pixie dust.

Not long after, my dad received a credit card and I finagled a supplementary card for myself. There was no stopping me now and I quickly made regular stops at the mall.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

State of the Jill Address (SOJA)

With President Duterte's upcoming State of the Nation Address causing a tizzy (Who will be the next Speaker of the House? Will there be artsy angles from Brillante Mendoza again? And will he be the director again? Abangan! Dum-dum-dummmmm!), I thought it best to have my own state of the nation address for all 2 of my loyal readers.

First things first, I am still waiting for news on my judicial applications. I was shortlisted for two positions, a second level court in Laguna and a first level court in Biliran, and the appointments for second level courts in Laguna are supposed to come out very soon. On the other hand, the appointments for the Visayas will probably be released during the last quarter of the year at the earliest.

The grand plan is for me to get appointed in Biliran because my parents are already based there and I do miss them terribly. Also, the position I applied for there is a first level court so it's going to have a bigger pay and it will be more challenging than a second level court.

But getting appointed in Biliran means that either I bring my own family to the island, put my kids to school there, and figure out something for my husband to do; or I shuttle back and forth between Manila and Biliran so that my eldest can continue going to school here and my husband can keep his consultancy gigs.

While an appointment in Laguna means that I can theoretically go home everyday since the commute is "only" 3 hours one way, thus, the change will not be that extreme.

This waiting also means that we can't plan a vacation or big purchase because an appointment not only translates to a possible relocation, it also brings with it a 2-3 month salary delay so we'll have to be prepared for that too. Hence, the waiting game is actually a sort of limbo where only the present counts because I can't account for the future yet, but at the same time, have to prepare for it.

Did I just say that we can't go on vacation yet while waiting for the appointment? Let me retract that because my boys and I are going back to Tokyo in a few months. We received free tickets from Cebu Pacific because our flight home in our last Tokyo trip was delayed twice. As in we were in the airport for 2 days and had to be bussed to and from a hotel type of delay. It was no fun at all and I wouldn't wish it on anyone.

But the good thing that came out of this fiasco was that I am now more relaxed with travels with my family. After all, we were able to survive that Cebu Pacific epic fail, so everything else will be a breeze by comparison.

On the financial front, my assets received a significant increase or about Php400,000.00 worth of increase. Nope, I did not win the lottery or profited from the recent bull run. I merely updated the valuation I used for my condo units. I realized that I've been using the same property price for the last 3 years and when I checked out the selling price for similar units, I was surprised at just how much I undervalued my own units. So I made a mental note to adjust the value of my condo units in my next quarterly net worth check-in and I'm so excited to see the steep rise in my net worth! True, I can't access that money and it's pretty much worthless unless I sell the units we're living in now, but an increase is still an increase, even if it's only on paper.

Again on financial matters, I have two personal loans that will be ending by August bringing down my personal loans to a total of two, with one ending in December and another in January of next year. I can actually pay off the last two loans in full but there's a pretermination fee and fees are yucky, so I'll let the loans run their natural course.

I also finished with my GSIS loan last March so I've been receiving my full salary without any deductions. Then the last round of salary increases took effect in May(?) so my take home pay also went up.

Not having to tweak and plot our budget to make room for all our loans and accountabilities still feels kind of new to me. I keep waiting for someone in my family to get sick again or for someone to need a bail-out because that's been our normal for the last few years. I've had to devise a plan for my "spare" cash, otherwise, I'd just fritter it away. In fact, my husband just recently sweet talked me into buying a camera because "the kids are getting bigger and we need to capture the memories".

In an effort to counteract my predisposition towards mindless spending, I've created a monthly saving plan which we can dip into during the 2-3 month salary interruption if I get appointed. I'm 4 months into the saving plan and have only had a 50% success rate so I must channel my inner Mr. Miyagi and whip my financial self into a lean, mean, saving machine.

Okidoki, I think I've rambled enough for now. Have a great weekend everyone!