Monday, July 30, 2012

Cash Dividends


I received my very first cash dividend last week from my hero stock Megaworld (MEG).

The cash dividend was Php0.03322 / share and with my 4,000 MEG shares, I received a cool Php119 after taxes! Woohoo!

That might not seem a lot to others, but think of it this way, if I deposited Php10,000 in a savings account (SA) that earns 2% p.a., I would have earned Php160 after taxes [(Php10,000 x 0.02) - (Php10,000 x 0.02 x 0.20)]. With stocks, I earned a little lower than my SA but at a shorter period of 2 months (Ex date was June 26, 2012). So 2 months of investments yielded dividends almost equal to one year of earnings with my SA.

And take note that we're only talking about the dividends here, the profits that my stock earned are another thing altogether. Any way you look at it, stocks easily trump any SA.

My other stocks are also scheduled to release dividends soon. Again, the dividends I'll be receiving are practically inconsequential, but considering that I only started investing last April, I think it's a good start. Here's to baby steps!

Cash Dividends


I received my very first cash dividend last week from my hero stock Megaworld (MEG).

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Grocery Update


When I last wrote about our grocery budget, I was whining about our staggering Php8,000/mo expenses and had plans of sourcing fruits and vegetables from the wet market, instead of the grocery store, in order to whittle down our food budget.


Well guess what, we never did stray from our suki supermarkets but our grocery expenses for the past two months have gone down to Php6500 for June and even all the way to Php4700 for July from our usual Php8,000.


Read on for our ultra-amazing, money saving technique.


Grocery Update

When I last wrote about our grocery budget, I was whining about our staggering Php8,000/mo expenses and had plans of sourcing fruits and vegetables from the wet market, instead of the grocery store, in order to whittle down our food budget.

Well guess what, we never did stray from our suki supermarkets but our grocery expenses for the past two months have gone down to Php6500 for June and even all the way to Php4700 for July from our usual Php8,000.

Read on for our ultra-amazing, money saving technique.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Investing in Mutual Funds


I don't remember when and why I started to become curious about mutual funds, but what I do remember was that I saw it as a middle ground between the snooze worthy interests of a time deposit or a savings account, and the roller coaster ride that is trading in stocks.



I knew that the interest offered by my savings account was a joke, but I didn't know how to start investing in stocks and the idea of disturbing a broker to place my pitiful investment left me anxious (Broker: Whut?! You want me to invest this?! I don't get out of bed for less than Php100k sister!).



So enter mutual funds.




I did a little research and Sun Life appealed to me because (1) I was already aware of its life insurance products; (2) I wanted to work for Sun Life before because it had an Alabang office,* and the idea of taking a trike to work made me happy; and (3) I knew Teeyah worked there.



The fact that I only needed to shell out Php5,000 for my initial placement was also mighty attractive to me. Thus I opened a bond fund, shifted to balanced fund after a few months and then promptly forgot about it for the next year or so. Fail.



In fairness to me though, I was busy paying off my credit card bills and had no spare cash to drop in mutual funds. But when I finally managed to wipe out my credit card bills, I opened a whole life insurance with VUL with Sun Life and reactivated my sleeping balanced fund account.



I'm happy with the performance of my balanced fund (15% YTD growth), but it appears that I could have been happier if I plunked down my cash with FAMI-SALEF instead. Check out this table of mutual funds performance from Randell Tiongson:






It's sad that Sun Life didn't even rank in the stock and balanced funds. However, Randell Tiongson says that performance is not the only thing to consider when choosing a fund, to wit:




xxx When investing in a Mutual Funds, there are many things to consider other than performance. I’d pay close attention to fee structures as one company differs from another. Other concerns should be investment track record, experience of fund manager, shareholder servicing, among others. In my experience, after sales servicing is a big must and not all Mutual Fund providers give the same effort in servicing.



Be careful on just looking at yields. Aggressive fund managers will have better performance during a bullish market but will have also have performed worse during a down turn.



I have no plans of pulling out my Sun Life investments and intend to ride it out for the long haul, but in the meantime, I'll be setting up an account with FAMI-SALEF as well to take advantage of its consistently top-notch performance.



When it comes to mutual funds, the question isn't "What fund are you investing in?", rather, it's "Why aren't you investing in mutual funds?"




*Although I soon found out that the Alabang office was merely a branch and all the corporate staff report to the Makati, now Taguig, main office.

Investing in Mutual Funds


I don't remember when and why I started to become curious about mutual funds, but what I do remember was that I saw it as a middle ground between the snooze worthy interests of a time deposit or a savings account, and the roller coaster ride that is trading in stocks.

I knew that the interest offered by my savings account was a joke, but I didn't know how to start investing in stocks and the idea of disturbing a broker to place my pitiful investment left me anxious (Broker: Whut?! You want me to invest this?! I don't get out of bed for less than Php100k sister!).

So enter mutual funds.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sharing is Caring


Ever since I discovered the joy of investing, I've been encouraging friends and family members alike to do the same. I get the same feeling I usually get when I stumble upon a good deal and just can't wait to share the information with everybody. Because really, what's the point in keeping mum when everyone can benefit from such a fab deal?

In the office, my boss' daughter also subscribes to Bo Sanchez' Strategic Averaging Method (SAM) technique with stock investment, but she funds her COL account with over the counter deposits and hasn't bought stocks for the past 3 months simply because it's such a hassle to go to the bank and line up. So I introduced her to the wonderful world of online banking and now she has no more excuse to miss her monthly schedule. 

A good friend is also starting with SAM and I'm acting as his personal CSR, assisting him in setting up his account and answering his questions on stock investing and navigating the COL website.

But my labor of love is with my cousin, Grace. During our Dumaguete mini-break, I convinced her to at least start investing with mutual funds if she's still iffy with stock investing. I volunteered to send her the downloaded forms, bug her every month for her investment (we're doing the peso cost averaging method), deposit her investment and send her a monthly summary of how her funds are doing. And on her end, she has to fill out and send the forms to FAMI, and send me her monthly deposit.

My motive for doing this is to keep her away from opportunistic people who prey on her good nature. Really, my family members have been hoodwinked so many times because they don't care to do the research with the numerous "investment opportunities" presented to them (I'm talking about you Mom!) and mostly because they're just too trusting. I'm probably the only one in my family who thinks that a person is a potential criminal until he/she proves otherwise.

The way I see it, if I empower my cousin with the knowledge that she's actually earning from her investments, she won't easily fall for the sweet promises of swindlers and their ilk. Shady people like that prey on a person's insecurity that he/she is not doing enough to ensure his/her future and would then present a slam-bang presentation that will purport to solve all of his/her financial woes in as little as a few months. So if you're secure with the knowledge that you're actually doing something, then you can easily dismiss those gypsters.

Or at least that's my take on the situation. Anyway, this is already an incredibly rambling post and my only point is, I don't want to keep this knowledge to myself.

Sharing is Caring


Ever since I discovered the joy of investing, I've been encouraging friends and family members alike to do the same. I get the same feeling I usually get when I stumble upon a good deal and just can't wait to share the information with everybody. Because really, what's the point in keeping mum when everyone can benefit from such a fab deal?

Friday, July 13, 2012

PAG-IBIG is Love




Read some really good news about PAG-IBIG today. First, PAG-IBIG is now offering housing loans up to Php6M for its "well-off" clients. Interest rates are very competitive at 7.85% and because this is PAG-IBIG, repayment can take up to thirty years. Yay!


PAG-IBIG is Love


Read some really good news about PAG-IBIG today. First, PAG-IBIG is now offering housing loans up to Php6M for its "well-off" clients. Interest rates are very competitive at 7.85% and because this is PAG-IBIG, repayment can take up to thirty years. Yay!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Going Over My Life Insurance Policy


I'm a firm believer in life insurance, I like the assurance that if I suddenly drop dead tomorrow, my loved-ones will not have to worry financially (at least for the next year or two) and can take their sweet time grieving my departure.

I took out a Sun Life Sun Maxilink Prime policy because the idea of a life insurance policy supplemented with mutual funds seemed like sheer genius to me back then. I have been insured for more than a year now, but I have to admit that I've only gone through my policy once. Of course, my agent explained the salient points of my policy before I signed up for it, but considering how much chattering goes on whenever we meet, I'm not surprised that I can't recall even a fourth of his explanation. After months of procrastinating, I finally sat down and scrutinized my life insurance policy and here is the summary of benefits payable:

Basic Benefit- Face amount + Fund value on death of Life Insured.
Additional Benefit - (Accidental death) Php500,000.00 if death of Life Insured occurs before May 24, 2049 from an accident.
- (Total disability) the Regular Premiums will be paid during total disability of Life Insured (note: Ask agent about this. What Regular Premiums? Who will pay these Regular Premiums?)
Premium payment period- 10 years or until May 24, 2021 (although could be longer if the Fund Value is insufficient to pay charges)
Maturity Date- May 24, 2067.

I tried to go over the Premiums and Charges Provisions, but they honestly made my head ache. But the benefits are pretty straightforward and from what I gathered, if I die while my insurance policy subsists, my beneficiary will receive the Face Value + Fund value. And if I die from an accident before May 24, 2049, my beneficiary will receive an additional Php500,000.00.

Aside from giving me peace of mind, I also like how I can withdraw part of the Fund Value any time while the policy subsists, in effect creating another stream of income that I can tap into when needed. There's no provision though on the cash surrender value, will have to ask my agent about that.

Anyway, I'm glad that I went over my policy, if only to get acquainted with what I can expect from it. Although I'm still wondering why most financial experts (i.e. Suze Orman and the speaker during the Colayco seminar) recommend a term insurance over the other types, including whole life insurance, which is what I got. Must research into that too.

P.S.
You may also want to read this great post on life insurance from Mel Briones of Youwanttoberich.com. Please click here.
P.P.S.
RIP Mang Dolphy :(

Going Over My Life Insurance Policy


I'm a firm believer in life insurance, I like the assurance that if I suddenly drop dead tomorrow, my loved-ones will not have to worry financially (at least for the next year or two) and can take their sweet time grieving my departure.

I took out a Sun Life Sun Maxilink Prime policy because the idea of a life insurance policy supplemented with mutual funds seemed like sheer genius to me back then. I have been insured for more than a year now, but I have to admit that I've only gone through my policy once. Of course, my agent explained the salient points of my policy before I signed up for it, but considering how much chattering goes on whenever we meet, I'm not surprised that I can't recall even a fourth of his explanation. After months of procrastinating, I finally sat down and scrutinized my life insurance policy and here is the summary of benefits payable:

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Money in Blogging


The dream is to blog all day long, writing about whatever strikes my fancy and then get fame* and riches in return, without sacrificing my voice and my editorial prerogative. But fact is, unless you're a celebrity, a personality or run a porn site, blogging is not the way to the comfy life. At least that's what my experience has taught me.

You can only get so much money with Google or Text Link ads, in fact even with three popular sites, we're lucky to scrape enough ad revenue per month to pay our hosting expenses, and I refuse to do pay-per-posts and their ilk because I don't know how to seamlessly integrate automatic garage doors and tube heating into my posts without sounding like a moron.

Not counting the monetary value of the swag I have received, I have only made Php6,000.00 in almost six (6) years of blogging because of a sponsored post. In fairness though, I have turned down a number of proposals because they involved skin whitening products or were not in line with my blog's theme, but even if I accepted those, my grand total would only be in the lower 5 digits. How's that for a return in investment?

But while my blog per se may not have generated income for me, my blog has put my name out there and is the reason why I now do copywriting for a foreign site and back-end support for an international brand. Of course, my rackets can hardly be categorized as passive income because I still put in the requisite hours in order to meet those obligations.

And I'm not the only one whose blog has opened different avenues for income. There are numerous bloggers out there who now sideline as makeup artists, do brand management or partner with brands as their ambassadors. So really, blogging can be a steady source of income, but if you think you only need to set up a blog and then cut and paste PR kits for the money to start rolling in, then dream on.

Think of your blog as your online portfolio, a showcase of what you're capable of and what you can deliver. Then when you do get a job offer, be sure to turn in work that you won't be afraid to claim as your own. If all this sounds too much like a hassle and too much like real work, then better invest in some implants and strike your best come hither pose, because sex always sells on the internet.


*I'm actually fine without the fame part, but the riches is a non-negotiable in my daydream.

Money in Blogging


The dream is to blog all day long, writing about whatever strikes my fancy and then get fame* and riches in return, without sacrificing my voice and my editorial prerogative. But fact is, unless you're a celebrity, a personality or run a porn site, blogging is not the way to the comfy life. At least that's what my experience has taught me.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Frugality 101


I have long wanted to be frugal, to live well within my means and have something saved for a rainy day, but it has only been in the last year that I've made considerable headway towards my financial goals. Admittedly, I'm earning a bit more than what I used to two years ago, but my expenses have also increased, so I can't attribute my better financial state to a fatter paycheck. What really changed though was my mindset.

Frugality is a complete lifestyle in itself and not just a mere goal. Looking back, my past attempts at frugality were always defeated by repeated bursts of spending buoyed by feelings of self-entitlement (i.e. "I've been ever so good, so I deserve this"). I now realize that before I could be really comfortable with frugality, I had to first get my "poor student" frame of mind out of my system.

Because I was a student for so long and my first job paid peanuts, I always turned to retail therapy or a good meal to comfort myself. There's nothing like a new pair of shoes to erase those years of subsisting on a small allowance, or so I told myself. The pairs of shoes and swag from blogging eventually piled up, but I wasn't any happier, and after a while, accumulating stuff just got old and tiresome.

In due time, stuff became exactly that, and I was no longer enticed by the shiny and the new. And with that slight shift in mindset, I finally succeeded in setting up an emergency fund (after my first attempt was an epic failure) and investing in stocks and mutual funds. Here's what I've come to realize so far:
  1. When you get rid of your feelings of helplessness or your woe is me mentality, you'll have better emotional intelligence to resist the retail sirens. Clearly, you have to wrestle with your demons to find out why you act the way you do.
  2. Stuff, no matter how they package and trumpet it, is just stuff.
  3. Yes, it is possible to have enough shoes/ clothes/ makeup / bags or whatever it is that makes you lose your mind. Don't believe the marketing machines that proclaim otherwise.
  4. When you're feeling weak, simply avoid the source of temptation, in this case the mall, until the moment of weakness disappears.

Frugality is not meant to make you feel small or impoverished, so if it does, then you obviously still have issues to deal with. Thus, before anything else, face the monsters within and do whatever you have to conquer them.

Frugality 101


I have long wanted to be frugal, to live well within my means and have something saved for a rainy day, but it has only been in the last year that I've made considerable headway towards my financial goals. Admittedly, I'm earning a bit more than what I used to two years ago, but my expenses have also increased, so I can't attribute my better financial state to a fatter paycheck. What really changed though was my mindset.