Showing posts with label What's Your Experience? Investment Advocates Share Their Stories. Show all posts
Showing posts with label What's Your Experience? Investment Advocates Share Their Stories. Show all posts

"In Getting Life Insurance, Choose the Right and Best Partner Company " - Tita Helen, Investment Advocate

I met Tita Helen (not her real name) during my presentation to her daughter which happens to be my friend. I was amazed on how passionate she is and encouraged her daughter to sign up for a plan right away. 

You see, things like investing is important to discuss among family members. Parents inspire their children or vice versa to take charge of their future. Do you agree? So make saving for the future a family affair. 

When I began to ask about her experience and where the passion is coming from, she decided to share it with us.

Here it goes:

It was in the late 1990s, when my husband and I got our very first life insurance policies. Life is good back then because of our business so we wanted to secure our family’s future especially for our children. We were able to send our four daughters to good schools and I must say, our family is well provided for at that time. 

But there was something unexpected happened to our family business and after a decade, we decided to stop its operation.

We were so devastated at that time. Monthly bills and children’s tuition fees continue to increase yet our bank savings accounts were dropped to almost zero. And we got no choice but to discontinue paying for our policies. I deeply regret that decision because I am a firm believer of life insurance because of the benefits our family had received over the years.

My husband began to look for a job and we decided that I will take care of our children instead. Thus, I became a housewife.

Two years later, I received an envelope from Sun Life (yes, we got our policies from them) thinking that since we were not able to pay anymore, it might be a demand letter or something obliging us to pay for the policies. So, I decided to keep the envelope and not to read it. 

And then, someone from their head office was calling us and asking if we have read the letter and encash the check already. So I asked myself, “What check are they talking about? Don’t they know we’re not paying our policies anymore?”

But I trusted my instinct to look for the envelope which I almost forgot where I put it. Luckily, I found it and was surprised to see the check that had an amount more than we actually paid for.

I read the letter, this was because of demutualization.

I got this from their website: “Demutualization benefits are benefits that were issued to eligible Sun Life policyholders during the company’s conversion from a mutual insurance company to a publicly traded company.”

Who would have thought there exists a company like Sun Life? It was when the time you had nothing or just simply started out again to cope up from business’ loss, and then you received something you never thought possible.

From then on, I always share this to my family and friends. And also, to our children. In getting life insurance plans, it is important to choose the right and best partner company that will fulfill its mission from generations to generations. 

Also, to start investing as early as they can so they will reap the rewards early too.

And I won't definitely forget what Tita Helen shared as she ended her story:

Do you know someone who has experienced the same?

photo: source

"In investing, time matters a lot and not timing." - Thomas, Investment Advocate

I love hearing stories from people on how they started investing and especially what they do when there is economic crisis. And now, let me share with you an inspiring journey of a good friend, whose name withheld upon request. But let us call him Thomas.

The Beginning

I started investing in Mutual Funds in 2000 after our family went on a tailspin and experienced Asian Financial crisis in 1997. My mom was working in real estate brokerage at that time and that was our main source of family’s income. We were not rich to start with but my mother was really hardworking, diligent and dedicated to lift us from poverty to an extremely well-off life. We had a nice, big house and cars.  My brother had plans of studying abroad and I planned of becoming a doctor. 

What will you do when there is economic crisis? (photo: google)

The good life, so it seems, would never end. Then surprising twist of fate happened and all that we have are gone. We did not lose everything immediately, maybe because we were in state of denial that we will overcome the crisis and we will bounce back sooner than expected. But it did not happen. All our plans went down the drain. And we lost everything - the cars, the endless allowance, the partying, road trips, all the food that you can eat, stuff that you like to buy without thinking about the cost. It then hit me that I need to be thinking differently when it comes to finances. Making money is hard, keeping them is harder. You work then you get paid. How hard can that be? You get paid then you must have enough discipline to keep most of the money or make them grow and multiply, well, you need skills, discipline and info analysis.

The Turning Point

I read in a newspaper about a new, controversial book that tackles finances and wealth: Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. I bought one and read it five times. Of all the asset classes that were discussed, Mutual Fund is the easiest for me to get into. I made my research regarding the topic and after half a year of reading thoroughly about it, I made a few calls to some financial institutions that offer Mutual Fund investment. I chose one and wrote the cheque for the initial deposit (Php5,000) and few more cheques for the subsequent top-ups or investments (back in 2002, the minimum was Php500). 

"Because of What My Parents Taught Me, I own a Property and Car before 30" - Leo, Investment Advocate

Dear friends, let me share with you an inspiring journey of a Financial Advocate who attended our very first Financial Planning seminar with his friends two years ago, invited our team to conduct seminar in their company to educate his colleagues and I can say that he really is passionate in spreading financial literacy to all his friends and loved ones. 

Friends, let me introduce with you a good friend, Leo Manalaysay. Here's his exact words.

I'm 31 years old and youngest among 5 siblings. I've been working as an IT Programmer for almost 10 years. I'm still single and living with my mother. Also, I'm a fitness enthusiast, runner and a Financial Advocate. 

What I learned from parents or loved ones about saving

Save for the rainy days / build emergency fund
Our parents always remind us that life is like a wheel. Life has a cycle. When you're on top (or when you have everything you want) it doesn't mean you will stay there or have any thing you like forever. So it would be better to save as much as possible especially when you are at the peak of your career. You are still capable of working. Because when the time comes that you can no longer work anymore or your business is not profitable as before, you have this "fund" which you can use for emergency or to start another business.

Delayed Gratification

At an age early age, our parents taught us the difference between needs and wants. There was a time when I really want to have a console game like Nintedo, Sega, Gameboy because my friends had those. But my parents didn't buy me one. They taught us golden lesson instead. "Kapag nagtrabaho ka na, malalaman mo na kung gaano kahirap kitain ang pera, mabibili mo na ang gusto mo bilhin at maintindihan mo kung ano ang dapat sa hindi dapat bilhin".

Also, I always remember my Tatay telling us that we should not get envy to other people's fancy cars, signature clothes, or expensive gadgets. Our parents taught us to be frugal. I often hear them saying, "hayaan mo sila mauna bumili, makakabili ka rin nyan at kapag mayroon ka na. sigurado luma na yung kanila".

Leo with his family
Stay away from Debt

My parents trained us to spend in cash only. If you can't pay in cash, that means you can't afford it yet. We know a lot of families who suffer financial disaster because of irresponsible accumulation of debt. Some of them availed loans from banks to buy a brandnew car or property. But after a few years, they can no longer afford to pay the amortization and they have no other choice but to give up what they have.

Save, save, save

There was a time when my brother from US sent me USD100 as a Christmas gift. I don't know what to do with it and no idea what to buy. So my Nanay told me if I'll spend it right away, I can only buy few things but if I'll allow it to grow or put it in the bank instead, I will be surprised of what the money can buy in the future. "Habang nagiipon ka, hindi mo agad mapapansin na palago nang palago ang ipon mo at habang lumalago, mas sisipagin ka pang magipon".

Save for retirement 

Our parents trained us well to be financially responsible - to stand on our own. Right now, my mother is already retired but she is financially independent. She have a 8 commercial apartments in Bulacan that the income is more than enough to supply her simple lifestyle. Because of that, she never asked or obliged my siblings and I to give her money.

Money principle/mindset/attitude I want to share with you

1. God is our provider. He is able. We are just a steward of His blessing. Your possession is not all yours. You are blessed so that you can bless other people.

2. Money is not the most important thing in life but it does affect everything that is important.

3. Do not compromise your integrity with money. It's easy to earn money than to win back your integrity.

4. You should save and invest more than you spend for a long period of time.

5. Live simply and be grateful of what you have.

6. As long as you already established a good financial foundation (Emergency funds, long-term investments, Life insurance, Savings, Debt Free), you can spend and enjoy your money in vacation or anything you want to buy

7. Health is Wealth. Have a healthy lifestyle so that you can enjoy your life and achieve your dreams

8. Look for a mentor, financial adviser, attend seminars or buy a book.  I'm an avid follower of Suze Orman, Randell tiongson, Efren Cruz, Dennis Sy, Salve Dupluito, Chinky Tan, and Francisco Colayco. Here are some of my favorite shows: Suze Orman's
"Can I Afford It" and "Salve say so" segment in ANC On The Money.

What does my asset allocation/savings look like

I'm using a spreadsheet to monitor my income and savings allocation. Also, I'm using the auto-debit features of BPI expressonline. I have the following fund for each of my needs and goals:
  • Emergency fund (6 months equivalent to my monthly expenses) 
  • Tithe for the church 
  • Travel fund (I love to travel)
  • Life Insurance fund (for my annual premiums)
  • Long-term investment fund (to invest in stock market)
  • Retirement fund (to invest in pooled funds like Mutual Funds, UITF, VUL and Multipurpose Cooperative
  • Life Dreams fund: House Building fund or "Wedding fund" kung sakali man may dumating hahaha

Because of what my parents taught me, I was able to buy my own property and car before the age of 30. 

(Update as of February 2015)

Leo is currently taking up certification for Associate Financial Planner or AFP under the training of Mr. Efren Ll. Cruz. He is also one of the admins of Filipino Financial Freedom Forum group on facebook.

"Investing 3 Years Ago Was The Best Decision I Have Made" - Daisy, Investment Advocate

One of the reasons why I created this blog is not only for me to share my knowledge and experiences when it comes to financial planning and investing but also for my clients' experiences as well.  If you are my client or will be someday, I encourage you to tell the world your financial journey. Not to brag, but to inspire others. To become a full-pledged Investment Advocate. Don't you worry, we're in this together. We will journey together.  

Just this afternoon, I received a message from my bestest bud and Investment Advocate Daisy telling me that she already emailed her article. And when I read it, I can't help but to cry for a while. Oh yes, it was tears of joy! Imagine this: you have been friends for more than a decade now, you consider her as your best friend and every time I wanted to share or at least encouraged her to invest, she would say "no". But that didn't stop me and after 3-4 times of presentation, she finally said, "yes!" Hooray! 

This happened three years ago.

photo: source
And now, Daisy wants to share her financial story and journey with you. Here's her exact words:
What my 20s has taught me…

This is supposed to be an article about financial planning and stuff. So let’s start with that. I have to be honest, I wasn’t a fan of financial planning. Let’s face it, when we’re young and just starting to earn our own money, our priority is not really our tomorrow but our now. I mean, who actually thinks of saving up for the future or investing when you can just buy the latest gadget or branded clothes and accessories when payday comes. I used to convince myself that I deserve to reward myself with things that I did not get to buy when I was younger and wasn’t earning my own money yet. Though I have heard many times then that it’s better to start investing and saving while still young and very much able, I didn’t listen. I often tell myself then that I was too young to actually take life seriously. I guess we always use our youth as an excuse not to be responsible for our own lives.

I have always considered myself a responsible person. I never had my parents apologize for my behavior, either to our neighbors or to the guidance counselor. I don’t stay up late when I know I have an early class the next day. I study my lessons thoroughly before exams. As much as possible, I don’t ask my parents to buy me things that aren’t necessary. In college, I seldom drink, and it wasn’t even a significant amount. That’s how responsible I was as a kid. So when I graduated, had a job, and eventually earned my own money, I had to admit, I felt powerful and more importantly, free. I remember splurging on clothes one time upon receiving my second salary (I had to pay off some people with my first one). I celebrated the day when I don’t have to think much whether to buy something or not. I have more than enough to spend anyway, so why bother. Sure, I was able to start up my savings. The thing was, I did it after all the spending. That was the last priority. Sure, I was helping a bit in household expenses. After all, I was and still am living in my parents’ house.

Daisy and yours truly. Left photo: during our college graduation in PLM (circa 2005). The right photo was taken in 2012.
That went on and on for years. I guess being single totally has its perks. Lesser obligations, lesser commitment. Every penny spent was up to my choosing. Sure, I was able to buy some things of value for my family and invest in myself through further education. Not bad for a self-proclaimed financial idiot. But I guess somehow, at the back of my mind, I knew something needs to be done. Until the day my best friend talked sense into me. When she told me the first time about financial planning, honestly, I was the least ecstatic, hesitant even. It’s not that I wasn’t interested, it’s just that, well, its jargon to me. The idea of investing was novel to me. For me, the thought of expanding your financial horizon was unheard of. I actually thought investing was something only the older ones do. Yet she was able to explain things to me in a way that even a feeble mind would understand. She was patient enough to answer all my questions, even those I asked before but forgot what the reply was. She not only made me realize things that I didn’t take into consideration before but taught me how to value life and everything else that goes with it. Yes, financial planning was the matter but life was the core, the very reason we try to plan and prepare. Plan for the future and prepare for the unknown.

I guess what I’m trying to say is this, enjoy your youth, have fun while you’re young. But keep in mind that what’s more fun than simply having fun is having fun while prepping for your future. Investing is not just for the older ones. It definitely is for everyone and hey, it’s always better to start young. I started investing just three years ago. And in my 29 years of existence, so far, that was the best decision I have made. So I guess it’s never too late. At least now I know that whatever happens, I won’t falter. I’m fully equipped and ready as ever to combat the blows. Life is uncertain. And I now believe that the best way to beat ambiguity is to plan and prepare. 

So what did my 20s taught me? Simple, seize your now and groom your future.

Advocate Lysa Started the Year by Giving

Last November when Lysa went to Manila, she finally decided to get an Investment plan. I met her thru my brother Jon and we eventually became friends. One day, I received a call from her asking if I can share some thoughts since she's planning to do something special on her birthday. She wanted to celebrate it with the kids of Gloria Christi Regis (she loves kids, by the way) and will teach them to create their dream boards. I learned about dream boards from Bo Sanchez wherein you get a clear vision of what kind of life you want to have. 

That moment,  made me reminisced the feeling I had when I shared a part of me with others which I want to do again. Read it here. And what Lysa did on the first day of the year - happened to be her birthday is really worth sharing, too.

As we welcomed the new year, Lysa started the year by giving. With the help of her family and friends in Tagum City, Davao del Norte (where she lives), they made the day a meaningful one!

With her permission to post, let these photos do the talking for me. :)

Lysa's friends who prepared materials (colored pencils, magazines cut-outs, glue & scissors) and assisted the kids in doing their dream boards.

Dream Boards.
Lysa let some kids explained their work.
Group photo. Lysa, her family and friends with the kids of Gloria Christi Regis. 

I'm so happy for you, Lysa! May God continue to bless you and your loved ones abundantly so you can share more to others.

"Children will not remember you for the material things you provided but for the feeling that you cherished them." - Richard L. Evans

"Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return." (Luke 6:38)

Gadgets vs Mutual Funds: Where do you invest?

It's a day after the payday weekend and iPhone 5 is out in the market. Who's buying it? I can see a raise of hands! But there's one investment advocate who wants to share something to you if you are planning to buy the latest gadget in town. And especially if you just have started your career, her story is for you. Lets call her Nicole as she doesn't want to reveal her identity for now. Here's her story:

First day of September marked my 1st year in my career! Happy Anniversary to me! 

For the first twelve months of my career, I can say that I really learned a lot, met new people from all walks of life and have grown as a “young” professional. And in line with this, I had financial growth too. But I have a confession to make. I’m sure some of you especially those with my age can relate with my declaration of guilt.

Confession of a Young Professional 
As a first time employee who earns her own money, I spent a lot in clothing, shoes and accessories. Surely, what a girl wants! My sisters told me it is normal during the first six months to a year of working. It is a way of treating yourself with a pat on the back. But as time went by, I realized since I’m not in a customer-facing service, I do not need to wear different set of new clothes all the time. Being dressed in my most comfortable clothes which I already worn weeks ago and put on my jacket that suits with it. I don’t care much now since I always work in front of a laptop.

Aside from that, I spent a lot eating in fancy restaurants and watching a lot of movies which I do until now. I deserve some break but do you have any idea how many movies I get to watch a month? Three movies a month! Yes, you read it right. I have the opportunity to achieve my target emergency fund in the bank if I only cut back my movie ticket purchases. And I know, that’s not normal anymore. So I am controlling myself now. Though I spent some of my earnings on clothes, accessories etc., I’m thankful that I don’t own a single credit card which I can use for emergency purposes if I choose to have one because I bought everything on cash only. Most importantly, I don’t spend too much on gadgets.

Because of the advancement of technology, most people nowadays tend to invest in gadgets. Also, there is an army of advertisements who will rob your money if you will buy the newest gadget in the market. There is nothing wrong with it but try to understand that its value depreciates rapidly. As for me, I only have my laptop and a dual-sim touch screen phone that I really love. That’s enough for me. What I only bought from my hard-earned money was a digicam that is very convenient when travelling since it’s handy and great in taking pictures with its 16 megapixels feature.

So aside from my personal purchases, where do I put my money? I got three answers: Emergency Fund, Mutual Fund and Life Insurance (VUL). And those will definitely last long because my savings will grow because of the time value of money. Do you want to know how much my money now in my Mutual Funds account? It becomes (drumroll, please):

Investment Amount  Php10,000
Value (as of Sept. 17, 2012) Php11,570.83
          or 15.71% growth

I started investing in Mutual Funds when I just started my career same as my VUL (Insurance with Investment) plan. The amount is not as big (for now) but compared to the bank's interest rate of not more than 1% per year, I'm very happy with the growth of my savings. 
Moreover, I’m following the 70-20-10 rule or sometimes, 60-30-10 rule where I put my 30% of earnings in the bank, investments and insurance. And of course, my tithes.

I am thankful to have mentors and blogs like this (SYF) who always guides me in my finances as early and as young as I am now. I invested on things that will definitely appreciate through time and will not depreciate like if you only invest it in gadgets, clothing, etc. You really have to know what your needs are and your wants. And be thankful on the things you already have.

Years from now, I believe I will tell myself, “Nicole, you did the right thing! You made the right choice! No regrets at all! I’m so proud of you!”

There is still time and that time is NOW. Start saving. Start investing. Start now!

"Life is too short. Don't waste time." - Dona Noynay

In my line of work, true enough, relatives are very hard to convince and motivate in investing their savings in an Investment Plan like VULs (Sun MaxiLink Prime). Every time we have family gatherings, I always tell her to invest part of her savings which will give her an average of 10% compounded annually but she kept on saying, 'saka na lang cuz'. Then after two (2) years, yes you read it right, she finally decided to get her Insurance with Investment plan which is the VUL. 

Sun Life Investment Advocate, Dona
Just this evening, while I'm browsing facebook, I'm surprised when I saw and read my cousin's thought on Sun Life's Sun Shorts entitled "Life In a Day" (I will be sharing with you the videos about it in my succeeding posts). At this very moment, her thoughts really inspired me and I just can't help myself not to share with you what has been featured in Sun Life's page. 

To my cousin and client, ate Dona Noynay, you are truly a certified Investment Advocate ❤ Lets continue to spread financial literacy to fellow Filipinos.

Advocate Jenny wants you to meet her 'Lechie'

We already shared with you my youngest sister, Jenny's story about investing early because time is our greatest ally. Click here to read the complete article. And now, she wants you to meet her 'Lechie'. Let's hear it again from her as she shares how saving money becomes a habit.  

As I told you, I am fond of saving to my piggy banks. Here is one of them! -Jenny

Meet Lechie!

One day in 2009, my relative from Australia gave me her spare peso coins before leaving the Philippines. These coins were very shiny that I can’t think of spending them and so I thought of keeping them. My big brother treated me this piggy bank. It was an orange one so I named it as “Lechie” as it looks like a real lechon.

Advocate Jenny with her 'Lechie'

I put these new coins to this piggy bank as some people do such but here’s the catch, “Lechie” only accepts 5 and 10 peso coins. There’s also a note attached on its right side and it says “PLEASE GIVE ME P5 & P10 COINS! Thank you! *itat#e lang niya ang piso.” Haha! So sometimes my family members give some of their extra coins because “Lechie” is open to everyone but of course I was the one who’s really devoted on putting coins.

It took almost 2 years to make it very full. It really became a lechon, very fat and heavy. So at 30th day of October 2011, it was the time to kill “Lechie” with the help of my Dad.

My Dad, together with my two sisters and mom, helped me count the coins. It was very cute experience because I didn’t expect them to help me and it was fun to do this not-so-ordinary thing together. But the total money I saved up was more unexpected! It inspired my dad to save up and he said he will use a bigger piggy bank! Guess how much money “Lechie” has! It’s x,xx0.00 php! Whoa! It’s amazing! I’m looking forward to keep more and save more!

Lechie December 2009 - October 2011

Bye “Lechie” and thank you for keeping my money safely! 

First-time Employee Jenny says, "I Don't Wanna Be Left Behind"

I consider our Investment Advocate, Jenny Noynay (my youngest sister) so blessed for having the opportunity to work with an international provider of technologies, products and solutions company weeks before her graduation this year. Moreover, she already opened her investment account while she was still studying last September 2010. 

Ohh, if only I could turn back time I wish I started investing at a very young age same as Jenny who will be sharing her story with us. But it's never too early or too late to start investing. 

Lets hear it straight from her as she inspires us to plan ahead because our greatest ally is time.

Investment Advocate Jenny says,
"I Don't Wanna Be Left Behind"
"As I heard that my big sister will be having an insurance and investment, my "childishness and envy" filled in me that I signed myself up right away. I did not understand anything but by having this two-in-one plan, I will be insured and at the same time, I will become richer in the future. How cool being called an "Investor" at a young age. The feeling was amazing!
But that does not stop me from seeking more advises and learn new things about my finances. As I graduated in college and had my first work, I followed the 70-20-10 rule. 70% of my income will go to my expenses, 20% on my investments/savings and 10% on tithes.  I grabbed a full investment plan and Mutual Funds (my 20% or sometimes my 10% investment + 10% savings). Oh my gosh. The feeling is very satisfying as I am sure I am secured in the future. Well, it is not only actually for me, but also for my family. 
Also, I do not forget having an emergency fund/savings account. I am fond of saving 5 peso coins to my piggy banks. I don't even own a credit card as I know in myself that I am an impulsive buyer. Oh, I am very excited with how much my money will grow! Say goodbye to "working for money" and say hello to "letting your money work on you".
I am proud to say that I am one of the few who invest early as most Filipinos do not know anything from these, sadly. I know I am not one of them who spend more than they earn. 
I am not selfish as I share this knowledge through my online accounts like Facebook and Twitter. 
So if you are reading this, what are you waiting for. Do not be left behind."

What's Your Experience?

 Watch out as Investment Advocates share how they planned their finances here in our blog.