Choosing the best financial product

Different financial products are readily available in the market and since there are so many options, it made difficulties for us to choose the best one to a point that we become paralyzed by it and end up relying on the sales agent’s recommendation which might not always be suitable for us.

People who have bought these recommendations then ask other people who bought the same product to affirm them which may be good at some point but in reality, the financial product they’ve bought are not what they really needed.

To avoid this, we must carefully asses ourselves so that we can match the best product available in the market to our specific needs.

Choosing the best financial product could be daunting but actually it is really simple.

Let me share you the principle that I use on how to choose the best financial product.

The Principle of Suitability

The reason why Personal Finance is called personal finance is because it is ‘PERSONAL‘ meaning it is unique. All of us are unique and that’s why financial products should match that uniqueness within us.

The key will be self awareness, knowing one’s self is the key to filter what products we should choose that would best benefit our interests.

Let me give you an example

Juan and Pedro are both single. They have the same job, the same salary and they live on the same house. They earn 20,000 pesos every month and they share their expenses at home. Both of them manages to save 5000 pesos per month and they put it in each of their own piggy bank so that they could buy themselves something they want in the future.

One day a banker met with them and offered them to invest and grow their money. The banker offered them two options:

Option 1 : Invest 5000 pesos per month at an interest rate of 15% compounded annually and can be withdrawn anytime.

Option 2 : Invest 5000 pesos per month at an interest rate of 10% compounded annually and can only be withdrawn after 10 years.

Both Juan and Pedro thought about it very carefully.

Pedro chose option 1 while Juan chose option 2.

Now my question is, who do you think chose the best financial product? Is it Juan or is it Pedro? Who ended up having more money?

If we based our answer mathematically the clear winner would be Pedro. It is very obvious that option 1 is better than the other. With 15% interest rate and no liquidity issue Pedro would end up having more money.

But let me continue my story.

Juan and Pedro are both spenders. When they see a big amount of money they are always tempted to spend it.

They save 5000 pesos per month and when it reaches a big amount, they will use it all by buying something or using it to travel somewhere.

Every year they both check their investments and when Pedro checked his investments on the first year, it grew by 15% just like what the banker has told him. Same with Juan, his investments grew by 10% in the first year.

When they knew that their investments grew, they wanted to use it. Pedro withdrawn his investments so that he could travel while Juan can’t because he can only withdraw after 10 years.

Pedro went on a travel while poor Juan wasn’t able to withdraw.

Every year this happens, Pedro enjoys his money after every year while poor Juan can’t withdraw until the 10th year.

When the 10th year came. Both of them checked their investments and  as usual Pedro is very happy and excited to withdraw his money while Juan was shocked with what he saw. His money grew to a million pesos while Pedro only have 69000 pesos on that year.

The total money of Pedro for ten years was 690,000 pesos because he withdraws and travels every year while Juan, at the end of the 10th year have grown his investments to 1,051,870 pesos.

So who ended up with more money? Clearly Juan did but who is more happy? We cannot tell because both of them are really happy.

Pedro….

Pedro chose option 1 because he wants to explore the world and travel, that was his dream. That is why every year he withdraws his money and use it as a travel fund. He was very happy because the investment vehicle made his dreams come true. He didn’t regret of having less money in the end because he know that no amount of money could exchange with his satisfaction on realizing his dreams of travelling.

Juan….

Juan chose option 2 because he knows that he is a spender like Pedro but travelling is not that of a big deal to him. What he really wanted is to buy a house and option 2 made him stick with that goal.

If he chose option 1 then it will be faster for him to buy a house but he could have ended up travelling with Pedro every year and might not be able to stick with his main goal.

He withdrawn all of his money after the 10th year and bought his dream house. Smart Juan!

Wrap Up

When choosing the best financial product your best metric is your knowledge on how much you know of who you truly are and what you want in life. Often times people look only at the monetary value of what the financial product could give without looking at the whole picture.

The principle of suitability tells us that everyone of us is unique and the financial product that we will buy should suit well with our uniqueness.

Know how unique you are in your finances, analyze your spending habits, financial behaviors, goals in life, and what really makes you happy and secured.

The more you know of yourself the easier for you to choose the best suited financial product for you that you wouldn’t regret. (ever!)

 

After all, money is meaningless if we aren’t happy and full of regrets in life.


Photo Credits : Jeremy Brooks

 

3 Reasons ‘Why’ My Finances Changed in Two Years

Last 2013, a friend in church approached me and asked me about saving for my retirement. Yes ‘retirement’ and it sounds awkward and weird to me back then. Imagine asking a young engineer who’s just been working for less than three months about retirement. I mean I’ve just started working and I am still enjoying the fruits of my labor.

Can I enjoy it first while I’m still starting?

If you share the same reaction as mine. Then let me share to you how this question changed my financial state.

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Working inside the plant

Being Curious..

That question made me curious, I was seeking for answers and assessing myself on how will I truly prepare for my retirement. The only thing I know that time was to save money so I started from there. Upon searching on the internet, I stumbled upon the 10-20-70 principle, where it says that 20% of my income should go to savings first and budget what’s left from my income.

Applying it…

When I learned about the 10-20-70 budget, I tried to discipline myself, stick to this idea and apply it. To prioritize savings and budget what’s left for expenses, unfortunately this budget didn’t work out for me. When I was doing it the 70% of the budget wasn’t enough for our expenses at home. So that time, I only set aside 10% for my savings and allot 80% for our expenses.

Having this in mind I am very thankful to that friend in church for asking me about my retirement because that question led me from inconsistency to consistency in managing my finances. Though I was saving small that time, it planted a seed in me for something better in the future.

Making the habit..

After several months of saving, I became a regular employee in the company, I had an increase in my salary plus daily living allowances. I was really happy because this time I can now follow the 10-20-70 rule. I didn’t change my lifestyle so my expenses were still the same. Now because of that raise, I have increased my tithe and my savings as well.

Every paycheck, I disciplined myself to automatically save money and make the habit of saving. Since the company started to give me daily allowances, that’s the time I also started raising my emergency fund.

I changed my budget to 10% tithe 10% savings 20% emergency fund and 60% expenses.

Focusing on short-term goals…

After a year in the company, I got promoted and had a significant increase. Again, I was really happy because I have increased my tithe and savings for the 2nd time.

Having a bigger income doesn’t mean I need to have a change in lifestyle, so I continued to live my simple and frugal life.

That time I was focused in completing my emergency fund, it has accumulated to 2 months of our expenses already and my target was only 3 months of expenses.

I believe that I was right on track.

working-abroad
My first time working abroad

Last 2014, I was assigned abroad for 3 months. That’s my first time to handle big amounts of money, at first I was overwhelmed but I know I was prepared for it.

I have completed my 3 months’ worth of emergency fund so I added another 3 months to it to have 6 months’ worth of emergency fund from my earnings abroad. I have used the remaining money to renovate a part of our old house.

Having these short-term goals helped me a lot in managing my finances

And it was worth my spending..

After 3 months abroad..

I am in the Philippines again earning back to my regular income. I’m still living the same simple and frugal life, and I am content and happy about it.

I know I can spend on luxuries but I don’t prefer to do it yet. There are still goals that I need to accomplish and that is my priority.

Contentment is a choice and everyone has it, some people just lack the courage to choose it.

From 2013 (when my friend in church asked me about retirement) up to 2015 (after my job abroad), my financial state became better than before, I have 6 months’ worth of emergency fund, I have no debts, and most of my money is invested (up to now).

My budget for every paycheck now is 10% tithe 50% savings and 40% expenses.

In a span of 2 years my financial status has changed for the better and it was because of having the right foundations and discipline in applying it.

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Me, helping with the renovation

The 3 Main Reasons why my finances changed

Hunger for Knowledge

When my friend asked me about my retirement, I had no idea how to answer before which led me to curiosity and eventually made me hungry for knowledge. I attended seminars, read books and try to apply it one step at a time.  In the same way, I believe that every one of us can change our financial state if we are hungry enough to be financially literate. Truly investing in knowledge has the best gains.

Disciplined as a Rock.

Knowing personal finance is one thing but applying it is another. It will take a lot of discipline and changed mindsets before getting used to it. It may be hard at first but we don’t have to make giant leaps. Baby steps will make the habit in us and these little acts of change will eventually lead us to financial freedom.

God is our provider; always be faithful with what you have

I believe that God is the one who gives us the ability to produce wealth. And by that I know that we have security in him. We might have a small income today but if you are faithful with it, I know that it will eventually grow. As we become more knowledgeable of Him and in our personal finance, the more it opens opportunities for us to grow as good stewards. Just continue to invest in knowledge and be disciplined enough to follow it.

With an ounce of faith, room for knowledge, and discipline in applying it, I believe that we can prepare ourselves to retire comfortably after 20 or 30 years and become a channel of blessing to people.

 

When is the best time to invest?

Time is your friend when it comes to investing. The earlier you invest on assets, the better because they will have more time to grow and give you a profit. While it is true that the best time to invest was yesterday and the right time to invest is now, it may not always be practical (in my opinion).

To answer the question “When is the best time to invest?”

Here are some pointers to help us out

Investments  Risks

The first time I went to Cebu, we had an activity called canyoneering at Badian. Basically, the activity is a trek from Badian to Kawasan Falls which includes a lot of cliff diving, sliding and swimming. The first part of the trek was a cliff jump which maybe around 20feet high. At first I was quite nervous and excited at the same time  because I haven’t done that before. I also didn’t volunteer to jump first and waited for someone to. The moment I saw my friend jump first and survived, it has given me more confidence to jump because I realized that I will be okay. And so I jump my first cliff jump and it was amazing. The next cliff jumps were a mixed of low and high jumps but because of the confidence I had on my first jump, all of them was enjoyable.

Why am I sharing you this?

All types of investments have risks incorporated in them whether it is low or high risk. Having that said it would be riskier if you jump straight to investing ‘now’ without understanding these kinds of risks.

Same with the canyoneering experience, I felt nervous and excited at the same time when I was just starting to invest. I didn’t invest straight away and asked people first who have experience in investing. While different people have different experiences and opinions, I wasn’t getting anywhere near investing in my very first asset because I was still anxious about it until I have talked to a professional. She was experienced and patient enough to explain to me in detail how different investment vehicles work and how could I profit or lose in them. Finally after our sessions I was confident enough to invest and I bought that UITF as my very first investment and it was amazing (I am finally investing!). After some time, I learned also to invest directly in the stock market and have made investing enjoyable(just like the cliff jumps).

My tip for you (if you are not acquainted yet with investment risks) is to consult a professional first and understand these investments you are eyeing to before you invest ‘NOW’ simply because there is a big difference between “confidently investing” and “anxiously investing”. Investing should be stress free and it shouldn’t give you sleepless nights. Investing is always scary but the more we understand them the lesser we get scared and stressed.

Enjoying Canyoneering!
Enjoying Canyoneering!

Cash flow

I have heard people saying that we have to invest so that we would have more money. While this is true in context some people interpret it the wrong way. People have gone to that path where they put more weight in having ‘more money’ and jump straight into investing without checking their cash flows whether it is positive or negative. They were blinded by the thought of ‘having more money’ thinking it would better their cash flow.

It should be the other way around because investing is not guaranteed, your income is!(as long as you work).

We have to put more priority in our cash flows specifically our income because it would better our investing.

Cash flow is the life blood of our personal finance. Without it, we won’t have anything to spend, save nor invest and it is very important that it is a positive cash flow, meaning we should spend less than what we earn. So before we jump straight to investing ‘now’ we should first have a positive and steady cash flow.

#GentleReminder : Instead of focusing on investing put more weight in creating more income 🙂

Risk Management

The type of money we need in investing is ‘long-term money’ meaning, whatever happens to us, that ‘long-term money’ should stay invested for it to grow and reach its goal. If an emergency happens to us without having an insurance, healthcare and emergency fund the tendency is for us to withdraw our investments either at a profit or at a loss.

We are blessed enough if we have withdrawn at a profit but what if we have withdrawn at a loss?

Instead of earning, we ended up losing money.

So before we invest I believe that it is a great idea to protect ourselves first with insurance, healthcare and emergency fund in order for us to fully enjoy investing and earn from it.

Summarizing it.

1. We have to fully understand what we are going into before jumping off the cliff.

2. We should have a positive and steady cash flow.

3. It is advisable to protect ourselves with insurance, healthcare and emergency fund to fully enjoy investing.

I hope that these pointers made sense and to answer the question “When is the best time to invest?”.

confident


Photo Credits : VirtualEyeSee

4 advantages of being financially literate at an early age

Recently, the Philippine Department of Education (DepEd) finally added financial literacy to our basic education curriculum. This means that it will be mandatory for schools to teach financial literacy programs to their students specifically financial management and investments. This is actually a very good move by DepEd because financial literacy was never taught at school ever since.

Over the years we didn’t have a proper education when it comes to managing our finances, we get our financial knowledge from our  parents and from our experiences, which are pretty much either good or bad. So if you have parents who have bad financial behaviors, then most likely you can end up like them or the opposite if your parents really have good financial behaviors and they’ve successfully pass those values to you.

Another media of having financial education is through experiences. Bad experiences with money leads to fear or learning. Example is investing, their are scams out there and there are lots of it. If you happen to invest in one of them then that will be a bad experience for you when it comes to investments and because of that experience you now fear ‘investments’ because your experience gave you the impression that ‘investments’ are most likely scams or you may have treated it as a learning phase in your life where you took the bad experience for you to learn more about investments and be careful the next time.

If you have read my story , I got my financial education through experiences and I am thankful that I have experienced those at an early age. Starting early will always be an advantage for everyone, thus the saying ‘the early bird gets the worm’. Having financial literacy at an early age has a lot of advantages and I couldn’t enumerate all of them but in this article I would like to share to you what are the most important advantages (in my perspective) when you have financial education at an early age.

1. Developing good financial behaviors early

Financial literacy is just the first step, it doesn’t mean that if someone is financially literate then he/she would be good in handling his/her finances. Being financially literate is just the first step to financial freedom and your financial behaviors are the ones responsible to take you there. Success in personal finance is not black and white, it is a dynamic and a behavioral thing.

Starting early with financial literacy will give you awareness how money works and how it affects your life, knowing that early on will give you the advantage to develop your financial behaviors on how you will react effectively in different circumstances where money is involved.

Lets have overspending as an example. Financial literacy will teach you how to budget money, to allocate every peso of your income. After comparing your budget list to your actual expenses, you found out that  you are overspending, financial literacy made you aware of that and the reason behind is because you spend too much on Uber, your behavior towards the comfort of your transport is the one hindering you to stay within your budget and because of that you started to lessen the use of Uber. Months after months you started noticing that Uber isn’t much that appealing to you because your behavior towards it already have changed and made you financially better.

2. Developing long-term thinking

Financial literacy teaches the time value of money, it will teach you to project values of your money in the future so you can make better decisions in handling them. Having this on an early age helps you vision out your financial goals in life and these financial goals in life will develop you to think long-term.

Having a ‘long-term’ thinking at an early age will make you become a great decision-maker in your life, on a financial perspective, it will help you utilize your income and it will also help you decide better on which financial products and services will best suit you that will help you achieve your financial goals and protect yourself with uncertainties of life,

Long-term thinking will not only help you in your finances but also in different areas of your life like health, relationships, career, and etc.

3. Developing planning skills

Planning our finances is tough because ‘Life’ happens. Over time, our interests will change, our responsibilities will change and the way we spend our money will also change. Having financial literacy will teach you life cycles and at an early age it will help you develop your planning skills so that when ‘life’ happens to you, you will be more prepared and ready for the challenges of life.

4. Developing discipline early

Having discipline in handling our finances is tough because like what I said earlier, personal finance is a behavioral thing and the challenge is to be consistent and disciplined. When financial planning takes place, it doesn’t stop in there, execution of the financial plan is also a major key for us to be successful in our personal finance to experience financial freedom.

Executing a financial plan has a lot of needed discipline for it to be successful. It takes discipline to stay within a budget, it takes discipline to stay invested when the markets are crashing, it takes discipline to stay away from too much credit card usage, it takes discipline to save money for your emergency fund, and etc.

Having financial literacy at an early age will help you develop your discipline towards your finances so that you will have more chances of becoming successful in the future.

Wrap up

Having said these advantages, I encouraged you to be financially literate as early as possible because it takes time to develop a great character towards money you will need time to develop those so that you will be successful in your personal finance, it will also help you avoid a lot of financial mistakes over your lifetime.


News Source : http://www.deped.gov.ph/press-releases/basic-education-curriculum-include-financial-education

*This article was first published at The Manila Times

Photo Credits : Richard Messenger

#Money4LifeChallenge : Start your own Financial Plan

Whether you do your financial plan personally or with a financial planner, it is very important for you to have one. Life happens to everyone and responsibilities occur naturally. It is very easy to say for us young professionals that we live comfortably with our income today but can we confidently say that we will also live comfortably when we start having our own family? Or maybe when the time comes we need to send kids to school? Or maybe retiring comfortably?

These are life stages where we have different needs and priorities in life and the goal of a financial plan is to guide us in order for us to be sustained and be comfortable in every stage of it. Simply, having money for life!

Last month I was blessed enough to join Sun Life‘s #Money4LifeChallenge with Aya Laraya of Pesos and Sense. It is a 6-month financial planning workshop with sir Aya as our financial coach. We will be having sessions for us to understand concepts in financial planning and help us achieve financial independence.

RISE PH

Having said that, I will be sharing here my #Money4LifeChallenge Journey so that you may also start your way to financial independence.

How to start your journey to financial independence?

First of all, we have to know first our own definition of “financial independence”. In a simpler way, what are your financial goals in life and what are their price tags. How much is “rich” for you? 1 million, 10 million, 100 million? By giving a monetary value to our financial goals, it gives us a better gauge in our own perspective towards it.

Second, we need to acknowledge where we are starting from. We should know our financial net worth by listing all of our assets minus all our liabilities. Having a positive net worth would be ideal.

In the sessions, Aya ask us to have short term goals and clearly define when do we want to achieve it and how much was needed.

You may find me weird because I had a hard time thinking of a short term financial goal simply because I didn’t want anything right now. For the sake of sharing, I started my journey to financial independence 3 years ago and that time my short term financial goal is to have an emergency fund. I would advise you to do the same if you don’t have an emergency fund yet.

Another short term goal is protection. Emergency fund and insurances are fundamental in a financial plan, both cover certain risks in life and at the same time give you the luxury to stay invested. If you don’t have these yet then I wouldn’t advise investing because chances are you might withdraw early if you accidentally needed money.

For a medium term financial goal, I am saving up for my wedding. When do I want it? I pray that it will be in 3 years time. So how do I plan for it? Here’s a calculator that I used, to gauge the financial goal and estimate how much I need to save and invest for it to be ready at that time. You might want to try it too.

For a long term goal, I am saving up for my retirement. When do I want it? I pray that I will retire by the time that I get to 50. How much do I need? A LOT! I’ve already computed my personal retirement fund before and I would save this topic in a different post since there are many things to be considered regarding this.

In the sessions I’ve learned that setting financial goals varies from person to person because we are unique in every way. Depending on our current life stage, what’s important is that we define them clearly, list them appropriately and act accordingly.

Budget, Budget, Budget

Our financial goals needs to be financed and it will normally come from our budget. While budgeting is a basic thing in personal finance often times many fail at it and I proudly say that I am one of them when I started working 3 years ago. I am thankful that I’ve failed it early and also learned it thereafter!

Here are a few articles I’ve written with regards to budgeting that may be helpful if you are also having a hard time with it.

http://abrahamrlee.com/the-frugal-worker-on-budgeting-effectively/

http://abrahamrlee.com/how-to-save-and-budget-money-wisely-over-time/

http://abrahamrlee.com/avoid-overspending-and-get-a-hold-of-your-money/

Sir Aya also shared to us a mobile app called Wally. It is an expense app that records what you spend categorically. It can be very helpful to your budgeting because it accounts everything you put to it and give you your current status with regards to your budget.

Following a budget might be hard at first but as soon as we get used to it, it will be easy as pie. What is important is that we are aware of every single peso that comes out from our wallets. We should tell our money where to go and who’s BOSS, not the other way around.

Wrap Up

Here’s the basic flowchart on how to start your own financial plan

Define your financial independence>Know where you are starting from>Set your Financial Goals>Manage your budget(cashflows)>Protect yourself first with emergency funds and insurance>Calculate, save, and invest for your goals>Believe!

The journey to financial independence is a tough road but I believe that it is achievable. Mindsets and behaviors are keys to a successful journey so whatever circumstances you are in right now believe and be positive that you will get to your goals.

These are but snippets of what we are having in the #Money4LifeChallenge. As we go through the sessions I will be sharing more of these so stay in touch by subscribing to this blog for you to get updates.

P.S. BTW after writing everything above, Sun Life has launch it’s moneyforlife website where you can use an e-planner for your own financial plan. It is an easy and user friendly e-planner that will guide you to starting your own financial plan.

 

 

 

 

Leveraging Time and Talent to Achieve Financial Freedom

Today  we will have a guest post from Mari, she will be sharing some quick tips for the young professional who are just starting with their career about leveraging time and talent in order to achieve their financial goals in life.

 


 

Welcome to the workforce graduates of Batch 2016! Whether you already have a job or are looking for one, it’s wise to spend time to set your career goals and financial goals first. As a young professional, doing this will enable you to set your focus and direct your income on things that will help you build a well-off future. But with all the goals you’ll probably want to reach, where should you start? How best to set realistic long and short term objectives to increase your chances in achieving them? Based on the success stories of business tycoons and investors, time and talent are two of the best weapons you can use to increase your net worth. How?

Showcase Your Talent to Develop a Personal Brand

Having an unwavering desire to do what you love is a common trait among the world’s most successful people. So for starters, it’s good to discover what you love to do and make these the foundation of your career. Whether you like visual arts, architecture, law or technology, it helps to seek employment in an industry that you like. If the current skill set you have doesn’t make you qualified for your ideal job, it’s best to start looking for work that will equip you with the skills you need. This will give you enjoyment and a sense of fulfillment at work. As a result, promotions and recognition would come easier for you. By doing these, you’ll be known for what you love, which is the key to build a solid personal brand.

Invest Early to Leverage Time

Financial experts always advise people to start saving early in life. Good for you if you already got a job right after graduation because you can start earning immediately and put aside a portion of your income for savings or investment.

When it comes to saving and investment, it’s a good start to understand the power of compounding and how to make time your friend. Compounding refers to the growth of your money as the interest accrues each year for several years. For instance, if you put PHP 1,000 in an investment vehicle that gives a 3% ROI per annum, the annual yield will be PHP300. Cumulatively, the PHP 1300 will again grow at 3% per year to reach PHP 1690 on its second year. The cycle goes on and on. Imagine how much your money will earn after 10 years by just investing PHP 1000? And that’s just passive income, which means your money has grown while you sleep.

Starting the habit of saving early in life allows you to take advantage of your peak earning potential, putting your hard-earned cash where it will grow. By the time you have enough liquid funds, you’ll be able to buy properties or start a business. Thus, achieving your financial goals

It really takes discipline and consistency to control your money and achieve your financial milestones. By leveraging your talent and time, rest assured that you’ll be on the right track. Just browse financial management sites (e.g., Loansolutions.ph, Entrepreneur PH, Bloomberg, abrahamrlee.com) to educate yourself and stay up to date with the latest advancement in the industry.


Mari writes for Loansolutions to help educate people in making informed-decisions on taking out loans and becoming responsible borrowers. Being the COO, she feels it is her social responsibility to do so. Learn more from her as she shares tips, advises and stories on finance. Also, she’s fond of 9GAG, so you might read some random stuff over there.”

 

 

 

5 practical tips before you start investing

Investing is one of the ways you can grow your money and help you achieve financial independence. It can offer growth and capital preservation that can help you achieve your financial goals. But before you dive into any investment vehicle out there, you must remember that there are things you need to consider and study first to avoid headache and trouble in the future.

in this article, you’ll going to learn 5 practical tips you need to know before you start investing your hard-earned money. By knowing and implementing these tips, it can save you from trouble that might happen in the future.

Here we go.

5 Practical tips you need to know before you start investing

1.Do not invest on the things you don’t understand

“High returns in short period of time” or “double your money in a number of days” are some of the lines caused other people lose their hard-earned money in just a short period of time. They blindly gave it all without knowing what and how that investment offer works.  After a couple of months/years, the investment partner, person or company is immediately gone with the hard-earned money. Sad but true, right?

This is not new, we always read and see the news with new scam victims crying for help to get their money back. Year after year it happens and most Filipinos never learned. They got tempted to “get rich quick schemes” only to know it will lead to a trap in the future. How do we avoid this?

Simple. Do not invest on the things you don’t understand. That’s always been the rule of thumb!

Doing your due diligence is always a critical step to a successful and profitable investment. Know the investment first. Study how it works. Attend seminars, read books, read blogs, watch videos. Ask professionals with good track record. These are just some of the things you can do to avoid being trapped by scammers. Always remember that investing in yourself is the best investment of all time.

As what Sir Aya Laraya said, “aral muna bago invest”.

2.Have an emergency fund

Knowing how the investment works is still not enough to save you from future trouble and headaches. Another important thing you need to consider is to have a solid emergency fund. Emergency fund is a savings that you can pull out any time in case of “real life emergencies”.

We all know that all investments carry risks. And the higher the return of an investment, the higher the risks. It is wise and advisable to have something you can pull out and use in case unexpected happen. Why? Because you cannot just pull out or liquidate your investment if emergency arises. What if the current value of investment is down? What if it is holiday? What if it is midnight? These things are extremely important to consider.

A safe and good emergency fund is at least 6 months equivalent of your monthly expenses. This way, you can peacefully live and not worry in case something happen. And in case something happened, you have 6-months buffer to live and continue your standard of living while finding and building new income.

3.Have a clear and smart investment goals

So you have built your emergency fund and somehow understand the investment, what’s next? One of the most important, you need to have a clear and smart investment goals. A smart investment goal should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-bound (S.M.A.R.T goals).

Having a clear investment target will serve as your destination in your investment journey. Will it be for your wedding? Retirement? Education? When? How much? How will you do it? These are some of the basic questions you need to answer in order to set a clear and smart investment goals. By having this, you have a clear roadmap where you’re heading.

Of course, clear goals and plans are not enough. You have to take action and work your way through those goals. Focus, discipline and commitment are the keys!

4.Invest only what you can afford to lose

This tip particularly warns you to manage risks. It is advisable to only invest money you can afford to lose. Why? Because as we always said, every investment carries risks.

Make sure you know yourself well and how much risks you can tolerate. Invest according to your risk tolerance in accordance to your investment goals. That’s called smart investing!

It is not advisable to invest in high risks investment only to realize you cannot sleep well at night thinking about losing that investment. Make sense?

5.Re-invest

When the time comes that you’re going to reap what you saw and have achieved your investment goals, one thing to consider is to re-invest. Yes, invest again.

What does it mean? It simply means re-investing the remaining or allocating new budget for investing again. Setting new investment goals and timeline. Creating new plans. And then executing it again. This will keep growing your hard-earned money. Sooner than later you’ll be financially free.

These are just 5 of many tips you need to know before you start investing. If you have something to add, share them in the comment below.

By knowing these 5 practical investment tips, you now have the idea how you can create your investment plans and start working on them.

Investing is a journey. A long-life journey. By carefully taking one step at a time, you’ll moving closer to your goals.

************

This article was written by Billy Ramirez. He’s an I.T, a dad, blogger and aspiring entrepreneur. He blogs at Personal Finance Tips and shares basic and fundamentals of financial literacy to every Filipinos.

5 life lessons I’ve learned from trading

Personally, I define trading as a process of learning how to make wise decisions. One must hone his decision-making skills in order for him to be successful in the markets. While this is true in trading, it is true as well in our day to day lives. Our decisions today will greatly affect the outcome of our tomorrow.

We have different perspectives in decision-making, one may say that he made a good decision while another may argue that it is a bad decision. So who is saying the right answer? I believe this is where ‘Experience’ comes in the picture. Either first hand experience(personal experience) or second hand experience(experience of others) it helps us validate and strengthen our decision making.

Saying all these, I believe that I had made a lot of bad decisions in my trading(based on experience), to become profitable was a challenge. Learning the technicals are but mere tools to improve trading but it is in the execution where it really matters, weigh in pressure and emotions, and surely you’ll understand how challenging it is.

With all these losses I’ve incurred here are 5 lessons I’ve learned from trading that relates to life.

Never Make The Same Mistakes

There is no perfect trading system out there, all has its flaws and losing is normal but I believe every trade has a story to tell. Did the loss occurred because of your trading system or did the loss occurred because of your decision making? I like what Einstein said about insanity

insanity

If you dont’t do something about your losing trade and try to learn from it then don’t expect that your chances of winning on your next trade would be high, more likely it will still be a losing trade.

Same thing in life, We all do mistakes and if we don’t do something about it and try to learn from it then let us not expect a different result in life.

If you are overspending and you see that your savings is getting lesser don’t expect that you will still have savings in the future unless you do something about your overspending.

If you are eating fatty food and you noticed that you’re stamina gets weaker don’t expect that you will still have the same stamina in the future unless you do something about your eating.

Either firsthand mistake or secondhand mistake, let us learn from those mistakes and never make the same mistakes in the future.

Never Dwell on the Past

I experienced losses in trading and one of them was around  -40% losses. When that happened to me, I was disturbed all week because I can’t stop thinking about it. It made me question my capability and got a hard time to accept it. As I came back to my senses, I realized that i have to fully move on with that trade and continue to thrive in learning.

past

Same thing in life, we had bad experiences that made us question ourselves, we’re afraid that when someone finds out those bad things in our past they might judge us. It makes us paralyzed. It makes us lose focus and delay us in achieving our goals in life.

Experiencing that trade made me learn the next lesson in this post, it is to

Have a quality ‘ME’ time every now and then

When I incurred that -40% loss, I was pushing myself of  finding what I called a revenge trade, it is a trade to atleast cope up with my losses. I got some stocks for the revenge trade and was lucky enough to pull it off but didn’t manage to breakeven. Later on I just realized that it was only because of emotions. I was wrong of thinking a revenge trade because I am emotional that time. It will only affect my bias and decisions. When I realized that, I know that I have to do something about it.

ponder

I decided to stay away from the market for some time just for me to get out of all the noise and thoughts about it. I needed some quality ‘ME’ time to get back to my senses and start anew.

In life we also get emotional and being emotional makes us do things without thinking twice only for us to realize that it is the most stupid(sorry for the term) thing we’ve ever done.

Having a quality ‘ME’ time every now and then pacifies us. Whether it be a jog in the park, a jam with your friends, playing games and etc. it helps us release the stress and emotions so that we can get back to our senses and continue to keep moving forward

Embrace the Process

Before, I thought that trading is all about winning and losing, it is all about ‘buying low and selling high’ with the use of technicals. I was wrong, trading is not always about winning and losing and what sets great traders and new traders apart? I guess it’s because great traders know that trading is a continuing process of mastering their system, success is about mastering the process of their trading style to be sustainable and profitable rather than determining success by keeping a scorecard of winning trades and losing trades where if you win more than you lose, you are successful.

embrace

We have victories and defeats at some points in our lives, and there will be cases that we may define our success based on those things. For example a person who has a great career, fame, a fully paid house, a nice car, and a beautiful wife may be the definition of success. But I learned that it’s not about those thing(those are just bonuses), I believe that success is a continuing process of life that whatever it throws upon us may it be good or bad, we are ready to accept.

So yeah, embrace the process.

Come with a Plan

“Never enter a trade without a plan”, that’s what most people say.

No one can be always correct in predicting the price of a stock, that is why we should have a plan because in trading, the charts has no specific results but only possibilities. These possibilities may or may not align with your plan. The only 2 outcomes are it’s either you are correct or you are wrong. If you are correct then congrats but if your wrong, having a trading plan will reduce the risks of losing more money in your trades and lets you test your system.

Every trade should be accompanied with a trading plan because the outcome is not always right.

What amazes me in life is that God’s plan is always right for us, so in coming up with a plan

I’ll just leave this here.

Commit to the Lord whatever you do,

and he will establish your plans.

Proverbs 16:3 
Wrap up
I hope you enjoyed my sharing for today. Let me know what you think about it in the comments section. If you haven’t subscribed yet to my blog, just put your email address below this post for you to receive free updates whenever I post a new article.
So yeah, until my next post!

Why financial knowledge shouldn’t be the priority

According to many finance advocates, financial knowledge is something we need in order to fight poverty(and I agree on that). It is something important so that we could have a grasp on how money works in our day to day lives. Once we become financially literate, we can now apply it in a financial planning process to achieve our goals in life such as dream house, car, education, retirement, or our own business.

I don’t want you to be confused, while this blog promotes financial literacy (still is), I just had some realizations on a spiritual perspective.

There is something far more important in our personal finance that made me say financial knowledge shouldn’t be the priority and that is because..

Financial knowledge doesn’t move us in faith

We have to understand that God is the Lord in every area of our lives including finances. We have to understand that He is our provider, not our employers, not our businesses and not even ourselves. It is He who gives us the ability to produce wealth(Deut 18:8)

Financial literacy tells us the numbers. It shows us a clear picture of projecting one’s finances mathematically. One can easily project how many years of saving and investing are needed in order for him to afford his dream house but because of knowing the numbers, often times it pushes us away from believing what God can do in our lives.

While financial knowledge gives us the edge to achieve our financial goals. Sadly, it seems that it doesn’t move us in faith. It teaches us only to rely on what we can do rather than rely on a great God who is not only able but is also willing to provide for what seems impossible to us.

In every financial decision that you will make, acknowledge God, ask for wisdom and guidance, and partner with Him in reaching your financial goals.

My challenge for you today is to let financial literacy be secondary and prioritize your relationship with your Provider.

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. 

Matthew 6:33 NLT

Isn’t that a great assurance from God? Yes you heard that right ‘everything’ as in everything you need, may it be finances, health, relationships, career, self fulfillment, contentment, security, appreciation, everything you need!

Let me know your thoughts in the comment section! 🙂


Photo Credits : Tali Le Bamba

 

I graduated today, now what?

I would like to congratulate all of the graduates of batch 2016, you deserve a pat on the back for a job well done. Now that you have graduated from the university, I welcome you to the young professionals group of our society. I’m sure most of you are excited in this new chapter of your life( or some? hehe).

Graduates

 

This is the time in your life that you will start to work, earn your own money, and build your career.

While this is exciting for  you, this might be scary as well for some because of what ifs.

What if I don’t land a job soon?

What if I wouldn’t like my first job?

What if my first job would not be the job I really wanted?

What if I landed a job that is not related to my course?

and a lot more what ifs.

Let me share you my experience when I graduated back in 2013.

I am an engineering graduate, it was really a hard time in the Uni (considering financial struggles as well) so the time came that I graduated, I was really excited and all of my hopes are up. I now have the opportunity to earn my own money and help my family in terms of finances.

Like you, I was thinking already of the companies that I wanted to be working for, readied my resume and printed a lot. Like you, I wanted to have the option to pick what company would be the best for me and my career. I wanted a good paying job that is aligned with my course and would give me the best career growth potential. Just to sum it up, that time I thought that by analyzing and planning too much for my ideal career, it will turn out well and everything will be smooth. Analyzing and planning really affected my decisions in choosing the companies that I will be applying to because I only wanted the best for me (who doesn’t want to?).

but..

Guess what happened? Reality strikes back at me.

Even if I planned it out, turns out that companies wouldn’t adapt for me (maybe they will if I’m a genius haha). Company after company, all that I hear was “We will call you back”. I applied in all of the companies on my list and all of them had the same response, “We will call you back”. I started to doubt myself that time and start considering jobs that aren’t really related to my course. That time, I just wanted to have a job to sustain myself and give to my family.

I was being hopeless that I started putting my trust on God na ‘Lord kung ano man po yung ibigay ninyong work sakin ay alam ko pagpapalain nyo po ako’.

When I started not to rely on myself and started trusting God that was the time when things started to move in my quest on landing a job.

I had this interview for a casino dealer position and it went really well that I only needed to sign a contract for me to start (It was the only one that called me back). The salary was good it was around 35,000 pesos as a starting pay and has benefits.

but..

that time there is some weight in my heart because I don’t want to be a part of any gambling activity (even if it is legal), I’ve asked God na ‘Lord ito po ba talaga yung job na binibigay nyo para sakin?’

The day came that I needed to sign the contract, just out of nowhere my phone rang and it was a call for an interview. It was a call for a field service engineer post.

To cut the long story short.

I should be a casino dealer by now if I had sign that contract but God moved in my life he is really faithful because I still end up being an engineer and He gave me a job that would really bless my life and my family. After a year I had the opportunity to study in the UK with that company God provided for me.

uk
My first time in London 2014

Then after that  I was able to work in Australia

Brisbane
Enjoying Brisbane

God is really faithful in everything!

Knowing my story, I wanted to share to you some important things that I learned along the way that have helped me in walking my journey.

1.Never rely on what you can do, instead move in faith and trust God.

Now  that you are entitled with a diploma, it symbolizes that you have finish studying what you need in order for you take on the tasks a job will require you. Sometimes we rely on that entitlement, we think that this accomplishment of ours will be the key for us to land on our ideal career, it may be a factor but believe me only God can give you the best and He won’t give you something that you wouldn’t like.

I have known friends that have landed on their ideal careers but ended up being stressed and complaining even if they are really paid well. It might be that they haven’t put God first but that’s not for me to say.

The only question in my mind is that why are there people who have acquired things they want but still end up being unhappy?

So as you start looking for a career, it is ok to analyze and plan for it but above all, just rely on God and let him guide you along the way. Be faithful because He is faithful. He can provide and he will provide for you something that you will like and be happy with.

2.Invest in yourself

Education never stops when you graduate, learning is a never ending process. Don’t think that once you have graduated, you are ready for everything. Once you have a job, save for an education fund. It could be attending seminars, buying books, doing short courses or workshops that you might be interested with.

Like what Benjamin Franklin have said

Investing in knowledge pays the best interest

I am no finance guy (I am an engineer) but because I was interested with the topic of personal finance and investing, I continued to invest in my knowledge, bought books, attended seminar and had some courses. Now I am able to manage my finances well and also able to earn from what I learned as a 2nd source of income.

This blog you are reading right now is a way for me to share what I learn and will be learning along the way, I invested time in writing here because I know that I will learn much as I write and research about personal finance stuffs in this blog.

Now that you are out of the uni , there are no rules now on what subjects you want to learn and take, that is an advantage! Sky should be the limit on learning things. Look for the things that you are interested with and never stop learning. It will pay off soon.

3. Have the grit to succeed

Different generations have different traits and what I admire from the older generations is the ability to endure hard work. Yes! Hard work. Because of technology today, I can somehow say that our generation is an ‘instant’ generation meaning everyone want instant results(no wonder get-rich-quick schemes are still rampant today). While it is true that people nowadays work smarter and not harder, not everyone is brilliant. It takes years of  working smart and working hard for us to master our craft and succeed.

Have that grit to succeed and don’t complain about hard work (it is really included for us to grow). Remember that there is no growth for someone who is in his comfort zone. If you want to succeed and grow? Get out your comfort zone and endure hard work.

Wrap up

I hope that I have shared something that have inspired you today. This article is dedicated to our new graduates but the things I shared here can also be applied by everyone. Please do share this on your facebook and let me know your thoughts in the comment section. If you haven’t subscribe yet on my blog, I invite you to do so :). Just enter you email address below this post so that you would be notified once I have a new post.

You can also find me on facebook @thefrugalworker

God bless everyone!

To your success,

The Frugal Worker