Sunday, November 21, 2010

Going Back to the Basics

Most people think and act in complicated ways. Last week I was solving a math problem. I searched for formulas which I think can solve it. The formulas were so complicated and I ended up not solving the problem. And then I took a break and refreshed my mind. Then suddenly I realized I complicate things too much and forgot the basic equation.

That scenario can happen in real life especially in our finances. We think in complicated ways and we forget to stick with the basics. We want shortcuts. We want instant.

For example, a person wants to get rich. He wants it so bad that he is willing to do anything for it. Then a certain organization offers him answers to his quest and he agreed to be part of it. He sold things for the organization and earn a lot of money from it. He earned more than enough that he felt he was having so much and began spending the fortune. He spent so much and then one day he found himself back to square one.

What did he forget? Obviously, he forgot to save and invest. He was clouded by the emotion of having too much that he feels it is alright to spend too much also. He forgot the saying, “everything that goes up must come down.”

If you are at the peak of your career or starting to go to the top don’t forget about the basics. Save and invest for the future. And stay invested as long as you can.

~till then

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Wants and Needs: A Realization

Three nights ago my friends and I attended a seminar on finances and one of the topics discussed is all about wants and needs. The speaker, Rex Mendoza, defined need as a state of generic deprivation arising out of our human conditions. In simple terms, a need is something you have to have while a want is something you like to have. Needs are the thing you can’t live without while wants are the opposite. What amazed me last night was the realization that needs vary from person to person. We had to go back to the Maslow’s Heirarchy of Needs to fully understand.

Basic needs include food, shelter and clothing. Food keeps us nourished, shelter protects us from animals and clothing keeps us warm. These are the basic definitions of the three. But these definitions will vary. For example, a person needs to eat to survive. A simple dish can satisfy him. If he has money, he would want to eat in a better restaurant. He wants it so bad that it becomes a need to eat in a better restaurant. I cannot say that it is the same food. All I can say is that both foods can satisfy him. It is human nature to want something better. The only thing that matters is if he can afford.

What am I leading you to? I want you to realize that needs are relative. It may be a need for me but is not a need for you and vice versa. For example, I need to read a book to relax my mind. The way I relax may not be your way. Maybe you want to listen to the radio or watch the television. Therefore we have different needs in terms of relaxation. And these needs drives how we spend our money.

~till then

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

An Encounter

A while ago, I was in Megamall to shop for some gift when suddenly I remember a friend’s experience who was lured to listen to a 45-minute discussion about saving money.

I made them lure me also just so I can observe their marketing strategy. Here are my observations.

1. The inviter initially asked me if I use credit card. I said, no. Then he followed the question, “How about an ATM?” I said, yes!

Having a credit card or an ATM is a must! For their promotion they say.

2. The inviter told me I am qualified to win their raffle promo. He made me sign a piece of paper and asked some few questions and then discussed the mechanics.

He was a fast talker. I hardly understand what he was saying. I made him repeat.

3. He made me understand that he will not sell insurance to me. He will just give me a chance to win a brand new car!

The car was placed in front of their office. I wonder if anybody had won the contest already. To win the car one must play a slot machine type of game matching 8 numbers.

4. I told him I was not interested about the promo but I want to know more about their company. He made me enter an office.

They are always talking about their promotion. They are not there to sell insurance but to enlist me for their promo. And they will give me a freebie as part of their promotion provided that I have a minimum balance of 20,000php in my account at that moment.

5. Since I don’t own a credit card they want to know if I have more than 20,000php in my savings account. They want me to hand them my receipt which I forbid.

Nobody, over my dead body, should know how much I have in my ATM. I was furious about the idea. They want me to check my account balance right there and then and then show them my receipt. My boyfriend doesn’t even know how much I have in my account. They kept on insisting but I refused.

Funny thing was, one lady (who is wearing the same uniform as the others) heard about the commotion and kept signaling me not to let them see my account. She kept on shaking her head. Even their co-worker disagree about the idea.

6. A certain Roland discusses to me about the company. He showed me their business permits, the owner of the company and boasted about their superbrand award.

Any business can have a business permit. Don’t boast about it. I don’t know the “Superbrand” award. I’m sorry.

7. Roland discussed to me the importance of saving money. But he was certain that their product may not make you rich but at least you’ll have a fallback.

I’m glad he was honest that their product will not make me rich. That was an honest answer from an agent.

8. Roland finished the one-hour presentation with their endowment product. The only product they offer.

The insurance company has been in the industry for 47years. I wonder what their actuaries are doing? They only have one(1) product and it is way way over priced. Imagine, you will pay almost 1Million pesos to be covered with 1.5Million pesos only? If I were the client I would have invested 1M in stock market and let it grow at 12% interest giving me more.

Other observations:

Roland kept on congratulating me as if I won a contest. He also tapped me several times to attract my attention. I was distracted by the client on the other table. The presenter was almost howling at the man because he was not paying attention. I even told Roland about it. He simply said "That's the way she talks." When he noticed that I was really distracted, he transfered me to another table away from the distraction.

Towards the end of the discussion I found out that Roland is afraid of my ball pen because I write on his paper. His gesture sent a negative message to me. Was he forbidding me to write on his paper? Was he forbidding me to compute? FYI, I computed his product in front of him. He doesn't even know the total amount of his product when he was telling me that it's a model product. When I asked him what is his plan, he boasted about his 175K worth of insurance. My jaw dropped in amazement because earlier he told me he is the bread winner of the family. He just ended the conversation with, "At least there is something!"

I did not get any freebie nor i was able to play the slot machine. But at the end of the day I made two souls realize the importance of financial education.

~till then

Caught in a rat race? Get out of it in 5 simple ways

What is a rat race?

According to wikipedia rat race used for an endless, self-defeating or pointless pursuit. In programming, it is like an infinite loop. To illustrate it further it is waking up in the morning going to work then pay the bills.

1. Decide

Your success in getting out of the rat race depends on how strong you have decided to get out of it. Everything begins with a decision. Even the simplest thing like waking up in the morning is a decision. As early as this stage you have to decide. Don’t procrastinate. Decide now!

2. Make a financial plan

If you don’t know how to make a financial plan then sit with a financial planner to guide you through your way.

  1. Set-up a budget and live within that budget
  2. Save at least 20% of your income.
  3. Invest money in higher earning facilities.
  4. Forsee unpredictable events

3. Implement the plan

Planning is easy but implementing the plan is not. It always entails extra effort and extra patience to implement the plan. Implementing a plan is like planting a tree. You cannot see the result right there and then. It takes time to grow and bear fruit. Patience is always a virtue.

4. Review the plan regularly

Your plan today may not suit your future goals. Be pro-active in evaluating your plan. Then do the necessary measures to align the plan to achieve what you want. Prevention is always better than cure.

5. Be open to changes

The only permanent thing here on earth is change. See changes as opportunities. Always have a positive outlook on changes.

~till then

Christmas in the Air

Hmmm... The air smells like Christmas. The radio plays Christmas songs. The building where we live is decorated with Christmas ornaments. Christmas is coming and I'm so excited!

First, I'm excited because my birthday is fast approaching! I wish I could spend this day away from work but unfortunately I can't. Nevertheless I will celebrate it with my closest friends after work.

Second, the company Christmas party will be in PICC! This will be my 4th Christmas party with the company I am working for.

Third, gift giving gift giving! It's the thought that counts.

Fourth, Baguio again!

Fifth, I will see my nephews and cousins again!

Excited much!

Merry Christmas!

~till then

image from:

Getting into Deep Debt

from the book Nice Girls Don't Get Rich(Lois P. Frankel, PhD)

This is one of the most fatal mistakes a person (not only girls) can make that can ruin the road towards abundance.

Having a credit card is almost inevitable especially if one treats it as an emergency fund. But this plastic can be your vehicle to poverty.

How can a woman get into so much debt?

I'll share to you some reasons in the book Nice Girls Don't Get Rich.

1. Making lost time with material things.

Giving expensive gifts to a person doesn't necessarily mean you love them more.

2. Envy.

It's not because everybody has it, you got to have it also.

3. Live today and let tomorrow worry for itself.

If this is your motto, you'll really find yourself in big trouble.

4. Impulsiveness.

Control your emotions so that you can control your money.

5. Appearances.

You will not die if you will not have that fancy car or that expensive dress.

Coaching Tips:

1. Always be conscious where your money goes.

2. If possible, get rid of the card if you cannot control yourself.

3. Be contented with what you have.

image from:

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

It is really not a matter of how much you earn

It really makes me sad when I encounter somebody who earns a lot (more than what I earn means 'a lot' for me) but who just saves in a bank and who thinks banks are the greatest investment facilities. I have nothing against banks. It's just that I don't recommend it as an investment facility. Mind you, banks are not investment vehicles. They are just there to cater for our emergency funds.

Let me ask you, how much is the salary of a manager? 50 thousand? 80 thousand? 100 thousand? Or even higher. No doubt their salary is way way bigger than mine. But let me tell you, the sad part when you earn more is you intend to increase your lifestyle to suit your status. The mindset goes like this, "Oh, I didn't have a good time when I was an 'ordinary employee'. Now that I'm a manager I should enjoy a lot. Anyway the company is there to feed me." And there goes the spending.

On the other hand, if the manager is a saver but is afraid of other types of investments like mutual funds and stock market then there is still a problem. Let me show you a computation so that you will understand. For example, the manager can save 50 thousand pesos per month but puts his/her money in a bank earning one percent (1%) per annum. The employee, on the other hand, can save 10 thousand pesos but puts his/her money in an investment facility which earns twelve percent (12%) per annum. Let us assume that the manager's age is 40 while the employee is 25. The manager has 20 years more to save while the employee has 35 years more before retirement. (Note: I am assuming that they will both retire at age 60.)

From the table above, it is clear that the 'regular employee' who saves lesser than the manager has a whopping 58 million pesos worth of retirement fund while the manager who saves in a bank has a retirement fund of 13 million pesos.

It only shows that, it is not important whether you have big money or small money. The thing is, you regularly save and invest in the right vehicle. Thirteen million is not bad. But if the manager knows the right facility then he could have accumulated more.

~till then

Potatoes with Tuna Salsa



Tuna (flakes in oil)

Tomatoes (cut into cubes)

Onion (minced)




Slice potatoes thinly then deep fry.

Mix tuna, tomatoes and onion in a small bowl.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Arrange potatoes around the salsa and then serve.

~till then

Monday, November 1, 2010

OC Salad






Cold Salad




Arrange all ingredients as shown in picture.

Sprinkle Calamansi juice all over and then serve.

~till then

Boracay Astoria de Boracay Story!

While walking along the shores of boracay, a man in white tshirt approach us and offered us a free buffet dinner. Wow, I was amazed and curious about it so my girlfriend asked what's the catch. The guy told us that there's nothing, it's just a way of promoting the Astoria hotel.

So we decided to go with it, after all the free dinner is a win win for us. The dinner starts at 6:00 pm so just past 6 we walk our way to station 1 where it is located. As we approach the hotel, we were introduced to one of the managers. He told us the we can have the free dinner and after that there will be 90 minute presentation about the hotel. With a live band and good dishes we enjoyed our one hour free dinner. The food was great. However, we are still wondering what’s in exchange for this wonderful dinner.

After the sumptuous dinner we were introduced to one of the salespersons. She started her talk by getting to know more of us. She then introduced the new marketing strategy of Astoria, the timeshare. It is a form of ownership or right to use a property usually a hotel or condominum. For more info on timesharing, you can refer to this wikipedia link .

To avail of the benefits of their timeshare, you must have to pay the membership fee and on top of that is an annual maintenance fee which is almost 10,000 pesos. The membership fee is quite big but she warned us at the start that if the membership fee would largely affect our financial status then it’s better not to avail it. The membership fee ranges from 300k to 500k but because they are in promo they oferred us a 20% discount. She presented some payment terms to pay the membership fee and a 25K is needed at the start.

We told her we don't have that big amount of money. We asked if we can have more time to research about it but she insisted that the offer only stands for just one night. She was very firm with the “one night only” offer so we declined it.

We thought that this was a very big financial decision for us so we needed more time to research and think it over. We thought that the offer will be good for those above middle class family who are constantly having their vacation. We also think that the “one night only” is not a good marketing strategy. We believe that clients should be given time to research and consult among their circle of influence.

Upon getting home, I googled Astoria, and read some good and bad comments about it.

Our advice is, before jumping to any financial decision, you must do your research.

~till then

Boracay Hotel Hopping!

My initial IT was fun-filled with all the activities I could think of. But Paul wanted to relax while in Boracay so he insisted that our itinerary be simplified. I agreed but I refused to delete this activity - hotel hopping.


Discovery Shores

(the best hotel in Boracay! *we think!)

Fridays Boracay

Ambassador in Paradise

Astoria de Boracay

(click here for Astoria Story)

Boracay Regency

Alta Vista de Boracay

~till then

Boracay ATV Tour!

I wanted to try this activity during our Bohol tour but we were not fortunate since ATV (All Terrain Vehicle) tour in Bohol is way way expensive than in Boracay.

Here's a tip: You can get ATV Tour at half the price. Yup! We got it at 250php each. Sweet huh!

Before the tour, the participants will test drive the ATV to make sure that they know how to operate it. And of course a lecture is conducted before it.

The tour is composed of two destinations - the butterfly garden and the peak of Mt. Luho and is completed in an hour.

First we went to the butterfly garden. Not so much butterfly nevertheless Paul enjoyed taking pictures of the birds.

Then we went to Tanawin Luxury Apartments to have a 360 degree-view of Boracay. Tanawin Luxury Apartments is located at the top of Mt Luho.

~till then