Monthly Archives: September 2016

The ultimate advantage of homeschooling your child

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When people learn that I am homeschooling my daughter, the reactions are extreme. I either get polite smiles, get bombarded with questions, or I am called a “super mom.” There are a lot of myths and wrong mindsets about homeschooling here in the Philippines. I understand this because homeschooling is a relatively new concept in this country. A lot of people think that homeschooling is not a proper venue for education as learning is done at home, the students learn at their own pace, and the teachers are the parents.

 

The usual questions I am asked are:

“Is homeschooling accredited with the DepEd? Is it legal?”

“When do you plan to send her to regular school?”

Not surprisingly, the most controversial question asked is:

“How do you make sure that your daughter gets enough socialization?”

 

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To answer the first question, yes, homeschooling is accredited with the DepEd and is legal in the Philippines. The educational institutions which facilitate homeschooling provide the necessary documents that a child needs in case the parents finally decide to enroll their child to a regular school.

 

Homeschooling is definitely not traditional and conventional. However, I want to emphasize the fact that homeschooling is an alternative way of education, not just a “trial” period in your child’s educational years. Homeschooling is at par with traditional schools, and in my opinion, even better. Don’t get me wrong. I am not underestimating traditional schools and teachers. I was educated in a co-ed Montessori school throughout my elementary and high school years. Also, I come from a family of teachers. My lola and mom were teachers, my sister is a preschool teacher, my sister-in-law is a teacher, and my husband is a teacher! Teachers are very dear to my heart and I have seen the effort they put into their work just to make sure that the students learn and enjoy.

 

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When I had my first child, I was blessed to be a part of a church community where homeschooling was the norm, and not the exception. I asked questions, I learned from other parents, and I observed homeschooled kids in all ages and sizes. One thing that I noticed was that homeschooled kids were, lo and behold, just like any normal kid! They were generally well-behaved. These kids even excelled in academics, sports, music, arts, and got into good universities. They had no problem with socializing, contrary to what most people think. Thus, when the time came that my eldest had to start school, my husband and I prayed, and decided that she would be homeschooled.

 

Homeschooling provides a way for parents to build a relationship with their children as they learn together. Lessons can be customized as you go along, depending on the child’s learning style. For instance, if the child is very interested in planets and dinosaurs, these can be incorporated with the Math, English, or Filipino subjects. If the lessons are about community helpers, you and your kids can go ahead and visit the local fire or police department and make them experience their lessons first-hand.

 

 

Of course, there will be difficult days. Until now, I have to continually re-learn things and make my explanations very kid-friendly. I am not trained as a teacher professionally so I rely solely on God’s grace. Your patience will be definitely tested especially if the lesson that you are teaching is not your strongest subject. You can hire a tutor if you feel that you are not capable of teaching a particular topic. Also, there are a lot of homeschooling communities, and these families support each other in the journey of homeschooling their kids.

 

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6 ESV

 

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One thing that made me decide to homeschool my daughter was that I would have a direct influence on her. The key to be successful in homeschooling is by being intentional. This means that you are always aware of the reason of why you are doing something. When my husband and I attended a homeschooling seminar, the first question that they asked was why we wanted to homeschool. I did not even hesitate with my answer. I wanted to be the main influence of my daughter during her formative years. Children are like sponges in the sense that they absorb all the information that is given to them. They imitate and conform to what they see. I wanted to train my kids and set their standards on God’s ways, not on the standards of this world. I wanted to be the first one to answer their questions on topics such as purity, relationships, success, drugs, depression, and other worldly issues, and not give my kids a distorted view on these things. I wanted their foundation to be very strong and rooted in Jesus that when the time comes to let them go, we will not worry about the world’s influence over them.

 

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Of course, homeschooling is not for everyone. However, if you feel like homeschooling is the best option for your child, them I am encouraging you with all my heart. When God calls you to do something, I assure you that He will give you all the wisdom, strength, and grace that you need.

 

 

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Oliver and Jas de Leon are a faithful volunteer of a community Church in Mandaluyong.

They were blessed with two children

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7 efficient ways how to make an ideal retirement budget

Guest Post by  Phil Bradford

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Planning a budget after retirement is not at all an easy task. You need to reshuffle the whole budget that you have been following for all these years. You’ve to make changes in your grocery expenses, debt payments, utility bill payments, medical bill payments, auto and home insurance payments, and other expenses. Phew! What a tedious job. Isn’t it? If this is what makes you depressed, then cheer up. I’m here to guide you all the way to make a perfect budget after your retirement.

 

How to make an ideal retirement budget

You are struggling hard to create a proper budget for this year after your retirement. Is that so? You’ve come a long way all these years, and I’m sure that you’ll use your past experiences while drafting a retirement budget. But before you start drafting your retirement budget for 2016, just recall all the past financial mistakes you’ve made. It’ll definitely help you make a perfect retirement budget.

Use your mind wisely when you’re composing your retirement budget. Remember, the cash flow is not the same that used to be before you got retired. So, you need to plan your budget according to that. If you’re still confused about how to prepare your retirement budget, then just have a look at the below-given points:

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Jot down your essential and non-essential expenses

An effective retirement budget is the one that has no room for extra expenses. To create such a budget, you need to eliminate all the unnecessary spendings. And, how will you do it? Well! For that, you need to divide your expenses list into three equal parts:

  • Essential monthly expenses – This list includes expenses such as food, clothing, housing, transportation and health care.
  • Non-essential monthly expenses – This part covers the cost of cable, cell phone, gym membership, entertainment, and so on.
  • Required non-monthly expenses – These include costs that may come up once a year such as property taxes, insurance premiums, auto registration, and home warranties. Calculate these costs on a monthly basis and don’t forget to add them to your monthly budget plan.

 

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Check out health care expenses before and after retirement

Health complications will only increase with age. So, you should prepare yourself beforehand for any medical crisis. If your employer has been paying your health insurance premiums all these years, then it’s time that you should think about it. Now, it’s your turn to pick up the tab. Ask your insurance agent about all the necessary details regarding your health insurance and include them in your monthly budget.

 

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Think of how you want to spend the retired days

The thought process can change a lot of things in your life. Take out time and sit down with your spouse to decide how you both wish to use your money after retirement. Think of the financial house where both of you want to make some renovations and use your nest egg accordingly. This would help you to make a more effective budget. Hence, both of you get to know your financial desires better.

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Go on with your financial education

Now that you have retired, don’t stop yourself from getting the financial education. You should continue doing your research regarding fiscal matters because it would help you to come out as a more financially responsible person. Staying up-to-date would benefit you in creating a budget that’ll suit your pocket. You can also change your budget as per the market requirement. So, financial education is a must.

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Make wise use of the grey matter

Make good use of the grey matter of your brain so that you can come out victorious as an intelligent money manager after your retirement. Try to be a smart consumer by switching to a pre-paid phone plan, buying things in bulk, closing your cable TV connection and using the Internet connection to its fullest, doing comparison shopping, and so on.

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Make savings the key mantra

One of the key points in budgeting is ‘savings’. The more you can save, the healthier will be your budget and the merrier will be your golden days. Apart from cutting down useless expenses, try to search for places where you can save more dollars. Consider sharing as a part of your financial regime to minimize your monthly expenses. Start sharing your home or car with your friends or family. Borrow a gardening tool or extra chairs for a family barbecue and so on. Be as much creative as you can.

I hope now you can create your retirement budget confidently.

 

Phil is a freelance writer. He deals with personal finance 90% of the time, and he loves preparing stories on travel, small business, entrepreneurship, pets, and lifestyle.

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7 Things You Should Focus On Between You, God and Your Finances

Guest post by Jennifer Yang

As a fresh graduate in 2010, I’ve always had difficulty keeping my finances in good shape. It took me 4 years to finally focus in finding a solution and even ask for help to solve my financial hurdles.

Last 2014, a good friend of mine gave me a book about finances and it’s role with God, entitled Rich For Life, more so this is the year that I surrendered my life to Jesus. That year, was when I finally made a decision to focus on improving my finances and my relationship with God. God certainly heard and answered my prayers. He placed me in a church that helped me grow my faith in Christ and He also lead me to my mentor in personal finance. Little did I know that my mentor would also turn out to be my best friend and husband-to-be. 🙂 ‘What you focus on will grow’ is the exact phrase to my experience.

Two years has passed since then and I’ve overcome financial and spiritual challenges by the grace of God and the people He has placed in my life. But what I want to emphasize to you are not the technicals nor strategies on personal finance. Instead, I want you to focus on what is truly important between you, God and your finances.

You, God and Your Finances

You can learn all the books, articles and even strategies in this world with the best mentors available, but without the proper perspective and focus you’ll lose sight of the most important things. I’ve listed down 7 points you should refocus on and also to see if your perspective in order.

 

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1. Focus on God as the Blesser, instead of the blessing He gives

During the time when I was spending more than what I am earning, I would always pray to God for provision. It was as if I’m looking to God as my genie who will grant my every wish. The blessing came, the provision covered what I needed but I was content. It was a cycle of asking God for provision, misuse of finance and then still feel lack. Have you ever felt the same way? I’ve learned that what I was yearning then was the blessing, the provision which will never satisfy my needs nor make me feel content.

Luke 4:14 ESV
“..but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

Money and well managed finances are necessities in this world, but they will never give is true happiness and contentment no matter how big the amount is. Only Jesus can give you a full life from which you will never feel lack and thirsty. Find Jesus and invite Him into your life and provision will always come even at the most unreasonable and impossible situations.

 

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2. Focus on being God’s steward, instead of having entitlement to your finances
Since God is the blesser and all of the blessings come from Him, therefore God owns everything. God is the creator and everything belongs to Him.

Psalm 24:1 ESV
The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof,[a]
the world and those who dwell therein

Yes, even the hard-earned money you have belongs to God. Then, what are our roles with the provision and wealth He has given us? We are God’s stewards. Once you understand that we do not own anything in this life, the feeling of entitlement will be gone and it is much easier to give and share to others. God knows our needs and once he knows that we are focused on honoring Him and glorifying Jesus, He will entrust us with His treasures and have us managed them. When we focus on God, wealth and multiplication of finances is much easier.

Malachi 3:10 ESV
10 Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.

 

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3. Focus on real wealth rather than richness and money
Have you ever heard of the story of King Solomon? Yes, King Solomon who had wealth beyond anyone has ever accumulated in the history of man, including fame, wisdom and women. And you would think anyone who has immense possession and stature will be content, happy and worry-free. Think again. Read the whole chapter 5 of Ecclesiastes, it is even entitled ‘The Vanity of Wealth and Honor’.

Ecclesiastes 5:10
10 He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity.

What then is real wealth? Real wealth can never be found here in this world. Earthly treasures and those what men deemed to be of importance to be pursued is worthless. Heavenly treasures are the ones our hearts must yearn for. We should long for Jesus, to honor Him and glorify Him. To be the women and men that is after God’s heart.

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4. Focus on your Purpose instead of financial problems
Never was there a season that we will not face difficulties and problems even in our finances. Truth is, nothing will be solved if you focus on your problems. To feel sad, disappointed and frustrated is not a bad thing, but mulling over these negative emotions are not productive nor will it do you any good.

Every winner and successful person has faced trials, but the difference is their focus. They focused on their purpose, the purpose that God has entrusted them to fulfill. Remember these words: When God has a purpose, provision will always come. 🙂 And this is only be possible through Jesus Christ! No matter what others will tell you, not whatever deceit or lies the enemy will whisper to your ears and heart, read and never forget these words:

Philippians 4:19 ESV
19 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

 

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5. Focus on financial education rather than quick gains
I’ve once been a impatient youth and has searched for quick profits and gains in the wrong places with the wrong focus. In short, I lost Php20,000 with and investment turned into a scam which what I thought was the ticket for me and my family to wealth. There is no such thing as a get rich quick scheme. That is too good to be true. Learn it from me and the rest of the financial advocates and victims from scams. Solid finances can only be gained through proper financial education and slow but steady discipline in growing your investments and legal businesses. Even King Solomon knows about it all too well in the book of Proverbs.

Proverbs 13:11 ESV
11 Wealth gained hastily[a] will dwindle,
but whoever gathers little by little will increase it.

Learn and be mentored by financial advocates and educators on the basic foundations of finances and investments. Before putting down your money on any investment, do your research, ask, learn the risks that are involved and managed your hard earned money well. Financial education is your first line of defense against scammers. Make financial literacy your priority over ROI and gains.

Proverbs 15:22 ESV
22 Without counsel plans fail,
but with many advisers they succeed.

 

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6. Focus on savings and investments, instead of spending
Saving and investing are habits, so is spending. Whichever you practice and focus most can determine your future financial status. Save up for emergencies, invest in your dreams and goals, and do not spend beyond your means. Prioritized your responsibilities such as utilities, paying your debts, provision for your family’s needs and for your future needs instead of splurging and spending it on unnecessary things. Go back to point one and keep in mind that you are a manager of God’s blessings, thus you must develop the discipline to save and grow the money that God has entrusted you with. If not, you will surely end up in poverty.

Proverbs 21:5 ESV
The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.

 

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7. Focus on winning long term rather than short term gains
This life is a marathon, a long marathon and everyone has different paths and stories. But only those who stay focused with long term goals and purpose in their life are able to sustain and win the race. There are far more precious goals than gaining wealth and finances. Life is too short to waste it on something as common as money. Earthly treasure will soon fade but only heavenly treasures will last for eternity. When you understand and accept the purpose that God has given you, only then will you find your long term goals. You only have one life to live, live it well, make the most out of it and win long term rather short lived gains. Lay down your life and passions to goals that truly matters and will never fade.

1 John 2:16-17
16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life[a]—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

 

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Jennifer is a freelance writer and blogger at JennifersMeraki.com who has the passion to share personal finance and entrepreneurship. She’s also a financial advocate and associate trainer in IMG.

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What does hypnosis have to do with personal finance?

Guest post by Savipra Gorospe

It may seem far off from each other. However, managing your finances is more of psychological in nature. You see, we have two minds. First, we have the Conscious mind wherein our waking hours and awareness belongs. It’s the realm of reason and decision. The second one is called the Subconscious mind. It’s the realm of emotion and where every bit of our memory is stored. Our mind can be resembled to an iceberg. Our conscious mind only accounts for 14.28% while the chunk of 85.72% belongs to our subconscious. When making a decision, your conscious mind is a mere flea compared to the gargantuan within. Most of the time, our decisions are based on emotion then justify it with reason afterwards.

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We’re not logical as we would like to think, we’re psycho-logical beings after all. One such thing that our subconscious affects our life is when we try to stop smoking. Consciously, we may decide to quit, but then find ourselves reverting back to the same old routine. It also applies to going to the gym or stopping procrastinating. (Because there is what we call the CRITICAL FACTOR of the conscious mind. It’s meant to preserve the status quo, it promotes homeostasis so that we do not accept any suggestions given to us right away. One way, it’s good, but it also gives conflict when we introduce self-enhancing belief to a self-limiting one.)

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In personal finance, such as expand in, we consciously know it’s for the better of our future, however we give in to the urges and impulses governed by the subconscious. Being hypnotized is basically being conditioned in such a way that our map of the world encompasses a particular scope of belief. Such as our upbringing, if we’re led to believe that there is only the rat race, it will be our way of living. Most families succumbed to this mindset because this is the map of the world that prevailed during the old industry. However, today, technological advances are popping up here and there, but the mindset fails to catch up. When a client comes to me for hypnosis, they are already hypnotized. What I merely do is to dispel the limiting belief system that their parents, environment, upbringing, and life experience has led them to believe.

 

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This applies in our finances as well. Old habits die hard. That’s why a lot of people earn more than enough money but when you ask them about their financial foundation, they aren’t even protected. How do we propose a solution in developing and cultivating our subconscious mind to make lasting changes with our finances? Let’s go back to the subconscious and conscious mind. When we educate people about managing their finances, if you teach them one time, would be like pouring water to a bucket. Teach them a lot of times, the bucket can only fill so much. The water is not the problem, but the bucket. The size of the bucket must expand in order to contain larger amounts of water. How do we expand? How do we make lasting changes within our subconscious? To the very core of our belief system especially with our personal finance strategy?

 

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Savipra Gorospe is an International Certified Hypnotherapist specializing in conversational hypnosis, Philippine Regulatory Commission (PRC) Licensed Psycho metrician, and an active Affiliate Member of the Psychological Association of the Philippines (PAP) under the Assessment Division. He has been in the field of personality profiling for 7 years with expertise in Lie spotting, Micro expressions, and MBTI. He is also a Marketing Director and Financial Educator at International Marketing Group, an organization that advocates financial literacy to families. For more information, visit his website at www.savipra.com.

 

 

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How Illegal Drugs can Destroy Your Finances

Guest post by Kyle Kam

Between hearing about the President’s war on drugs and learning all about what addiction is, you might be wondering exactly how substance abuse ruins lives. It’s a fact that substance abuse does more than ruin a person’s health and relationships; it can also destroy your finances.

 

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A person addicted to illegal drugs deals with a very heavy financial cost. Their addiction and the need to fuel it also affects their friends and family – in more ways than is often told. Dr. Luis F. Dumlao, Dean of the John Gokongwei School of Management wrote that it doesn’t take an elementary school graduate to see the harmful effects of substance abuse, but here’s a look at how illegal drugs can destroy your finances.

 

 

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Spending to fuel the addiction

Addiction is fueled by any number of factors, and while addicts eventually become aware that the addiction is unsatisfying, they will take in more of it in the hopes that consuming more provides the satisfaction or the relief they crave.

On average, a smoker will spend Php 45,625 a year on cigarettes – the nicotine in which creates an addiction. Imagine then how much someone addicted to any number of illegal drugs will spend to get a fix. In the US, it’s estimated that someone addicted to methamphetamines will spend $ 4,000 a year or more. That’s Php 186,378 a year – or more – if the addiction is worse.

 

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Loss of income

Someone heavily addicted to an illegal substance needs it to function – more than they have a drive to get up in the morning to work. They will miss work frequently or eventually quit because of their addiction.

An illegal substance reduces a person’s ability to think clearly, if not function at all while they ride out the high. As a result, they will miss out on the possibility of adding more income. The loss of a source of income to allow them to keep buying their drug of choice will eventually have them selling possessions in order to get more cash to get more drugs.

It only gets worse as the addiction spirals out of control. They will resort to borrowing money irresponsibly, or much worse, just to be able to get their high.

 

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Bills and other costs

Too much of anything is never good for one’s health – this is truer in the case of substances that can actually cause deterioration in your body. Drug users on some of the more dangerous substances will develop health problems, and in the worst case scenario, fall victim to an overdose.

It takes thousands of Pesos to treat someone for an overdose, and that’s if they didn’t try something exotic to introduce the drug into their system. Then there’s the toll it takes on the people who want to help. They will spend tens of thousands more to enroll an addict in rehab, in the hopes it’ll stick and their friend/family member will recover.

 

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Final thoughts

Many will dismiss someone addicted as hopeless and completely useless to society, when the fact is that these are people who’ve had extremely bad days. In the absence of having people who’d be able to help them through it, they’ve filled the void with substances that remove them from everything they feel.

If you know someone, or are someone recovering from substance abuse, know that the first focus is to get better. It’s difficult, and sometimes, people will fall off the wagon, but the most important thing is to heal.

 

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Author Bio:

Kyle Kam is a Digital Marketing Specialist of MoneyMax.ph, a financial comparison website aiming to help Filipinos save money through diligent comparisons of financial products.

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