Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Does Consumerism Consume You?

A lot of people mistakenly identify wealth with having high status symbols such as a big house in an upscale neighborhood, a luxury car, designer clothing, expensive jewelry and the like. Few people knew that this is not the case.

According to the book “The Millionaire Next Door”, just a small percentage of people who display high status living are affluent. Most who live “just like the rich” are not really rich. They are “the wanna-be’s” who are greatly influenced by the media.

The media is an effective tool for consumerism. They feature celebrities or personalities wearing the latest, having the latest and driving the most expensive cars. The people are left with the idea that successful people own branded things, luxury cars, live in mansions and have the best of both worlds.

Mike Tyson’s lifestyle cost him approximately $400,000 a month. He was able to spend all the $300 million he earned during his boxing career. After his divorce trial, which cost hin $9 million in legal fees alone, he incurred a debt amounting to $27 million.

Michael Jackson had a lavish lifestyle during his time. But after his death, it was reported that Michael Jackson was in $400 million worth of debt.

Mike Tyson and Michael Jackson are just two of the celebrities who lived like kings but never managed to keep themselves out of debt.

What drives this spending frenzy? They thought that people will not idolize them unless they display a lifestyle lavish enough to please the audience.

The scary part of the story doesn’t end with the celebrities. It actualy starts when people try to live like celebrities. So next time you see a person spending so much on things he doesn’t need to please people who don’t care, remind him of the stories of Mike Tyson and Michael Jackson.

~Till then

Monday, March 28, 2011

Life Insurance

They say life is a series of probabilities. Probabilities that things may or may not happen. But life itself is not taken as probabilities. Life is certain. Growing old and death are the two certainties of life. And between the two, death is the most certain thing that will happen. The only question is when?

Life insurance does not replace a man’s value. Life insurance does replace a man’s economic value.

There are two distinct advantages of life insurance – gradual accumulation of wealth and forced savings.

The services of life insurance are as follows:

1. Family Protection

2. Income Replacement

3. Clean-up Fund

4. Guaranteed Savings

5. Retirement

6. Education

7. Mortgage Redemption

8. Estate Conservation

9. Investment

The Factors of Insurability are as follows:

1. Health History

2. Present Health Condition

3. Family Health History

4. Occupation

5. Residence

6. Moral Practices

7. Avocation

There is what they call a contestability period (which is seldom discussed by the agents to their clients) for the first two years of the coverage. This means that the insurance company has the right to reject claims if it has been proven that the cause of death is due to a pre-existing condition that has not been declaired by the client.

The 4 settlement options are as follows:

1. Interest Option

2. Fixed Period Plan

3. Fixed Amount

4. Life Income or Annuity

The beneficiary is anybody who has insurable interest. Most of the times first degree family members are the beneficiaries.

The declinable areas (no insurance coverage) are as follows:





South Africa








In the Philippines the declinable areas are:




Some things to note:

1. How much coverage should I get? Rule of thumb is annual income times 10.

2. There is only one type of insurance and that is what we call term insurance.

3. Insurance is a business. Therefore there is no free insurance.

4. Riders are additional benefits on top of the coverage and these are not free either.

5. The insurance company has the right to deny you a coverage once they see that you have high risk e.g. very ill.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Self Empowerment

by Rex Mendoza

Sometimes people don’t know what they are missing because they focus on things that are not important. In order to gain, people should be selective, flexible and has a sense of balance. We cannot manage the weather, we can only manage our ship. Don’t try to control uncontrolable things. It’s all a matter of perspective. Always focus on the goal.

Proper evaluation of things will always lead to the right decision. And pricing is all about value not feelings.

The person’s full potential is driven by his self-concept. Your best self will make you better.

You don’t need a reason to be happy. You don’t need things to be happy. Happiness is a state of mind. Be careful about your references because they are highly important.

Confidence is not dependent on knowledge.

To reach your full potential you should be optimistic, excited and energized. Compose yourself and control yourself. Anger is never a reason.

Be thankful on the things that you have because there are a lot of people that don’t them.

Make it a habit to learn something new every single day.

Pray harder.

~Till then

Saturday, March 19, 2011

CAUTION! Be Careful Who You Listen To

There are a lot of financial speakers out there trying to influence people's minds. I repeat: CAUTION! Be careful who you listen to.

I've been into finances for 3 years now and I have met a lot of people who are into sales and marketing. Admit it. Money comes from sales and marketing. There is nothing to be afraid of these people because in reality they are the best resource speakers when it comes to money matters.

I encourage everyone to attend seminars that will teach you how to handle finances. That is where I started. But be very careful about the information you are getting from them. They may seem to know what they are doing but if you digest what they are saying you will realize they really don't understand what they are talking about.

I heard one "financial resource person" who is not an insurance believer. The irony of it was he admitted that his father and his sister are into the insurance business. He told everyone in the room that, "If you plan you actually don't need insurance." How can a resource speaker on finances don't recommend insurance? His opinion, if you can do it with investments then you don't need insurance. He also followed his statement with, "I cannot take it when I die." I want to follow up my question with, "What if he is the breadwinner of the family? Shouldn't he get one?" But I decided to shut up.

My advise, get insured before you start a family or if you are the breadwinner. The insurance coverage is not for you but your family. Remember, life is uncertain. And mind you, insurance is not a religion you need to believe in to.

I asked the speaker another question on where should we invest our savings. He said it depends on how much you have. He recommended that we look at the products of the banks. He told us we can do time deposits, bonds, and equities from INSURANCE PROVIDERS. So much irony.

My advise, it depends on your goal. We have the short term goals, mid-term goals and long-term goals. These goals should be matched with the right investment facilities. Adjust your lifestyle and set your mind to achieve these goals. Don't go t the banks if you want to invest. Go directly where the banks invest. What should stay in the bank is your emergency fund. Build your financial foundation right and seek mentors that will help you along the way. Don't just settle for one mentor. You need more mentors who are 2 levels higher than you. And if you want to open a mutual fund account, investigate first at Mind you, the ones he mentioned are not the top players in this game.

Disclaimer: We are all entitled to our own opinion. This is just my review.

~Till then.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Two Inevitable Things in Life

Have you ever wondered what the two most inevitable things in life are?

Well certainly you would have guessed. They are 1. Tax and 2. Death

From the time you were born until the time you will die you will be taxed. No doubt about it.

Government is very diligent in collecting taxes especially from those high earners. Do you notice the increase of tax collection of the Philippine government from the time PNoy sat in the office? There are a lot of high earners who are being haunted by the Bureau of Internal Revenue(BIR) right now. Everyone is being accounted. This is because all government projects get money from taxes.

You eat, they tax.
You pay bills, they tax.
You save, they tax.
You die, they tax.

No one escapes the tax collector.


Death is the most certain thing that can happen to you while you live. Unfortunately people do not want to think about this possibility that’s why they continue to be underinsured or worse never insure themselves anymore.

I tell you one secret. Insurance is the most beautiful investment in the world. Why? Because I am sure sooner or later you will die. And if you insured yourself properly your family will benefit from it.

~Till then.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Team Injury goes to Pulag

For those unaware, Team Injury is an adventurous team led by adventurous people who dedicate their free time climbing mountains and discovering nature.

We went to Mt. Pulag last January 29-30, 2011. The weather was fine prior to the event. What kept us worried were the news of hypothermia that could lead to death. I was particularly worried for our first timers because I don't have any idea how to first aid hypothermia. Nevertheless we pushed through.

The night we traveled to Baguio City, Paul and I had to travel all the way to Victory Liner - Balintawak to accompany other participants. We departed around 11PM. It was a nice travel and it feels like going home. Did I mention I studied in Baguio City for 5 years? And so did Paul.

We arrived at Victory Liner Baguio terminal at around 5AM. Paul and I were able to go the market place to buy basil leaves for our pasta (that I was not able to cook) and Pandesal (salt bread). Our group mates arrived at around 6AM and we were immediately led to our chartered jeepney going to Ambangeg. It was another long journey to the jump off point. Before the jump off point, we had a detour to Ambuklao dam.

Group Picture at Ambuklao Dam

After the detour we ate our breakfast at one of the "cantina" (store) along the highway. We also bought our lunch there since I was not able to cook the night before. Then we proceeded to the DENR office to register. Every climber should register at the DENR office for monitoring purposes. Then a short orientation was conducted for safety reminders.


Then off we went to the ranger station which is the jump off point of our climb. You can definitely define rough road along the way.

After a short break we headed to the mountain. It was a long walk to camp 1. I was hungry even before we arrived there. Jenny's group was kind enough to accommodate us during lunch.

Then another long walk to camp 2 pushed me to my limits. I had to take short breaks because my feet were aching and my backpack is getting heavier and heavier.

At long last we reached our destination. It was so cold. It was hard to pitch the tent. Thanks to Paul for the help.

Mt. Pulag Camp 2

Come dinner time, everybody was chilling already. We ate our dinner before 7PM so the remaining hours should have been for socials. But no socials was held because of the weather condition. We kept ourselves inside our tent and waited for the dawn. Honestly I was not able to sleep that night. I thought I was going to die. The temperature went down to 2 degrees Celsius (or even lower). Alcohol could have warmed me a bit but I was afraid my allergies would show up. It was really a bbbbbbbrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr night for all of us.

Came 4AM, our companions went to our tent to fetch us. It was time to go to the peak of Mt. Pulag. We had high hopes that we could see a 'sea of clouds' despite the bad weather condition. We braved the weather and proceeded. Unluckily no sea of clouds that morning. But I don't regret going to the peak. It was an experience I will never forget!

Should have been sea of clods

We descended around 9am. Even though the sun was already up the cool breeze was still there. There was once when I could not feel my fingers anymore. I had to put back my gloves and put my hand inside my jacket to warm my fingers.

We arrived at camp 1 at around 12 noon. The weather there was more friendly than in Camp 2. We ate lunch at camp 1 and bonded with our group for a while. We finished the last leg with smile on our faces. We conquered Mt. Pulag!

Wear your shirt proud Team Injury!

Official Pulag shirt.

Paul said I look like a shopper here! lol

With Two layers of eye bags because of lack of sleep.

~Till then.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Life's Lessons

The past is never a determinant of who we are today and who we will be in the future. I think (and I believe) that what we do today determines who we are and who we will be. It is not acceptable to judge a person based on what he has done in the past. We should not also make an impression out of the mistakes of the parents. Everything changes. Everybody should be given a chance.

Do not let other people's criticism pull you down. Make it a habit to check on your inner self every now and then. Meditate and reflect about yourself. Take criticisms as sign to improve yourself. Remember, it's all about perspective.

Love yourself first then love others. You can only love other people when you truly love yourself. Let go of the imperfections you see on yourself. Let go of all the worries. You are created in the image and likeness of God. Be thankful. Love should start from within. It should be from the bottom of your heart. If you love yourself well, love will overflow and will be felt by the people around you.

Be yourself. Don't pretend to be someone else. People love you not because you are ideal but because they see truth in you. Keep your communication lines open especially to family members and closest friends and the people you trust the most.

Listening gives wisdom. Always lend an ear. This will give you additional information and knowledge. Be open-minded when listening. If you must, take down notes.

Do not let your left hand know what your right hand has done. Do not broadcast when you help other people. Help them in silence. Giving donations are great and will really help other people's lives. But when you do it for other people to see then that's not help at all. That will be called publicity.

Pray harder. A person who knows his God and who prays to the Almighty pleases the Lord. Always thank the Lord for He has done to you and for what He has given you. Always pray for the strength He gave you and also for the breath of life. Pray for wisdom so that you will better understand.

~Till then

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Earth Hour

I am highly encouraging everybody to participate in the earth hour that will be held on March 26, 2011 at 8:30-9:30pm.

You can participate by just switching off your home or office lights during the time stated above.

FYI, earth hour is the biggest climate awareness campaign. It is also a great example that everybody can contribute and lessen the impact of technology that can destroy mother earth.

I am participating in the earth hour. Hope you do too.

~Till then

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Low Electricity Bill

We have low electricity bill for two consecutive months now and I’m quite grateful that we managed to lessen our consumption. Despite the fact that the oil price sky rocketed, our electricity remained lower than what I expected.

I want to thank my house mates for the effort and for the compliance on the house rules. We managed to lessen our expenses. Yey! Hope this will continue.

~Till then.

Budgeting Tips

I tried a lot of budgeting styles but only one succeeded in meeting my expectations. This style is the “pay yourself first” strategy.

Every payday my salary will be divided into two categories - savings and expenses. My savings include my insurance, long term health care, emergency fund, stocks and mutual funds. The excess goes to my expenses.

I keep myself on track through my budget tracker saved on my desktop. Everything is easy when you see how well you build your asset column so make sure you see it all the time. It will surely motivate you.

~Till then.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

How Investing should be Done

If you ask a group of persons who are dealing with the stock market why he is investing or trading, many would tell you that they invest because they want to gain or profit from the market. Only a few would actually tell you they have a specific goal with their money.

Making a profit is not a goal. It is just a phase where one outperforms the other. The thing is, many players are simply playing in the feild wanting to win but do not know what to do after they win.

A great adviser once told me that a person should NOT invest to make profit, rather, one should invest to meet a specific goal.

If your goal is for your retirement plan then always put that in mind when placing money in the stock market. Do not be disturbed by media, nay-sayers and negative thinkers. As long as you know what you are doing and is surrounded by supportive friends and good decision making then surely you will hit your goal.

~Till then.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Career Development

I was overwhelmed with the information I have acquired a while ago. I cannot contain my excitement so I am already blogging what I have learned. The topic was all about career development. Our speaker is a six sigma blackbelter and is successfully working in a reputable company in the country. To explain, six sigma is a business management strategy and a ‘six sigma blackbelter is someone who practices six sigma fulltime.

She told us that career planning starts even before college. A student entering college should not look at college as merely a four-year course to finish but rather a career to develop. Of course everybody wants to be marketable after graduation. Better choose a course in line with what you want to be so that you can be at your best.

Our speaker told us that there are four major things to consider in career development.

1. Passion

Passion means you do a job not because you are obliged to do a job. Rather it is your passion to do it. You love doing what you do and you enjoy doing it.

2. Skills/Talents

A skill can be learned but there are innate talents. For example, a man loves to play basketball and he loves basketball so much. But are these premises enough to conclude that he can play at the NBA? What if the man is just 4’11” tall? This only means that you should also match your innate talents with the person you want to be.

3. Personality

In career planning you also have to know your personality or your characteristics because you will match these characteristics to the profession you will be taking. She also said that your course when you were in college DOES NOT determine your career path. Our speaker, for example, is a Computer Science graduate but is now into people management and is very successful at it.

4. List of preferences and essentials

This sum up what things are more important to you and what things can be considered when applying for a job. She enumerated seven things under this category and are listed not in order.

a. Compensation package

Can the compensation package presented to you be able to support you and your family? (If not living alone.) Also consider the non monetary part of the compensation package like the medical benefits, insurances etc. Take note also of the bonuses and the profit sharing (if applicable).

b. Location! Location! Location!

She told us that a person should have a scope on location. For example, if it goes beyond my boundaries I would not consider sending my resume to them. It will just be a waste of time.

c. Work hours/Travel

It is also important to look at the work hours. Will you consider a job with shifting schedules? Will you consider a job that requires you to work on Saturdays? Will you consider a job that will require travel?

d. Office set-up

I honestly considered this when I looked for a job myself. I am a very observant person when it comes to the workplace. I asked myself this question before signing the contract: “Will I be able to work at this environment?”

e. Reputation

It is a must that the company you are working for has a good reputation. You don’t want to be looking for another job just because the company folded-up after two years, do you?

f. Career path

Do you see yourself being promoted for the next two years of your stay in that company? Is there a career growth at that company? Are you seeing yourself successful when you work at that company?

g. Training Opportunities

Most companies offer trainings to their employees. As an employee you should not take these for granted. Attend those trainings and get the most out of it. It is one benefit you should maximize. Make time for trainings.

Here are the tips.

Before going to the interview research on how much the current rate for the position is and don’t be ashamed to negotiate. For as long as it is reasonable then they may be able to give it to you.

You should have a winning resume. It should be noticeable and attractive but don’t lie about your citations and achievements. The contents should be significant and are (as much as possible) related to the position you are applying for. Grammar and spelling are very important.

Practice interviews. Anticipate questions and practice answering them. Common questions will be as follows:

o Tell me something about yourself that s not included in your resume.

o Why do you think should I hire you?

o Why did you leave your job?

Package yourself in a way that you standout among the rest.

Dress properly preferably smart casual.

If you landed a job CONGRATULATIONS! But never forget to grow continuously and acquire new skills. The best three thins to develop while at work are as follows:

  • · Initiative – being pro-active
  • · Communication Skills – English is very important when dealing business
  • · Critical thinking – being able to analyse and deliver a correct solution

Lastly, and probably the most important reminder, FIND A MENTOR. Have older and wiser friends so that somebody can coach you on what or what not to do. You can have as many as you can as long as you have.

Point to ponder: Never tire of learning new things.

~Till then.

The Earth Moves!

Two days ago, March 9, 2011, Japan was hit by a 7.2 magnitude quake. Today the earth shakes again and hit Japan for the second time with 8.9 magnitude quake followed by a 10-meter tsunami not long after. People in the area specially in Tokyo went home walking along the streets because subways were stopped.

I hope and pray that the people in Japan stay safe and the areas who were warned for a possible tsunami will not be harmed.

Let’s all pray.

~Till then

Putting Facebook to Good Use

Aside from building contacts, showing off new toys, new gadgets and new trips made, Facebook has been put to good use by one of my friends.

Just recently she was able to contact a person who lost his driver’s license. My friend went to a convenience store near our office and noticed a driver’s license posted near the counter. She memorized the name on the ID and contacted him through facebook. The guy was able to retrieve his ID and thanked my friend through a cup of coffee. Will this be a start of a new friendship? I don’t know. (~wink)

~Till then.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Money Machines

An Aesop fable:


A Man and his Wife had the good fortune to possess a Goose which laid a Golden Egg every day. Lucky though they were, they soon began to think they were not getting rich fast enough, and, imagining the bird must be made of gold inside, they decided to kill it in order to secure the whole store of precious metal at once. But when they cut it open they found it was just like any other goose. Thus, they neither got rich all at once, as they had hoped, nor enjoyed any longer the daily addition to their wealth.

This fable can be translated in our everyday lives. I know, one way or another we came across a goose that laid the golden egg. An example is the bonus we get every Christmas. The money should be saved because it is extra money. This can be kept in an investment facility that will give the owner golden eggs (interest). But what do common people do? Upon receiving the money they go and shop until the money is all gone. It’s like having the goose and killing it at once.

What if we change the story a little bit?

The Man and his Wife did not kill the goose but let it lay eggs. They incubate the eggs and produced goslings. These goslings grew and became geese which lay new sets of golden eggs. This goes on and on until they were able to produce more geese to produce more golden eggs. And then they were able to accumulate money machines. The Man and his Wife were able to find financial freedom and retired comfortably.

Is this story possible? Yes, of course. But it requires a lot of time.

How many of us are able to wait long? How many of us are willing to procrastinate? How many of us are willing to sacrifice now to enjoy later?

~Till then.

Long Day.....

After a long day of work I really need to relax a bit. Seems like my work is overloading me now. Aside from that I have to do loads of tasks outside the office. Moreover I am back to school and this adds so much in my tasks right now.

I am planning to have a little foot spa later. I’ll do this while I’m playing the guitar. I’m so excited on my new hobby. Although I don’t own a guitar right now, I was able to borrow one from my housemate. I’m sure this will be a hobby and I know I need to get one.

~Till then

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Money can’t Buy Happiness

This is one of the many excuses a “poor-minded” people use why they are not yet rich.

I want to quote something from the book Nice Girls Don’t Get Rich: “Of course, money doesn’t buy happiness. And neither does poverty. It’s not wealth or poverty that makes you happy or unhappy, it’s how you live your life. Money simply gives you choices that you might not otherwise have.

Money cannot buy happiness but it can buy freedom. Freedom from your boss who nags you everyday. Freedom from the worries of tomorrow because you have enough saved and invested. Freedom to do whatever you want because money is not a problem. Freedom to go on a vacation when ever you wanted. Freedom to attend school activities with your kids because you can afford to do so.

You may recall an old line from Sophie Tucker: “I’ve been rich and I’ve been poor; believe me, honey, rich is better.”

~Till then.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Addicted to Fruit Ninja

We all need something to relax us from work related stresses. One way to do this is to play games on gadgets like iPods/iPhones/iPads (etc).

I was introduced to Fruit Ninja months ago. I am not really a game addict so I just let it sit on my iPod and never mind it. Until one boring afternoon I tried playing the game and found out that it was really fun.

Today i am already a Fruit Ninja addict. I can spend the whole afternoon playing until I beat the top score.

Don't worry I arranged my schedule to fit my new addiction. Hope this addiction ends soon.

~Till then.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Common Mistakes Women Make on Finances:

Caring too much for others but never for her self.

This is part of the nice girl syndrome. (Refer to Nice Girls Don’t Get Rich)

I have a friend who I really want to attend our seminar on financial management because I really feel that she needs it badly. She is the bread winner of their family and all her income goes to the house to pay for the bills. I tried inviting her to the seminar but she keeps on saying no. To make me feel better she recommended her other friend who is interested on the topics. The thing is, this friend is already financially well off and a little investing is all she needs to keep it on track.

The frustration of being a financially literate person. (sigh)

~Till then.