Sunday, December 28, 2014

Happy Holidays!

Agta Beach Resort with the fambam




This year, we dove head first into the holiday madness and went to three different destinations for December, with two other places to go to before we say goodbye to 2014. To date, we've been to the airport 6 times (with only one delay, thank goodness!), went on one fast craft from Cebu to Ormoc and two long distance drives to get to my parents' place in Biliran. Today, we're going on another road trip to attend my sister in law's wedding and then we're off to Bohol after that with the wedding party. I officially need a vacation from this vacation.


Happy Holidays!

Agta Beach Resort with the fambam


This year, we dove head first into the holiday madness and went to three different destinations for December, with two other places to go to before we say goodbye to 2014. To date, we've been to the airport 6 times (with only one delay, thank goodness!), went on one fast craft from Cebu to Ormoc and two long distance drives to get to my parents' place in Biliran. Today, we're going on another road trip to attend my sister in law's wedding and then we're off to Bohol after that with the wedding party. I officially need a vacation from this vacation.

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.


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.

Getting the IV into his foot was a horrible experience but beyond that, everything went smoothly. He was back to his old self by morning and when he no longer vomited after eating breakfast and lunch, we were given the go signal to check out of the hospital.


Throughout this whole experience, I was mindful of the fact that we were lucky that my mom was a doctor in that hospital and our pedia was her partner, so we didn't have to pay for professional fees. Also, even without a discount, our son only needed some very minor medication and lab works, which amounted to less than Php1,500. The biggest expense we had was our room which was a suite, because the next available room was a semi-ward where the watcher was only provided with a chair. The suite wasn't also all that grand to be perfectly honest, but at least it was roomy.

Because we checked-in during the weekend, I wasn't able to accomplish the required Philhealth forms and had to charge the entire bill on my credit card. I'll be applying for Philhealth reimbursement soon and here's hoping that I'll get a substantial refund on the Php5,700 that we spent on hospital bills.

Yup, we only spent Php5,700 on our hospital stay, so even if I don't get a reimbursement it won't really matter. But I can imagine how Php5,700 will be too much of a financial burden for others, like that beggar who brought in his 1 y.o. child to the emergency room a few minutes after we settled in our room. Thank goodness Medical Center of Paranaque has a very compassionate ER staff who waived the ER fees and even managed to find medicines for the child. Also, the doctor told me that my husband gave her money to be spent on that child's medications. I would have never known if she hadn't told me since he never brought it up. Clearly I married well :)


While we will never have an aspirational lifestyle that thousands will avidly follow on Instagram (guilty!), I am constantly reminded of how blessed we really are and of how little we really need to be happy.

I hope this storm runs its course soon so we can all get back to merrymaking.

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.


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.


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. 

I have problematic skin that easily breaks out in rashes and years ago, my derma prescribed medications to keep my skin at bay. Those cleansers and topical medicine came in nondescript white tubes and simple packaging, so I've always associated doctor-recommended and sensitive skin safe products with white and no-frills packaging. I also tend to gravitate towards blue and green products because of how clean and fresh they are (Aha! Another marketing construct right there!).

Earlier this year, my friend and I thought of putting up a small bakery/restaurant within my condominium compound and I was adamant that it should be "Instagram-worthy" to entice my mostly young neighbors to make it their hangout where they can do their selfies, in effect generating free advertising for our bakery.


Little did I know then that my "Instagram-worthy" bakeshop was actually what Starbucks peddled, an experience. People don't want to merely eat or drink coffee, they want to spend time with their friends, people watch, enjoy the ambiance, take a break from studying or working. And Starbucks delivers all that, that's why people line up for its overpriced coffee. Absolutely brilliant.

I asked my husband, a marketing graduate, if there was anything morally questionable about this practice, because it seemed quite deceptive on some level. But he answered that on the contrary, marketers were giving people what they really wanted: something that made them feel good about themselves.

Again, it's never about the toothpaste, the coffee or the facial wash. It's about the promise of what you can be with those products and how they make you feel.

As a personal finance geek, I think it's bullcrap, but as an avid observer of human nature and behavior, I am fascinated.

However, now that I've uncovered my own bias and triggers, I'll be more careful about what I put inside my shopping cart, as I might just be spending a bit more on something that is actually no different than the cheaper variety just because Juday (my secret BFF) endorses it.


P.S.

Fitz Villafuerte's fantastic article on Starbucks is a study of how brilliant marketers really are, and their uncanny understanding of human nature and frailty. Go read it now.

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....


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:


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:

Monday, November 10, 2014

California Dreaming


My brother is a pilot so I can get a substantial discount on airfares if I wanted to. And lately, I've been dreaming of spending a week in San Francisco, with a side trip to Napa Valley.

I have relatives there so lodging is not an issue, and between my family connections and heavily discounted ticket, I'll be spending far less than a regularly priced round trip ticket for everything.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Money Coach

It's funny how things have a way of unfolding. I started this blog to chronicle my musings about personal finance, to create a soundingboard of how much I still need to learn about getting my financial house in order. And in the process of writing about how much I don't know about personal finance, I'm suddenly fielding questions about investments, savings and whatnot. Essentially getting questions because people think I know something.


Strange.


Money Coach

It's funny how things have a way of unfolding. I started this blog to chronicle my musings about personal finance, to create a soundingboard of how much I still need to learn about getting my financial house in order. And in the process of writing about how much I don't know about personal finance, I'm suddenly fielding questions about investments, savings and whatnot. Essentially getting questions because people think I know something.

Strange.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

An Unlikely Role Model

Remember Anne Curtis' TV commercials for PS Bank? Apparently, Ms. Curtis was not just doing it because she got paid to be cute about saving money, she really does believe in saving money!



An Unlikely Role Model

Remember Anne Curtis' TV commercials for PS Bank? Apparently, Ms. Curtis was not just doing it because she got paid to be cute about saving money, she really does believe in saving money!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Rant

Sorry ha, but it kills me when "financial advisors" advise their single, no dependents, low earning clients to "invest" in a VUL product. If these so-called financial advisors were really looking out for the welfare of their clients, then they would not push a VUL product and would instead recommend term insurance, if indeed the client needed life insurance in the first place.

If a person just wants to invest, has no dependents and has no estate to protect (bata pa nga eh, malamang walang pera yan), what's the point of buying life insurance? And VUL to boot pa, which has historically been outperformed by other investment vehicles.

Wala lang, it really irritates me when I hear "financial advisors" touting the advantage of VUL products to someone with next to zero knowledge about investments, clearly taking advantage of that person's naivete.

That's why knowledge is key and I doubt I'll ever have a future selling life insurance.

Here's what Suze has to say about that:

Rant

Sorry ha, but it kills me when "financial advisors" advise their single, no dependents, low earning clients to "invest" in a VUL product. If these so-called financial advisors were really looking out for the welfare of their clients, then they would not push a VUL product and would instead recommend term insurance, if indeed the client needed life insurance in the first place.

If a person just wants to invest, has no dependents and has no estate to protect (bata pa nga eh, malamang walang pera yan), what's the point of buying life insurance? And VUL to boot pa, which has historically been outperformed by other investment vehicles.

Wala lang, it really irritates me when I hear "financial advisors" touting the advantage of VUL products to someone with next to zero knowledge about investments, clearly taking advantage of that person's naivete.

That's why knowledge is key and I doubt I'll ever have a future selling life insurance.

Here's what Suze has to say about that:

Monday, October 27, 2014

DIY Halloween




It was another DIY Halloween costume for my son this year, but unlike last year's popcorn outfit which I hurriedly sewed together a few hours before we went trick or treating, I had more time to channel my Home Economics skills so I was able to whip up not just one, but two costumes for Php20. That's not a typo, I really was able to make their costumes for Php20. Hooray!

DIY Halloween


It was another DIY Halloween costume for my son this year, but unlike last year's popcorn outfit which I hurriedly sewed together a few hours before we went trick or treating, I had more time to channel my Home Economics skills so I was able to whip up not just one, but two costumes for Php20. That's not a typo, I really was able to make their costumes for Php20. Hooray!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Dream (for now)


I have this recurring dream of setting up my own law office where I will specialize in happy cases like adoption and maybe have a retainer or two to keep my balance sheet happy. And ever since I stumbled into the world of personal finance and financial planning, my dream now also includes being a financial planner, helping people find financial freedom. A small law office that takes on adoption cases and dispenses financial advice. Why not right?


To make that happen I have set up the following goals for myself:


The Dream (for now)


I have this recurring dream of setting up my own law office where I will specialize in happy cases like adoption and maybe have a retainer or two to keep my balance sheet happy. And ever since I stumbled into the world of personal finance and financial planning, my dream now also includes being a financial planner, helping people find financial freedom. A small law office that takes on adoption cases and dispenses financial advice. Why not right?

To make that happen I have set up the following goals for myself:

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Food Talks

I revisited an old entry on our monthly household budget and I was ashamed when I saw how much we were regularly spending on eating out alone, an average of Php8,000! Ulp. 

I'm happy to say though that we have since then slashed our restaurant budget in half and for the first time ever, we even managed to go under budget last month. For the past few months, we would go above our restaurant budget by a few hundreds or a thousand pesos or so, but last month, we actually had a few hundreds to spare, and we're also on the right track this month. Woohoo!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Suggestions Needed



I'm about to interview an aunt based in California who is 2-3 years away from buying a retirement home in CASH. I'm currently working on the questions that I want to ask her and I'm honestly stumped. I didn't realize that coming up with interview questions was that difficult:p

That's why I'm reaching out to my readers, if you have any question(s) that you want to throw her way or any suggestions about what I can ask her, just leave it in the comments section below.

Thanks!

P.S.
The image above is not their actual retirement home, it's just a stock image from Share Design.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Third Quarter Net Worth Report


Alrighty, it's that time of the year again when I crunch our numbers and assess our financial performance, if we've been naughty or nice with our finances. Thankfully, we didn't go through any more shake-ups this quarter, as we focused all our attention on trying to gain our footing back after buying the condo unit next door. In short, the last three months have been about rebuilding and recovery, kind of like cleaning up after a big earthquake.


Third Quarter Net Worth Report


Alrighty, it's that time of the year again when I crunch our numbers and assess our financial performance, if we've been naughty or nice with our finances. Thankfully, we didn't go through any more shake-ups this quarter, as we focused all our attention on trying to gain our footing back after buying the condo unit next door. In short, the last three months have been about rebuilding and recovery, kind of like cleaning up after a big earthquake.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Everything's on the Up and Up!

Our emergency funds are still nowhere near our target, I stopped contributing to my FAMI-SALEF account early this year and I haven't made extra payments towards our mortgage because debt repayment is foremost on my list. Yet despite being cash poor, I can't seem to shake off my good mood.


I'm reminded of when we first got married and were ridiculously broke, I was always worrying and fretting about money back then. This time around, although our savings are back to near zero levels I don't find myself worrying as much, because I know that all this low balance shtick is merely temporary. This too shall pass and soon enough, I'll be back to my desired financial ninja status.


Everything's on the Up and Up!

Our emergency funds are still nowhere near our target, I stopped contributing to my FAMI-SALEF account early this year and I haven't made extra payments towards our mortgage because debt repayment is foremost on my list. Yet despite being cash poor, I can't seem to shake off my good mood. 

I'm reminded of when we first got married and were ridiculously broke, I was always worrying and fretting about money back then. This time around, although our savings are back to near zero levels I don't find myself worrying as much, because I know that all this low balance shtick is merely temporary.  This too shall pass and soon enough, I'll be back to my desired financial ninja status.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Catching Up Daw?

A friend I haven't heard from in years suddenly sent me a PM two nights ago and I was reminded of this John Lloyd meme:



Catching Up Daw?

A friend I haven't heard from in years suddenly sent me a PM two nights ago and I was reminded of this John Lloyd meme:


This one is also a riot:

Friday, September 19, 2014

Chit Chat on BPI Save Up

In my last post, I briefly talked about my plan of opening up a BPI Save Up account because of its life insurance aspect. I was surprised at the number of comments I got regarding that bit in my rambling post because it seems as if a lot of people are also interested or are already using BPI Save Up.


The information online regarding BPI Save Up is pretty straightforward:


Chit Chat on BPI Save Up

In my last post, I briefly talked about my plan of opening up a BPI Save Up account because of its life insurance aspect. I was surprised at the number of comments I got regarding that bit in my rambling post because it seems as if a lot of people are also interested or are already using BPI Save Up.

The information online regarding BPI Save Up is pretty straightforward:

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Just Because

I felt compelled to churn out something today because it's been 6 days since my last post, but I can't think of anything coherent right now. So I will subject my readers to the random thoughts polluting my mind, which may or may not be personal finance related. You have been warned.


Just Because

I felt compelled to churn out something today because it's been 6 days since my last post, but I can't think of anything coherent right now. So I will subject my readers to the random thoughts polluting my mind, which may or may not be personal finance related. You have been warned.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Analyzing our Budget

When I finally sat down to create a monthly household budget, I came up with four categories: Fixed Expenses (parking and condominium dues, yaya's salary and benefits, PLDT and cable dues), Non-Fixed Expenses (Meralco, grocery, gasoline, eating out, laundry, water dues, lunch and taxi/fun fund), Savings/ Investments/ Protection (emergency funds, mutual funds investments, life insurance and health insurance) and Debt Payment (mortgage and personal loan).


Analyzing our Budget

When I finally sat down to create a monthly household budget, I came up with four categories: Fixed Expenses (parking and condominium dues, yaya's salary and benefits, PLDT and cable dues), Non-Fixed Expenses (Meralco, grocery, gasoline, eating out, laundry, water dues, lunch and taxi/fun fund), Savings/ Investments/ Protection (emergency funds, mutual funds investments, life insurance and health insurance) and Debt Payment (mortgage and personal loan).

Saturday, August 30, 2014

How I Was Sabotaging Our Finances

The good news is that it's very easy to withdraw funds from COL Financial, the bad news is I had to sell some stocks to pay off my credit card debt. That's how I found out how effortless it is to withdraw from COL Financial.


Ever since we bought the next door condo unit, our money situation has been slightly precarious with our emergency funds decimated and finding ourselves in debt to some family members. Things are looking up though and I'll be through paying my brother within a few days. Also, with an upcoming bonus, we can even start renovating the kitchen and tuck a tidy sum away in our emergency funds account.


But because of this juggling, I haven't been able to pay off a credit card bill in full for the last three months and the finance charges for carrying a balance have already reached Php4,000! I thought about it long and hard and decided to sell my AC (Ayala Corporation) stocks since it had already surpassed my 25% threshold to sell. More importantly though, the finance charges from my credit card balance would surpass whatever I was earning monthly from my AC stocks through capital appreciation.


The recent turn of events also made me take a closer look at our finances since I always thought we were doing well, give or take a few needed tweaks here and there, so why were we suddenly crippled by that big purchase?


How I Was Sabotaging Our Finances

The good news is that it's very easy to withdraw funds from COL Financial, the bad news is I had to sell some stocks to pay off my credit card debt. That's how I found out how effortless it is to withdraw from COL Financial.

Ever since we bought the next door condo unit, our money situation has been slightly precarious with our emergency funds decimated and finding ourselves in debt to some family members. Things are looking up though and I'll be through paying my brother within a few days. Also, with an upcoming bonus, we can even start renovating the kitchen and tuck a tidy sum away in our emergency funds account.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Guest Post: Smart Spends That Will Save You Money

When you have a family to look after, you’re not just looking out for your own financial well being - you’ve got to support everyone in your home. You never know what life is going to throw at you - expensive medical bills, a car break down or worse could be just around the corner, but there are some things that you can do now to help save for the long term.



Every penny counts when looking after family finance, and whilst it may seem counter intuitive to actually go out and spend money in order to achieve this, sometimes a small investment now can make a huge long term difference. By investing a small amount of money now, you can set yourself up for the future, and part of being frugal is knowing a good deal when you see one, and a stitch in time can save nine.



It can be true that you’ve got to spend money to make money, but cliches aside, here are a few tips to help you see whether you can save a little extra bit of money. Some of these changes will probably cost next to nothing, whilst others may be a little more expensive, but all could save you even more cash over the long term.


Guest Post: Smart Spends That Will Save You Money

When you have a family to look after, you’re not just looking out for your own financial well being - you’ve got to support everyone in your home. You never know what life is going to throw at you - expensive medical bills, a car break down or worse could be just around the corner, but there are some things that you can do now to help save for the long term.

Every penny counts when looking after family finance, and whilst it may seem counter intuitive to actually go out and spend money in order to achieve this, sometimes a small investment now can make a huge long term difference. By investing a small amount of money now, you can set yourself
up for the future, and part of being frugal is knowing a good deal when you see one, and a stitch in time can save nine.

It can be true that you’ve got to spend money to make money, but cliches aside, here are a few tips to help you see whether you can save a little extra bit of money. Some of these changes will probably cost next to nothing, whilst others may be a little more expensive, but all could save you even more cash over the long term.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Whut?

This is totally not personal finance related, but about 3 months ago, I received a text message in Bisaya from "Lucel" saying that she won't be able to come to work because her husband got into a motorcycle accident and she has to take care of him.

I don't know any Lucel and the only person who works for me is my son's yaya Sheila, who is Bicolana and not Bisaya, so I ignored the message and treated it as an ingenious scam attempt (because how did "Lucel" know that I was Bisaya?).

A few weeks after that, I get another Bisaya message saying that her child had a fever and she wouldn't be able to go to work. The sender didn't identify herself as Lucel though, but like the first one, it was sent at about 6AM.

Then last week, I receive yet another text message. I was able to save it, so I quote:

mam gd am ugma nalang q tungha kay malig0 pme dagat (8/13/2-14 / 6:35 AM)

lang ugma nk0 anha kay pdubn cla malig0 (8/13/2014 / 6:35 AM)

(Good morning ma'am, I will go there tomorrow because we will go to the beach today)

To which I responded:

Ok. Ayo Ayo lng mo diha. Pagbutang ug sunblock.

(Ok, take care. Use sunblock)

Lucel didn't respond to my show of love, but she did text this morning:

gud am mam, ghilantan aq bata mam ugma nk0 anga kay aq sa ipahilot., lucel ne (8/19/2014 / 5:44 AM)

(Good morning ma'am, I will go there tomorrow because my child has a fever and I will bring him/her to the local healer. This is Lucel)

I decided to stop this charade once and for all and responded with: Wrong number.

To which Lucel sassily replied with: 

kam0 gd ug masuk0 mo pangitae m0 puli kay tman rk0 ktapusan.

(If you're going to get mad, better to look for my replacement because I'll only be there until the end of the month)

Me: Ok. Pero wrong number nga. Please recheck the number you're using.


At galit ka pa Lucel?! Ikaw na nga itong palaging absent! Harumph.

Anyhoo, I still don't know what Lucel's game is or if she really did just make a mistake in texting me. But one thing's for sure, if it is indeed a scam, I'm curious to see where this will lead. Also, what's the deal with texting in Bisaya because wouldn't the odds for success be greater when you use Tagalog, since more people understand that?

So mysterious!

Whut?

This is totally not personal finance related, but about 3 months ago, I received a text message in Bisaya from "Lucel" saying that she won't be able to come to work because her husband got into a motorcycle accident and she has to take care of him.

I don't know any Lucel and the only person who works for me is my son's yaya Sheila, who is Bicolana and not Bisaya, so I ignored the message and treated it as an ingenious scam attempt (because how did "Lucel" know that I was Bisaya?).

A few weeks after that, I get another Bisaya message saying that her child had a fever and she wouldn't be able to go to work. The sender didn't identify herself as Lucel though, but like the first one, it was sent at about 6AM.

Then last week, I receive yet another text message. I was able to save it, so I quote:

Friday, August 15, 2014

Almost RFP


I presented my financial plan last Monday to a panel of RFPs (Registered Financial Planner) and although I have to countercheck some of my figures and add some charts that require ninja level Excel skills, I'm still mighty glad that it's over.

My takeaway from that experience was that a comprehensive financial plan means just that, comprehensive. It's better to hammer the client with all sorts of projections and simulations, than to whiz through your report. But at the same time, the plan has to be easy to comprehend and doable for the client.

One panelist's comment to another presenter was that her figures seemed to be inflated. While that's ok if the client can afford it, for others who are on the other end of the financial spectrum, bloated figures might just prove to be discouraging. That's why there's a need to try to be spot-on with figures and projections.

At this point, I'll be getting back to my client for some more information that I will need to tweak her financial plan and I'll be studying up on Excel in order to bring up my current skill level of puny mortal to a nunchuck wielding ninja. Hopefully, in about a month's time, I can already incorporate the panel's suggestions so that I can resubmit my paper and finally get my RFP certification.

Almost RFP


I presented my financial plan last Monday to a panel of RFPs (Registered Financial Planner) and although I have to countercheck some of my figures and add some charts that require ninja level Excel skills, I'm still mighty glad that it's over.

Monday, August 11, 2014

A Year's Worth of Excuses

(clickable image)

"Bakit Hindi Nag-i-invest ang mga Pilipino" is a very insightful piece from Richard Macalintal that pretty much sums up why a huge majority of Filipinos fail to invest year in and year out.

It's actually a funny piece, but as Macalintal warns in the end, such financial recklessness is sheer idiocy and will result in tragedy sooner than you think. And I quote:

"Sa tingin nyo pag ganito ng ganito taon taon ang takbo ng buhay nyo, anong bukas ang naghihintay sa inyo at sa pamilya mo?

Pano kung wala ng magpautang sayo? Pano kung magsawa ng kabibigay sina mommy at daddy, sina kuya at ate?

Ayusin maige ang kaperahan Bago pa mahuli ang lahat..."

I really do hope people wake up and be brave enough to go against the flow. So what if people think you're poor or stingy because you didn't spend your entire Christmas bonus on gifts? So what if you don't go all out with your handaan once fiesta rolls in? So what if your car is 10 years old?

Step away from the pack, and be secure in the knowledge that for every peso you save and invest, you're building a better future for yourself and your family.

A Year's Worth of Excuses

(clickable image)

"Bakit Hindi Nag-i-invest ang mga Pilipino" is a very insightful piece from Richard Macalintal that pretty much sums up why a huge majority of Filipinos fail to invest year in and year out.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Shopping for Health Insurance

I've always taken health insurance for granted because my parents are doctors, thus, I am covered by the doctor privilege where doctors don't charge doctors and their families professional fees. Also, I have Philhealth and my employer has its own health plan, which I heard was pretty sweet as well.



Besides, I've only been hospitalized 3x my whole life. First was for dengue fever, then a month after that for a liver abscess caused by amoebiasis (damn you isaw!). I was only in college back then and still a minor, so not only did my parents avail of the doctor's privilege, they were also able to take advantage of stockholder privileges and paid zero for room charges, as my mom held clinic stocks in that hospital.



The third time was when I gave birth and with Philhealth thrown into the mix, I paid merely Php19,000++ for a caesarian birth. Amazing I tell you.



But just recently, my brother-in-law was hospitalized a month or two after my sister opted not to avail of her employer's subsidized Maxicare privilege, thinking that her Philhealth coverage was enough. Wouldn't you know it, he was admitted when she had just started her Philhealth contributions, so she failed to meet the 3 month minimum for coverage. And after several tests and a week's stay in the hospital, their bill is now about Php60,000. Ack.



This made me reassess my own health insurance needs pronto. A quick research revealed that Philhealth coverage is sadly not enough and that my employer does have a good health plan BUT it only covers its employees and not their dependents. So I've been looking up health insurance for my husband and son, and my doctor relatives highly recommended Maxicare and Intellicare.



Intellicare doesn't offer individual or family packages though, so the obvious choice became Maxicare. Some more research led me to I-Care or Insular Life Health Care. Aside from the cheaper premium (about Php10,000 cheaper than Maxicare for the same coverage) and comparable services, I liked how I-Care would cover pre-existing illnesses upon renewal after one year of coverage.



I'm really leaning towards I-Care now, but I still need some more convincing because if it's really the shizz, then why do the doctors I know recommend Maxicare and Intellicare? Does I-Care have some sort of dirty secret? Hmmm....



I'm also tempted to get the Maxicare prepaid cards for emergency cases (MyMaxicare EReady) and 6 common illnesses (MyMaxicare LITE). Basically, these are single use cards which have a maximum value of Php15,000 for emergency situations and Php25,000 for the enumerated illnesses (i.e.dengue, cholera, typhoid and paratyphoid, malaria, gastroenteritis and pneumonia.), and are good for one year upon registration. The price point is super affordable at Php500++ and Php1000++ for each card, and I'm thinking that with those cards + Philhealth + a healthy emergency fund, I can get away without health insurance and save Php20,000 -Php40,000 annually in the process.



But as these things usually go, and as my sister and brother-in-law have proven, doing without adequate health insurance can lead not only to physical pain, but also to financial pain. So I think I'll be getting the vanilla coverage for my husband. But from which company? Maxicare or I-Care? What do you think?

Shopping for Health Insurance

I've always taken health insurance for granted because my parents are doctors, thus, I am covered by the doctor privilege where doctors don't charge doctors and their families professional fees. Also, I have Philhealth and my employer has its own health plan, which I heard was pretty sweet as well.

Besides, I've only been hospitalized 3x my whole life. First was for dengue fever, then a month after that for a liver abscess caused by amoebiasis (damn you isaw!). I was only in college back then and still a minor, so not only did my parents avail of the doctor's privilege, they were also able to take advantage of stockholder privileges and paid zero for room charges, as my mom held clinic stocks in that hospital.

The third time was when I gave birth and with Philhealth thrown into the mix, I paid merely Php19,000++ for a caesarian birth. Amazing I tell you.

But just recently, my brother-in-law was hospitalized a month or two after my sister opted not to avail of her employer's subsidized Maxicare privilege, thinking that her Philhealth coverage was enough. Wouldn't you know it, he was admitted when she had just started her Philhealth contributions, so she failed to meet the 3 month minimum for coverage. And after several tests and a week's stay in the hospital, their bill is now about Php60,000. Ack.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Are Further Studies Worth the Cost?

One of my good friends is attending an Ivy League university on a scholarship this coming September. But even with her partial scholarship from her hotshot university, she still has to shell out a staggering amount and since she wasn't born rich, her friends helped out by holding a fundraiser. However, even with what we raised for her, she is still several hundreds of thousands of pesos short.


She's leaving the country in a few days without knowing where she will get the rest of her tuition money from, and after a year, when she comes back from her studies, she has debts to pay off.


Which now brings me to ask, are further studies worth the gargantuan cost?


Are Further Studies Worth the Cost?

One of my good friends is attending an Ivy League university on a scholarship this coming September. But even with her partial scholarship from her hotshot university, she still has to shell out a staggering amount and since she wasn't born rich, her friends helped out by holding a fundraiser. However, even with what we raised for her, she is still several hundreds of thousands of pesos short.

She's leaving the country in a few days without knowing where she will get the rest of her tuition money from, and after a year, when she comes back from her studies, she has debts to pay off.

Which now brings me to ask, are further studies worth the gargantuan cost?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Guest Post: How to Be More Money-Savvy in Your 20’s and Why It’s a Big Deal

If I could travel back in time I would encourage my 20 y.o. self to begin developing good money habits ASAP. After that, I would shake that "poor student" mentality from my noggin and get a headstart when it comes to saving and investing. Really, when I think of all the crap I accumulated when I started working, I seem to die a little inside. What the hell was I thinking?! So if you're just about to embark on your first job, or are in the middle of it, start  building up these habits right away. You'll be heaps thankful that you did so down the road. Thanks Loren for the great post!


When you’re young and free it’s easy to put off saving something for retirement until later in life, though with retirement ages being pushed back further each year, unless you want to retire in your 70s when you’re likely to be too tired to enjoy your retirement, you need to start putting something away for the future now.

But there’s more involved than simply putting something away for retirement when you’re young – for now anyway – because many twentysomethings incur debts that hobble them for many years, many develop poor spending habits which are difficult to break and many never learn how to budget effectively.

To enjoy a comfortable future you must learn how to be more money-savvy. This is easy to do – albeit initially unappealing for most young people – since you just need to understand a few things about budgeting, saving and spending, and of course put what you’ve learned into action.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Mortal Sin

I've started on my case study for my Registered Financial Planner accreditation and for this I tapped a good friend and her husband to become my very first clients. While going through their numbers, I was struck by just how much they are both earning from employment. I honestly thought I was already making a decent amount at work, but apparently, I was mistaken.

And then one brother has set up a second boxing gym, while another one is the sole provider for his family of four (wife + 3 kids), but he does this while staying at home and going on constant vacation breaks.

And have I mentioned that my friend and my brothers are younger than I am? :(

But at work, I'm the only one with a portfolio of investments. Also, when I whine that I don't have money, it only means that I wasn't able to withdraw cash, unlike some members of our staff who count the days until the next payday.

That's why I really should stop comparing myself and my financial situation with others. Doing so can only lead to two results, either I'll feel demoralized about my bottomline or I'll feel smug about my bottomline. Either way, I'm bound to lose.

So blinders back on, and eyes on the goal.

Happy Sunday y'all!
 

The Mortal Sin

I've started on my case study for my Registered Financial Planner accreditation and for this I tapped a good friend and her husband to become my very first clients. While going through their numbers, I was struck by just how much they are both earning from employment. I honestly thought I was already making a decent amount at work, but apparently, I was mistaken.

And then one brother has set up a second boxing gym, while another one is the sole provider for his family of four (wife + 3 kids), but he does this while staying at home and going on constant vacation breaks.

And have I mentioned that my friend and my brothers are younger than I am? :(

But at work, I'm the only one with a portfolio of investments. Also, when I whine that I don't have money, it only means that I wasn't able to withdraw cash, unlike some members of our staff who count the days until the next payday.

That's why I really should stop comparing myself and my financial situation with others. Doing so can only lead to two results, either I'll feel demoralized about my bottomline or I'll feel smug about my bottomline. Either way, I'm bound to lose.

So blinders back on, and eyes on the goal.

Happy Sunday y'all!
 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Building Up Your Financial Muscles

Really, the best thing you can do in your journey towards financial independence is to learn as much as you can about all things personal finance and its kissing cousins. In that light, here are two seminars that you might be interested in, one is on technical analysis and the other is on Cashflow101, the board game popularized by Robert Kiyosaki. Details after the jump.



Do you want to learn a simple system that help you trade profitably and avoid making the wrong Trades?

Learn when to buy and sell a stock and at how much to maximize your profit or minimize your losses at 7th RFP CPD talk on Technical Analysis. This seminar will feature practical trading strategy that covers the fundamental aspects and practical implementation of technical analysis principles and methodologies as used by dealers and traders in the financial markets. 

Date: July 16, 2014
(Wednesday)
Time: 6pm to 10pm
Venue: RFP HQ, Tektite Building, Ortigas, Pasig City

Regular Rate: Php1,500
RFP Graduate Member: Php500
RFP Certified Member: FREE

*Members of RFP Philippines need to register to on or before the seminar date to ensure seat. Failing to show up will incur Php500 penalty. To register please contact: (632) 263 3221; info@rfp.ph




What: Cashflow101® is a board game created by Robert Kiyosaki, author of the Best-Selling book, Rich Dad Poor Dad, to serve as a bridge from learning the Rich Dad concepts from the books towards applying those concepts in a safe environment first (no real money is involved in the board game, this serves as a practice ground). It is only through practice that the firm foundation of financial literacy is formed.

Next Schedule:
Date: August 17, 2014 (Sunday)
Venue: SM Megamall MegaTrade Conference Center, Mandaluyong City
Time: 1:00PM to 6:30PM
Price: P1000. Pre-registration is required.
 
Early bird price of P800 until July 15, 2014.  To reserve a slot, please contact claribelisip@yahoo.com



*Disclaimer: Frugal Honey is not affiliated with any of the organizers featured in this post. For questions or reservations, please address them directly to the organizers (details are in the post).

Building Up Your Financial Muscles

Really, the best thing you can do in your journey towards financial independence is to learn as much as you can about all things personal finance and its kissing cousins. In that light, here are two seminars that you might be interested in, one is on technical analysis and the other is on Cashflow101, the board game popularized by Robert Kiyosaki. Details after the jump.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Mid Year Net Worth Report

I honestly dreaded calculating for my mid-year net worth because with everything that's happened, I was afraid of what the figures would show. Let's recap.


Remember the next door condo unit that we were thinking of getting, and then decided not to anymore? After all the hemming and hawing, we ended up buying it after all. Now we are the proud owners of adjacent 30sqm condo units. However, in order to pay off my brother (the condo's previous owner), I had to drain our emergency funds AND take out a loan from my parents. So while my real estate assets doubled, my real estate related liabilities also doubled plus I also incurred some hefty personal loans. But on the bright side, the personal loan is from the Bank of Mom and Dad where the payment term is pay when able ;-)


The bottomline is that my net worth grew by 14.47% from the first quarter of this year (mostly brought on by the new condo unit), however, my liabilities (mortgage + personal loans) almost tripled.


Mid Year Net Worth Report

I honestly dreaded calculating for my mid-year net worth because with everything that's happened, I was afraid of what the figures would show. Let's recap. 

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Rogue Shows You the Money


My very first Rogue magazine was the one with Megan Young (pre-Ms. World) on the cover. I snapped up a copy because of the travel theme, and it took me a while to realize that I was reading a men's magazine. Imagine that, girly-girl me reading a men's magazine and actually enjoying it.

Since then, I've looked forward to the travel, food and style issues. I always regret not buying a copy when I spot it in a bookstore, because Rogue magazine is not as widely available as the Summit publications. So when I finally decide to get a copy, it would usually be out of stock. I bought a digital version (the Bryanboy issue) once via Zinio, but it just wasn't the same. I missed the feel of actually leafing through the pages and poring over the articles. Even Rogue's paper feels and smells different than the other glossies, as they tend to be thicker with a matte appearance.

Anyhoo, enough with the reminiscing. 

Rogue sent me their money issue with Valerie Weigmann on the cover, and my first thought was: Who is she?

Next was, who is this Anton Periquet person and how do I make him my best friend/ advisor for all things stocks related? He wrote "Confessions of a Stockbroker" and his takeaways from his years in the finance industry is something that stock investors should take to heart, whether you have Php5,000 or Php5,000,000 at stake. Take for example what he says on investment vs. speculation:

You have two companies, one "good" and one "bad". Both companies' stocks trade at P1 per share. On which of the two propositions below would you rather bet?

A. That the good company's stock will be higher than the bad one's at the end of five weeks.

B. That the good company's stock will be higher than the bad one's at the end of five years.

If you chose the latter, you have discovered without losing a cent a truth that many investors take a lifetime to learn- that the market is unpredictable in the short-run but rational in the long-run.

Investment is all about playing the long game. The careful practitioner seeks to minimize risk by removing speculation from the equation.


Another interesting article was how billionaires are looking upwards for their next big venture. As in literally upwards. They're betting their money on outer space.

Take note though that this isn't a money magazine like Money Sense. If you're expecting articles on which investment is the best, or how to make your money grow, then you might be disappointed. Rogue deals with money from a lifestyle angle, sharing stories about the moneyed set without actually focusing on dollars (or pesos) and cents. 

Happy reading!

Rogue Shows You the Money


My very first Rogue magazine was the one with Megan Young (pre-Ms. World) on the cover. I snapped up a copy because of the travel theme, and it took me a while to realize that I was reading a men's magazine. Imagine that, girly-girl me reading a men's magazine and actually enjoying it.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Guest Post: The Merits and Demerits of Buy Now Pay Later

*Buy now pay later schemes are still not that popular in the Philippines, but they're slowly making their presence felt, particularly in appliance stores. This post from Catalogues 247 should give us the lowdown on what to expect with such schemes, to see if this is something that we can use to our advantage.


Today, Buy Now Pay Later schemes, as well as other types of in- store credit managements, are on the increase in the UK. Simply put, in-store credit refers to the arrangement of buying goods or services in credit and then paying for them later. This facility is only available in certain stores or groups of stores. However, not many people think adequately about these schemes before opting for them. This kind of arrangement has both its advantages and disadvantages. Read on to find out about them:


Guest Post: The Merits and Demerits of Buy Now Pay Later

*Buy now pay later schemes are still not that popular in the Philippines, but they're slowly making their presence felt, particularly in appliance stores. This post from Catalogues 247 should give us the lowdown on what to expect with such schemes, to see if this is something that we can use to our advantage. 

Today, Buy Now Pay Later schemes, as well as other types of in- store credit managements, are on the increase in the UK. Simply put, in-store credit refers to the arrangement of buying goods or services in credit and then paying for them later. This facility is only available in certain stores or groups of stores. However, not many people think adequately about these schemes before opting for them. This kind of arrangement has both its advantages and disadvantages. Read on to find out about them:

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Scam Alert!

My family owns a beach resort in Biliran and I handle the online reservations and inquiries. I usually field email inquiries for the resort several times a week, so when I received this email request last week, I treated it like any other inquiry:

Bubbles Tour <jimmp077@gmail.com>




Hello, Good day to you and please note that we will need accommodation for 3 guests that will be on a short visit to your country. Kindly inform us if there is availability for 3 rooms from September 23rd to 28th 2014 (6 nights). See below for their names: Mr Sean Sampson Mrs Sara Wright Mrs Jane Brighton Do revert back to us with the rates as well as the total cost for the duration of their stay. Waiting for your response. Thanks, Jim. 


Jill Sabitsana <info@agtabeachresort.com>




to jimmp077
Hi Jim,
I confirm the availability of 3 rooms for September 23 to 28, 2014 for guests: Mr. Sean Sampson, Mrs. Sara Wright and Mrs. Jane Brighton.
Our standard room costs Php1,200/night and will amount to Php7,200/ room for six nights. For three rooms that will be Php21,600 for six nights. We will require a deposit equal to 50% of the total tariff to finalize your reservation. This can be deposited to our bank account, or wired through Western Union.
Best,
Jill

It started to get interesting after "Jim" responded:

Bubbles Tours




to Jill
Hello,


Thanks for the quote. It is a pleasure doing business with you. Your
offer is affordable and it meets the budget plan of my clients. Now, my clients are ready to make the total payment of the stay for the
mentioned period Plus our Company's Commission of 950€. I have informed the client about it and so we will like you to recalculate the cost by including my agreed commission of  950€ and i will be
sending the client's credit card details, authorization to charge and all other necessary document to make the charge.

Kindly give me the total computation for the payment:


Reservation:

Commission:  950€
Compensation for your effort:  200€

The clients are aware of this commission charges to their credit card.
  Note that as soon as you get the full payment from their credit card, you will send my company's commission via Western Union money transfer or send it to my company account before client's arrival at your
hotel. Let me know if you can do this for us.

Thanks for working with us.

Best regards
Jim.

By then, all sorts of alarm bells were ringing in my head. An agency is collecting a Php60,000 (950 euros) commission for a Php27,000 tariff? And on top of that, the agency is paying the resort an additional Php13,400 (200 euros) for accommodating their guests?!

SCAMMERS!!!

So I declined and did not act on Jim's offer.

I actually tried to locate the people named in the first email, since it was clear to me that they were the victims of identity theft and I wanted to warn them. But apparently, those are very common names and my search yielded dozens of hits. My hope is that they come across this post and will be able to act accordingly, canceling their credit cards or using this post in their dispute letter (like what I did when I also fell victim to identity theft)

Jim never did respond after I declined, but wouldn't you know it, I received the same reservation email again yesterday! Scammers never give up don't they? And apparently they don't keep their lists updated.

Be safe people!

Scam Alert!

My family owns a beach resort in Biliran and I handle the online reservations and inquiries. I usually field email inquiries for the resort several times a week, so when I received this email request last week, I treated it like any other inquiry:

Bubbles Tour <jimmp077@gmail.com>




Hello, Good day to you and please note that we will need accommodation for 3 guests that will be on a short visit to your country. Kindly inform us if there is availability for 3 rooms from September 23rd to 28th 2014 (6 nights). See below for their names: Mr Sean Sampson Mrs Sara Wright Mrs Jane Brighton Do revert back to us with the rates as well as the total cost for the duration of their stay. Waiting for your response. Thanks, Jim. 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Change Your Mindset, Change Your Financial Life

I began niche blogging while reviewing for the bar exams way back in 2007. Back then, I needed a break from the daily grind of reading page after page of codals and commentaries, and so I decided to start a beauty blog and indulge my love/obsession with products.

And it seemed like I hit a goldmine because a few months into blogging, I was being wooed left and right by companies, with products for review being sent to my house on a daily basis. If I sold even a portion of what I received back then, I would have had enough to pay for a designer bag or two, or come up with my own sari-sari store. I kid you not.

But the thing with being a beauty blogger was that my world eventually revolved around products, makeup, services, fashion and their ilk. I devoured consumerism and also encouraged the active spending on the shiny and the new (sorry about that!). Fast forward to the day after I got married and realized that we, the hubby and I, were the proud owners of a huge amount of debt, zero savings, a car that needed to be paid monthly and a mounting sense of fear. What the heck have I gotten us into?!

Because Google is king, I typed "How to get out of debt" into the search box and was astounded to discover the world of personal finance. It was as if a new world had opened up for me, a place where status symbols were scoffed at and living way below your means was the norm.

My most important takeaway from that time was that I wasn't alone in wanting to get out of debt. There were literally thousands of blogs that chronicled their journey towards bringing their debt down to zero. I read those blogs from start to finish and learned about the importance of budgeting, accounting for the small expenses, not getting caught up in the rat race and so much more that really shook my "retail is the best form of therapy" self.

I am a good example that it is never too late to start being financially responsible. If I could do it at the ripe, old age of 30 (or was that 31?), so can you! All you really need is to block out the siren song of consumerism to get on the straight and narrow path of financial freedom. If you stumble once or even a dozen times, dust yourself and go on right ahead. I promise, the freedom from the shackles of debt and uncertainty is well worth the trouble.

Of the blogs that I read, these are what really helped change my point of view, guiding me through the smoke and mirrors of our consumer-driven world. I hope you find something worthwhile in them as well:

Mr. Money Moustache- The blogger is a mild-mannered computer geek who unleashes his debonair alter-ego Mr. Money Moustache to smack some sense into the stuff obsessed person. He managed to retire before he turned 30 years old, and now spends his days pursuing what he really loves (i.e. carpentry, encouraging others to similarly get out of debt) while making sure that he's there for his son (talk about a dream life!).

Blonde on a Budget- I started following Cait when she was just a few thousand dollars shy of decimating her debt. I gobbled up how she candidly she talked about her financial life, cheering her on for every success and admiring how she would get right back on the program, even after making a financial booboo.Her monthly budgets were the inspiration behind my attempts at publishing my own budget too. Unlike hers though, mine didn't work out as well. I'll talk about that more at length in a separate post.

Never Homemaker- This isn't officially a personal finance blog, but the way Ashley and Stephen chose to live on a single income household and their daily challenges at making that work, all while raising their daughter Ada, is so inspiring!

Get Rich Slowly- This is a group blog which tackles different levels of personal finance issues. I love how the authors are always so honest about their financial journey and the comments also deserve special mention, with the readers already forming a supportive community that pushes each other to do their very best.

Pinas for Good- I don't know her name, but I do know that  she's a Pinay who works in the US and made her first million pesos when she was barely in her mid-twenties because of her frugality and no-nonsense approach towards investing. I also know that she intends to buck the trend and go back to the Philippines for good within the year (thus the name of her blog). If more and more of our youngsters looked up to her instead of the bloggers who pollute the internet with their latest sponsored OOTDs or celebrities whose primary claim to fame is that they look good, we'd be infinitely better off as a country. For realz.