Boys Break Things Men Fix Things

Boys Break Things Men Fix Things. In practically ancient times, boys (and sometimes even girls actually) watched or helped their fathers perform household repairs or improvements. Despite that - or perhaps because of it, I'm not sure - us boys would inevitably practice our busy fingers to satisfy our curiosities. Screws would be loosened, wood bars and planks would be shaved or cut into uselessness, and bulky gadgets of bygone days would be opened and disassembled until they refused to work. And yet as I think about it now, those same boys are fixing cars, repainting their condos by themselves, and even performing repairs on cellphones and other gadgets. But of course, plenty of others do not. For those that made the "leap", what has changed is not so much their skill or knowledge but their mindset.
At a mere 32 years of age, I already feel like part of a dying breed.

In practically ancient times, boys (and sometimes even girls, actually) watched or helped their fathers perform household repairs or improvements.

Armed with a bewildering assortment of tools, boys of yesteryears would help or watch their dads replace water damaged ceilings, replace leaky pipes, change oils on cars, replace broken faucets and a variety of other tasks.

SSS and You

SSS and You.   Learn why you need to be an SSS member and what the different SSS benefits are. But most importantly, learn why giving the maximum SSS contribution isn't always a good idea.
Last time, I talked about how being an SSS was a requirement for a better financial future. If only for the simple fact that it's a sort of gate to other (better) investments.

But since we're stuck with it, it's best to make the most out of it.

SSS Will Improve Your Future

I don't like SSS. One time in a Facebook comment thread, I boldly declared that if you have a choice (employees like me, by default, don't), it's not a no-brainer to "invest" your money in SSS. In fact, it would be better to forgo it and invest somewhere else.

The Progress Of My New Year's Plan for Q4

The Progress Of My New Year's Plan
I outlined some of my personal goals this 2013. In this post I'll be sharing what happened so far.

#1 Save and Invest - completed (technically).

#2 Learn basic business concepts - Right now, I'm reading Start Your Own Business from Entrepreneur Magazine. (I got it for free! ...Well ok, my wife bought it at Booksale for 180 pesos. But not for me; I'm just borrowing it.)

So far I've skipped past a few chapters to read about Inventory management. It's a universal aspect of business (though not exactly critical to the business I'm thinking of; see#3 below), but I'm interested in it because I might learn more about smart bulk buying if I can apply/transfer the concepts.

Self Mastery 101: Your Personality Type

Last week, I posted about the different MBTI personality types and how knowing your's can help you identify your biases and hopefully pursue more suitable investing strategies (or maybe better "corrective" behavior.

So I thought it might be a god idea to post about the 16 different types and the characteristics frequently associated with them.

Self Mastery 101: What Does Your Type Of Learning Mean?

Self Mastery 101: What Does Your Type Of Learning Mean? Strengths and tendencies of Auditory Learners, Kinesthetic Learners, Visual Learners - Linguistic Learners and Spatial Learners.  And why knowing, understanding, and accommodating such differences can make a big impact.

Last time, I posted a quiz to let you find out what type of learner you are. So what does each type really mean?

Self Mastery 101: What Personality Type Are You?

Ever heard of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator personality exam? You've probably taken it in high school, college, or maybe even at your workplace.

What does it have to do with personal finance and investing? In truth, it matters only tangentially. But personal finance and investing is as much about mindset and discipline as it is about math, technical terms and complex concepts. So it's handy to know yourself as much as possible.

If you know what type of personality you have, its easier to adjust for your biases. What do I mean?

Self Mastery 101: What Type Of Learner Are You?

"Know Thyself"
- ancient Greek aphorism

"If you don't know who you are, the stock market is an expensive place to find out."
- Goodman George, author and economics broadcast commentator

For me, self-mastery is a basic foundation piece to personal finance and investing (and quite a few other stuff too). So in these next posts I'll be devoting some time to topics that can help us get to know ourselves better.

I'm not a psychology graduate, let alone a practitioner, so take this with a grain pound of salt. That said, these are things I've picked up from trainings and team buildings, so they aren't entirely base-less or wild speculations.

The first, and simplest, is knowing what type of learner we are.

7 Things That Are Bad For Your Wealth But Good For The Economy

7 Things That Are Bad For Your Wealth But Good For The Economy. Economics is a little wonky. Sure, at first it's complex - convoluted, even - and generally difficult. That's because it really is. But when you get into it further, it seems kinda crazy. Why? Because what's good for the national economy is actually bad for your personal wealth. Here's are 7 things to show what I mean.
Economics is a little wonky. Sure, at first it's complex - convoluted, even - and generally difficult. That's because it really is. But when you get into it further, it seems kinda crazy.

Why? Because what you think are good things (on a personal level) are "bad" at the national (macro) level.

And when you think about it, what's good for the national economy is actually bad for your personal wealth. Here are 7 things to show what I mean.


(This is a bit longer than my usual posts. But if you stick with it, it does have a point.)

6 Stock Investing Strategies - Which One Fits You?

While I think practically everyone should invest in stocks, a lot of new stock investors (including me) don't realize right away that there are different ways of doing so. And I'm not talking about relying on either fundamental or technical analysis.

There are different strategies you can use. That's why sometimes copying someone else's portfolio doesn't always work out so well, whether or not the advice/recommendation/example/observation was pretty good to begin with.

To help with that, here are 6 different stock investing strategies. It's not a bad idea to know what options are out there.

Need To Make A Decision? Put On Your Six Thinking Hats!

Need To Make A Decision? Put On Your Six Thinking Hats!   Have you ever had to think through a complex issue either by yourself or with a group? In these situations, we tend to jump back and forth from potential solutions and possible pitfalls without any structure or strategy. That's normally how we think and there's nothing inherently wrong with that. But if you want to try and make it more productive next time you can try using the 6 Thinking Hats.
Have you ever had to think through a complex issue either by yourself or with a group?

You've probably experienced that sometimes in that situation, what happens is that a few people drive the meeting, or there's a lot of silence, or - even with group collaboration or when thinking individually - there's a few (or a lot) of scenarios you weren't able to consider.

While some of that may be attributable to lack of knowledge or experience on the subject, it's also quite possible that some of that is due to unstructured thinking.

We tend to jump back and forth from potential solutions and possible pitfalls without any structure or strategy. That's normally how we think and there's nothing inherently wrong with that. But if you want to try and make the next meeting or discussion more productive you can try using the 6 Thinking Hats.

9 Money-wise Tips For First Time Car Buyers

9 Money-wise Tips For First Time Car Buyers.  If it's your first time to buy a new car, there's a lot of things to consider. But if you want to save money or spend as little as possible, here are 9 money-wise tips for you.
Vince was asking for some help because it was his first time buying a car. I'm not an expert, but I figured I'd share what I've learned so far.

This isn't a car blog though, so I can't give tips on engine specs, performance, parts etc. The best I can give are cost and maintenance tips. And I'm not experienced enough to give advice on buying second-hand cars either, so this post is mostly about buying a new, first-hand car.

The Savers' Playbook - 6 Simple Ways To Save More After Paying Yourself

The Savers' Playbook - 5 Simple Ways To Save More After Paying Yourself
Paying yourself is always the best way to save. But there are always ways to save more or prevent you from spending too much. So in this post, I've compiled a few ways that can help you save more.

Scam or Not: Paid Online Surveys

Scam or Not: Paid Online Surveys. What you need to know about paid online surveys, how it works, pros, cons, and is it worth your money?
No suspense here. Like all things on the internet, some are scams and some are not. It depends on the particular site.

But yes, you can get paid for taking online surveys. Even for testing new products or joining focus group discussions. But it's also not as easy as it sounds.

There's only one site I'm aware of (and joined): paid-surveys-at-home.com. It's not a scam, and this post is an unbiased review of the site.

Learn Everything You Need to Know About Finance and Investing in 44 Minutes

It's been a while since I posted a video. So I figured I'd scrounge around and look for something interesting to share. Well, I definitely found it.

If you don't know anything about finance or investing, that will dramatically change in the 44 minutes it takes to watch this video. Actually even if you already know a little, this could still be helpful. I learned a good deal from this video myself, so hopefully it's helpful to you too.

Estate Planning For Newbies, Part2: 6 Different Ways to Prepare For It

Estate Planning For Newbies, Part2. 6 Different Ways to Prepare For It: Get Life Insurance, Donate or Gift your estate/assets to your heir while you are alive, Sell your assets to your heirs while alive, Donate it to the government, Set-up a Living Trust, Create A Corporation
In the previous post, we went over what the estate tax is and why it's important to plan for it. This time we're going to go over some of our options in preparing for it.

What exactly are our options?

Estate Planning For Newbies, Part1: What It Is And Why It's Important

Estate Planning For Newbies, Part1: What It Is And Why It's Important  Estate planning is nothing more than being tax-efficient, so your heirs get as much as possible. In this post we'll learn how much tax our heirs will need to pay, what the allowable deductions are, and what options are available to handle the estate tax.
With All Souls day (and Halloween) around the corner, I figured it's not a bad time to broach a topic that starts with death. Well ok, there never is a good time but I figured I might as well be in season.

Like investing, estate planning is usually thought of as something just for rich people. But that's not really the case.

Did you know that if you die, your surviving family will need to pay the government up to 20% of what you left them? 

How To Practice Insider Trading in PSE - Legally!

How To Practice Insider Trading in PSE - Legally! Ok, I admit, it's not about insider trading. But there is a way you can leverage what insiders know, without having to resort to insider trading. And you don't have to get close to anyone or even socialize with them. All you have to do is go to PSE's official website and look under disclosures. You can search by company if you're interested in a particular stock. Or you can check this particular disclosure type: "Statement of Changes in Beneficial Ownership of Securities".
Ok, I admit, it's not about insider trading.

But there is a way you can leverage what insiders know, without having to resort to insider trading.

Although there are plenty of other ways to make money on stocks (perhaps even safer ones, since such info can be tricky), there is something to be said about leveraging the knowledge of people in the company that are in position to really know how the business is doing.

More to the point, they can provide some perspective if the current stock price is inflated, or unnecessarily low.

And you don't have to get close to anyone or even socialize with them.

Stock Investing Is Like Shopping

Stock Investing Is Like Shopping.  Analogies are one of the basic ways to learn something - transferring knowledge from one aspect and applying it in another.  And one of the toughest hurdles in stock market investing is the sheer unfamiliarity of it.  So I though it made sense to try and explain stocks by comparing it with one of the most basic and mundane tasks - grocery shopping.  Hopefully more Filipinos will see it, understand it's not so arcane, and be encouraged to learn more. If nothing else, at least there's another way to think/explain stocks other than poker or some other form of gambling.
Analogies are one of the basic ways to learn something - transferring knowledge from one aspect and applying it in another.

And one of the toughest hurdles in stock market investing is the sheer unfamiliarity of it.

So I thought it made sense to try and explain stocks by comparing it with one of the most basic and mundane tasks - grocery shopping.

Hopefully more Filipinos will see it, understand it's not so arcane, and be encouraged to learn more. If nothing else, at least there's another way to think/explain stocks other than poker or some other form of gambling.

The Non-liner Approach To Your Ideal Self

Ah yes, time for yet another TV-inspired post.

Ms. Kim is the main character of the Korean TV series "Queen of Office". She's a contractual worker (apparently a problem there as well, not just here). But not an ordinary one.

The Non-liner Approach To Your Ideal Self. Being better - being you ideal self - isn't about climbing a ladder. It's simply completing yourself by acquiring skills and achieving goals. Improvement is about being better and not necessarily about following a script. There is no up, down or sideways. It's all just a matter of growth. Life is just a series of choices, whether we see them or not. Just choose to be better every day.
She's relatively highly paid and much sought after. She even dictates the terms of her contract. Negotiations and job interviews are practically formalities where she tells her employer what the setup will be. (Yes, an obviously only-on-tv thing; but there's a real point to this at the end.)

On the surface, this is because she is incredibly efficient and knowledgeable. It's also partly because she's a jack of all trades (though in true TV fashion, seemingly a master in all of them).

But in more practical terms she also provides value-added services - not only does she complete her normal desk work promptly and excellently, she also insists on making coffee (because the usual office coffee is terrible, and she brews great coffee), mops the floor, cleans the comfort rooms, and uses a variety of impressive skills to complete the team's goals.

She is, of course, a fictional character and there isn't much point in comparing ourselves to someone whose skills, personality, and even experiences were scripted and planned out. Right?

How Being Financially Literate Can Help You Better Prepare For Future Events

How Being Financially Literate Can Help You Better Prepare For Future Events.  While at the bank, I saw a pamphlet from an insurance company advertising their product to help you prepare for your child's tuition.  So in this post, I'm comparing the returns of their plan with what you can get if you invest the money instead.
While at the bank, I saw a pamphlet from an insurance company advertising their products to help you prepare for your child's tuition, having savings, and getting insurance.

My attention was immediately focused on the one for tuition. I'd rather not mention the company since this is neither an advertorial nor an exercise in disparaging them.

I'd just like to point out how being financially literate can help you prepare better for future events.

What I Did With My 6K

(if you stay patient and endure my babbling, I promise there's actually a point at the end of this post...)

So I've finally gotten a taste of the "real world". Not that I grew up privileged. But when you're single, you have more control over your financial goals (as Mark pointed out before).

After saving (and investing) for our child's college education, our retirement, and allocating some funds to increase our emergency fund, most of what's left are for car and house payments.

In about 5 years my finances should ease up somewhat. But as it is, I don't have a whole lot to just invest in stocks (for personal goals that is). Which is why windfalls are really welcome. And which ends my long-winded and rather self-absorbed intro and brings up the real point of this post. (finally!:)

5 Tips for Aspiring Entrepreneurs on Starting Small

I've tried to be well-rounded in the topics I cover in this blog. However, I can't write what I don't know or haven't experienced. So a big glaring whole is the topic on having your own business. Luckily, today we have a guest post from Gina Ballesteros of Regus, offering some nice tips for entrepreneurs on starting small.

Effective personal finance management tips for teens - being fiscally responsible

Today we've got a guest post from Kane Clark, a financial writer from the U.S. If you reside outside the U.S. the issue of student loans may not be that relevant, but I think the the rest of the article should still be.

Normally, I'd try to give an intro, but in this case I'd like to share my thoughts after the article.

You're Buried In Debt What Should You Do? And How Do You Deal With Collectors?

No one wants to be in debt. But unfortunately, for various reasons, it happens.

In this post, we're going to go over what you can do.

The Case For Passive Investing

The Case For Passive Investing. We people are curious creatures: we work really hard for passive income and to live a life we want when we're 40, 50, or 60 years old.  But then we tend to forgo (or forget about) passive investing - which allows us to grow our now, doesn't get in the way of pursuing other goals, and still allows us to live our lives now, not decades from now. There are several ways to passively invest: Cost Averaging, Compound Interest on Time Deposits, and Buy and Hold. In this post, we'll examine the merits of each one.
We people are curious creatures: we work really hard for passive income and to live a life we want when we're 40, 50, or 60 years old.

But then we tend to forgo (or forget about) passive investing - which allows us to grow our money now, doesn't get in the way of pursuing other goals, and still allows us to live our lives now, not decades from now.

Optimization vs. Micro Management

Optimization vs. Micro Management. We should have an objective, choose our path to that objective, and follow through. We can adjust when necessary. But it's important to remember that the challenge is to meet our goal, not necessarily find the best way to meet our goal.
I like to think that I'm naturally lazy, but  responsible enough to do the things I need to do. The fortunate mix is that I tend to find the most efficient way to get things done. As such, I'm a big fan of efficiency and optimization.

However, there's a side to it that isn't that great and I've since learned to avoid.

Be Productive in Life and Finances

Be Productive in Life and Finances. Being productive is not easy; and the hardest part is always the execution. With enough thought, anyone can come up with a great (or at least adequate) plan. It's also usually easy to determine the things we need to do. It's usually the executions that holds us up. Doing so would still require a mostly personal approach. But in case it's helpful, I'd like to share what I do to not fall back on bad habits: Write it down; use a checklist, Start the day right, Start small, Make it habit. And the great thing about it is that it also applies to personal finance.
Being productive is not easy; and the hardest part is always the execution. With enough thought, anyone can come up with a great (or at least adequate) plan. It's also usually easy to determine the things we need to do.

It's usually the executions that holds us up. How you overcome laziness or procrastination is a personal matter though. You'll have to find what motivates you.

But once you do, it's best not to let yourself slip into bad habits. In my experience, that usually means having to come up with a better motivation just to reach the same level of productivity again.

And that's a problem, because what you need to do is improve yourself, not stay the same. Doing so would still require a mostly personal approach. But in case it's helpful, I'd like to share what I do to not fall back into laziness.

Learnings From The Stock Market

Learnings From The Stock Market. In this post, I share everything I've learned so far about trading in the philippine stock market
One of the best ways to learn is to share. Sounds odd right? But it's true.

Every time you tell someone what you know, they hear it once. But maybe it's the tenth time you've heard it yourself, reinforcing the idea in you even more.

And different people have different perspectives. Meaning everyone you share knowledge with will have different questions. So maybe they get their questions answered. But for you, it's additional perspective you may not have had before, thus creating a more comprehensive picture in your mind.

I think that makes a lot of sense. So I thought it would be a good idea to share everything I've learned so far about trading in the stock market.

The Myth They Call Disposable Income

Disposable income, as you've probably heard is money you have after paying bills. It's termed as such because it's the money you can spend on discretionary things like anther bag, a newer smartphone, nicer shoes, etc.  What you've probably never heard is that disposable income is a myth.
Disposable income, as you've probably heard is the money you have after paying bills. It's termed as such because it's the money you can spend on discretionary things like another bag, a newer smartphone, nicer shoes, etc.

There's even a rough formula:
Income - Utilities - Food - Other Payables = Disposable Income

What you've probably never heard is that disposable income is a myth.

If you're employed, no matter how large your salary is, you do not have disposable income.

Staying In No Man's Land - Or How You Lose Money When You Don't Have Goals

Staying In No Man's Land - Or How You Lose Money When You Don't Have Goals. No man's land is an old term originally used for a place where no one wants to go. But more importantly, it's a term used to describe where someone shouldn't be. And the reason I pointed that out is that it's actually very applicable in our personal finances. When we invest without a clear goal, we end up making decisions that aren't that great.
No man's land is an old term originally used for a place where no one wants to go. It was actually first used around the time of the first world war. However, that's almost beside the point.

I heard it mostly used in the NBA. This isn't a basketball blog, but if you're willing to suffer through some babbling there's actually a point.

Financial Education And Misplaced Hope

Financial Education And Misplaced Hope. When we're disadvantaged, we tend to have a jackpot-metality. We think our way out is via a miracle. We don't need to play against the odds to hit the jackpot. If we want to improve our lives, all we need to do is be smart and stay patient.
For me, personally, one of the hallmarks that anyone is financially savvy is when they understand that slow and steady wins the race.

It's a simple enough lesson, and one that's heard or taught to us early in life. However, it's one that somehow gets forgotten when it comes to finances.

We tend to get caught up either with what others have or what we don't have. We see how blessed others are, for no other reason than they were born into that situation. We look at where we are in our lives and we sometimes feel helpless, that we're stuck.

For me personally it boils down to financial education and misplaced hope.

The Progress Of My New Year's Plan for Q3

The Progress Of My New Year's Plan for Q3
I outlined some of my personal goals this 2013. In this post I'll be sharing what happened so far.

#1 Save and Invest - Well, I've decided this one is completed (technically). So that's one down. I'd much rather the money went into a business or other income-generating opportunity, but it is what it is. Again, at least my simple dreams of owning my own house, having a car, and getting a generous amount of time for myself is slowly happening. (well ok, time for myself is actually going in reverse...)

#2 Learn basic business concepts - Still no progress...Really lazy...

#3 Research a good business for me - Well, freelance work didn't turn out so well. In hindsight, it's not like I had tons of idle time left over after helping take care of our baby and maintaining this blog.

However, since I do get a few minutes to spare here and there, I tried answering paid surveys online. No money so far, and I'm worried about the 800 or so I spent to get started. But since Ana has done it, I'm pretty sure at some point I'll at least make some money out of it if I just keep trying.

#4 Find out how large my capital needs to be - no progress.


3/4 of the year through, and the situation is just getting worse. It's probably time to revisit my goals. But actually a taxi business seems really appealing to me. Anyone out there ever tried it?

I guess I'll look that up this quarter, instead of just giving up.


How about you guys? What happened with your new year's plans? It can have gone that much worse than mine... Leave a comment below and share what happened! :)


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Shopping Tips: Know The Cost per Use

Shopping Tips: Know The Cost per Use. A lot of us know to check for the cost per volume. But there are times when that lower-priced alternative may end up costing you more. Here are a few examples.
A lot of us know to check for the cost per volume. That's why we usually buy the biggest size. And that's how we know that in the Philippines, shampoo in sachets can be cheaper than buying that 750ml press-top bottle.

But did you know that it's not always the best way to save money?

A more effective eay is to measure your Cost per Use.

Advice And Tips In Getting A Loan - Including Questions You Have To Ask

Don't take out a loan you can't pay or can barely pay. don't ever go the 5-6 route. patronize legitimate micro loans. How much is the interest rate I will have to pay? Is it fixed or variable? Is it paid one month in advance or in arrears? Can I pay more than the monthly payment and have it counted against the principal? What are the other fees I have to pay - and how much are they? What is the step by step process for availing of the loan? Other Resources.
A quick primer on how to get a loan. If you're getting a loan, thinking of doing so, or have never done so before, this one is for you.

If you have taken a loan before, read it anyway and share what tips you have. I'll add it so everyone can benefit.

Elliot Wave part 2 - How It Works

Elliot Wave Thoery part 2. In this post we'll tackle what the Elliot Wave Theory is and what it's rules and guidelines are. We'll do a quick and simple example of how we can apply it. As usual, there are free reference guides provided at the end,
photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

This is part 2. If you haven't read part 1 yet, it might be a good idea to do so.

In more technical terms, what is the Elliot Wave Theory?

It is a theory that collective investor sentiment naturally shifts from optimistic (greed) to pessimistic (fear). And this natural shifts in sentiment is visible in price movements in any timescale.

(However, in my personal opinion, it works better if viewed long-term)

How You Should Evaluate Your Stock Broker And Why I Finally Switched

After sticking with my stock broker for over a year, I decided to finally switch. And in this post I'm going to discuss the reasons why and give you an idea if your current broker is right for you.
I decided to finally switch stock brokers. And in this post I'm going to discuss the reasons why and give you an idea if your current broker is right for you.

There are two types of stock brokers in general: traditional and online.

Traditional brokers are ones you call over the phone to make transactions - so you get to talk to an actual human being. Online brokers are practically websites with information and buttons you can click. There are hotlines you can call as well as email support. But for the most part there's no human element.

Despite the difference though, I view them the same way. After all, they serve the same purpose - let you buy stocks.

Here are factors you can use to evaluate your broker:

An Overview Of Fundamental Analysis For The Stock Market part 2

An Overview Of Fundamental Analysis For The Stock Market part 2. In this second part, we'll tackle some key concepts (PE ratio, earnings per share, debt-to-equity, net income, operating income, operational advantage, competitive advantage. And I'll even provide some free reference materials in the end.
This is part 2, if you haven't read part 1 yet, please do so.

In this second part, we'll tackle some key concepts. And I'll provide some free reference materials in the end.

An Overview Of Fundamental Analysis For The Stock Market part 1

An Overview Of Fundamental Analysis For The Stock Market. Part 1 of a 2-part series. In this part we'll go over what it is, what it can do and what it can't do.
Previously I posted a brief, simple overview of technical analysis for the stock market.

My reasoning was simple: You can't invest blindly and rudimentary technical analysis is easier to pick up than fundamental analysis.

Again, I'm not a professional trader, expert, nor do I have decades of experience. 

But since this is a personal fiance blog, I'd be remiss if I didn't at least try to give an overview of fundamental analysis. So in this post, I'll try to share a little bit on how ordinary investors can perform fundamental analysis. (Bear in mind, it's an introduction to guide people on understanding it and hopefully encouraging them to do it.)

Pay Yourself First - And Give Yourself Raises Too!

Pay Yourself First - And Give Yourself Raises Too! We all want raises, so why don't you give one to yourself? This post shows the different ways you can increase the amount you pay yourself.
Most - if not all - employees want bigger salaries. I know I do, and you probably do too. Even if you genuinely enjoy your job, it's a relatively safe bet that you won't last long if you don't get even a cost of living increase every now and then. And for most of us, if we had the power, we'd give ourselves big raises regularly.

But did you know you actually have that power?

Which Equity Fund Will Earn More Using Cost Averaging (Index Fund vs Other Equity Funds Part 2)

Which Equity Fund Will Earn More Using Cost Averaging (BDO Equity Fund vs PhilEquity Fund vs BPI ALFM Philippined Stock Index Fund vs FAMI Save and Learn Equity Fund)
In my previous post, I compared the index fund against the best equity funds out there. The index fund ate dust.

But even before that test, I had an inkling the index fund may not look that good compared to the "big boys" of the equity world.

And that gave me an idea. Equities are about accumulation and capital appreciation. That means to make money you buy a heck of a lot at a low price and wait until the price gets high. But because of the volatility (and the fact we're not all Warren Buffet), you're better off cost-averaging - buying a few at a time.

But what if there was a best of both worlds? What if I choose a fund with a performance that isn't the best? And I use the time it lags to hoard a lot of shares and then cash out when it hits the peak or the time is up and I need my cash?

In this post, we'll conduct an experiment if that is a viable strategy.

What To Do If Your ATM Gets Hacked

What To Do If Your ATM Gets Hacked - Some helpful tips on how to avoid getting your ATM card hacked. And if your ATM does get hacked, some tips on how to act and minimize the damage.
One Sunday, I was randomly checking my payroll account. I had already set aside money for my bills and investments a few days earlier (on the date of the salary payout). What was left was just my weekly "allowance."

So I immediately noticed that 500 pesos was missing, leaving only a little over 200 pesos in the account. I tried remembering if I had withdrawn that amount, but my wallet confirmed I did not.

So I snooped around, and sure enough a withdrawal of 500 pesos was made at around 11:00pm the previous night - while I was sound asleep. To make it worse, it had incurred charges for balance inquiry (2 pesos) and withdrawal (11 pesos) - alerting me that it was not withdrawn from the same bank as the account - one of my pet peeves.

All in all it didn't end too badly for me.  But that might not always be true for everyone. So I thought it might be a good idea to do a post on how to prevent the same thing from happening to you - or to get you through it if you aren't so lucky.

Comparing The Performance Of An Index Fund vs Other Equity Funds - Or Which Fund Gives The Highest Return

Comparing The Perfomrance Of An Index Fund vs Other Equity Funds - Or Which Fund Gives The Highest Return  BPI ALFM Philippine Stock Index Fund vs BDO Equity Fund vs FAMI's Save & Learn Equity Fund vs PhilEquity Fund. Which equity fund gave the highest return in 1 year? in 5 years?
A while ago, I wrote a post on index funds. I also gave my reasons for preferring index funds over other actively-managed equity funds.

So in this post, I will check if my reasoning is still valid.

We will compare the Index fund over various other popular funds.

Complacency Is Your Biggest Enemy Towards Financial Independence

Complacency Is Your Biggest Enemy Towards Financial Independence. And the reason why you rarely hear a middle-class to riches story, despite intuitively being easier to do - and therefore can occur more commonly - than a rags-to-riches story.
I never had a problem with my savings.

And to be honest, the mantra "a part of what you earn is yours to keep" rang true to me but did not really impact me that much. I was already saving a nice portion of my money before I heard it. And I didn't really need additional motivation to keep saving.

But after getting married, and having to pay our own utility bills, groceries, etc. I started saving less. Before I could live on 50-70% of my income (easier to do when single, I found out first-hand). After getting married I saved less than 10%. On some paydays, I couldn't save at all.

What's worse, I started using the same excuses I heard before.

That 70-20-10 rule is daunting. I should start small. I should just try to work my way up to living on just 70% of my income.

But fortunately, something great happened.

Forecasting Your Budget

As I mentioned before, I'm a little nuts in terms of how insistent I am with being organized. So aside from planning the stuff I do, I do my budgeting with slightly more detail than most as well.

I thought it might be a little more detailed than most household budgets (even though I was still single when I did it!). But I didn't really care; I liked it that way.

And I thought it might be worth sharing here today.

The Miracle In You

The Miracle In You; or why you should stop entrusting your problems to God and start doing things for yourself.   God's love is unconditional and that's why God helps everyone. And he has already helped us by creating us in His own image.  It's time for us to fulfill the potential he has given us and stop expecting that God will just provide everything.
I'm sure no one has noticed, and I'm equally sure nobody cares. But up to now, I've consciously decided to steer clear of any religious or religious sounding content.

The reason is quite simple: It's a personal finance blog. It's about money, numbers, common sense, discipline and motivation. Despite other sites or groups melding religion with money, I feel it's in your best interest if I don't correlate the two at all.

We have an abundance of churches, and no shortage of people who feel entitled to preach. In contrast, we don't have enough venue to teach people about money matters.

However there's a common behavior (or belief) among our pre-dominantly catholic population that irks me to no end and which I believe is a huge stumbling block in improving financial literacy.

God will provide; God will find a way; God will make a way; God shall supply all your need.

Those are some of the stupidest and laziest things I have ever heard.

Simple And Useful Financial Concepts To Be Aware Of

Simple and Useful Financial Concepts To Be Aware Of: The Rule of 72, Compound Interest, Add on Interest, Crossover Point, Time Value of Money and Internal rate of return. What they are, what they're used for, and how we compute or come up with them.
In my opinion, personal finance is mostly about sitting down, thinking, and making the right choices. It's very unlike the school work we were made to do when we were young. We don't need to memorize anything.

However there are some concepts that would serve us well to be aware of.

Personal Finance And My Balloon

Personal Finance And My Balloon. No, I didn't learn something about personal finance from a balloon. My Balloon is actually the English name of a traditional Filipino children's song (Ako Ay May Lobo).
No, I didn't learn something about personal finance from a balloon. My Balloon is actually the English name of a traditional Filipino children's song.

One day, I heard my wife singing it to our baby and I just stopped. It was a very short song so I had to ask her to repeat it - twice. (She was game and would have volunteered to do it with actions.)

Below are lyrics of the song in both Filipino and English.

The Formulas For Making Lots Of Money

The Formulas For Making Lots Of Money. No, it's not a get-rich quick scheme. It's a look at the four main factors in trying to make money: Time, Effort, Experience/Knowledge, and Money (for capital or seed money). This post will check what combination of those factors are likely to work, based on what we can see in real life.
No, it's not a get-rich quick scheme. But it's at least a little bit interesting.

A while ago, I was browsing through the pinoymoneytalk forum when I came upon a thread asking if you need lots of money to make lots of money.

The answer was, of course, no. But a lot of people shared ways you could make money. And essentially you needed some combination of four factors: Time, Effort, Experience/Knowledge, and Money (for capital or seed money).

So it got me thinking, what formulas/combinations are there? And what real-life examples can we associate them with?

Useful Lessons From Teleseryes - Be Careful With My Heart

Useful Lessons from Teleseryes - Be Careful With My Heart. There's absolutely nothing to learn from this story, in terms of personal finance. The show itself, however, offers great lessons: Success is about substance, not circumstance, Don't worry about fitting the mold, Focus on the big picture, not the moving parts.
After having made two teleserye posts, with mixed results, I of course can't just leave it there without doing one on arguably the most popular soap right now - Be Careful With My Heart.

In my first teleserye post, +Ronald Cagape commented that I would learn a lot from this series. Well, it turns out he was right but not in the way I initially thought.

The story thus far: Rich-guy Sir Chief meets girl-from-humble-beginnings Maya. They slowly, in a very drawn-out way, fall in love. And for the most part, that's all there is to it.

There's absolutely nothing to learn from that story, in terms of personal finance. The show itself, however, offers great lessons.

So I Ended Up Buying A Car

The myth about personal finance: that it's about sacrificing now, and enjoying later. It's not. Personally, I think it's about making smart choices all the time, and achieving goals and dreams when they're available. We should not be afraid of getting our dreams now, we should just be smart about it.
No, that's not the car that I bought.
This is a post I've tried to write for some time. I kept trying to think of a way to explain it without sounding defensive or sounding like I'm making excuses.

I haven't really found the perfect way, but I don't think I ever will. So I'll just say it anyway.

Just a few months after concluding I can't afford to own a car, I went ahead and bought one.

It's not a humblebrag; my dilemma was not buying the car but reconciling my mindset of being frugal and yet taking on significantly more expenses.

And not coincidentally, when my wife brought up the idea of buying a car (yes, I'm going to use my husband's right to just blame the wife:D - no not really; she might read it), I was a little bummed out at first.

But we're new parents and we live in an area where public transport is not that convenient nor readily available. It's not an ideal situation in case an emergency happens. And even during routine trips, I have a hard time rationalizing subjecting a newborn, toddler, or small child to the pollution of the big city solely because of cost reasons.

I know plenty of people aren't able to afford cars and do just that. So is my buying a car just a paternal reaction? An instinct to pamper my child? Am I just hiking up my lifestyle and taking on bigger costs so that I can reassure myself that I'm giving everything possible to my child?

While it is certainly arguable, my thinking is that isn't the case at all.

One of the tenets of personal finance is delayed gratification. I still firmly believe in delayed gratification, but I have come to realize that sacrificing today and enjoying later is a myth - brought about by taking an argument to it's logical extreme.

What do I mean? Well to explain it better, I'll try an analogy.

What I learned from playing Cashflow101 and Cashflow202

The 9 things I've learned from playing Cashflow101 and Cashflow202: Get a secondary income stream, Don't be satisfied with taking home a paycheck, Lower your expenses, Leverage is a great tool, Accumulation is key, Don't be afraid to cut losses and move to a better investment, A side business gives you a good chance at achieving financial freedom, Speculate only when you have the financial wherewithal to do so, Focus on income generation and not capital gains.
Have you heard about Cashflow101? Cashflow 202? They're games created by Robert Kiyosaki, author of the best-selling book Rich Dad Poor Dad.

The purpose of the game is to spread financial literacy and help people escape the rat race - the trap of being employed and yet ending up poor after retiring.

If you're interested in playing the game head over to livingcashlow101.com or contact +Ronald Cagape - he hosts cashflow101 games.

However, I didn't really have the time to attend a game session so I ended up playing online (free and legal, just google it). It's an entertaining and educational game. And in this post, I'd like to share what I've learned from several dozen rounds of playing it.

Securing A Loan

Securing A Loan
Have you ever tried getting a bank loan? It can be  little daunting. For one, how do you know which bank is offering great terms right now? And what if they don't approve your loan?

Today, we have a guest post from Sil Silvestre of iMoney.ph talking specifically about this subject.

Salt Of The Earth

What can adults learn from the Water an Salt fairytale? A lot, depending on your investing habits. We sometimes (often?) think of investments like we do games - score more, win big. But in truth it's often about everyday choices.So if you want to be rich, don't chase the yield - chase the habit.
Have you ever read Water an Salt?

It's an old fairy tale (of Italian origin). For those that haven't read it: The king once asked his daughters how much they loved him. The usual hyperbole's ensued - "as bright as sunshine" and "as wide as the ocean" were some of the answers. But the youngest daughter answered "like water and salt". The King became mad and the princess was banished. And only after eating a banquet-full of food that was cooked with neither water nor salt did the king realize his mistake and took back his daughter.

In finance, it's the same thing. We can sometimes loose sight of the basic things and how important they really are.