Tag Archives: finance

Get ready for affordable pre-need as Cosmopolitan Climbs enters the market

In a country like the Philippines where less than 10% of the total population has access to an easily available microinsurance plan, two of the biggest names in the Visayas and Mindanao region joined forces to ensure that the larger part of the population will continue to be protected, especially during times of need through its own brand of pre-need products.

Dubbed Cosmopolitan CLIMBS, the new company is a product of two forces joining together for one common goals — to make sure that every Filipino, particularly those in the marginalized sector, will have access to affordable pre-need plans.

Cosmopolitan Memorial, the largest memorial company in the Vis/Min region, with over 60 years in the business, has become the go-to company for OFWs, expats and the VisMin region for their funeral needs; and CLIMBS, started in 1970 to protect a number of VisMin cooperatives but has since evolved into a dynamic financial consortium in the VIsMin region with the following businesses under its portfolio: life and assurance, real estate, investment, among others.

 

GROUP

During the press conference which was personally graced by Commissioner Dennis Funa of the Insurance Commission (IC), the IC head has expressed his support on the founding of Cosmopolitan Climbs  and congratulated the company’s heads, headed by Mr. Renato Dychangco, Jr who is currently serving as chairman, and Mr. Noel D. Raboy, in his capacity as president.

Funa shared that with the establishment of Cosmopolitan Climbs, Filipinos will have more options in choosing a pre-need plan that works best for their budget and their needs, which answers the goal of the government to have more than 20 million Filipinos insured by the year 2020.

As someone who is also exposed in microinsurance, and who considers personal finance and financial literacy as an advocacy; I believe that its about time that more pre-need products are made available by making it more affordable to a larger number of Filipinos. The lack of financial literacy among Filipinos also serves as a stumbling block in selling products like micro insurance and pre-needs. It also doesn’t help hearing largely-negative experiences from those who availed of pre-need plans from big companies who has since then folded.

22207506_10155265104924081_182004003_n
Cosmopolitan Climbs stakeholders with Insurance Commission comissioner Dennis B. Funa (third from right)

Cosmopolitan Climbs president Raboy is bullish and optimistic about their latest offering: “Our main market are cooperatives and associations, particularly based on the provinces; whose large base of members, serves as a good market for Cosmopolitan Climbs,” he explained during the press briefing held recently at the Marriott Hotel in Pasay City. By targeting cooperatives, the company is taking advantage of the large pool of potential plan holders, while also tapping the expertise and the machinery of a cooperative to sell and promote pre-need among members. By working with cooperatives, Cosmopolitan Climbs lessens the chances of abandoned plans due to financial constraints as there are available and pre-set funds per member.

It also helps that the new pre-need company to hit the local market is backed by a solid alliance of trusted brands, nationwide. Climbs prides itself of a solid financial footing, as manifested by the number of claims they were able to process and release during the Typhoon Haiyan which laid waste to the livelihood of our many kababayans in the Visayas region. Cosmopolitan Memorial meanwhile, has already extended its presence beyond the Southern Region and in fact is now solidying their presence in Luzon and even in Metro Manila.

The group is set to formally get the IC approval on their line-up of pre-need products, but hopes to sell a plan for as low as five hundred pesos a month.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Signs of Growing Up: Shopping for the perfect bank for Personal Loans

Peter Pan doesn't like Growing Up. And so do I.
Peter Pan doesn’t like Growing Up. And so do I.

Now I see the advantage of never growing up. Wherever Neverland maybe, I am signing up. Because in Neverland, Peter doesn’t have to pay the bills, file for loans and worry about his credit standing.

I am currently shopping for the best bank to file a personal loan request. As you know, the hub and I are starting a business with some of our friends and we really need a shot in the arm, so the speak, in terms of funding the business. While I would rather infuse capital using my hard-earned savings–the thing is, most of my savings–are in non-movable locations, i.e. mutual funds, retirement and insurance. In need of immediate funding, the next logical step for me is approach the banks.

I decided not to do this mindlessly. I searched the net for the bank with the lowest interest rate and most efficient customer service. Always on top of my books is Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), where majority of my financial records and transactions are kept. BPI is where I maintain a credit card, two savings account and had just finished one personal loan. The bank’s online and phone banking service is effortless and commendable, making transactions and transfers easier than the usual.

BPI can help you... (Image property of BPI)
BPI can help you…
(Image property of BPI)

To shop for the best bank, I referred to this website: iMoney.ph. Based from iMoney, the best bank is either Maybank and BPI, which carries a 1.20-1.25%% interest per month and will require me to pay a manageable PHP5,000 per month as payment spread over 1 year and 6 months. In my case, BPI is always the best choice because it allows me to transfer my payments or schedule my payments through my payroll account. Payment is easy and painless because it is automatically deducted from my enrolled account.

Security Bank meanwhile has a manageable 1.40% monthly interest rate which is still attractive to me, compared to the other banks like EastWest, Standard Chartered and PS Bank that has the highest interest rates out of the other banks I checked.

It’s easy to file a loan application, get the money and brace yourself for the monthly payment — but I also think checking interest rates and features is also the responsible thing to do when managing finances. A loan is an obligation that requires prompt and consistent payment. It’s only fair that I am aware of the obligation that comes after handling the signed forms and documents.

Obviously, growing up is a pain. I am making it painless by being as informed as possible, Peter Pan.

Why is it hard to be financially responsible?

Infographic from the Money Summit & Wealth Expo 2012
Infographic from the Money Summit & Wealth Expo 2012

How do Filipinos rank in financial literacy?
News from Rappler, 16 July 2013

The Philippines recorded 68 index points and ranked 8th among 16 Asia-Pacific countries covered by the latest MasterCard Index of Financial Literacy.

The Philippines’ score in MasterCard’s 4th annual survey is almost the same as the Philippines’ index score of 68.2 in 2011.

“This Index of Financial Literacy is a good measure of whether and how people in the Asia/Pacific region are making informed decisions around their home finances,” said Georgette Tan, MasterCard’s group head of Communications, Asia/Pacific, Middle East & Africa.

The recent survey, released on July 3, was conducted with 7,756 respondents aged 18 to 64 from Asia/Pacific markets between April and May 2013.

Three major components are considered in the calculation of the final index score: basic money management (50% weight), financial planning (30% weight) and investment (20% weight). Regional Aggregates had been calculated via the average of the components of individual countries before these weights were applied.

Philippine respondents rounded up 67 index points for basic money management, 74 index points for financial planning and 58 index points for investing.

The ability to manage money involves skills such as day-to-day budgeting, paying up bills, handling credit commitments and saving up for big purchases. Investment proficiency includes understanding bank statements and complex investment concepts.

New Zealand remained at the top of the list, with 74 index points, and also in matters related to fundamental money management skills. China has come out as the most proficient in investment, Myanmar in financial planning.

Japan fell at the bottom of the chart with its overall financial literacy at 57 index points.

“There are divides across our markets that reflect the gap between the developed and the developing. Financial literacy is a concern where a large proportion of society are without the support and education that is taken for granted in the developed world,” Tan added.

A developing country, the Philippines was the sole market from the list to have low levels of financial literacy from the demographic of 30-year-olds who are married at the same time. Becoming financially savvy is more pronounced with marriage and increasing family obligations, such as household expenses, education and financial commitments.

Link to original site here

saving is a bitch
saving is a bitch

How about you? Do you find it easy to arrange your finances and set it in order?

For almost five months now, putting my finances in order has been my sole obsession. I don’t know what prompted my quest to scrimp, save and invest aside from the fear of dying and leaving nothing to my family in spite the crazy hours I spent working.

As embarrassing as this may sound, my financial IQ is nil and almost non-existent. I lack the discipline to save my money and look the other way when it comes to my wants and not needs. I am currently trying a lot of ways to save, invest and keep. I’ve read somewhere that 10% of our salary should go to our savings, 20% to our investments (different from the rotating money in the bank) and 70% should go to our day-to-day expense.

I wish I could tell you that everything is going according to plan and that all my savings are growing according to the same gaant chart that I prepared with gusto. However, the reality is that, like any other Filipino, my monthly expense sometimes outweight my monthly earnings. Instead of allotting money first for my investments (mutual and emergency fund) and savings (revolving fund) accounts, what happens is that I am forced to pay for my bills before I set money for my savings. According to the many investment and financial websites I have studied, what is correct is to pay yourself first before you pay others.

Here are some financial literacy tips from Investopedia

1. Responsible use of credit cards
If you have a credit card and you’re barely paying the minimum payment due per month, then there is something seriously wrong with your financial spending. Credit cards are convenient tools and provides you financial flexibility but they shouldn’t be taken in as substitute to cash. Stop using your credit cards to pay for your wants (yes, very easy to say when there’s no H&M, Forever 21 or GAP near your office). Credit cards should be used for emergency expenses only (thing is: a plane ticket qualifies as an emergency to me).

2. Pay yourself first
As mentioned earlier, make it a habit to pay yourself first before you start paying your bills and other obligations. Since this is the part of my financial journey where I struggle the most, I am planning to do something to improve how I do this. One plan is to NOT use my money, and not withdraw anything unless I have paid myself using the medium I discovered — 10% savings (revolving funds) and 20% (investment/emergency funds).

3. Have an emergency fund in hand
Shit happens — people get sick, appliances get broken, unemployment happens and insane discounted tickets to Japan gets announced (kidding on this one); it’s best to always have money in store to use for instances such as these. Since I was young, I was told that one must have at least three times the worth of her salary in her bank account. But apparently, amount should be equivalent to six times your salary in order to cover living expenses and even cases like hospitalization.

4. Stop keeping up with the neighbors
Just because your neighbor happened to buy a new car doesn’t mean you have to line up to the dealership also. Be contented with what you have. Your neighbors do not pay your bills, so their opinion doesn’t and shouldn’t count on how you live a financially-independent life.

5. Have a budget
…and stick with it.