Saturday, January 11, 2014


I was excited when finally the Department of Education is noticing the lack of financial literacy on Filipinos. They actually launched a program to address the issue but since then I have not heard anything about it (even from the media).

Well I hope the program is still there and the Department of Education is doing its part to instill financial literacy in high school students. But I think before they can do that, they should conduct different seminars and workshops to empower high school teachers about the subject matter.

It’s a well known fact that (public or private) teachers are suffering from various forms of financial problems. A few teachers whom I talked to say they only have enough salary for their day-to-day expenses. They don’t have savings nor have any savings account from a bank. What saddened me more is the fact that most of them are buried in deep (as in deep) debt and their only way to make it through the month is to borrow more. That’s why in my hometown there are a lot of lenders commonly known as 5-6.

I’d like to present a few facts to help all the teachers there especially the Filipino ones. I always believe that we should improve the financial literacy of our teachers first before they can impart the knowledge to their students. J

Note: You need NOT be a Registered Financial Planner to understand the basics.

Having more money (promotion/dagdag-sahod) is not the only solution to financial problems. More often this signals the brain to spend more because it assumes that there will be more surplus. Moreover, this signals others that it’s ok to borrow more because there will be money at the end of the month to cover it.
  • The Solution: Always treat extra pay as extra savings. For example, when the government gives bonus to teachers for a job well done they should (right away) go to the bank and open a savings account. I think there are banks that require 1000Php initial deposit to open a bank account.
Save a (constant) portion of your take home salary and put it in your savings account. It doesn’t matter how much as long as it is constant. Say for example you are receiving 15000Php after tax every month but cannot afford to save a constant 10% of it. Then start small. Save 500 every month. Immediately after receiving your salary go directly to the bank and deposit it. That way you can train yourself and your family to live within 14500 per month. Then as time passes by you can add 100 every month.
  • The Solution: I usually tell my friends to force their savings so might as well tell the teachers to do the same. 
Put on a life goal of becoming financially independent. I have read from Robert Kiyosaki’s “Rich Dad Poor Dad” that teachers (generally) don’t want to be rich. They just want to teach. It’s ok if that’s your principle BUT bear in mind that during your sunset days you might be neglected by your love ones (just because you are a pabigat.) Please do not attack me on this issue. I know for a fact that Filipinos have close family ties and the children will never neglect their parents. But of course this is not always the case.
  • The Solution: Always aim for financial independence. You yourself should take care of your future.
Do not rely solely on Government Managed retirement fund. Have you seen this news [link of the news here]? Are you like him/her? Are you contributing solely on government managed retirement funds and relying to have enough money when you are old? As for many teachers, my guess would be a 99% YES! Although some teachers have accounting subjects during their tertiary education, they often missed out what the accounting subject is teaching them. They just know there are numbers and a balance sheet and a problem that they need to solve but never (in most cases) focus on the message of the subject. If you apply basic economy or accounting in real life do you think government pension will suffice?
  • The Solution: Expose yourselves in other investment strategies. No, I am not talking about 5-6. I am talking about legit investment strategies. If it is difficult for you to reach investment facilities then better drop Facebook and learn the basics through youtube and informative blogs. We are now in a digital world so make use of it and “connect” instantly with other people.
Do not rely on your children for future needs. This is a typical Filipino family situation wherein the parents rely solely on their children to take care of them after retirement. Please, if you can change the situation then do so. Your children have a life of their own. The best thing that you can give your children (if you do not have money) is the assurance that you can take care of your future and not bother them just because you need money. Your children can of course voluntarily give money/allowance from time to time BUT do not assume that this will also be your case.
  • The Solution: Spend some time to strategize your retirement plan. Do it as early as possible and make use of the power of compounding interest. If you are in your 50’s and still have no means of funding your retirement then you might want to consider taking up another job or making money out of your hobby to buff your savings.
Avoid scams. Unfortunately a lot of people are lured to get rich quick scheme because people want to be rich but they do not want it the hard way. There is no such thing as getting rich as quickly as possible. If someone told you that he/she can double your money in a month or two then turn away. He/She is just fooling you. Always remember that legit investments will NOT give you GUARANTEED returns.
  • The Solution: Make it a habit to check investments that come your way. This is a very good strategy because you will be more familiar with it and be able to assess if it is jut a scam or a legit one.
Lessen your debt intake. Oh sure easier said than done. BUT everything is possible if you have the will. Start by realizing how much your take home pay is and budget within that amount. No more, better if less. Remember that some sacrifices have to be done in order to get where you want. If you want a promotion then you have to work harder and smarter. You have to take several subjects and pursue a master’s degree. If you want to be fit and healthy then make it a habit to eat healthy and exercise. You see, you have to work your ass out. Same with being financially free. You can’t be financially free if you have debts till your neck and paying 20% per month just to get by. Change something from your routine if you have to.
  • The Solution: Pay up your debts as early as possible and do not borrow anymore. Live within your means.
Let go of your vices. A big portion of our money goes to vices. Those sticks of cigarette or those bottles of beer. How about those sweet tooth cravings? How much are you really spending for those vices? A normal person can live without vices. The good news is, and so can you.
  • The Solution: If you are to choose between your vices or your financial freedom, please choose the later one. Vices can actually do you worse than you imagine. Collect the money you should have spent on your vices and add that to your savings. Not only you will become healthier but also a step forward to your financial goals.
Stop saying “Hindi ko kaya.” or “Ang hirap.” or “Ayoko na.” Remember that law of attraction, What you think, what you say you will attract – no doubt.
  • The Solution: Start a positive mantra in your life. “Kayak o to.” “Gagawin ko ang lahat.” “Hindi ako susuko.” Those are better to hink than their negative counterparts.
Get the family in the bandwagon. It is always best to talk to your family about finances. Let them understand that you yourself have a lifelong dream of becoming financially independent. Let your children understand that if you will not do this today they will also suffer in the future because you will be relying on them during your old age.
  • The Solution: Make financial planning a normal topic at home so that family members can communicate freely about the topic. It is best to understand the views of everybody in order to have an orderly and peaceful family finance. You can actually involve the children on goal setting activities and let them do their part also.

I hope I am able to open the minds of the teachers out there. Feel free to PM me for suggestions and queries.

Till next time.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

2014 and Beyond

We see 2014 as another blessed year full of unknown adventures, overflowing surprises and fulfilled aspirations. And I see my bucket list as a day-to-day guide and a reminder of my life’s purpose. For a life without purpose is not living, but walking dead. ^_^

I’m sharing with you my updated bucket list for 2014 and beyond. I hope it inspires you to make your list also and together let’s cross out the items one by one as we say “achievement unlocked!”

On Spirituality:
  1. Count thy blessings
  2. Pray more often
  3. Attend services regularly
  4. Always be thankful
  5. Celebrate life like there's no tomorrow
On Personal Order:
  1. Smile often
  2. Laugh more
  3. Think positive
  4. Read more books
  5. Spend lesser time on social media
  6. Care more
  7. Connect with family and friends as often as possible
  8. Meditate more
  9. Spend more time on self improvement
  10. Be more organized
On Health and wellness:
  1. Sleep early
  2. Exercise everyday
  3. Eat more fruits
  4. Drink more water
  5. Go outdoors
  6. Less on meat
  7. More on veggies
  8. Live simply
  9. Use time wisely
  10. Boost the energy
  11. Push thy self to exercise as often.
On Finance
  1. Set SMART goals
  2. Plan according to the goals (and achieve them)
  3. Be mindful
  4. Never stress thy self because of money
  5. Remember: A good relationship with peers is more important than having all the riches in the world
  6. Be considerate
  7. Have the "Every problem in the world has a solution" mentality

And to be able to achieve the things listed above, I have enumerated specific things that I will be crossing out as days pass by. Good luck to me. ^_^

1. Climb Philippines’ 5 peaks (Done with the following: 1. Mt Pulag 2. Mt. Apo 3. Mt Kitanglad)
2. Read 20 books in 1 year
3. Ride a Japanese bike
4. Frame my best shot
5. Go to Batanes
6. Go to Cagbalete
7. Go to Burot Beach
8. Update my ID’s and passport
9. Run 50Kms every month
10. Pedal 20Kms every month
11. Bake a cake/cupcake
12. Be able to plank for 60 seconds every other day
13. Loose 10lbs in 1 year
14. Experience a new culture
15. Witness a miracle
16. Cliff jump again and again
17. Learn a new language (basic “Hi” and “Hello” and “Good morning” etc)
18. Buy one high-end hand bag
19. Have a kitchen ala Master Chef
20. Experience a cruise
21. Record life events through blogging
22. Reconnect with old friends
23. Buy a brand new car
24. Learn a new dish every month
25. Drive from Manila to La Union
26. Get a facial every other month
27. File a vacation leave every 2 months
28. Rest adequately
29. Participate in an outreach every year
30. Survive a week without spending too much
31. Develop a new skill
32. Grow an herb every year and give as gift to friends (I currently have basil, rosemary, onion leaves and pandan)
33. Buy a new phone
34. Monitor our expenses on a daily basis
35. Start a business good enough for retirement
36. Donate blood
37. Enrol my child to be in a Medical Card.
38. Attend a breastfeeding seminar.
The following items were ideas picked from belle de jour 2014 planner. It’s such a cute idea to mark the things that are accomplished.

39. Give a beggar some food and smile at him.
40. Open a new Mutual Fund account and religiously put a constant amount for the next 12 months
41. List big goals you want to achieve in life
42. Dance in the rain with a joyful heart
43. Go parasailing
44. Sleep under a tree
45. Make special photo album of best memories
46. Take a birthday leave
47. Spend less time in facebook
48. Make my greeting cards and send them to love ones
49. Finish another 21km run

Since 2015 is already approaching, I copied some ideas from my belle de jour 2015 planner.

50. Take a workshop you've always wanted.
51. Eat vegetables with every meal.
52. Sponsor a child's tuition fee for a semester.
53. Send someone a postcard.
54. Tour an underground river.

I hope I can accomplish most of my goals this year. So help me God. ^_^

Things I have accomplished:
1. Travel to 3 different places in a year [a. Benguet b. La Union c. Bicol]
2. Pedal all the way to Jala-jala (from Taytay to Jala-jala)
3. Save and invest at least 50000 this year
4. Create ample amount of Emergency fund [A standby 50,000Php cash is a great start]
5. Go to Bicol
6. Learn how to drive – seriously
7. Get a driver’s license
8. Swim with a whale shark
9. See a sunflower plantation
10. Undergo a classroom training once a year.
11. Revisit the place where Paul and I got engaged
12. Donate old clothes to charity
13. Go on a joyride
14. Plant a vegetable in your backyard
15. Drink more water
16. Reduce my sugar intake