I'm going to make quick work of last quarter's net worth report by saying that nothing much changed because whatever gains I might have made by paying down my debt to my parents, were offset by the depreciation of my car. My investments also didn't post any significant change, which in a way is comforting since it could be a sign that the downward spiral has finally stopped and, if the stock index is any indication, stock prices are inching their way up again. As my husband always says, I'm forever the optimist :)
I haven't been able to funnel as much into savings as I would have wanted to because whatever extra money I had was handed over to my parents. While this had the effect of bringing down my liabilities to the Bank of Mom and Dad (my outstanding debt will be entering the 5 digit range by the time May rolls in and I'll be completely debt-free by October!), it also meant that savings had to take a back seat. The last few months have been financially trying for my family and while I won't belabor the whole sordid affair, let's just say that we all had to pitch in and our usually passive-aggressive bunch had no choice but to undergo a face-to-face intervention. Things seem to be looking up though and I'm crossing my fingers that the necessary lessons have been learned by the persons who need to learn those lessons.
Speaking of lessons, I also had a huge helping of that myself just recently. Late last year, a friend invited me to the peer to peer lending business she had with her sister (aka pautang). They were to act as conduit between the lenders and borrowers and were guaranteeing 5% monthly ROI. Five percent a month is sixty percent a year! Talo ang stock market!
But if my friend and her sister were guaranteeing 5% a month to their investors, how much were they charging in interest to the borrowers, since they also had to factor in their own profits. Ten percent? Twelve percent? Three percent interest was already struck down as unconscionable and onerous by no less than the Supreme Court and they were potentially charging 3x to 4x more than 3%.
However, despite my gut telling me to stay far away and my hubby's warning that this might affect our friendship if my investment turns sour, I plunked down Php25,000 and received 12 PDC's for Php1,250 in return. The first month, my friend asked me not to deposit the check anymore since she'll be transferring the money to my account herself that same day. The money was transferred 2 weeks later since she was out of town and/or her hubby forgot to deposit the check. It was the same thing for the second month. For the third month, I deposited the check since there was no request not to deposit it, but the check didn't clear. She did eventually transfer the funds to my account a few days after the check bounced.
I have a feeling that the next 9 months will be filled with similar excuses and I honestly don't want to keep on making follow-ups for a mere Php1,250. So I will simply stop and chalk it all up to experience. If she remits the money to my account then well and good, but if she doesn't, then I'm mostly to blame for letting greed get the best of me. For the record, I do know what my remedies are, since I am a lawyer. But as a lawyer, I also know that going into trial, even if it's just small claims court, for something as tiny as Php25,000 is not worth the trouble and resulting bad blood.
I'm almost embarrassed to admit that my "price" was Php1,250 per month or 5% interest. It's a good thing though that I found out this early how prone I can get to "easy money" and not when I'm already in a position of authority, with the power to adjudicate millions of pesos with just a few clicks of my keyboard and a stroke of my pen. I fervently pray that if the time comes that I will be privileged enough to serve in the judiciary, I will have the strength of will and character to emulate both my grandfather and ninong who also worked in the judiciary but were never tainted with any charges of corruption.