Personal Finance: Insurance Updates

I’ve shared previously about my first insurance policy being potentially fully paid up last January. So, yes the agent confirmed that. I already made up my mind about making it fully paid up and divert my budget to another investment vehicle but I became hesitant when I was doing the paper works with the agent’s secretary. I told her then that I have some more clarifications that I need to ask my agent. Those clarifications were just answered when I called her last week (yes, I procrastinate a lot and I’m not proud of it). Anyway, end result was for us to meet yesterday to discuss in person.

My agent’s recommendation was to make it fully paid up because according to her, dividends are not that big now, as compared to 10 years ago so I am not maximizing my money’s worth should I opt to continue just so I have more dividends in the future. And so, I gave her the go signal to make it fully paid up and proceeded to the paper works for my mutual fund account. I will also be receiving part of my dividends but that will go directly to my MF account.

She also showed me a computation of how much retirement fund I should have, based on the estimated expenses I will have when I retire. I also asked her if she has a sample computation for a child’s education and lucky for me she has. We tried punching in estimates based on Manila rates. Would you believe that 7 years from now, you would need almost Php 2M to pay for your child’s tuition for elementary (6 years, does not include Nursery or Pre-school or Kinder)? Naloka ako hehe. Baseline for that is Php 95k yearly tuition, with 10% yearly increase in tuition and 4% inflation rate.

In all honesty, the figures are daunting hehehe. And while I do believe and trust in God’s divine providence, I also think that it is our responsibility to take care of God’s blessings. In short, we also have to do our part in making our lives better and one way is to be responsible with our finances. Sabi nga nila, nasa Dyos ang awa, nasa tao ang gawa. Walang mangyayari kung wala kang ginagawa talaga. Also, while money is not everything, money is the tool to allow you to pursue your other goals (like full time volunteer work, just because you know you are covered from your sources of income).

Kaya ito, push lang ng push. And I should always go back to my roots where my parents tried their bestest to provide for us with the meager income they made. Yes, meager because they were tax exempt, hence yearly income was less than Php 72k. Until now, I wonder how they managed with the budget and all hehe.

Praying for financial abundance for everyone.

Financial Goals for 2016

While I mentioned in my 2016 goals that I have the same financial goals as last year, I decided to make a separate post about it because it’s nice to go back to it by year-end and check whether I was able to make it or not. Besides, it adds a little more pressure in meeting your goals when it’s out there for the world to see.

And so, here it is, basing it from my budget file for 2016.

  1. Religiously pay SK-LU. 5 months to go! Excited to mark this as completed!
  2. Save 50k for processing of papers for SK-LU. After completing the payment in June, I’ll have the same budget reallocated to this.
  3. Religiously pay SK-Silang. 2 years to go.
  4. Save 50k for lot processing of SK-Bgo.
  5. Save 35k for CR of SK-Bgo
  6. Increase EIP allocation to 3k/month
  7. Increase MF to 20k (carry over from previous years)
  8. Add 20k-30k to COL
  9. Save 80k for Project BD (new in my budget file)
  10. Religiously save 3k/month for niece’s tuition
  11. Set aside a Tulong fund
  12. Continue saving for an international travel
  13. Set aside 10k for December 2016

I tend to use codes for my financial goals for some level of privacy still. Feel free to email me if you are curious about those hehe.

I already have 4 months parked for my safety fund. I originally planned for 6 months because of my parents, but since they both are now with Papa God, I’ll stop at 4 for now. I’ll add when excess funds become available.

No room for luho. Push lang. And just to stay focused, I’ll now have quarterly reviews.

Financial Goals for 2015: Year End Review

I have been delaying the reality check for the goals I’ve set in 2015 mostly because I know I haven’t met most of it hehehehe. You see, right after publishing my goals in 2015, life happened.
  • A piece of land called my name, the payment terms are easy, and I went ahead and bought one parcel. And this impulse decision impacted my goals early on hehehe.
  • As per tradition, we had to do something for mom and it was unexpected, and entailed a big amount. While she still had remaining money after her burial, it was not enough to cover all the expenses so I had to take some from my safety fund.
  • A day after the traditional ceremonies for our mother, our father was rushed to the hospital, and then we eventually lost him. Incurred a lot of hospital bills and burial expenses, which was thankfully covered by the donations we’ve received but it was still not enough so I had to again take some more from my safety fund. 
  • Admittedly, I resorted to retail therapy partly to cope with all the stress at the start of last year. I don’t regret my purchases though because most are things that I need and still using until now. 
And now, here’s my reality check.
  1. Complete safety fund (6 months’ worth) by June 2015 – FAILED (At 4 months by year end. Reevaluating now, given that I don’t have parents to take care of anymore)
  2. Religiously pay SK LU. 18 months to go – SUCCESS! (6 months to go!)
  3. Save a total of Php 61,500 by end of the year for lot processing/housing fund – FAILED (All funds reallocated to something else)
  4. Maintain 2k/month allocation for BDO EIP until June. Increase to 5k/month by July. – FAILED (Had to retain 2k/month until year end)
  5. Increase MF to 20k – FAILED
  6. Add 10-20k in stock market – SUCCESS! (Added a total of 12k. Small, but every amount counts!)
  7. Save a total of Php 40K for continuation of house construction – FAILED (All funds reallocated to something else)
  8. Attend at least 2 financial seminars – SUCCESS!
  9. Allocate a daily allowance and put all extra in a jar. This will be used for wants. – QUITE (Was able to save some from my allowance. Still not spent and will still be for wants)
  10. Continue donation for church construction in my hometown where my mom was active on her last few months with us – FAILED (All funds reallocated to something else)
  11. Set aside a Tulong fund for those unexpected expenses. I have been getting surprise requests since my mom died and it screws up my budget and stresses me out most of the time (all my income down to the last centavo is allocated to something so I really don’t have any extra fund which I can let go of anytime). Might as well be ready for things like this. QUITE. (Was able to save some on some paydays but still reallocated to other things. I was firmer with my NO this time, without feeling guilty over not being able to lend (aka give) money to borrowing relatives)
  12. Start saving for an international travel (planning to do backpacking in Europe as a graduation gift for myself when I complete the MTM program). Will initially set aside 2k/month for this. – QUITE (But for a Japan trip this year. Europe would have to wait but still in the list)
Too many reds, but this year is another chance to be better.

Estimated to be Fully Paid Up By…

paidinfull

*Image from here*

Thirteen years ago, I was convinced by an agent to get an insurance. Back then, all my batch mates were getting one for themselves. Besides, one batch mate was friends with the agent (he was the husband of the batch mate’s officemate). And because everyone was getting, and the agent prepared several proposals for me based on my budget then, plus I already had some hindsight that eventually, I’ll have to support my parents, I also decided to get one. However, I had very limited knowledge on how insurance works and personal finance in general. I know, I know. I should not be getting into something that I don’t fully understand but…I was young and gullible hehehe.

Anyway, with the thick documentation given to me and all that was written in it, what stuck in my mind was the possibility of my policy being fully paid up on the 13th year, given some conditions (like dividends have not been withdrawn). So earlier today, I just took the chance to ask my new agent’s secretary. Guess what? As per the company’s records, my policy is estimated to be fully paid up by January 3, 2016! Yay!!!! Clap clap clap! She emphasized “estimated” and they will check again in December but I’m crossing my fingers that it will still be the case. While the monthly amount I set aside for this policy is not that substantial, it would still be a big help especially now that there is a new item I need to save up for. So, I’m claiming that this policy will be fully paid up by January 3, 2016!  😉

Kuwentong OFW: Before Leaving PH

Warning: Long post ahead.

As mentioned in my previous post, my niece is now an official OFW. Since I learned about her plan, I’ve encouraged her to prepare for other things aside from her employment, mostly finance related.

Learn about Personal Finance

We grew up not knowing anything about personal finance. I just came across it myself years after I started working. So I wanted my niece to start earlier than me in this aspect. I gave her my book of Colayco’s Pera Mo Palaguhin mo and encouraged her to read it because it will help her with her finances. My thought then was that if she was successful with her application, she may be overwhelmed with how much money she may be earning (it’s not a big amount but significant enough as compared to their current income) and may not be able to take care of it. Thankfully, she listened and I think she was able to read the entire book. We also had one on one sessions where I shared with her my limited knowledge on personal finance. Pinabaon ko na rin sa kanya yung books. I’ve also asked her to sign up in Dropbox so that I can send her some more eBooks, which reminds me…I still haven’t done this hahaha! Plus, read all the personal finance blogs.

Set her goals

I asked her to think of her and her partner’s goals so that she won’t waste this chance of earning more by spending aimlessly. I also encouraged her to save up for their emergency fund, her daughter’s college education, a little for their retirement and settle her debts. Her other goal is to buy a piece of land and build their home in the province. I also told her to consider saving up for a business or anything that can become her source of income once she comes back home for good. She should put a timeline as to when she would work as an OFW, and that it should not be until her retirement, unless opportunity knocks once more after he contract and it’s favorable for her and her family.

Prepare a budget and stick to it

I believe that this is the most important tool to prepare when you’re starting your journey to financial independence. So, based on her goals, we drafted a budget which hopefully will work. We’ve identified which part/s of the budget will be sacrificed/adjusted in case there are expenses that we failed to factor in. I’m looking forward to her first salary because I want to know how that budget would work and if she’s able to commit to it. Mas atat pa ata ako kaysa sa kanya hahhaha! I told her to take advantage of the fact that all she needed to send to her family monthly is for her daughter’s expenses so she has more extra cash to save for her goals. If her allowance permits, I encouraged her to explore her place of employment though.

Open a savings account and a trust account

I asked her to check with her agency which banks were advisable given her place of employment. It was BPI and PNB. I was initially rooting for BPI so I asked her to go to one of the branches and inquire. The teller told her it was possible and that she just needs to present some documents. However, when she went back to try opening an account, she was denied and was advised to just open a BPInoy account online. Not sure why she got denied. I can’t remember if she told me. Maybe she did but I was so frustrated with BPI that time hahaha! Anyway, she still tried online but with my previous experience with BPI applying online for a regular savings account, I had to wait for weeks before someone got back to me. So, bye BPI. I asked her to go to PNB but there was no more time so PNB was also out of the picture that fast. I was already panicking at that point. She only had June 11 as her free day to open an account as June 12 was a holiday and her tentative flight was June 14. AND SHE MUST HAVE A BANK ACCOUNT BEFORE SHE LEAVES. I don’t want her sending money via remittance centers (I don’t have anything against them, it’s not just my first choice as much as possible) and keeping the rest with her, literally.

So, next option was BDO, which happens to be where my accounts are. With a quick search, I learned that they have Asenso Kabayan account which only requires Php 100 for opening an account. Alleluia! Hahaha! I was not ready to shell out 4-6k for a regular savings account. They also have remittance partners in my niece’s place of employment so she shouldn’t have a hard time depositing later on. We brought all of her documents just to be sure. Unfortunately, the agency still has her passport and her only other ID is a postal ID, with address which the tellers may think that it’s in outer space because it was their first time to hear of it. Anyway, we showed all documents and just let the teller choose which ones she needs to photocopy. I think she got her PDOS certification, NBI clearance, Postal ID and AWAKE ID. We did the usual routine…filled out lengthy forms, answered inquiries and tada! Done with 2 bank accounts. Why 2? One is for her partner’s use while she holds the other one. I was actually eyeing for 3 so that she has another account for her long term goals but the teller said management might question it. Ok, 2 is better than nothing. Enrollment in Online Banking is a must as well.

Next batch of papers was for her trust account. Yes, the reason why I was pushing her to open a bank account was so she can also open a trust account hahaha! Buti na lang masunurin ang bata. So, for her daughter’s college fund, we placed it in a UITF equity fund via BDO’s EIP and their retirement goes to a Balanced fund, also via EIP. Why not both equities? I wish, however, for easier tracking and segregation of funds, we had no choice but to go with those options.

Lastly, authorization form so that I can pick up her UITF COPs on her behalf.

After 3 long hours, we were done. I was so hungry but beyond HAPPY. I even congratulated her for finally having a bank account hehehe.

Side kwento. We opened at my branch of account. Since there was a time in the past that I visited the bank regularly, I became familiar with all the tellers. Unfortunately, the teller assigned to us was new (at least at that branch). After a while though, Ms. Joan (the teller who I’ve talked to in the past) came out. It looks like she was just on break. Anyway, by some fate, it was she who was suddenly attending to us, which was a blessing because first, I had an inkling that my niece’s provincial address might be an issue even though we indicated my address as her present address. Thankfully, she just verified with me and how we are related (we don’t have the same family name since it’s her mom who is my sister) and how long she’s been staying in Manila. I just told her the truth that she just stayed with me during her application. Second, I don’t really know how strict they are in accepting EIP applications. Miss Joan just confirmed whether my niece already knows how EIP works and I told her I have given her a little orientation and the risks that go with it. She accepted that and proceeded in processing the accounts. Lesson learned — it pays to visit your bank regularly hahaha!

Set expectations with her family

Here comes the tricky part hahaha! Well I just asked her to as much as possible just focus on her own family and refrain from giving money on a regular basis to her parents and siblings. While it may seem harsh, her parents are still abled and strong enough to work so it shouldn’t be her obligation to feed them now that she’ll be earning a little more. I’m not sure how this will settle with my sister and my brother-in-law once they know that it was I who advised my niece to do that hehehe. But oh well, we should unlearn some things if we want to move forward. BUT we know that asking for money won’t be avoided in the future so part of her budget is an allowance for her parents, to be given ONLY when they ask for it and IF their need is VALID.

Learn the wonders of the Internet

I bought her a smartphone as a going away gift (at first I was considering of letting her pay for it but then I wanted her to start saving right away so sige na nga, gift na) and have her installed Skype, Viber and other applications she will need.

I taught her how to use BDO’s online banking. We’ve added each other’s account in our list of third party account in case there is a need to use that in the future. Since she has 2 accounts, the game plan is for her to remit to her account, and just transfer her family’s allowance in the other account via online banking. I just hope that remittance charges won’t be that high. She’s lucky her employer allowed her access to their WiFi hehehe.

Taught her how to load online. She has an OWF sim by Smart but it can only be loaded from here. No loading stations there so next best thing to do? Load online hehehe. Mahina naman kasi ang internet sa bundok so for now, texts and calls lang to her family.

Unlearn some things

Don’t get pressured by having to send a balikbayan box. While it is not bad, I personally believe that saving for their future is much better in the long run than material things. Pinagbaon ko na nga sya ng at least 3 months’ supply of toiletries so that she doesn’t need to spend on these tapos biglang may balikbayan box? Hahaha!

Don’t get pressured to buy pasalubong for the whole barangay. Hassle magbitbit. A few chocolates for the immediate family (like Cadburry for me 😛 ) is fine but not for the whole barangay utang na loob at labas. Good thing a cousin’s husband is not into this so I set him as example.

Live simply, focus on her goals and her savings should remain top secret between herself and her partner at ako na rin bilang alam ko ang password! Nyahaha!

Others

Learn some skills if she has spare time.
Learn the language and culture of where she is now.
Travel or at least explore the place but make sure she doesn’t screw up her budget.

By the way, hindi na ata domestic helper ang tawag sa kanila. Parang nakita kong OFW for household services na. But I’m not entirely sure. Di ko nabusisi mabuti documents nya dahil ngaragan na.

Ok, enough for now. Malapit nang maging nobela.

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