Friday, November 29, 2013

Status and the Credit Card


My credit card company (RCBC) surprised me with a new gold Visa card a few weeks back just because. Not only is the card prettier than my drab, blue classic Mastercard, it also supposedly has a higher status associated with it.

Today, I received notice that my fogey, run of the mill Mastercard can be upgraded to a gold Mastercard because I'm such a swell person. And just to entice me to make the switch, the gold Mastercard has the following features and benefits:

  1. Flexible Rewards Program
  2. Spend Monitor
  3. Spend Analyzer
  4. eStatement via Email Facility
  5. Dining-on-Demand Food Delivery Service
And the best part is that I will be paying the same annual membership fee that I have been paying for my classic card for three (3) years! The note also emphasized that the gold card has a higher status than my existing, boring classic Mastercard.

Three things:

First, I already enjoy all those enumerated advantages with my classic Mastercard. They're not actually exclusive to a gold card.

Second, I have never paid an annual membership in the six years or so that I've had a credit card. The two surefire ways to having the fee waived is to call your bank and: (1) Threaten to have the card canceled (but this will only work if you don't have an existing balance); or (2) Charge the agreed upon amount the following month (in my experience it's usually Php3,000, or twice the amount of the annual fee).

Third, since when is buying things on credit considered a status symbol?

As always, the marketing mavens and spin doctors weaved their magic to transform what is essentially debt into something to aspire for.

Aspirational.* I first heard of it when I did support work for a brand and I was instructed to craft copies that were aspirational. I was basically tasked to create a hunger for the brand by implying a lifestyle associated with it. It was BS really.

So to my dear, dear bank. Thank you very much for the offer, but I'm perfectly happy with my classic Mastercard. However, I would appreciate a higher credit limit to accommodate that round trip ticket to Europe that I've been dreaming about. Thanks in advance!



*In consumer marketing, an aspirational brand (or product) means a large segment of its exposure audience wishes to own it, but for economical reasons cannot. (source)

Status and the Credit Card


My credit card company (RCBC) surprised me with a new gold Visa card a few weeks back just because. Not only is the card prettier than my drab, blue classic Mastercard, it also supposedly has a higher status associated with it.

Today, I received notice that my fogey, run of the mill Mastercard can be upgraded to a gold Mastercard because I'm such a swell person. And just to entice me to make the switch, the gold Mastercard has the following features and benefits:

Friday, November 15, 2013

Regrouping

I received news today that my freelance writing gig might be scrapped, it's not yet definite but my editor gave me the heads up, just so that I won't be caught unaware.



The income from that gig is where I source my investment and travel funds from. It's essentially a healthy buffer that allows me the freedom to not account for every little item bought and even splurge on a fancy meal or a new pair of shoes every now and then. But it also takes a lot of time, time that I would rather now spend with my son or puttering around the house and kitchen.




My income from my day job accounts for 100% of our expenses, with still a little wiggle room leftover because we don't really have a champagne and caviar lifestyle, while my husband's earnings as a freelance web developer is added to our savings and investments. With my writing gig gone, we have to be more careful with our spending and impulse purchases have to be a thing of the past. Challenge accepted!



I'm also now thinking twice about getting my brother's unit because I expected my writing gig to cover that extra expense (i.e. monthly amortization and installment payment of the lump sum to my parents). Besides, the extra space will just seem like a curse if we're always overdrawn every month trying to pay for it.



And so what I thought were concrete plans are now up in the air once again. Sometimes I wonder why I even bother making plans when something always happens to shake them up. I think it's because I just like making checklists. Yeah, that's it. Checklists rule!

Regrouping

I received news today that my freelance writing gig might be scrapped, it's not yet definite but my editor gave me the heads up, just so that I won't be caught unaware.

The income from that gig is where I source my investment and travel funds from. It's essentially a healthy buffer that allows me the freedom to not account for every little item bought and even splurge on a fancy meal or a new pair of shoes every now and then. But it also takes a lot of time, time that I would rather now spend with my son or puttering around the house and kitchen.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Reader Question: What Investment Product Do You Recommend?

Hi Atty. Jill!


I stumbled upon your blog through Lianne's blog, and I've been backreading through your blog. Your journey to financial stability and freedom is truly inspiring. You present the struggles and rewards of frugality and investing in a very relatable manner.


I am a 20-something government employee, and I would like to start investing, but I don't know where to start, or which investment product is right for me. Right now, I am thinking of two options: (1) opening an EIP account at CitiSecOnline, and (2) opening a balanced fund from a reputable bank (BPI probably, because that's where I bank, but I'm also trying to explore BDO's EIP). I am also considering FAMI-SALEF since I read it in your blog. Which can you recommend? I hope you can help me. I don't have the technical knowledge for trading, but I have a bit of an idea about financial management through online articles and free seminars.


Kth


Reader Question: What Investment Product Do You Recommend?

Hi Atty. Jill!

I stumbled upon your blog through Lianne's blog, and I've been backreading through your blog. Your journey to financial stability and freedom is truly inspiring. You present the struggles and rewards of frugality and investing in a very relatable manner.

I am a 20-something government employee, and I would like to start investing, but I don't know where to start, or which investment product is right for me. Right now, I am thinking of two options: (1) opening an EIP account at CitiSecOnline, and (2) opening a balanced fund from a reputable bank (BPI probably, because that's where I bank, but I'm also trying to explore BDO's EIP). I am also considering FAMI-SALEF since I read it in your blog. Which can you recommend? I hope you can help me. I don't have the technical knowledge for trading, but I have a bit of an idea about financial management through online articles and free seminars.

Thanks in advance and more power.

Regards,
Kth

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Honing your Skillset

A few days ago, I was asked if I wanted to handle the online marketing for a new local skin care brand. The caller said that the duties and expectation were pretty much what I used to do when I handled the Facebook account of a different brand, except that this time, instead of just Facebook, I was also expected to handle the Twitter and Instagram accounts, create memes, come up with periodic content plans and brainstorm on different marketing campaigns.

Whoa! Talk about a changing landscape!

I remember when I had that Facebook gig about two years ago, Twitter as a marketing tool was just gaining ground and Facebook was the way to go. Now, it seems as if Facebook is becoming a place where your parents and grandparents hang out, and Instagram and Twitter are where the cool kids congregate. All of this happened in less than two years, which, when you think about it, is considered a lifetime in the fast moving internet world.

This had me thinking about how important it is to keep on educating yourself, to learn a new skill or hone an existing one that will significantly ramp up your desirability as an employee or pave the way to becoming your own boss.

If I were to pursue a career in the judiciary, there are regular mandatory seminars that ensure that you are aware of the new laws, jurisprudence etc. Same goes if I pursue private practice, with our Mandatory Continuing Legal Education requirement every two years.

But if I switch to Plan B, my legal background becomes a mere asterisk and I'll have to arm myself with a whole new different skillset. There's also the possibility of setting up shop for myself and leaving the comforts of being employed. 

It's just too much excitement for my brain (and heart!) to process at the moment, so I continue to plan and work at my dreams, taking baby steps to ensure that I'll be suitably ready to make the jump, if I do make the jump.

Honing your Skillset

A few days ago, I was asked if I wanted to handle the online marketing for a new local skin care brand. The caller said that the duties and expectation were pretty much what I used to do when I handled the Facebook account of a different brand, except that this time, instead of just Facebook, I was also expected to handle the Twitter and Instagram accounts, create memes, come up with periodic content plans and brainstorm on different marketing campaigns.

Whoa! Talk about a changing landscape!