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.

The Progress Of My New Year's Plan for Q2

The Progress Of My New Year's Plan - We can achieve our goals if we plan and act on them.
I outlined some of my personal goals this 2013. In this post I'll be sharing what happened so far.

What I Learned From The Recent Bear Run

What I Learned From The Recent Bear Run. Research is very important. But even more important is maintaining a healthy cash reserve. And just as important as that is having discipline not to use that reserve. There will always be a next storm. What you do and how you invest  will determine whether the next bear run or bear market will cost you money or earn you a fortune.
Last May 22 2013, the Philippine stock market retested it's all-time high - 7,392.20, set just a few days earlier on May 15. It ended up short - reaching just 7,385.07.

And since then the stock market tumbled, spiraled and crashed - with great fanfare along the way.

There were a lot of reasons:
  • Stocks were getting very expensive and were overdue for profit-taking. 
  • There had been an earlier correction last march, but it was relatively small and short-lived considering the rapid rise that preceded and succeeded it.
  • And of course, the dreaded and much publicized announcement by the U.S. Federal Reserve that they would be tapering off their quantitative easing policy.
Needless to say, a lot of private, small-time investors were affected. It was a very challenging time (though one that seems to have turned the corner).

But what I find interesting is that I learned much more during this bear run than I did the previous year and a half I've been investing in the stock market. I'm no expert, of course, but I think the lessons are important enough to share.