February 26, 2010

Buying a Memorial Plan

Posted in personal, planning at 2:01 am by kimsan23

Dying is a fact of life….

When a person dies, it’s not just about ceasing to live and getting buried but also about preparations for a wake, getting permits, looking for a mortuary, buying a coffin, as well arranging a burial or cremation.  These processes cost money and could be quite expensive if spent on one at a time during the time a person dies.

The practical thing to do nowadays is to invest in a good memorial plan.  It doesn’t have to be a very lavish or expensive one, a simple one works too as long as all the basic services are there.

Last week, I bought a basic memorial plan to prepare for my own demise.  No, I do not plan to die soon— I just want to make sure that when the time comes, no one will have to worry about where to get the money for all my expenses as well as how to go about the various arrangements (permits, venue, religious services, cremation etc.)

I paid for a plan over 100k in full and am totally happy about the package I got.  The nice thing about the plan is that it starts earning money next year because I paid in full.  If I had paid in installments, it only starts earning after 5 years.

The plan comes with all basic mortuary services and a cash/insurance benefit as well.   There will be money for my legal heirs as well as enough for me to get any additional services like a cremation.

In short, the investment can grow and the great thing about it is also that I could sell or transfer the plan to absolutely anyone.   Selling the plan immediately guarantees an interest over what I initially paid.  Transferring it to a friend or family member ensures that they do not pay ridiculously high fees for funeral/mortuary services.

Of course, buying the plan put a huge dent in my savings but hey it’s considered a good investment, one that also earns over time and will relieve your loved ones of having to panic if and when it’s your time.


January 25, 2010

A review of 2009 Goals

Posted in personal, planning at 9:45 pm by kimsan23

Last 2009, I made a list of actual financial, career and business goals.  Here is what actually happened to those:

1. Find more freelance work to earn more:

2009 did not bring me a lot of freelance work, just a few engagements since I was very very busy!

  • managed to teach a few more self defense classes and make some money out of those
  • did a few interviews for radios and research projects (LGBT related work) which did pay a some fees (quite unexpectedly)
  • a bazaar that I joined.  we were able to make a good profit out of selling stationery and handmade notebooks.
  • few baking orders came in as well but were not enough.  I also  made a bit selling my father’s Siopao.

2.  Close a book writing contract

  • FAIL!  (wasn’t able to do this–the book I revised and edited in the end of 2008 won’t be printed til the moddle of this year.)

3. Close another book editing/revision job

  • FAIL!  (wasn’t able to do this–the book I revised and edited in the end of 2008 won’t be printed til the moddle of this year.)

4. Manage to open a “Paglingap” time deposit through work

  • Didn’t do this as the risk was a bit too high.  However, I was able to open a new bank account in GE Money Bank!  It’s growing and doing pretty well.  In relation to bank accounts,  my BDO time deposit will be on it’s second year this April.

5. Get more involved in sports activities

  • I got myself into boxing starting July 2009.  It’s a great hobby and I’ve lost a bit more than 10 pounds since I started.  I am continuing that this year.

6. Get more training for professional growth

  • Just Six Sigma…nothing else.  So I consider this a FAIL!

7. Pay off car

This one is tough but I was able to successfully pay every month of the year without fail. One year and 9 months more to go!

I am hoping that 2010 will be a bit more dynamic in terms of being able to augment my income a bit more.  My 1 million goal doesn’t seem too far off anymore– specially when I look at how I am doing in terms of savings.    Still, there has to be a way to make things go faster!

For the record, this my blogs’ 3rd year…and I have not given up.

January 5, 2010

Welcome 2010!

Posted in personal, planning at 3:31 am by kimsan23

Welcome 2010!

As part of my New Year’s list of resolutions, I have decided to update this blog more frequently than just once a month.  I even missed November and December due to a lot of pre, during and post holiday stress.

I’d like to thank my readers for staying on despite my inability to update often.  2010 will be a much more informative year for everyone as I further document my progress.

In a nutshell, the whole 2009 was a  difficult year.  The recession in the US caught up pretty quickly with us as seen in the rise in gasoline prices.  Despite that, my finances were stable but I put money in the wrong places at the start of the year (technically, Dec. 2008).  Right now, I have yet to collect off some debts someone owes me and it’s tough!  I could have had more money if I didn’t invest in a car sales business.  Well at least they are paying me little by little but it’s still a debt.  The food business idea tanked, it was actually “awarded” to someone else– therefore I stopped getting customers– for the reason being I won’t gain from it (financially).

On the upside, my liquid assets have increased and I am almost halfway to my goal.  Whew!  If it weren’t for so much car maintenance I had to pay for this year (total at about 20k), I’d be a bit richer.  Towards the end of the year, I got into a stationery making business.  I sold notepads of different shapes and sizes as Christmas giveaways.  That brought in a few thousands but still not enough.  That small venture is actually inspiring me to open a stationery, card making, handmade notebook business instead.  On the other had, investing in putting up a net cafe is also appealing to me.

This year brings a lot of promise and I am also hoping to add some more business options to my money making menu.

2010 future highlights:

  1. Start a business center (fax, e-mail, PC rental, photocopy, risograph services)
  2. Start a net cafe
  3. Continue selling stationery
  4. Launch a recording artist (won’t say who yet)
  5. Produce an album of Christmas songs (by a composer friend of mine)

I’m doing a lot of this on my own or with a few close friends.  I just really want to make sure I make the best choice/s possible.  So for each item, I have decided to make a checklist which will outline the following:

  1. Capital needed
  2. Resources needed
  3. Income per month
  4. ROI after 3, 6 9 and 12 mos.
  5. Other risk factors

I know it looks like a short list but having put up a business before, this list extends into a lot of other mini lists not to mention some additional items I may have to add.

Scarily though, my Feng Shui reading looks promising for 2010.  It says that I will find the quick pace of 2010 very much to my liking and will be keen to look for new possibilities and opportunities. I must make use of all the openings and opportunities that present themselves during this year. Teamwork will feature strongly and I will progress further and faster in my career if I bear this in mind. My financial situation will be promising and good during 2010 with a possible increase in income as well as a sum of money coming to me during the year. I must be careful to be disciplined about spending and not make too many impulse buys!  May, September and November see the most interesting career changes.  In other readings, it does say that I need to work doubly hard to reach my goals and that I may want to pursue studying this year as well.  Work doubly hard?  I already work like an Ox!  And studying is a bit out of the question but I can’t deny that I have received some very strong suggestions regarding pursuing further studies.  I am a firm believer in doing big things and making big decisions one at a time.  At this point, I don’t think I can quit my job to study.  And if you think I could study AND work…well not at this office.

Still, no matter what my horoscope says, I am determiend to experience a windfall of luck this year.


July 29, 2009

Beating the Recession

Posted in obstacles, planning, saving tips, Uncategorized at 2:48 pm by kimsan23

A few months ago, a friend of mine heard a guy in a convenience store ranting about how the recession only affects “rich” people.  The comment was basically like this:

Recession?  We normal people won’t get affected by that!  It’s a problem for rich people!

I am surprised at how uninformed (or in denial) many people are when it comes to the ongoing recession in the USA.  Of course, analysts are saying that the market is picking up and getting better but you see, try not to get your hopes us too high!  25 years of making financial mistakes won’t be repaired in a year…thankfully, it won’t take another 25 years as well.  Give or take 5 years and hopefully, the economy experiences a full turnaround in favor of the consumer.

In the US, people are spending less to battle the economic situation.   They taking steps to ensure financial stability on an individual level.  Just because the recession has made a direct hit on the US market, doesn’t mean that we are not affected.

For the call center and BPO industry, it could go up or down.  US based clients may outsource more given the tight budget they currently have or may close down some business which may result to outsourced projects being canceled.  I myself have heard of a number of small business BPOs that have shut down Philippine operations because of account/client cancellation.  So you see, no matter how far away the US is from us, we are also directly affected by the economic crisis.

The US economic situation affects everyone involved in global business no matter how big or small…from the owner of the business down to the laborer.  this is a reality that many people are not accepting and non-acceptance leads to being complacent and carelessness.

Even when one is seemingly unaffected by the economic crisis, it is always advisable to be ready for any financial emergency.  Fuel prices are rising again (it just went up by 2 pesos) and normally, consumer good prices would rise as well.  Services will also become less cost efficient and many people will have to exert extra effort to maintain their lifestyles.

Beating the recession is not an easy lifestyle change but IT CAN BE DONE.

Many of things I’ve written in my blog lead basically to achieving financial freedom.  Now it takes on another role, gaining financial security amd preparedness.

1. Don’t cut down on savings, cut down on spending.  Prices have gone up but I still manage  to save the same amount of money I used to save even before the recession hit.  Remember, savings first before spending!

2. Cut down on leisurely activities or downgrade.  Instead of eating out 3 times a week, reduce it to once…etc.

3. Plan for meals at home and packed meals to save on food bills.

4. Unplug electrical appliances when not in use.  Put your airconditioner on timer settings if you must use it when you go to bed.  It saves on electric bills.

5. Try your best to reduce habits like smoking and alcohol.  These are expensive habits that could cost you a lot of money lost in the long run, not to mention they’re quite unhealthy as well.

6. Don’t invest your heard-earned money in get rich quick schemes, you may just lose it!  (Been there, done that and learned!)

7. If you are in debt, start getting out of it NOW.  Try these tips on becoming DEBT FREE.

If all of make a conscious effort to battle the recession by cutting down on spending without cutting it out  completely (which is impossible and if done, the market will definitely crash!), it would be easier for us to prepare for many financial emergencies that could affect our way of life.

May 22, 2009

It’s BONUS time!

Posted in 4 Steps to Financial Freedom, extra income, planning at 3:07 pm by kimsan23

Most of us in the Philippines don’t get our bonuses til Christmas season.  Some of us get it quarterly or in the middle of the year.

I work for a company that has paid out bonuses both in the middle and at the end of the year.  They basically split the 13th month bonus (a mandatory gov’t benefit) in half.  The first half is given to the employee at the end of May, so that employees with kids could pay for enrollment and other school fees.  The other half is given on the first payday of December just in time for Christmas shopping.

For people who don’t understand our salary structure here in the Philippines, it’s basically this:

  1. 13 month pay – required by the government.  If an employee separates from a company before the year is over, he still gets the pro-rated value of this bonus.  It’s normally factored into a salary as more of a forced-savings kind of thing.  This bonus is non-taxable up to 30k pesos.  Beyond 30k is taxed.
  2. 15th and 30th paydays – most companies schedule paydays twice a month.  it’s normally the 15th and 30th of each month.  Other companies have it on the 20th and 5th of each month and others have their own schedules.  This is designed to help people budget their money for 15 days til the next payday comes.
  3. Additional bonuses – are really up to the company.  Some companies give a 14th-16th month bonus, quarterly bonus or mid-year bonus.  This is usually dependent on the financial standing and performance/productivity of the company.  It’s not mandated by law so it could be cancelled by the company at any time.

So how do you normally spend your bonus?  Since you’d already know at what time of the year it’s coming, it’s always wise to plot your spending in a chart or list so that you could maximize the benefit of the bonus.

Many people don’t have a plan, that’s why they end up spending all of their bonus without having a chance to save any of it.

Ever since I started becoming financially conscious, I’ve decided to always have a plan of sorts for any money that comes in on top of my current salary.  Even if I am fully aware that my bonus is coming, I still treat it as “extra income”.

My advantage really is that I don’t anyone to send to school.  And the tendency of people like me is basically to buy the newest electronic toy in the market.  As long as you have planned to put your money there, no problem.  Just make sure you are prepared for any other spending you might have to do.

Stick to the essentials before rewarding yourself with a big ticket item.  What do you need now?  Do you need to repair your car or home?  Make a list of what you need to spend on and what you want to spend on.  That way,  you could prioritize.

Guide questions:

  1. How much of this bonus should I put into savings? (I’d say answer this first before splurging on anything else.)
  2. How much should I use to pay for my debt? (Credit card, loans…etc.)
  3. Do I need money for my car or my house? (Unless you have established a separate fund for this, you need to ask yourself that question)
  4. Do I have enough to invest in a business?
  5. Do I have enough for my kids’/siblings’ school tuition and other fees?

and finally…

What can I reward myself with this money when I’m done allocating it to what I need?

Prioritize your spending specially when you come into a big amount of money.  This way, you will maximize the use of the most important employee you have in your life…MONEY.

Money doesn’t complain…doesn’t charge overtime…doesn’t take breaks and does all the work for you for as long as the price is right.  Make your best employee, money– work for your benefit.

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