Tag Archives: financial literacy

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.

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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.

 

 

 

 

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Much Ado About Money

When I reached 35, I started becoming paranoid about money — more specifically, the lack of it.

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I was afraid that I will reach fifty years old, with nothing to my name, stuck in a dead-end job and still existing hand-to-mouth. After witnessing first hand how people can be desperate when they have nothing no one else turn to; I vowed to be more responsible when it comes to my money. I became more appreciative of banks, of maintaining savings accounts  and of eliminating debt as much as possible.

Three years on after I made my vow to be more financially-savvy, I am still a work in progress. I still don’t have the following, which was included in my three year financial stability checklist:

  • Emergency savings equivalent to six times my current salary
  • Stock market options
  • Mutual Fund
  • Freedom from debt!

But the things I managed to achieve out of these three years – I worked hard for: I am now paying advanced amortization for my own condo unit; I have a life insurance that is now money-earning and set to mature when I turn 50 and I am working hard to maintain a healthy balance to my savings account, currently stashed safely in my trusted bank.

The savings account is a painful work in progress, as I tend to withdraw money just a few days after transferring them to my savings account. Following the current spate of worrying incidents concerning banks, a good friend — who knows my current financial journey, asked — do I still trust banks?

Well, to put it bluntly, — when it comes to money — I trust banks more than I trust myself and other people.

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Banking institutions spend millions of pesos to keep my money safe; and operates based on a strict code of conduct as dictated by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). They literally do business according to the watchful eye of the people, the government and the organizations they are a part of.

If I keep my money stashed away in my sock drawer, you can bet that I will manage to spend all of it as soon as H&M announces its latest Sale schedule. Burglary, threats of fire and other man-made and natural disasters are all threats to savings kept at home.

Recently, there was a big scandal when a bank employee was caught trying to siphon P17Million from a Union Bank in Pasig City, via an unauthorized cash transfer. The fact that the employee was caught says a lot on the impeccable security systems in place and the prodigious auditing and monitoring of the bank.

First, the woman was either too stupid or too brave for her own good, to even think about pulling off the caper. I mean, seriously? Come on – in this day and age where financial institutions have three-fold measures in place to fact check, audit and monitor to prevent fraud, does she actually think that 17M worth of money transferred will not raise red flags?

If my mother, who sells snacks as a side hustle, can keep a monitoring sheet to track her earnings – I am a thousand percent sure that any bank will have more than a monitoring sheet. The fact that what happened is an isolated case, one that gets caught immediately, tells about the how redundant security measures are in place.

If you ask me, there will always be threats directed towards financial institutions, considering the money they carry and manage at any given day. But, I take comfort on the fact that banks will always have has layers of redundant security, and expertise and then even insurance to protect my savings (no matter how measly they are). So yes, I’d rather have my savings money kept in the bank where I don’t have to worry about them.

As I continue on this financial journey, I’d rather focus on hitting my goals. Hopefully, by the time I reach the big 4-0, I would be more financially-fluid and more financially-savvy: a more debt-free existence, a healthy savings account kept in banks, a mutual fund for future expenses and a living in a condo bought by my hard-earned money.

They say it’s crude to think about money; and it’s bad taste to talk about your financial goals; but in my opinion — nothing is more unfortunate than growing old and still not being financially prepared.

 

 

 

Sun Life retells client stories with new set of digital short films, “Sun Shorts”

Top life insurance company marks 4th Financial Independence Month

There is no doubt that Sun Life has helped transform countless lives over the years. But behind each success lies the story of the many people it has touched, of lives changed and of dreams that came true.

To inspire Filipinos to pursue their financial freedom, Sun Life is launching a new collection of its digital films dubbed Sun Shorts, which will highlight the relationships that make lives #brightertogether.

“The people we love give us the courage to dream big and the strength to keep going even if sometimes it feels like the odds are against us. Truly, we are brighter together,” Sun Life Chief Marketing Officer Mylene Lopa said. “Sun Life shines a spotlight on these relationships to inspire every Filipino to keep chasing their dreams. Our three new Sun Shorts films ‘Waves,’ ‘She Said, She Said’ and ‘Sayaw’ will present this in stories inspired by the stories of Sun Life clients. Through the Sun Shorts, we hope to show Filipinos how life insurance can help them ease their life’s burdens and celebrate their lives’ triumphs giving them the opportunity to show the people they love their commitment to a brighter future for them.”

The roster of short films is part of celebrations prepared by Sun Life of Canada (Philippines), Inc., the number one life insurance company in the Philippines, to mark  the 4th Financial Independence Month this June  to remind Filipinos break free from the cycle of financial shortage and insecurity.

“Waves” by Zig Marasigan gives a peek into the mindset of millennials, who are often criticized for adhering to the “YOLO” mindset and not preparing well enough for the future; a young single mom’s journey takes centerstage in “She Said, She Said” by Nic Reyes; while Mihk Vergara will delve into the reality of coping with a long-time marriage that has gone cold in “Sayaw.”

The films will be released on June 7 at http://www.sunshorts2.com, and will also be uploaded on Facebook so it may be easily accessed and shared by viewers. Each film will also come with an explainer video, where Sun Life brand ambassadors Matteo Guidicelli, Judy Ann Santos, and Piolo Pascual will share their thoughts and shed light on how insurance and investments enable us to protect the relationships that matter to us.

Sun Life released its first collection of Sun Shorts in 2012 and the project has been recognized by different prestigious local and international award-giving bodies, which lauded the creative approach to promoting insurance and investment products.

Empowering Filipinos with concrete steps to financial freedom

To complement the new Sun Shorts films and to give Filipinos the opportunity to learn about life insurance and mutual funds, Sun Life will hold a series of activities throughout June as a next step for those who would like to boost their financial journey.

For the millennials, Sun Life will offer a workshop on achieving their travel goals, while moms and dads will be treated to a pampering activity to help put them in the best mindset to create future goals. For details on these activities, visit @sunlifeph on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Meanwhile, for those who prefer to learn at their convenience, Sun Life offers basic financial planning courses in the Brighter Life Institute at www.brighterlife.com.ph.

Sun Life will also launch PA Armor, an affordable personal accident protection for Filipino online shoppers. Through Sun Life’s partnership with Voyager Innovations, Inc., members of the online marketplace Takatack.com will exclusively enjoy the benefits of this protection.

“This Financial Independence Month, Sun Life reiterates its commitment to Filipinos who are in pursuit of their financial freedom,” Lopa said. “For as long as they have dreams to pursue and relationships to care for, Sun Life will be here for them as their partner in this journey.”

https://web.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fweb.facebook.com%2Fsunlifeph%2Fvideos%2F1486178001446200%2F&show_text=0&width=560

 

About Sun Life Financial

Sun Life Financial is a leading international financial services organization providing a diverse range of insurance, wealth and asset management solutions to individuals and corporate Clients. Sun Life Financial has operations in a number of markets worldwide, including Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Japan, Indonesia, India, China, Australia, Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia and Bermuda. As of December 31, 2016, Sun Life Financial had total assets under management of $903 billion. For more information please visit http://www.sunlife.com.

Sun Life Financial Inc. trades on the Toronto (TSX), New York (NYSE) and Philippine (PSE) stock exchanges under the ticker symbol SLF.

PayMaya redefines parenting and adulting in the Digital Age

Look, I am not a parent yet (except if you count my feline mommyhood) – but like all parents, I know how it feels to juggle bills, a career, various side hustles and even me time. That’s why I felt right at home during the recently-concluded PayMaya event held specifically for millennial moms and dads. Because while parenting might not be in the cards for everyone yet, then responsible adulting definitely is.

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Sorry, I had to ruin the photo by erasing my PayMaya card number. Don’t post any of your account details online, kids! 

PayMaya, the country’s pioneer and leader in digital financial services and mobile money, underscores how basic household transactions can be made hassle-free and more secure through an e-wallet. Designed for the undeserved to have a safe and accessible means to pay online, PayMaya extends its services to millennial parents in search for a better way to pay bills, send and receive money and more.

“As a generation that grew up surrounded by technology, millennials expect the same level of convenience in paying bills, sending money and shopping online. PayMaya evolves with its market by empowering millennial parents with the financial services they need, in the most secure, user-friendly and most convenient way possible,” said PayMaya Philippines COO Paolo Azzola.

I can relate. Ever since I started hitting my 30s, I became very conscious of the way I earn and spend money. I still have a long way to go, but I know I am making progress. For three years now, all my bills are taken cared of and enrolled in an automatic debit system which removed from me the stress of paying them. All my bank accounts are interconnected and I just transfer money from one to account to another when needed – but I needed the freedom of purchasing things online without having to use my credit card. PayMaya is answering that need because I can easily buy plane tickets or book hotels online using my virtual PayMaya Visa account card, which is connected to my account in the PayMaya app. My PayMaya account also allows me to pay the bills for merchants that are currently not enrolled or existing in my automatic debit bank account, like MERALCO, NSO Helpline Plus, a number of HMOs, Sunlife, among others.

Parents will love the convenience of having the ability to give their kids allowance or emergency money without leaving the office or while on-the-go. They can even pay the family driver or give the household help a grocery budget with just a few taps on their smart phone.

To help account holders keep track of their expenses, as well as the expenses of PayMaya cards linked to their account, a real-time SMS notification is sent for every transaction. A transaction record is also automatically updated in the app.

For parents who are “digipreneurs” or freelancers like me, PayMaya can also be used to pay for webhosting and sponsored posts on social media. They can also rely on PayMaya to pay suppliers and receive payments from customers. For freelancers who receives fees from clients overseas, PayMaya can be linked to a global payment platform like PayPal to withdraw their earnings. MOney transferred to their PayMaya wallet can be immediately used to transact online, to pay bills, or to be withdrawn as cash in any BancNet ATM.

PayMaya can be used to pay anywhere Visa and Mastercard is accepted, including seat sales, paid mobile apps and on-demand services including Uber, Netflix and Spotify. User can also save on mobile and date load in all networks with all bundles and offers at 5% off in the PayMaya app.

With PayMaya, you are on track to becoming someone who has their finances under control.

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PayMaya Philippines COO Paolo Azzola, PayMaya brand ambassadors and millennial mommies Ava Te-Zabat and Wiji Lacsamana, and PayMaya Marketing and Brand Head Sharon Kayanan during the PayMaya launch 

What is PayMaya? 

PayMaya is a free and secure app that gives users a reloadable mobile wallet, which allows them to send and receive money, pay their bills and shop anywhere online even without having a credit card. Users simply have to download the PayMaya app, register, load up in over 15,000 touch points nationwide. Smart, TNT and Sun Cellular subscribers will receive a virtual Mastercard upon registration to PayMaya, while Globe subscribers will receive a virtual Visa card.

Users may also opt to have a PayMaya Visa physical card or PayMaya Smart MasterCard, which can be linked to their mobile wallet. PayMaya physical cards can be used to pay in groceries, bookstores, malls or any store that accepts card payments. It can be offered online at paymaya.com/shop, free of delivery charge nationwide. To reload, head to any SM Business Centers, Robinsons Department Stores, 711 with Cliqq kiosks, Petron stations along NLEX, Ministop outlets with Touchpay Kiosks, UnionBank ATMS, Shopwise, Wellcome, 2Go outlets, SmartPadala centers and online banking via BDO.

For more information, visit paymaya.com.

 

 

 

“Now is the time to invest,” says Sun Life Asset Management as sales expand by 50% in 2016

Financial literacy is a topic that is very dear to my heart. As someone who didn’t know anything about savings and investing, I struggled early in life financially – not because I was wanting but because I was irresponsible.

When I was younger, I was one of the “one day millionaire” kids who go through hard-earned salary in a matter of days, spending it on shopping, food and my many juvenile hobbies that I always end up in the red days before the next payday.

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I spent my twenties subsisting paycheck-to-paycheck, not because I do not have enough in life, but because I was too irresponsible to fix my own finances. The sad thing is I am not alone. A recent study by Standard & Poor’s (S&P) showed that only 25% of Filipinos understand financial literacy.

“While the array of financial products available in Asia continues to grow rapidly, S&P’s FinLit Survey suggests that most consumers lack a general understanding of credit, compound interest and other key concepts,” the ratings firm noted. (SOURCE)

In a recent media briefing, leading Financial organization Sun Life Asset Management Company, Inc. shared the good news that the Philippine economy continues to grow strong. In a media statement, Sun Life Chief Investments Officer Michael Enriquez explained that with the increased consumer and government spending, the outlook remains fundamentally positive:“Remittances from overseas Filipino workers, the BPO industry, and the large number of Filipinos who are of working age are among the factors boosting our economy from the consumer’s end. On the other hand, the rise in government spending is bringing about more jobs and has also increased the demand for construction materials.”

Enriquez advised investors to stay the course, and even boost their investments. “With stock prices cheaper, it’s a good time to buy so they can enjoy the greater gains once the market goes up,” he said.

This is the best opportunity to invest in Mutual Funds, Enriquez advised.

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Photo credit: Sun Life Facebook page (here)

One way to take advantage of this scenario is by investing in mutual funds, such as the Sun Life Prosperity Funds managed by Sun Life Asset Management Company, Inc (SLAMCI). The Sun Life Prosperity Funds have been performing strongly amid the developments in the market. The Sun Life Prosperity Philippine Equity Fund, for instance, yielded a five-year return of 39% and a 10-year return of 119%; while Sun Life Prosperity Balanced Fund marked a 28% and 89% growth in the five and ten-year return respectively; and the Sun Life Prosperity Bond Fund lodged a 12% and 44% return for the same duration. The said figures are as of December 31, 2016.

“We’re delighted that our investors are reaping the rewards of their commitment to invest for the long-term, and we hope to see more Filipinos treading the same path so they too can experience financial security,” SLAMCI President Valerie Pama said.

As a leading financial organization, Sun Life espouses the importance of financial literacy among Filipinos. This is something that the company spends time and effort as part of its advocacy, Pama shares. To do this, the company conducts active engagement of new financial advisors and even rolls out free seminars on financial literacy that are open to the public.

I can relate. After my disastrous twenties, I finally settled into a more responsible financial outlook when I started my 30s. I began a triple bank account dividing my monthly salary, savings/emergency account and travel account. I started buying insurance – maintaining accounts on two different insurance companies. Two years ago, I discovered Mutual Funds and Sun Life and began my investment with just PHP5,000. I figured that all my hard work and all that overtime work will go to waste if I don’t start investing in my future. One day, my health will fail, I will retire but will still have a fairly-comfortable lifestyle, thanks to my savings and investments.

The recent pronouncement of SLAMCI gave me courage to be more bullish on my investments. My mutual fund with Sun Life still needs a lot to be desired and are on the very conservative side. The bullish approach and the positive economic outlook as announced by the company gave me the idea to shift the fund into a more risky approach across a ten-year period. Currently, I am still crunching numbers but hopes to achieve this dream within the year.

Considering the volatility of the economy and what ever may be happening in the world, I am comforted with the fact that SLAMCI continues to look out to its many customers. Their advocacy to financial literacy is slowly chipping away the notion that “investing is complicated.” With proper knowledge and research, and with a company you can depend on like Sun Life, a brighter tomorrow is possible.

The path to Brighter Life begins now 

So, here’s my story… 

Sometime this Summer–just right around my birthday–something clicked in me and I began re-evaluating my life. I’ve been alive for more than 30 years; working close to 20 years; married for less than 10; and still living it up like it’s a scene out of Reality Bites everyday. 

Living it up in Nami Island, South Korea

I began to take stock of what I already achieved and managed to make for myself. I don’t know if it’s friends and family reaching their own milestones, or my own frustration at my own career -but suddenly, I began to be more conscious of my financial health and more importantly, my financial literacy. 

Here’s a bit of real talk: I currently have a passbook savings account with very minimal money in it, a retirement savings account with another insurance company M, a health and insurance account with company P and a mutual fund account with Sun Life. In spite all these, I still feel financially inadequate most of the time. My monthly salary goes kaput as soon as the bills roll around and there are days when I need to tighten our spending in order to have enough fund in time for the next payday. 

In between, I use my husband’s earnings from freelancing as our daily spending money and use the money I earn as a freelance writer to build up my travel fund. Again, in between – I shift between feeling like we have too much and feeling like we have too little. 

these shoes are made for wandering

finding my way in Tokyo

I don’t have any vice but traveling, which for me is not a vice but more of a need since it keeps me sane and feeds my drive to succeed. 

But on a humid early morning last May, I woke up from my usual slumber with a nagging thought in my head. I can die anytime and still not have even a measly house to our name; my savings leaves much to be desired l, I want to be able to afford having kids of my own and yes, I am starting to hate my job. 

You might say it’s a bad case of mid-life crisis, but for me – it’s a wake up call, one that usually surfaces when you got too tired of playing the rat race and is hankering to pursue your passion and the things that make you truly happy. Everyday, I tell myself that I will quit my job and earn a living thru any of my passions like writing, the arts and event styling. But everyday, the pessimistic voice in my head will prevail me to lead my 8 to 5, afraid of a life without the assurance of HMO coverage, vacation and sick leaves and the cushy comfort that comes with the corporate grind. 

#LiveBrighter Better Lives 

We bloggers receive ton of invites to many events – but it’s a blessing when you find an event where some of your life’s questions are answered. 

SunLife’s launch of its #LiveBrighter Campaign held recently at Aracama in the Fort featured notable individuals who heeded their passion call while also setting financial goals for themselves. Here are people broke out of their comfort zones in pursuits of their dreams. 


Arriane Serafico is a travel blogger and educator when she heeded her life’s call to pursue study in the US while laying the ground work for her dream business. From her “raket-raket Lang” mentality, Arriane placed her sights on achieving more out of her passion. Her talk provided me much needed insight that it’s never wrong to monetize your passion. And my most important take away? To always put premium value on what you do, because if you don”t — who will? 

I love how Arriane encourages women to actively campaign for their own voice and reach for their goals while also giving a gentle reminder to be financially prepared for the tough battle ahead. 


For Sun Life Manager Agnes Cuaso, a former commercial model turned Sun Life Advisor, her life’s fulfillment came with helping others achieve their financial goals. Cuaso, whose short six years with Sun Life already yielded numerous milestones, shared how her life now as a Sun Life advisor enabled her to achieve her career milestones while getting fulfillment in her personal life. As a young wife and a new mom, Cuaso now finds a different kind of happiness and achievement — honed by her time with Sun Life. 


So, what now? 

While I wish I can be like Arriane who quit her job to bravely pursue her passion, I know that I just can’t – for the meantime. 

Opting to be strategic about it, I believe that the best way for me to finally be able to my creative career is to set the path to it. I will continue to maintain all my retirement and insurance funds, grow my savings account nest egg and exert more effort to understand my mutual funds account – all while simultaneously growing these portfolio. I will try to save more by staying away from online shops and foregoing wants in favor of “needs.” At the end of the day, the first step in achieving these goals is to have the commitment and discipline to see it through. 

The second step is to ensure that you have the best partner when it comes to lay Ng the ground work towards financial independence. Companies like Sun Life has a wealth of products that answers to whatever you may need. When you’ve prepared by life’s many curve goals, your path towards a brighter and better life becomes easier. 

 

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.