Posts by: Gil

Maybe some of you are looking for advice on what to do with your finances. Perhaps you are reading some financial books and blogs around the web to learn how to manage your money. If you are living in the US or Canada, I believe you are aware of many financial planners in your city offering services for people who want to know how to take care of their finances.

Please be reminded that I’m not a professional financial planner or adviser. I’m just a normal people blogging about the experiences I encountered and sharing it to this blog. It’s up to you if you will follow some of my advises or not and I do not guarantee that you will also achieve the same result as mine.

I think this is my best financial advice that I can give to you right now to manage your finances properly: Spend less than what you earn. It is the foundation of personal finance that I learned so far. If you can’t do this advice, you can’t also do other things like saving and investing money.

It is your duty to make this happen. No one else will be responsible for your finances except you since you are the only one who use and spend the money you have. Maybe if you have a spouse, you must talk to him/her about the status of you financial condition. It will be a good starting point where you can begin fixing your debt and other expenses you may have.

It can also be a turning point in order for you to save money little by little. The first thing to do is to list and track all your expenses by using a spreadsheet. We use Google Docs spreadsheet to list our expenses each month so my wife and I know where do we spend our money each passing month. We set a target budget each month so I know if we are over spending.

best financial advice

My wife and I talks regularly about our finances. Both of us should know where and how to spend the money we have especially those major purchases like home appliances or personal gadgets that we want to buy. If you are a single person, I think it is easier for you to decide about your finances since you are the only one who will do it.

There are many possible ways on which how can you spend less than what you earn. Actually, I published a post few months ago on how to make it. If you have the time, you can see it here.

You see this advise can change your life at the moment you follow it. I believe it is not hard to understand the principle because it is a straightforward message for all of us. Before my thinking is to spend as much as I can because I have my job, but everything changed because of a single event that I almost loss my job without any savings or any plan what to do.

I hope you will realize it earlier to spend less than what you earn before you experience something that’s not good like job lay off or an event that you cannot work anymore. By doing this advice, you can start saving money little by little and then if you have enough savings, you can start investing.

 

Image by Stuart Miles

Hello there. I want to inform all of my readers and visitors of this blog that I’m joining the Yakezie Challenge. Perhaps you may notice the badge on the left side bar of this blog about Yakezie.

Normally, new personal finance blogs join this network so they can reach more people, get learning from other blogger, get some help and make new friends on the web. I realized that is important to have a network of friends and blogger because they are the ones that will help you to keep on going.

It has been very hard to connect to other bloggers especially if you are a newbie. Some of those “big” sites will not reply to you whenever you want to ask for some questions or you want to make a guest post. I knew that because I experienced it before.

What is Yakezie?

Yakezie is the Internet’s largest network of personal finance and lifestyle blog. It was founded by Sam of Financial Samurai in December 2009 with the intention to improve the reader’s personal finance and improve their lives as well.

The members of the network are selflessly helping each other in their endeavors to hit the Alexa rank of 200k or below within 6 months of the challenge. This goal will be achieved by each blogger by promoting other blogs to their site, commenting on other Yakezie member blogs, and actively participating in the Yakezie forum.

What is the Yakezie Alexa Ranking Challenge?

These are the steps to be followed if you want to join the challenge.

1. Install the Alexa toolbar on your web browser so you will know what is your Alexa rank and other members can keep track your progress. I already installed the toolbar and its is really helpful because you will be able to see your current Alexa rank on the top right corner of your web browser (for Google Chrome).

2. Write 2-4 posts each week for 6 months. I’m already doing this so I think I have no problem with this condition.

3. Install the Yakezie badge on your blog.

4. Announce on your blog that you joined the challenge.

5. Selflessly promote others.

My Current Statistics

As of this writing, this blog has the following statistics. It will be continuously updated each month within the 6-month challenge. So expect one post about the progress and development about this challenge in the succeeding months. So here it is.

Alexa Rank: 672,079

Google PR: 2

Post Published: 217

Comments on this Blog: 1,887

Facebook Like: 1,030

Twitter Follower: 75

RSS Feed Subscriber: 1,457

That’s all. I just want to announce that I’m taking the challenge and hopefully my statistics will be better at the end of the challenge.

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In my previous post, I mentioned there the six best investment that you could ever have. Basically, anything that gives you money is a good investment as long as it is legal. However, the question is how can you say that this or that is the best investment? I would like to answer that question in this post so keep on reading.

I think you already heard from other people the phrase “Buy this land because it is the best investment” and other people would say different things. You should not rely solely on the advice or suggestions of other people because it is your money not them. Make your own research and study so you could know which one is the best.

If you want to start learning, I hope I could help you by giving some of my ideas on how to determine the best investments out there. Here are some of the things on the list.

1. Low capital to start with

I think this is one characteristic of the best investment should posses. Maybe you think before that investing is only for rich people because they have lots of money to use. That’s not the case anymore today. Even employees and small business owners can now start investing from the extra money they have.

It is still advisable to leave some portion of your money on savings account and other part can be used for investing purposes. Many of the mutual fund companies these days offer a very low minimum investment for opening an account which is around P5,000.

I could say that amount can be easily raised by an employee who have a regular income each month. I think it is not that big and can be afforded by people who are interested in investing.

characteristics of best investment

2. Non-labor intensive

The best investment should not be hard to start with and difficult to work on. As much as possible, the time you put to it should not exceed the time you used when working in your company. It can be done even you’re working in your current job.

It would be unwise to put your money on investment that will used up all the time and energy you have. This is not good especially when you have a job. I think the best investment must continue to work even you’re putting few hours of your time on it.

3. Can give a passive or semi-passive income

The best investment can be those things that can give you a semi-passive or passive income. Perhaps you already know that you can earn in two ways: active and passive income. Active income comes from your job or business while passive income should come from your investments.

Those investments that give passive income must be on your list. This is the kind of investment that you start and build at the beginning, then gives you a regular income even you work for lesser time than before or nothing at all.

4. Easy to learn and replicate by you

Another characteristic of the investment that you could have is that it should be easy to learn and replicate by you and hard for other people to copy. Competition is good because it makes you more innovative and resourceful but you should also be aware that it can also ruin your investment when someone copies it.

If you already found the best investment, your responsibility now is to take care of it and make sure that you will be able to replicate it so your earning potential will be greater.

5. Great potential to increase income in the future

A great investment should not be stagnant in its earnings. It should have the capability to increase its income in the future as you keep on developing and improving it. Some investments could not be controlled by you but other people can so make sure that the company you invested is reliable, competent and trustworthy.

You may also study the performance of the company your planning to invest. Mutual fund companies have prospectus where you can get all the information about the company. Furthermore, in their website, you will learn the performance of the fund in the past.

If you’re buying stocks on your own, make sure to know the company first, what is the nature of its business, how it make money, their debts and expenses and other investments as well. Always remember, understand what you invest and buy.

Investing is becoming popular nowadays since more and more people are starting to learn financial education and how they could earn more out of the money they have. I think this is a good indication that more and more people are becoming conscious about their finances. We need more people participating in doing business and investments inside and outside of the Philippines to create more jobs.

Perhaps, you already read the article I made few months ago about the best investment for OFW. I believe mutual fund investing can be one of those great investments that OFW can start because it only requires small amount for opening and does not need complicated knowledge.

Besides from mutual funds, I think there are other good investments that you can start even if you are an OFW or an employee working in the Philippines. I want to make a list of those investments so that you can have an idea which one to choose depending on your preference.

What are the qualifications of the best investment? In my opinion, the best investment should posses the following characteristics to be considered as one:

1. Low capital to start with
2. Non-labor intensive
3. Can give a passive or semi-passive income
4. Easy to learn and replicate
5. Great potential to increase income in the future

Keeping in mind the criteria above, I want to list now what I think to be the best investments available in the Philippines today. Perhaps you already know about it or you have been investing in it for quite sometime. I wish you can get some valuable information here.

1. A blog or website that gives recurring income

Maybe you are not aware that blogs and websites can be one of the best investments you could ever have. I realized that fact when I experienced it myself through the blogs I have right now. The first blog I have is giving me consistently an average income of $400 per month. Hopefully this year, it would climb up to an average of $700 per month. Note that this comes from only one blog, my other sites are not yet there to give me substantial income but I ‘m working on it.

I considered my blogs one of my best investments so far because it regularly gives me income each month without working for it for the whole day. On the average, I think I spend more or less 20 hours per week on the blogs I have. Perhaps, if I could spend more time and focus more on creating good contents and more traffic, there’s no doubt that I can earn more than what I currently getting from my blogs.

2. Stocks that give consistent dividends

Probably the best passive income that you can have is stock that pays consistent dividend. You don’t have to do anything to earn dividends, you simply buy the stocks and that’s it. As long as you hold the stock, you can get earnings from the dividends.

To start buying dividend stocks, you need to open a stock broker account and once you have sufficient balance, you can start buying stocks that pay regular dividends. Currently, I have two dividend stocks, URC and FPH. I’m slowly buying these stocks through cost averaging since I don’t have big money at this moment.

best investments

3. Mutual funds from established companies

A friend told me that their equity fund is now earning 20% gain since they bought it one year ago. Although, it is just paper value because they didn’t redeem it yet, it is amazing that this kind of investment gives a good return despite you don’t actually work for it.

The only thing you do when you buy mutual fund is to open an account same as stocks, fund the account with money and then buy certain shares depending on your balance. After that, you have to wait to increase the value or price of the MF you have.

I have a fixed-income MF in FAMI that I bought last June 2011, and it is now 12% gain (paper value) after 8 months of investing there. As you could see, there is a great potential of earning good income from MF even in a short span of time. How much more if you could invest and hold it for 10 or 20 years?

4. Rental apartment or commercial building

One of my friends has a commercial lot and building that he leased to a company and a businessman. Those properties are giving him now a regular passive income each month without doing anything else. However, the cost of acquiring those poperties are big since it is a real estate. The good thing about it is that it earns every month from the rental fee paid by the current tenant.

So if you are capable and have the resources to acquire or buy properties that you can rent to other people, do it so. At first, it is difficult to raise a big amount of money but it is worth the hardships and patience that you will face. Be sure that the real estate can be rented by someone else so it can give you a regular income.

5. Profitable franchising business

A franchising business can be also the best investment you can get because it is already an established business. As a franchisee, you can get all the know-how and strategies in making the business profitable from the learning you can get from the franchisor.

If you are the franchisor, your business will grow faster if you will adopt the concept of franchising. There are many businesses that work on franchising model. Popular fast food chains like Jollibee and McDonald’s offer franchising for people who wants to start their own store.

I think a franchising business can be the best investment for you as long as it is able to give you a steady income and you can get your return on investment for a short period of time. Since it is a franchise, it is not labor intensive. The nice thing about franchising is that you can replicate the business model from the franchisor, make some innovations and then start your own business.

6. Life insurance

Before I didn’t realize that this can be one of the best investments out there. Right now, I don’t have any life insurance but I’m planning to get one this year. I have chosen the life insurance I want to get but still open to changes. I probably finalized my pick when I already have the enough money to start with.

There are three general kinds of insurance: whole life, term, and variable life insurance. At this moment, I’m inclined to pick the variable life insurance because it has investing part and insurance at the same time.

These investments are some of the things I have in mind. Do you have other suggestions not included in the list? If yes, please add your comment below.

Hi there, I would like to inform you that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Korea (MOFAT) had organized a video contest in promoting Korea to the world. They are inviting foreigners to join this contest and only them are qualified for entry (Koreans are not allowed).

The message below came from the Philippine Embassy in Seoul to encourage all Filipinos living in Korea to also join this exciting contest. I think all foreigners are qualified based on the PDF file they attached on the email that I received. You can see the file here: MOFAT Video Contest 2012.

So whether you are in Korea or in the Philippines, you can join the contest. Make sure to follow the guidelines and conditions of the contest so you will be qualified.

I love Korea video contest

Message from the Embassy of the Philippines Seoul:

“I love Korea, Because…” Video Contest

The Embassy of the Philippines in Seoul would like to invite all Filipinos to join the “I love Korea, Because…” Video Contest, organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Korea.

Applicants can make less than3-minute long video clip on diverse Korean attractions including Korean traditional culture, K-pop, landscape, economic development or personal experiences related to Korea.

Contest Guidelines:

First, make a video no longer than 3 minutes, introducing why you love Korea. The video may be made with any device, such as cellphone, digital camera, video camera, or any digital device.

Second, upload the video on YouTube or any other legal video-sharing website.

Third, fill in the attached application form and send it to [email protected] or [email protected]

Awards:

Grand Prize – Korean brand car, invitation to Korea (including round-trip airfare), K-
pop live show. (1 winner)

Gold Prize – Korean brand laptop (2 winners)

Silver Prize – Korean brand tablet PC (3 winners)

Bronze Prize – Korean brand digital camera (5 winners)

Contest Period:

Application Date: 01 March – 20 May 2012

Result Announcement: 11 June 2012

Note:

Prize can be cancelled or taken back if video clip is proved to be plagiarized or winning work from other contests.

Prize winning works may be utilized for the promotion of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Republic of Korea. The copyright of the submitted works becomes vested in the Ministry.

English or Korean preferred.

You can share this one to your friends and relatives who you think might be interested in joining this video contest. You can also share this article in Facebook or Twitter if you want.

Looking and applying for a job can be one of the most difficult and challenging task a person can encounter. Before landing on my first job in a manufacturing company in the Philippines, I struggled many times on getting a job even though I graduated from university.

It is not really easy to get a job especially these days when there are many people are looking and fighting for employment. To make the problem worst, there are many jobless people but few job openings. It is the reason why many people resort in applying for jobs abroad which pays much higher than in the Philippines.

Sometimes it’s hard to think of the things that you should do so that you can find a job. It’s also my problem before when I don’t have a job. You feel helpless and discouraged because it seems that no one would like to hire you. So in this post I would like to give some suggestions and advices of the things that you can do if you cannot still find a job despite of many job applications. Here it goes.

1. Don’t lose hope

Things are happening the way it is because there’s a reason behind that. I don’t believe in accidents, I believe everything happens for a purpose, not based on luck or random chances of nature. However, I cannot give you the right answer why you are not getting any job in spite of your continuous application.

The only thing that I can do now is to guess. There are many reasons why you are not accepted in your job application but one best answer would be you are not fit for the job you are applying. Don’t worry, the time will come when you will be exactly matched for the position of the company you are applying.

You should not stop. If you stop, how can you make the chance to be hired. Keep on sending your resume via the Internet, email or through your networks and friends. Plant the seed now so you can harvest later.

2. Think and do productive things

I know sometimes it’s hard to be productive when you are discouraged because of unemployment. Many people feel powerless and defeated so how can they do productive things?

I think you have other skills that you can utilize, you can start to develop it more, maybe you can also make money out of it. For example, if you know how to play guitar just like me, you should practicing more to learn new skills. If you already knew many things about guitar, you can offer your services to other people who want to learn on playing guitar.

find a job

You can use YouTube to showcase your skills or talent and make an offer to your viewers that you are available for a tutorial one-on-one or in-person with a corresponding fee for the service. There are countless ways on how to develop and earn money from the skills that you have.

In addition, if you have good writing skills, you can offer your service in Freelancer, Fiverr, eLance, oDesk and other websites that hire writers for blogs and websites. Another skills that is very in-demand in the Internet is computer programmers. Just visit the sites above so you can start earning online.

3. Start a business if you can

If you have the capability and resources to start your own business, it would be a better alternative than being employed to a company. Perhaps you’re thinking that you only have a small capital to start a business. You don’t need to worry because you can use it even it is little.

Internet provides the biggest potential for business start-ups. You don’t need a big capital if you can learn how to make business online. Maybe you’re noticing these days many people are selling stuffs through Facebook, Sulit, eBay and Multiply. I suggests you should also do it especially if you have already a product in mind that you can sell. It is not hard to sell online, you only need to create an account so you could start your business.

Although, there are many ups and downs on starting your own business, you should not be afraid to do it especially if you have the supports from your parents and friends. It is a great venture that will give you deeper knowledge and experience about the business you are building and at the same time you can also provide employment to other people.

4. Learn to make money online

As what I said before, Internet provides many opportunities for people who are willing to earn money from the Internet. I am a living example of that. I’ve been earning money online for almost two years now through Google Adsense and other affiliate websites. You can see here my tutorial on how to make money from Google Adsense, just visit the link.

Before going to Korea, I also tried to sell some stuffs in eBay so I knew you could also earn from these methods. However, it is not easy and it requires hard work and patience. I have created a post about how can you start earning from eBay, check it out here.

5. Continue to apply

If you will stop applying, nothing will happen. Your duty is to continuously send your resume to the job openings posted in popular job boards and websites. Never give up, your patience will pay off. I’m sure.

In this tip, perhaps you need to update your resume and make it more appealing and easy to understand. You must start reading and learning on how to properly write a professional resume through some blogs or in YouTube.

You may also try to apply abroad if it allows you to do so. There are many opportunities you can get when you are hired by a foreign company from other country.

It is hard to make a plan on what to do when you don’t have the resources and the encouragement to create one. Unemployment, most of the time, paralyzes us to do the things that we should be doing so that we can get the right job and make us more productive.

I have been writing more topics lately about OFW finances to help them properly use and manage their hard-earned money. I’m also an OFW and I know most of the time, we don’t know where and how to spend our money in the most efficient way.

I would like to discuss with you some of the principles I am adopting and following right now in my life in terms of managing my finances. It is the funadamental lessons that every OFW and individuals should learn to achieve a right mindset on dealing with money.

More and more Filipinos are going abroad each day to work there for years away from their families. Most of the time, most of them are unprepared on the life they will face abroad in terms of emotional, physical, mental, spiritual and financial aspects.

As a way to help and reach some OFWs, because I know not all of them will read this post, I am dedicating several posts in this blog about personal finance and management for them. In the future, I want to write some topics that would also be helpful for them like topics on dealing with loneliness, family relationship, working plan, business, investments and many more.

Majority of OFW these days are lacking financial literacy because many of them were not taught and trained on the basic lessons of personal finance. It is the reason I would like to write more articles about this topic.

The first principle I learned about personal finance when I started working as an OFW is this: Spend less than what you earn. It is a fact that an OFW earns much more working abroad than in the Philippines that’s why many of them endure hardships and loneliness so they can provide more for their family’s needs.

Here is the list of my personal finance guide for OFW that you can follow and do. I hope this one helps you to manage your finances and have more money in your pocket.

1. Spend less than what you earn

This principle is a very basic lesson in personal finance but many people don’t follow it including me before I grasped its idea. You don’t need complicated knowledge or tools to understand this principle, a simple math will do.

If you are earning P20,000 a month, you should not spend more than P20,000. As much as possible, live your lifestyle below that amount. It is easier to say than done, right? There are many ways that you can adopt to help you spend less than what you earn.

One good advice that I can give to you is do not buy what you cannot afford. It is the first thing that you should do to stick below your income. It will be also advisable if you can make a budget or at least record your expenses so you can have information where you money goes.

2.Buy things that you know and understand

I like this principlev very much. Many OFW are buying “investments”, insurance, houses, cars and other properties in spite of lack of understanding and studying about the things they are buying. In the end, most of them fall into frauds and scams. If only they will study first and research which one is the most profitable and the best, their money will be more useful for them and they will avoid any scams out there.

Most people are afraid about investing or starting a business because they don’t know how it works or how can they start without prior experience. However, as you study and learn about the investing and business, your fear will be disappeared and you will get better confidence about your decisions. I want to say it again: Understand what you buy!

personal finance guide for OFW

3. Earn money as much as you can

As an OFW, we want to earn more so we can buy things that we want and provide more for our family’s needs. It is not evil to dream for more money, it is good as long as the motive and the method of acquiring money is legal and fair.

Maybe you are limited by the fact that you are working abroad so you cannot start a business to make more money. Actually, you can earn money aside from your job by learning how to invest. You may start investing in mutual funds or Philippine stocks. It is easy and simple to apply for a mutual fund or stock broker account even if you are working abroad.

However, you should furnish several application forms and documents that will be needed in your application. After that, you can send all forms and requirements via registered mail from the country you are working to the Philippines. In addition, you can also do some overtime if your job and company permits it so you can add extra money to your salary.

4. Save and invests money as much as you can

It is not enough to make more money, you have also to learn how to save and invest some portion of it. As an OFW, savings will be your emergency fund whenever something happened not according to your plan. OFW must give high priority in saving money because working abroad it is not permanent.

The time will come that you cannot work anymore or your company will not need you because someone is more capable. If you don’t believe it, it is time now because it will certainly happen. So when that time happen, you have enough money that you can use for starting a business of your own.

If you have enough savings, you can start investing some amount of your money. There are many ways on how to invest that is simple and easy for OFW. One of the best investments that you can start even if you are working abroad is mutual fund. You can apply for it by sending you application forms and requirements. Visit this link to learn more about investing mutual funds.

5. Give money as much as you can

Giving money is one of the things most OFW are doing with their money. It is the reason why most of them go abroad, to give and provide money for their family. They want to give it all in the point they cannot save anymore for themselves. It is not bad to give, it it is really good so you must give it as much and as I long as you can but you must not also forget to save some amount for your future.

Maybe we restrict our giving to our family only but you may also give to other people, your church or the community you are living. Giving is like planting a seed today, you can expect a harvest in the future not maybe in the form of money but in other things like respect and love from the people you helped.

These financial principles hopefully will give you some insights on how to deal with your money. It is better to use money in the right way than just spending it in meaningless stuffs. I wish this article helps you in some ways. If you like this article, follow me in Facebook and Twitter!

 

 

Recently, I was able to read some articles about the richest persons in the Philippines for 2012. The survey is released each year by Forbes magazine. Several Philippines blogs that I’m following are also posting this kind of topic because many people are curious and want to know who made it to the top. Actually, I also made a post about it in the past. Maybe I will also make another post in the future to keep you and me updated on that topic.

However, for this time, I want to write on the opposite topic. I want to make an article about the poorest persons in the Philippines in our present time. The list is not arranged based on the their level of poverty. Here it goes.

1. Mr. Juan Tamad

I would say many of us know Juan Tamad from our childhood days until now. He is the classic example of the poorest person in the Philippines. Why he’s poor? You know the answer. Being poor is not a sin because you cannot choose which family you would be born but being lazy is.

Laziness is one reason why many people are still in poverty. Most of them don’t want to work, they just rely on dole out of their parents, siblings and even the government. Laziness can be changed through right mindset and discipline.

I grew up from a poor family. I thanked my parents for providing me and my other sibling’s needs. They worked hard so we can go to school even they didn’t finish college. They are not lazy parents, they find ways on how to earn money in legal and fair ways.

I remembered when I was in first or second year high school, my father and I sold some curtains and garments for houses so that we can have extra money for our every day’s needs. It is one of my trainings that taught me the value of hard work and patience.

I know it is hard to get a job in the Philippines because of too much competition and low job creation of the private and government sector but it should not be a reason of not looking for ways on how to make money in legal ways. Don’t expect a high-paying job if you didn’t finish college. Get a job and work hard, it is one step in eliminating poverty.

2. Asiong Aksaya

Asiong Aksaya is a comic character famous for wasting of energy, water, gasoline and other energy sources. He was created by the famous comic creator Larry Alcala to promote awareness of energy saving.

Mr. Asiong Aksaya also belongs to the list of poorest persons in the Philippines. He is not lazy like Mr. Juan Tamad. Actually, he has been working for more than ten years in his present company.

Though he has been working for many years, Asiong doesn’t have any savings or properties of his own. He is still living in his parent’s old house together with his family.

Maybe you’re wondering why is he still living in that way? One good reason why Asiong is still in poverty is his spend-it-all habit after getting his salary. He doesn’t mind where he money goes as long as he is satisfied with what he buys.

Many people these days are like Asiong who thinks that resources and income they get from jobs will never end. He doesn’t know how to be frugal in some ways, all he wants is to spend and use all of his money in unproductive things. Most of his income just go to “waste” stuffs.

3. Sakana Lang

Ms. Sakana Lang has an attitude to delay all things that she wants to pursue. She doesn’t mind whether she can have the time to do things tomorrow or in the future.

She is also impatient for her work and easily get irritated and lose concentration whenever there’s a problem arising. Her favorite motto is “I will do it later.” Because of this attitude, Ms. Lang didn’t get a job since she always reason out that she can have it tomorrow or maybe next month until all job opportunities were gone.

Probably, in our present time, there are many persons that resemble Juan Tamad, Asiong Aksaya and Sakana Lang. I don’t know your situation right now and I don’t know if you are like the persons mentioned above. Somehow, maybe, we are like them.

It is your choice and responsibility to be or not to be like them. You don’t have to blame other people for what are you now. It is your life and decision after all why you are in your current situation.

 

Image by video48

I’m not against the usage of credit card because it is a great financial tool if use properly. However, it should be handled with care like a fragile glass because it will be broken if you carelessly use it. Your life will be “broken” too as a consequence.

Many people are asking me through this blog on how to apply for the best credit card. I’m not surprise about the dozens of comment I’m receiving about credit card because it gives more power for people to buy. But, on the other side, it gives also debt. Therefore, make sure to only use it if you have the capability to pay, otherwise, do not attempt to apply for one.

Good thing in the Philippines, it is harder to apply for a credit card than in other countries like US and Canada. I think it is one of the advantages in our financial and banking system, it is stricter in implementing the regulations of credit card.

Like what I said earlier, a credit card can help you in your financial ventures if it is used correctly. If you want to apply for a card, here are some of the suggestions that you may consider in choosing the best credit card for you and your family.

1. No Annual Fee

One of the features that you should be looking for the best credit card is that it must have no annual fee. Most of the credit card companies in the Philippines charge a yearly fee for using their card. However, I know one credit card offered by Metrobank which has no annual fee. I think you must check it by visiting a Metrobank branch nearest you or through their website.

The normal annual fee for a credit card ranges from P1,000 to P3,000 and any card that charges over that amount will too expensive for a fee. Before you choose a card, you should pay particular attention to this one or may be you can request to waive the annual fee.

2. Cash back rewards/points

I have been using my first and only credit card right now for more than 4 years. It’s a Samsung Bonus Point credit card that I applied in 2007 when I started working here in South Korea. One good thing why I like this card is it has a cash back rewards when you use it in partner stores and establishments. So far, I guess, the card accumulated more than $150 in cash back rewards.

Here in South Korea, we always used credit card in our purchases because of tax incentives and the cash back rewards that you can get. If we use cash, we cannot get some tax refunds at the end of the year so we rather use a credit card than cash when paying for something.

It is also convenient to use a card since you don’t need to bring lots of cash when you’re going to supermarkets. There’s no problem about credit card here because almost all stores, restaurants, marts and business establishments accept credit card for payment.

best credit card

3. Ease of application

The best credit card should be easy to apply. It should have a simple process of application and a detailed information about its features, fees and benefits that you can get.

You should look for an online application of the card you want since it will be more accessible to you anywhere you are even if you are outside the country or far away from the nearest bank. Remember you also need to submit some requirements even you apply online. The only difference is you fill out the application forms via the Internet.

4. Low charges and fees

You may start comparing cards by visiting the websites of your prospect cards that you want to get. I think all important information including fees and charges will be found in their website so there will be no problem about getting this info.

From the list you have, select the card with the lowest fees and charges, considering also the other features and benefits that it offers to card holders.

5. Additional perks and bonus

Some card companies give bonus in the form of gadget giveaways when you get a card in them, zero-installment plan on purchases of gadgets and appliances and so on. Make sure you also know this stuff so can take this advantage in the future especially if you are planning to buy appliances for your house.

6. Ability to pay bills online

The best credit card is the one that has a feature of online bills payment. It should allow you to pay your card bill through Internet banking and your bills can be viewed online.

Sometimes it will be hassle to go to the bank every time you will pay for bills. If you can do it online, it will be a great convenience and you will save a lot of time and money.

Applying for the best credit card is not easy because you have to consider many factors before you can get it. It is better to study first which credit card companies will be the best choice considering the suggestions I mentioned above.

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In my previous posts, I discussed there the primary benefits that you can get from investing in mutual funds and I also made a post why it is the best investment for OFW. But now, I would like to make a post why you should invest in mutual funds in more personal way based on my experience.

Perhaps you already know what mutual fund is. But for those people who are starting to study how mutual fund works, I want to give you a brief introduction about mutual fund.

Mutual fund, from the word itself, is a fund or pool of funds coming from individual investors and companies to create a single and mutual (cooperative) fund. Then, this fund (bigger than funds from individual investor) will be invested in stocks, high-yield savings account, government bonds, treasury bills, and other types of legal investments.

The fund will be managed by a professional manager chosen by the investment company you applied for an account. He is responsible for picking and selling of the stocks or other investments included in the prospectus.

It is just a short introduction about mutual fund. If you want to learn more about how it works, how to invest, how to choose the best mutual funds, and other things you want to know, you can visit this link.

So, let’s go back to the question: Why you should invest in mutual funds? Below are some of the answers I have in mind to give you an idea if it is the right investment for you.

1. You don’t have extra time to study and invest in the stock market

Investing in mutual funds is like investing in the stock market indirectly. This is only applicable if you have an equity or balanced fund. Maybe you already know that equity MF invests the fund 100% in stocks while balanced-fund invests only some portion of its money in stocks and other portions on bonds, treasury bills, savings account and others.

If you choose to invest in MF, you don’t have to worry about which stocks to buy since it is the task of the fund manager. The only thing you need to do is open a MF account and then deposit or add money to your account so you can buy a certain number of shares you want. After that, you will not do anything, you just wait until the NAVPS increase as the time goes by.

2. You have small amount of money for investing

Other investments like stocks or starting a business would require a large amount of money before you could start. However, some investments will only need small capital to start with like mutual funds. Actually, you can open or apply for an account for as low as P5,000. That’s a good capital to start with and easier to raise. After having an account, you could add and buy more MF as little as P1,000.

mutual funds

For employees and OFW like me, MF is a good start when you want to try investing your money aside from business or other money-making opportunities. Indeed, it is one of the best investment for OFW because it requires small capital, little knowledge and effort.

3. You want diversification

If you don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket, MF is one of the best options to do so especially if you want to buy several stocks in one time. In this case, you have to find out what equity fund is investing in the companies you like. Normally, you will know this thing through the prospectus of the fund that you can download in their website so you should get one to give you the information you need.

In addition, if you like to invest your money in a lower risk investment, you can do it by buying a fixed-income mutual fund rather the more aggressive and high-risk, equity fund.

4. You don’t want to always monitor your investment

One good thing about investing in mutual funds is that you don’t have to monitor regularly your investments unless you are planning to sell your shares. But, if you are planning for a long-term investment, you will not be force to look always your portfolio.

It is better to invest in longer years than one or two years. If you are saving money for retirement, putting some portion in mutual fund will be a better idea than all of your cash is sleeping in the bank.

5. You want your money to work more for you

The return or profit that you will get from mutual fund is far way better than regular savings account and time deposit. But, please be reminded that there is no guarantee that you earn in MF and it is not insured by PDIC unlike deposit accounts.

It is the reason, you should invest and hold it for a long time, maybe more than 5 years. In that way, you will be sure that your money will get its maximum potential earnings. The idea here is that your earning will be in average, some years there is high profit, some years there is low profit.

Investing in mutual fund can offer many benefits and potential earnings for the investor so don’t miss this opportunity. You don’t need a large amount of money to begin investing and even without knowledge about investment, you are very eligible to do so.