A Lesson from the Vetoed SSS Pension Increase Bill

Last year, the Senate approved the bill granting an extra P2,000 monthly to SSS pensioners. This was in response to the two million Filipinos who receive a meager amount of P1,200-P4,000 monthly pension which is not enough to pay for medicines due to illnesses that come with old age and other needs. There were some speculations though that the approval was linked to the 2016 elections. Nevertheless, retirees and pensioners were hopeful that the increase will happen.

However, the pensioners’ mood soured when Pnoy vetoed the bill this Thursday, 14th January. Apparently, Pnoy said that the increase will significantly decrease SSS’ income that will result to negative funds and undue closure by year 2029.

Here’s an excerpt of the president’s message:

“…the proposed pension increase of P2,000 per retiree, multiplied by the present number of more than two million pensioners, will result in a total payout of P56 billion annually. Compared against annual investment income of P30 billion-P40 billion, such total payment for pensioners will yield a deficit of P16 billion-P26 billion annually..In view of these considerations, I am constrained to veto” (House Bill No. 5842).

Source: http://www.interaksyon.com/article/122711/pnoy-vetoes-p2000-hike-in-sss-pensions

With the turn of events, what can we learn from Pnoy’s decision?

If we think about it, retirement should be a time to enjoy the fruits from years of our labor. But it seems that if we rely on our government for our retirement needs, there is no guarantee that we will be assured of our future. Even if we receive the highest monthly pension limit of P13,000, it will still not be enough to sustain the increasing cost of living especially during our retirement years.

So, what do we do now while we have the ability to earn?  

The best step to take is to look for different instruments that will fund our retirement. SSS pension is there to assist our future financial needs but it should not be the main source of our retirement fund.

We may look at different options out there by learning how savings, insurance, mutual funds, UITFs, stocks, bonds and other financial vehicles can help in reaching our goals.

It sure is better to save and invest early. I have a disclaimer though, make sure that we entrust our money in reliable institutions. Because in the end, it may already be too late and we may end up regretting not taking any action to secure our retirement needs. Don’t you agree?

3 Foolproof Steps to Reach your Financial Goals

The first step in any successful activity is the willingness to do it. The old adage, “If there’s a will, there’s a way”, never goes out of style and it also applies here.

You may well agree that it is best to focus on something if there’s no distraction as this allows your mind to become fully engaged in an activity. So, I am inviting you to allot time and full attention where you will not do other tasks for at least the first 2 steps. Once settled, I will share three simple and foolproof steps on how you can reach your financial goal.

Are you ready? Let’s begin!

I want to save money!

Prepare a piece of paper or word document. If you wish to write on a sheet of paper, start by thinking, “Why do I want to save?” Then once you have thought about it, you can write it beside ‘GOAL’.  Try not to make it too challenging that it will discourage you to start.

Once completed, ask yourself again, “What do I want to do to achieve this goal?” You can write as much as you can as long as it is something that you REALLY WANT TO DO and CAN DO. For a starter, it may be good to have at least 3 items. Then, assess if this will truly help you reach your goal.

To help you out, you may choose from the below list. Just edit and fit it based on your own needs. Or better yet, come up with your own entirely.

GOAL: I want to save money because:

  • I want to have a health insurance so I don’t worry about medical/hospital bills
  • I want to have a life insurance so I will not worry about my family’s future if something happens to me
  • my daughter/son will start going to school in 3 years
  • I want to buy my first car by January 2017
  • I need to pay for my education by the start of the school year (2016-2017)
  • I will travel to Singapore this coming summer and visit at least 3 places there
  • I want to retire by the age of 55 years old

WHAT DO I WANT TO DO TO REACH MY GOAL?

  • put my loose change/coins (P5 or P10) in a piggy bank daily
  • after I receive my salary this payday, I will immediately set aside 10% of it for savings

Ex. Salary x % = Savings

At 10% : P 6,000 x 0.1 = P 600

  • open a bank deposit account to put in 5-10% savings from my salary
  • earn additional income
    Ex.
    – bake cakes and sell them to my friends/neighbors/officemates
    – have a garage sale this weekend : sell my old clothes, shoes and bags
  • ask help from financial experts about insurance and start one
  • learn how and invest in an investment vehicle like mutual fund, UITF, etc.

This is how it will look:

GOAL: I want to save money because….

WHAT DO I WANT TO DO TO REACH MY GOAL?

1.)

2.)

3.)

I want to start today!

Now, you are finished with your goal and list. The next step is to PRIORITIZE.

They say that if someone is serious about bringing an idea come to life is not to put off what one can do today. So to do this, rearrange the order on your list or just place # 1 on the activity that you will DO TODAY and ACT on it.

This year would not be the same from today if you start it with something new and positive, right?  So, be bold and take that first step now.

I want to reach my goal!

In our hectic and busy world, sometimes we forget what’s important to us. After you start one activity on your, “What do I want to do to reach my goal?” list, do you stop there? Of course not, you’re way better than that.  Remember, you want to REACH YOUR GOAL.

To follow through, post your goal and list where you can see it often and go back to it at the end of the week or so. Then decide to start on the second or third item on your list. Once you have accomplished all the items on the list, check how far you are from your goal. Update your list if you wish to be more aggressive in reaching your goal on time.

That’s it, buddies! For someone with a strong resolve and a clear goal in mind, this is definitely foolproof since the success of this activity depends on YOU.

Also, have fun learning about yourself while doing it. We wish you only the best in your finances!

2015’s Best Performing Mutual Funds and UITF’s in the Philippines

The year 2015 had been a bumpy ride for investors here in the Philippines. The Philippine Stock Exchange had a great start during the year until it goes down during April like there’s no tomorrow. This perhaps demoralized many new investors in the stock market.

That said, all Mutual Funds and UITFs are greatly affected.

These events, however, highlights one key principle in investing – don’t put your eggs in one basket, also known as Diversification. Diversify not only on fund managers, but on different asset classes as well (invest not only on equity or stock funds, but also on bond or fixed income funds).

PSEi 2015

2015’s Best Mutual Funds in All Category

According to the data coming from the Philippine Investment Fund Association (PIFA), the top performing Mutual Fund Company in the Philippines as for the year 2015 is Cocolife Fixed Income Fund, Inc., making 5.03% for the whole 2015.

This is a fund invested on fixed income securities. Based on it’s November 2015 Fund Fact Sheet, this is how the fund is invested.

Cocolife Fixed Income Fund

10 Top Performing Mutual Funds in all Category for the Year 2015

One thing that we’ll notice in the Top 10 Mutual Funds for 2015 is that there were no Equity Funds the qualified for the list. Yes, equity funds have the highest potential of return and has proved to be bringing the highest returns to investors in the long term. But with all these, we should also be aware that equity funds entails the highest risk of them all. Let’s just not forget that.

Fund Name Fund Type NAVPS YTD Return
1 Cocolife Fixed Income Fund, Inc. Bond Fund 2.542 5.03%
2 ATRAM Total Return Dollar Bond Fund, Inc. Bond Fund $1.0938 2.93%
3 ALFM Dollar Bond Fund, Inc. Bond Fund $418.32 2.47%
4 Cocolife Dollar Fund Builder, Inc. Balanced Fund $0.03539 2.28%
5 Philam Dollar Bond Fund, Inc. Bond Fund $2.1083 1.59%
6 Philequity Dollar Income Fund Inc. Bond Fund $0.0554635 1.58%
7 Sun Life Prosperity Money Market Fund, Inc. Money Market Fund 1.1396 1.28%
8 ALFM Money Market Fund, Inc. Money Market Fund 114.23 1.12%
9 ALFM Peso Bond Fund, Inc. Bond Fund 322.75 1.10%
10 Ekklesia Mutual Fund Inc. Bond Fund 2.0386 0.99%

Now let’s go to the Top UITFs

Now You Can Save & Invest More and Make Even More Money

Personal finance is not just about saving, investing, or getting life insurance.

Before we can have something to save or invest, and before we can have an income to protect, we first have to have disposable income that we can manage. That being said, let’s talk about several ways on how you can create sideline income without compromising your regular source of income.

Be an Online Freelancer

There are various opportunities that you can take advantage online. One of them is to provide a particular service based on your skills as an Online Freelancer.

Being an Online Freelancer, you may provide various services ranging from simple admin tasks like data entry and transcription, to a more specialised tasks like accounting and marketing. Take your pick.

You can do all of these during your free time – making every hour of your time productive.

To do all these, you may take advantage of the services provided by freelance marketplace websites like Upwork.com or Freelancer.com.

Create a Blog and Monetise

One way to make money out of your personal interest and stories is to make money by building your own website/blog.

It is possible to make money from a blog through advertisements, promoting products of different companies, or by building your own digital product.

It’s not FREE, but it will open opportunities like learning marketing and make use of the learning to upgrade your Freelance Skills. You could also have an income-generating asset that will require less work as your active income requires from you.

If you want to learn more on how you can build a blog starting with just $0.01, you may check out this link (use coupon code 1CENT to start building your blog with just $0.01).

Join Direct Sales or Multi-Level Marketing Organisations

I remember the best-selling author Robert Kiyosaki mentioned that MLM as one of the best and easiest way to go into business.

I personally believe that it’s true.

For one, the capital needed to start a Direct Sales and MLM business is not as high compared to starting your own business.

Second, the trainings that these MLM and direct sales companies are invaluable, which are applicable in business and in your day to day life.

Third, you can do this part-time without compromising your regular income, which is the most important thing. You’ll have the security of having a fixed income while trying to earn more through business – and who knows, this could be your major source of income.

Just ensure that before you commit to one, you ensure the legitimacy of the company that you are affiliating with. Also, ensure that you can manage the membership fee that they will be requiring. Don’t go into debt just to have something for the membership fee.

Personal Finance is about managing both Cash Inflows and Outflows

You will hear many financial advisors saying that you should save, invest, and get life insurance. However, some of us are perhaps living in a situation of making ends meet – that the budget is just sufficient just survive.

It’s not enough to just depend on one source of income. Having a variety of sources of income may provide more flexibility on our part, and more opportunities to save and invest for our future.

P.S. I have personal experience on all of these suggestions. If you have questions on how you can start, feel free to post them in the comments section below.

3 Financial Resolutions that will Change your Life Forever

As we start the year 2016, there may now be a number of resolutions on your list which are related to health, beauty, love, spirituality and more. However short or long your list is, I recommend that you add these 3 financial resolutions. If you haven’t created any list yet, you may still want to read on.

Just this December, we may have been so excited with our bonuses that as soon as we received our extra month’s pay, we spent hours in the mall splurging. From the time we’re out of the establishment, we’re already broke.

This may be the common scenario for most people.  Others may have a different story but with a similar result.  So, how can we avoid falling in the same financial deficiency cycle and get off on the right foot instead?

I invite you to read through and check how these three financial resolutions that can change your life forever. Enjoy!

START BUDGETING

Budgeting is a habit that creates financial mindfulness. It removes the stress of thinking where your hard-earned money is spent.

By creating a simple tracker of the cash that comes in and out, and where it is spent, you can manage your money better. If you are in debt, you can work your way out of it and also avoid getting in debt with proper budgeting.

However, although we would like to spend our money on living expenses, we are still bound to life’s uncertainties. This is why a good budget plan should include a portion for insurance.

GET A LIFE INSURANCE POLICY

Let’s face it. We can only plan so much. At the end of the day, we’re still unsure of what this year holds for us. If there are accidents, hospitalization or even death, are we prepared for the expenses?

An insurance policy can alleviate or entirely remove our worries for these unforeseen events. Without any insurance, we may resort to bite into high-interest loans which can bury us from terrible debts or borrow from relatives and friends which can taint good relationships if left unpaid. Unfortunately, aside from our self-esteem, it is usually our family and loved ones who suffer in these predicaments.

To avoid this, would it not be better to be hopeful for the best, but at the same time prepared for the worst to come? I leave this question for you to reflect on.

START SAVING AND INVESTING

Once you understand your spending habits in your budget tracker, you can adjust your expenses in order to save for your most important life goals. It can be travelling to your dream destination, buying a car or house, preparing for retirement, etc.  So, it is sound to leave some amount for savings and investment.

Savings and investments are portions of the money that we set aside. Although these may not give us the immediate satisfaction that spending provides, they offer a more rewarding feeling when we reach our future goals.

Allocate regular amounts that will not affect your major needs. It is easier to start small but consistent, than to stretch our budget to save big amounts but fail to follow through. The key is to form a habit.

So there you go, our three financial resolutions on the 1st day of the year!

Start NOW, and your financial life will no longer be the same. Happy New Year!