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.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

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

 

A simple guide to avoid getting into a bad financial situation

Bad money behaviors are most likely the cause of getting a person into a bad financial situation but it can vary from person to person and from case to case. I believe everyone of us doesn’t want to get in that situation but still, many of us end up getting in there.

Let me share to you this guide for you to avoid it.

First of all, we must know that there are things that are beyond our control that can get us into a bad financial situation such as accidents, emergencies, sickness, theft, acts of nature and etc. But there are also things that are within our control such as our cashflows, money behaviors(especially in spending), and knowledge about money.

There are two kinds of people when it comes to personal finance, the active and the passive type.

Passive Type of people are the ones who are not aware of where they really are in their financial lives. That is the reason why they only act when the financial problem is already there(retroactive).

While Active Type of people are somewhat just the opposite, they know where they are in their financial lives, actively monitors it to make better decisions, project their financial goals to meet it and protects themselves in case of anything that could happen(proactive)

So right now ask yourself, which of the two types do you belong?

If you want to belong on the active type of people regarding their finances then here’s the meat of this article.

Let’s tackle first the things that are within our control

1.Be Aware of your Cashflows

A cashflow represents the money that comes in and out of our pockets on a monthly basis. I assure you that most of us are unaware of this. Often times, we are only aware of the incoming cash that will go in our bank accounts but not the outgoing cash from our wallets. We don’t usually keep a tab of our spending, and that is the reason why most of us gets confused of where did our money go that results of getting us in a bad financial situation. To be the active type we first need to be aware of this because this is our starting point.

Here is an example of a cashflow (zoom in to see a clearer view)

[embeddoc url=”http://abrahamrlee.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Cashflow.xlsx” height=”300px” download=”all” viewer=”google”]

This is an actual cashflow of a manager, based on his cashflows, he is currently in a negative, meaning, he spends more than what he receives from his salary. People might say that he’s fine because he has a car, he has a house, he has a big salary and everything but in reality he’s in a bad situation. Sooner or later he’ll end up selling things if he continues to live like that.

I encourage you to make your own cashflows or download the excel file above(as a template) and see where you are currently in. Just remember you have to list everything you spend(as in everything).

Net Cashflow = Income – Expenses

If yours is a negative as well, don’t worry this is the reason of this step. Now that you are aware of your situation I believe that you must act on it before it gets to you. Try to get rid of the unnecessary stuffs or get rid of debts as soon as possible. The goal is for you to find a way on how to make that a positive net cashflow.

If yours turn out positive then congratulations because you are one step ahead of those who have a negative net cashflow.

behaviors

2.Assess your money bahaviors and change when necessary

All of us have financial goals in life and the distance from where we are right now to those goals are greatly affected by our money behaviors. These money behaviors are behaviors we got from our family, friends, relatives and influences. Often times these are hard to change behaviors but we have to assess it and if necessary, we have to change it.

Saving and spending are both money bahaviors but which force is stronger in you? You may have a positive net cashflow but if you are a big spender, you have just missed the opportunity to save more for more important things.

Monitoring your spending on a daily basis vs on a monthly basis? These are behaviors as well. The first one is a drag but it has more benefits than monitoring monthly. With daily monitoring, you have more control on your spending than on a monthly basis. If you do it monthly, there is a high chance that you might have thought you’re still within you’re budget but actually overspent already.

There are lots money behaviors and we have to know them so that we can make better decisions.

Here are  some of what I wrote about

Pasalubong : An overlooked expense

The Frugal Worker : Travel or Invest?

3 must ask questions before buying anything on payday

young professional

3.Expand your knowledge in regards with managing your finances

An investment on knowledge pays the best interests

Benjamin Franklin                      

When it comes to money , the more informed you are the lesser you fear. Let say for investments, the more knowledgeable you are with investments, the more confident you are with investing. For different financial products, the more you know about these products the higher the chance you are to make a good decision in choosing. In business, the more know about your customers, the more you will likely make a profit.

Simply, the more you know about your finances, the lesser the chances you’ll get into a bad financial situation.

Be hungry for knowledge and try your best to apply it because it pays when you do.

Now let’s tackle on the things that aren’t within our control

Emergencies, Accidents, Sickness, Theft, Acts of Nature and etc.

You can’t control these events, you don’t know when they will happen, and you don’t know how much damage they could bring to you financially. They aren’t most likely to happen but if they do, the only thing you can do is to prepare.

These things might come once or twice in our lives or might not as well. But it’s always better to be prepared than not.

Start building your emergency fund, protect yourself with insurance(research and find the best one that will suit you) and stay healthy.

Lastly and most importantly, let God lead you. Even if things are still in your control, ask for wisdom and understanding, ask for protection.

 

We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.

2 Corinthians 4:8-9

When things get out of control, remember that God is bigger than the bad situation, you will bounce from it.

Wrap up

If this simple guide have helped you and have taught you something please do share it on your facebook, there might be someone out there who needs it. Let me know what you think about this guide as well in the comments section below. If you have questions or you want me to research anything about personal finance just drop by in my contact page and I’ll try to to write something about it and if you want to read more of these stuff, please do subscribe to my blog by entering your email address below.

See you on the next post! 🙂 @thefrugalworker


Photo Credits : marco antonio torresMarc Wathieu, mer chau

Thank you for the recognition SunLife #SINAG Awards

Last year on December 10, 2015, Sunlife Financial held its SINAG 2015 Financial Literacy Journalism Awards which seeks to encourage Filipinos to become more financially prepared through well-written articles/stories. I was blessed because my entries won 2nd-runner up along with my co-winners mommy Lace Llanora and momblogger Noemi Lardizabal-Dado, you can find their blog at www.mommylace.com and aboutmyrecovery.com respectively.

 

Sunlife SINAG
I’m really thankful for the recognition that I got from Sunlife. It has given me the confidence in what I write and as I continue to write more stuff here in my blog I pray that it would inspire more people, activate them into action and give them hope in their financial lives.
Awarding
Winners of #SINAG Financial Literacy Digital Journalism Awards

Here are the articles that made me won (2nd-runner up)

How to know the Price tag of your emergency fund

How to save effectively as a young 20s professional

7 things to master while in your 20s for a better financial life

My story

Marvin Germo
With Stock Smart’s Marvin Germo

I had a great time in the awarding ceremony not just because of the prizes that I won but because I felt the burning desire Sunlife has in advocating financial literacy in the country. They are really investing time and resources in financial literacy programs for a brighter future.

sunlife perks
tokens of appreciation from Sunlife

I was inspired by that because it is a great advocacy of reaching out to people shedding light on how to become financially independent. I can just imagine a better and brighter Philippines for the next generations to come as more and more people become good stewards.

If you want to know more about personal finance stuffs just enter your email address below this post so that you will always be updated by The Frugal Worker. You can also like my page on facebook @thefrugalworker.

 

Achieve more this year by asking 5 simple questions

Hi it’s Abe here, for those of you who follow my blog and continue to wait for new posts, I just want to say thank you, I know I’ve been away for months already and obviously I haven’t post anything new yet but hey, thank you for just being there. I was on a hiatus and man,  I feel like it was years ago when I wrote my last article.

Moving forward, I can’t say that 2015 was my best year but still it was a great year. It was a year of God’s faithfulness in our lives and, one goal that I’ve hit last year where I was really excited about, is to finally share myself through a blog.

Achieve

So this year I want to continue what I started and share more about myself, personal finance, things worth sharing, and God’s faithfulness to serve the purpose of this blog, and that is to be a blessing to you.

Ok, so here’s what I think is the best thing that I can share to you as my first post for the year. It’s the 5 simple questions to ask yourself in order for you to achieve more in life.

Just a few things before asking yourself. I want you to be totally honest with yourself, as in totally transparent, accept every fact you’ll discover in the process and lastly pray to God first that He will give you the wisdom and guidance as you contemplate.

Okay, let me pray for you so we can get started,

Lord, thank you for this life that you’ve given us, thank you for what you’ve done on the cross for us. Give us the wisdom and the guidance that we need as we go through this and just speak to our heart Lord. In Jesus name, Amen

Alright! First off,

1. WHAT?

Have you experienced day dreaming? That point in your life where you are just talking to yourself thinking of things that you want in your life. I had mine when I was thinking of what would I do if I won the lottery ( I don’t buy tickets though),  believe me, I had a great time thinking a lot of things that I would buy, get and do when that happens.

So this is your time to have a great time too.

For most of us, we wanted to get rich, get our dream house(s), dream car(s), dream business(es), dream abs, get married, be famous, etc. and it’s NORMAL! So here’s what you do, answer the question “WHAT do you want?”, write everything you want on a piece of paper, as in anything, sky is the limit. Be specific though for everything that you’ll write, Don’t write “I want to be rich”, instead write “I want to be a millionaire”. Don’t write “I want a sports car”, instead write “I want a ferrari”.

Once you’ve listed them all lets go ahead with the next question.

2.WHY?

Yes, for every single thing that you wrote, ask yourself why do you want that. Trust me, just be totally honest about it and you’ll discover more of yourself. Continue asking yourself why do you want those things until you have a deep reason of wanting that, the deeper the reason, the better. I’ll give you an example

I want to be a multi-millionaire. Why? because I want to buy things without looking at the price. Why is that? because when I eat out, I look at the price and not on the dish. So why is that? because according to my salary, I need to be mindful on how I spend. So why? because if I don’t become mindful about it, I’d be poor and I don’t want to live a mediocre life. And so on…

The deeper the reason on your WHY is, the better. And at this point, I hope that you’ve discovered more of yourself.

Again just write every reason on your WHYs for that certain want/goal.

3. WHERE?

The third question you have to ask yourself is WHERE? Where are you right now in your life? How far are you from the things that you wrote in your WHATs? Just be totally honest about it and don’t be in denial because if you do, then you will just be fooling yourself.

In our example, “I want to be a multi-millionaire”

Honestly, I’m so far from that point, I don’t have a business, I’m just an average employee. My salary is like this, I haven’t been promoted yet. I don’t have a capital yet to do business, I’m afraid  right nowthat if I venture business on the sides, I’ll end up losing money. I have good connections though. My uncle is a successful businessman, I have skills in marketing, manufacturing, and etc.

The purpose of this question is for you to have a starting point, for you to acknowledge your current situation, for you to identify all of your resources, for you to realize that you have to do something in order for you to achieve something, for you to be motivated, that you don’t want to be in your current circumstances and wanted to excel, and that you wanted to start achieving your goals.

Now, this is where it gets exciting..

4. HOW?

Okay, so now you are aware of your current status, you now know what you want in life, and you now know why you want them. Now is the time to ask the HOW? How would you get near your goals in life? What are the things that you should start doing in order for you to achieve your goals.

The deeper your WHY is the more you are eager to answer the HOW. So let’s get back to our example. “I want to be a multi millionaire.” How?

I’ll be closer to my goal by investing in knowledge, by reading more books this year, I’ll be richer if I prioritize saving over budgeting. I’ll be richer if i started investing. I’ll be closer to my goal by meeting my successful uncle frequently and learn from him. I’ll be closer to my goal by learning a new skill. I’ll be closer to my goal if i would stop procrastinating. And so on..

Again the deeper your WHY is, the more you will think of ways on how to be closer on your goals and achieve them.

Don’t forget to write them down.

5. WHEN?

Okay so here’s the last question, WHEN? When do you want to achieve them? Every dream of yours will start from you identifying them, and then you have to have a deep reason for you to become motivated in achieving them. Once you are motivated and all fired up, you have to acknowledge where you are starting from, identifying your resources. After that, you start thinking on how will you get closer in achieving your goals, how could you use all of your resources in order for you to achieve more.

Everything is all set and that last thing you want to do is to put a DEADLINE. A deadline for every goal that you wrote. There will be long term goals and short term goals. In our example “I want to become a multi millionaire”, It is a long term goal.

Now, I give it a deadline that before I hit the age of 30, I will become one. This long term goal is broken into sub-components or short term goals, like this year I would have read 10 books and apply what I think would be essential for me, this year as well I would save diligently 10k a month. This year I would learn to speak chinese And so on.

Once you achieve more short term goals the closer you would get in achieving you long term goals, that’s basically the key.

By putting deadlines, it gives you a sense of urgency towards achieving your goals and helps you determine if you are successful in achieving them. The purpose of this is for you to not to procrastinate because most people DO. They continuously postponed their deadlines and they are wondering why they are not achieving.

Lastly, be realistic with your deadlines but also put your trust in God because He will guide you on this, trust me. Pray for everything that will come your way and put your confidence in Him.

Keep what you wrote on that paper and read it atleast once a month and if ever you feel tired and it seems like your not moving from point A to point B, just read your WHYs and pray to God that He will suffice you, I’m sure you’ll get motivated again and achieve more, and If ever you won’t hit all of your goals? Just be secure and calm because honestly not all goes according to our plans, but the plans of Lord for you stands firm.

It is worth trying than doing nothing

Wrap Up

Okay so that’s it! I hope I have shared something helpful to you and that you start achieving more this year. If you like what you just have read and want more of these, subscribe to my blog by entering your email below this post. Share it as well on facebook and you can also like my page @thefrugalworer. Thanks!


Photo Credits: Arya Ziai

 

 

The Frugal Worker : Travel or Invest?

I saw a quote the other day about traveling and it says, “Travel while you are young and able. Don’t worry about the money, just make it work. Experience is far more valuable than money will ever be.” It’s quite popular for young professionals so I just thought of writing a post about it.

While I couldn’t agree more that experience is far more valuable than money will ever be, I really couldn’t agree about “just making it work”.

So today I will be writing about a dilemma between travelling and investing. While both are great things to do at a young age, it is sometimes hard to think about which one should be on top of the other.

So If I were to choose between the two, I would choose investing first before travelling. I’m not saying you should too because I have my own reasons why I’m choosing that path but let me explain myself and I hope that it could be of help to you.

Here’s why,

I’m not a travel blogger and I haven’t traveled much but I can say that there are two kinds of travelers.

The Backpackers

The backpackers are adventurers, they want to travel because they are thrilled on what the world can offer to them. They don’t travel for relaxation but for finding their inner-self, they want to know what’s really out there and experience the world through other people’s eyes.

They usually don’t plan much like the tourists and anything could be an activity for them. They prefer to speak with locals, live with them and learn from them than getting on a tour with tourist guides(I guess that’s the reason how couchsurfing was born).

The Tourists

The tourists are also adventurers but their main goal is to relax and be separated from their work. They travel so that they can spend time with their family and loved ones to gratify themselves. It is like patting their own back for a job well done in their work.

They usually plan everything, they have itineraries and activities planned out already and they get information from guides.

For me, being a tourist is good enough to experience places and be separated from work while spending with loved ones.

My Path

I choose in investing first before travelling because I am a tourist kind of traveler. It suits my personality and my goals in life, yes experience is far more valuable than money but priorities in life makes the difference. My priority as a young professional guy is to prepare for my future family over travelling and I don’t want to sabotage that future by doing the other more and just making it work. Don’t get me wrong, I do love to travel but everything should be planned and budgeted, that’s why I do have a travelling fund.

Another reason I chose investing is this,

travel or invest

They say that we should travel while young and able right? Well, they got a point but I want to give two scenarios.

Let say I invested and worked really hard in my 20s and managed to retire in my 50s. Now in my 50s, I can travel now because I have all the funds that I need but I can’t do some of the activities because there might be some health reasons. Too bad I can’t travel and experience that much but I have the privilege not to work anymore. That’s the first scenario

Here’s the second

Let say I traveled while young and able and just make it worked, I manage to experience a lot of things and now that I’m 50, I want to settle but because I haven’t invested for my retirement then I have to work to make it work!

I would choose the first scenario rather than the second , it will be more okay for me to not travel and experience much in my 50s and enjoy my golden years than traveled and experienced a lot while young but will  be working in my 50s because I can’t retire. Does that makes sense?

That is just my analogy and I hope it made a point.

For risk takers that really want to travel and can live by making both ends meet, then just make sure you make it work as well when the time comes that you don’t want to travel anymore and wanted to settle.

If your goal is to find yourself out there and not just for any relaxation then it will be a different story, you are a backpacker type. Here’s some inspiration, let me share to you the story of Tomislav Perko, he just travelled with almost no money. Watch his story below

Nice isn’t it? Well, if your up to challenge and find yourself then go and hit the road.

My Conclusion

I guess my take in this dilemma is this

“Travel while young and able but make sure you won’t regret the bill. Experience is far more valuable than money so make more money and spend it for experiences.”

I hope that this post have helped you in a way. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!


Photo Credits : Moyan Brenn