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I used to work in the insurance industry many moons ago. I’ve worked for one of the oldest insurance companies in the country. I was also part of a a pioneering company in the pre-need industry dealing with pension plans, life plans, education plans etc. etc. You would think that coming from that industry, I would be a strong advocate of these products but up to this day I still don’t have an insurance plan or any other pre-need plan of my own. I even bought a few plans that I never finished paying because it simply didn’t fit the choreography of my schedules. I am not going to say that they are or are not important to those of us who have families whom we need to provide a secure financial future for. Whether or not we will get one we all need to know the importance of life insurance and how it will impact the future of our families. We all want to make sure that our loved ones will be secure once we go and this is what insurance plans or pre-need plans sell – the assurance that this personal concern will be addressed and taken care of when we are no longer able to do it ourselves. I have no problem with that actually. My only peeve about buying one is I don’t like overbearing insurance agents and the only time I gave in to getting one was because it was sold to me by a very very close friend whom I trust.

After reading this far, you’re probably thinking “So should I get one or not?” It’s like a chicken and egg thing, really. For us, health insurance is primary for now because that is the most expensive part of life, young or old. Hospital bills, medication, doctor’s fees, laboratory tests and what nots are what cause your life savings to dwindle to a few measly coins. If you can find a health plan that will cover all your major expenses, in case you get sick, then that would be a very good investment. Even if you save so much for your twilight years, the cost of getting sick is like a little matchstick that can burn your whole bank account to ashes. It’s a little bit morbid but getting sick and dying are two of the most lucrative businesses ever. There will always be sick people and everyone will eventually die. It IS a business. Like they say there are only two sure things, TAXES and DEATH.

Of course, there is also an insurance that provides you peace of mind no matter what sudden tragedy may happen to you. It is the insurance that assures you of a future that is unshakeable. 100% return on investment-guaranteed, full coverage against sickness, death, loss of property, theft, fire, flood, tsunami, earthquake and Acts of God. No expiration date, one-time payment. There is one thing though, it is non-transferable and good for one person at a time only. Here’s the best part though, it’s the best bargain of all time. You can have all those benefits for free if you follow the terms and conditions simply and clearly stipulated in John 3:16. No hidden agenda, no hidden fees, no need to worry about the fine print. And no pesky insurance agents hard selling on you. Think about it. In case you’ve seen it before but may have forgetten, here’s the stipulation again. Consider it, peeps. It’s the insurance bargain of a life time!

16“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,[a] that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Have a wonderful weekend!

It’s meeh! I get to post again today because the hubby’s computer crashed again on him – well, it’s a 2nd hand recycled laptop that we bought at HMR and of course it’s life span is not something you expect to be beyond forever.  So it’s my turn to blog.

The hubby and I with kids in tow were invited today to a product launch in Makati and it was not something we were unfamiliar with. One of the products that was introduced aside from all the food supplements was a health card with a validity of one year that costs roughly around P499 pesos only. One of the benefits of the cardholder is that he can avail of an annual executive check-up at the various accredited clinics/hospitals listed. I’m not so sure about the whole set up but then if all you can afford is P500 and you can already get an executive check up at that amount who needs smoker life insurance.  I was also surprised to find that one of those medical institutions listed was owned by my brother’s friend. Small world!

Anyway, that was just one of those products presented. There was a whole other set of food supplements and other health related products that quite frankly were really interesting. Not only that, you get to earn from all of that too. So health is indeed wealth, literally speaking. So the hubby and I will discuss it further to see if that falls into our present setup. It sounds promising.

One of the greatest benefits of the internet is the ability to do almost (almost, okey?) anything even if you are in your pajamas. (hey! strictly PG huh lol) This includes managing your money. The days of going to the bank (whether in your own car or commuting, who wants to now that it’s soooo expensive to do either) are becoming such a chore when you can easily do it online. Nowadays online bank balance transfers are so convenient, it only takes like less than ten minutes. Compare that to going to the bank the old way where it takes almost an hour to get there, 30 minutes waiting to be attended to, 10 minutes to finish your transaction, another hour to get back to where you started and an additional 30 more minutes allowance for unforeseen traffic incidents. To top it all, at P55/liter, of course, you won’t get there on a liter alone, the costs are crazy eh? Think about it. So be smart. Choose wisely and don’t forget if you do choose to do it online beef up your internet security. Ciao!

When hubby was assigned to live in AZ a few years back, we were provided with an apartment by his company. One of the first things I noticed during our stay there was this thing they call homeowner’s policy or house insurance. I had never heard of this before until we were offered one since this is not something that is common neither is it required from homeowners here in the PH as far as I know.

Basically, house insurance operates just like most insurance policies. Most of us, if not all of us, who own cars have car insurance to protect ourselves against any cash outlay that may arise from unforeseen circumstances like accidents, road mishaps etc. etc. Isn’t it logical to somehow protect a substantial investment such as a home purchase from unfortuitous events as well?

We live in a country that experienced 4 super typhoons in 2006. The assessed damage to homes and infrastructure caused by typhoon Reming reached almost 19 billion pesos. I don’t know if any of those homes have any form of property insurance whatsoever. Logically, whatever home improvements done to these homes is like money down the drain swept away with the flood waters with no chance of ever recovering the money already poured in it. I also think that the present climate change challenge being experienced all over makes this issue worth taking a look into.

 

Fortunately for those in the US, this is an option that is available to them. They have a large pool of house insurance companies with rates that can match any homeowner’s specific requirements. If you are in the US & you would like to do a comparison study on house insurance rates you can check out houseinsurancerates.com. They offer up to five free side-by side quotes to help match your needs to the right company.

As for us in the PH, if these super typhoons keep on lashing throughout our land, maybe we should ask ourselves if we are ready to protect this major investment we call homes from tremendous risks with home insurance. Think about it.

I am definitely thankful to God for the internet. Truly I am. A little over five years ago I lived in our house in far flung Trece Martirez with absolutely no telephone line, no cable TV, no internet at all and with a cell signal so poor it almost always disappears whenever there’s a downpour. Most of my friends ask me how I survived all that. Come to think of it, I would say it was just really grace for the hour. When I felt that I could no longer imagine another 5 more hermit years I pestered (shhh…) hubby to look for  another place for us even if we had to rent.

And so here we are in breezy Sta. Rosa, the best place outside Greater Manila to be in my opinion, of course. I have everything an incommunicado could ever want, we have a landline to talk to family, cell signal to text my friends, accessibility to basic needs like gasul would you believe, rare blackouts and no more unwanted candlelit dinners  and most of all cable internet! A far cry from my bartolina days… I am content (ha ha). What more could a girl ask for? (well how about 500 gig HD and 8gig ram  🙂 lol) Now I can do everything in the comfort of my monobloc chair!

Remember that cliche, the whole world right at your fingertips? That’s exactly what I have. I can be anywhere in the world faster than a speeding bullet (oops, pardon me dial-uppers, no offense please 🙂 lol), do tons of research without breaking my back with library books, telecommute in my official flipflops and yes Virginia, I don’t have to ride a tricycle 9 kilometers away to pay the electric bills etc anymore. Bring it ON- line, that’s what I say.

Who would’ve thought that you could even get an auto loan with a financing scheme tailored just for you and finally buy that dream car of yours while in your jammies? Speaking of auto loan, that reminds me its almost that time of the month for us to settle ours. I need to go check our payables right now, I don’t want to have a bad credit car loan record, you know. So I’m going to check on that in the next tab (get it? lol) Meanwhile, I leave you with this absolutely gorgeous beetle that I’m wishing for. Isn’t she cute? If you’re a Beetle junkie like me and you want one of these badly, check out getthebestautoloan.com.  It might fast track you straight into the driver’s seat. Have fun drooling!

 

I got a call the other day from one of the telemarketers of my credit card company to inform me about a product that they have persistently offered me over and over again. Quite frankly, I got a bit irked by it already and was a bit stern (taray, di bah?) with the poor girl who was just doing her job. It wasn’t really her fault but I think it is quite irritating that her company has no tracking method whatsoever on offers that their customers have repeatedly rejected.

I was telling my hubby about my opinion on how that product they were offering was not the primary reason why I opted to get a card from them and not some other company. I just need a simple card to use in case of emergency and I don’t want to be bothered by all these third party products they offer. I wish I had discovered Your Credit Network sooner. It’s a nifty site that provides you with online credit card information about credit card companies all in one place. It’s quite a time saver especially if you are considering applying for a credit card for the first time or you want to try a new one and you want to compare products and services among the companies. When you do decide which one you like, you’ll be armed with information about the credit card company of your choice and make them lay all their cards on the table and not hide aces up their sleeve about products and services you never opted for. Go check out the site for more detailed information.

So there, that’s my 2 centavos on the matter.  Hope it’s worth something where you are. 🙂 Be back later for an IOU to Jan. Ta – ta!

Hubby is considering a business concept that’s been on his mind for quite a while. We’ve discussed it quite a bit and one of the things that we think we need to do if it materializes is to start smart with how we build and online store is the way to go. For that we need a reliable e-commerce software that will adapt to the business as it grows. Of course, it has to be affordable, SEO optimized and with excellent customer support. I’ve been looking at a few providers of shopping cart software like Ashopcommerce.com and so far it looks promising. I think hubby and I can discuss it in more detail when we brainstorm again.  If  that’s where you want to go too, you can check it out as well.

Coffee break with Jan – ver. 16
It’s Money talk Monday and Jan’s coffee break topic is quite timely. Her question is:
                                            What is your budgeting secret? 

An accounting background is not a pre-requisite before you can make a budget. Logic, common sense, a clear understanding of priorities and an action plan to execute these priorities are actually the major elements that make a good budget work. Why? Because expenses are Choices. What we do with the choices that are presented to us is our Decision. And these decisions are based on Priorities relative to our own values and lifestyles. You are in fact, a CEO of your own company, which is your household, and you are responsible for making decisions, good or bad that make or break your money bank.

We have been in a budget-overhaul mode these past few weeks because of the recent events in our country that affects us all… the rice ‘shortage’, the ever increasing fuel costs which creates a domino effect on all other consumer goods that are part of our grocery lists, etc. etc.. It hasn’t been easy. If we continued to go on with our previous spending patterns, we would never get out of the “red“. Borrowing the word “doodads” from Robert Kiyosaki – our “doodads” have to go!

Here are some of the not so secret things I do as far as budgeting goes:

  1. Be in the know where your cash flows. Is your spending (cash going out) faster than the rate you generate income (cash coming in)? The devil is really in the details. You might not realize it but that the gourmet caffe latte you had this morning on your way to work could already be equivalent to your daily minimum wage and now you’ve already spent it even before the day’s work is done. Keep a tab on those little details.
  2. Best place to eat is at home. We try to eat at home before we leave the house so that we don’t have to spend that much on food when we go out. Then we can splurge a little bit more on desserts etc.
  3. BYOB. Bring your own baon (packed food) in short. I have two kids and I can’t stop them from being hungry or thirsty while we are on the road so that need is already factored in and is part of my grocery list. Instead of the drive thru, they have their little foodie bag packed with goodies they can munch on thru a traffic jam.
  4. Barbecue it! That’s how I describe it when we have to do chores or errands in a certain location. Tuhugin na ng sabay-sabay. We make sure we do all we can do when we are in a certain place. By doing that we make sure our gas gets its full mileage benefit.
  5. Be a giver. I know that this may sound out of place but this little truth nugget has seen me through over and over again. The more we have given, the more we get back in return. It’s actually the best kept secret that anyone should ever know. What you sow, you will reap and often the reaping happens when you need it most.

So those are my 5 tips on how I budget. I made a little cartoon based on a true story my hubby told me. This really happened to him while he was growing up. Enjoy! 

Budget vs. Gudget  

Did you know that the word credit come from the Latin word “credere” which means to believe in? From this, we also get related words like credible or credo. In business and finance, it is extremely important to be credible and trustworthy. Otherwise, nobody will want to do business with you.

When somebody applies for a credit card and is approved by the issuing credit card company, the latter is saying something like this – the person holding this card is someone we believe in and this card is proof of our trust in him and any business transaction that he undertakes. Same thing goes with credit loans.

Many people do not realize it but a simple thing such as a one-day late payment can have a big impact on their credit standing. I believe this is especially true in the US where they are able to keep track of Bad Credit Loans and Bad Credit Credit Cards. Once someone’s payment is delayed, their interest rates jump up to a higher bracket and their original debt becomes compounded. This is one of the ways credit card companies make their money – they get it from the interest and surcharges earned from your late payments.

So do yourself a favor, PAY ON TIME! That way, it keeps your debt in control and your credit credible.

Literally true! Advertising and media will never be the same because of the internet. The internet has opened up financial opportunities to anyone who has access to it and who is willing to invest a few hours in it. All you need is a computer and the internet and it becomes anybody’s ballgame. You do not even have to own a computer to get into the game. A few hours hitting that keyboard in an internet cafe could become money right at your fingertips.

There are many opportunities to earn online and one of them is through paid blogging. Some have taken to it like fish to water and jumped right into it, filling their blogs with ads. Some are actually tasteful, some scream like a marketplace. There are also others who are skeptical and choose to be purists preferring not to “pollute” their blogs with sponsored posts. I believe that there is a middle ground to all this where you still have the freedom to express your thoughts and still receive compensation for your opinion without sacrificing your integrity.

I recently joined Pay Per Post and I am going to give it a try. I’ve been hearing about it from online friends who have been doing it for quite a while now but it was only recently that I decided to take the Paid Post Plunge. I’ll soon find out whether it’s going to work out for me or not. Good business sense tells us to take advantage of open doors and opportunities. A good moral compass, however, will guide us in choosing which door to go through and which opportunity to take.

Happy blogging!

Let’s talk life insurance. I used to work before for the AIG/Philam insurance/pre-need group in their accounting department. Prior to that I had no idea that there was more than one type of insurance. All I knew then was that I instinctively hid from anybody who approached me with this little black portfolio/folder and tried to hard sell a policy to me trying to convince me with their acquired actuarial acumen and the benefits my loved ones would get when I die. I never bought one even if I was already working with Philam. I was single then and the need just didn’t click with me at that time. I did get one later on thru the only insurance agent I ever liked and trusted… my best friend. So if you haven’t got either one, here’s a little bit of info (in layman lingo) to help you decide where to invest your extra money.

Simply said, an insurance policy is a contract between you (the insured) and the insurance company (the insurer) wherein you pay a small amount regularly (premiums) to make sure that your loved ones or anyone you like (beneficiary/ies) will receive a specific benefit (money, proceeds, cash value) for specific future events (coverage) in case something happens to you (sickness, accidents, disability, death etc.).

Basically there are two kinds of life insurance policies:

term life insurance – temporary protection based on the coverage period; you are protected or “covered” for a specified time frame only (eg. one year, ten years etc.); has no cumulative benefits once expired; purely risk protection, meaning you are financially protected “in case of…” ; less expensive than permanent life insurance

permanent life insurance – permanent protection guaranteed to last the life of the insured; cumulative benefits accrue and do not expire as long as policy is current or updated; more expensive than term life insurance

Of course there are sub-classes to the two kinds mentioned above with different kinds of benefits, add-ons and possibly freebies depending on the insurance agent handling your account and the insurance company you go for. You could always ask for either term life insurance quotes or permanent life insurance quotes and study them before you make your decision.

Finally, it does help a lot if you find an insurance agent you can trust to guide you through the process. HTH!

… like me. I’ve been scarce online because I’ve been trying to get my documents in order like renewing my passport, id’s, clearances and stuff in aid of, (not legislation, which is the buzzword in politics right now) opening up a paypal account and boy, it’s been such an ordeal. It’s a bit frustrating how much bureaucratic red tape I have to wade through just to open a simple account. Well, anyway I’m posting this for anyone who might find the info useful for whatever reason. I’m not an expert on this, I’ll just share from what I experienced and what I have done in the simplest way I understand it so you may find it useful or not. 

Since this post is about  paypal and opening up a verified Paypal account in the Philippines, the objective is not just to sign up at Paypal but to have a verified paypal account. I’ve been signed up for years but haven’t done anything with it because of many restrictions for Philippine-based users. Now Paypal has become more Pinoy-friendly and allows us not only to pay(send) money for  online purchases/transactions but also to receive(withdraw) money as well. It still has a long way to go but I’m just glad that this option is made available to us Pinoys already. 

(Note: Generally a paypal account becomes verified only when you have added a credit/debit card to your profile and completed the expanded use process. Read more about the benefits of being verified here.)
Here are some tips on what to do or not do based on my experience. 

  1.  Read. Read as much as you can on the topic. There are a lot of helpful discussions online at the pinoymoneytalk forum or read Chikai’s blogsilog for more details to help you. Don’t forget to read all the way through so you don’t miss out on the steps. I didn’t so unfortunately I wasted time and transpo money going back and forth to complete requirements I forgot.
  2. Write. You need  to write down or print out the information you gathered. It’s not a cool thing to be waiting in line for hours or traveling 20 kilometers to your destination only to find out you forgot your cedula number or your barangay clearance or so and so’s contact number etc. Major bummer!
  3. Gather all the required documents and place them in one container or folder and keep them there for the whole duration of the process until the task is completely done. Imagine how frustrating it would be to be finally in front of the person you are submitting your documents to only to find out that your documents are in the folder you left at home because you switched bags today.
  4. Plan your itinerary and try to locate the addresses of the offices or agencies you need to go to. Most of these offices have websites already so just click on their contact us tab to get their office address or phone numbers. Call them up and inquire before you go. Verify if what you have gathered is what they require because sometimes the requirements listed online are not what is followed in practice. Try to do all you can in the location you are in. I live far from these offices so I made sure that I didn’t have to go back there once I left.
  5. Submit and Smile. You’ve finally accomplished #1 to #4 and it’s almost your turn to be attended to by the not so amiable clerk in front of you. Try to be as polite and as cool tempered as possible so that your papers don’t end up at the bottom of the pile even if you feel like screaming at the poor service you are getting (unless you intend to never ever go back to that establishment or you wait till that person gets promoted or fired).
  6. Wait. Your papers are finally in and all you can really do is wait so just wait…. and wait… hmmm wait…. still waiting….
  7. Follow-up. So you’ve done the waiting game and it’s been weeks since you’ve submitted your papers just pick up the phone and call them because the likelihood of them calling you is zilch. Don’t forget, be nice. You don’t want to keep waiting for another six weeks. 
  8. Tip#8 is not done yet because I haven’t gone past #7 but most probably what I’ll be doing is Celebrate and blog like crazy. 

I am going via the Unionbank EON Cyber account route although you could also enroll your own regular credit card and now your local bank account code to get verified. Here are some useful links to help you get started on the requirements:

If you don’t like to sift through all that government stuff, you can also get it simplified right here.

Having worked as an accountant for a number of years has its up sides and down sides. The attention to detail, the deadlines to meet, the scheduled taxes and government remittances that need to be fulfilled have rubbed off some of the creative edge in me. There were many occasions that I have had  a sense of what type of  business would work and not work in certain environments and true enough, a few months or years later, somebody else just went up and did it.

A few years ago, I presented my idea of opening a Starbucks coffee shop in Tagaytay long before there was anything on the ridge except abandoned vacation houses to some friends. I thought it was a feasible idea because of the planned development around the area but a friend of ours was pessimistic about it and said that it wouldn’t work. Well right now, I think it’s doing very well on the ridge. So much for my friend’s opinion. Of course, I knew we couldn’t do that even if  I wanted to because for one, to the best of my knowledge, Starbucks is not open for franchising. It is solely operated by the Rustan’s group of companies. So that gives me the perfect excuse not to get into it even though in truth, I only have a few pesos just enough to buy me not the franchise but the frappuccino…make mine mocha, please.

Another business venture that I thought of years ago was related to something I liked to indulge on –> chocolate covered caramel apples. Mmmm, I absolutely love these! I even tried to make some myself but I couldn’t get the technique right because the caramel would slide off the apples. It just didn’t come out the same as the ones I would buy in Arizona. And since I’m kinda OC or a bit of a perfectionist, I couldn’t get myself to put out a product I wasn’t going to be proud of or happy about. I asked some friends about that venture as well and that same friend who didn’t agree with that Starbucks idea didn’t think I had the market to sustain it. Oh well, guess what, somebody is actually selling them right now in Glorietta? in Makati! Not really the same as those I’ve tasted but hey, it’s the idea that counts.

Of course, I’ve had some ventures that didn’t last long because those involved evolved. Priorities and vision are basic values that need to be synchronized when you get into business and if those values are no longer shared, it’s time to move on.I do have some dreams and other projects cooking up and incubating in my brain. Hopefully, when everything falls into place and I have enough resources to pull it all together, I will turn a deaf ear to pessimism around me and muster up the guts to take that plunge and put my money into investments that really matter to me.

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