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.