Tag Archives: Guest Post

The ultimate advantage of homeschooling your child



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?”




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.




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




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.



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.




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

Businessman working on tablet computer - producing charts and reports


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:



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.


Medical costs concept

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.


Pair of beach loungers on the deserted coast sea

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.


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.


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.


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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Filed under Financial Advice, Financial Change, Financial Coach

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.



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.


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.



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.



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.




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.




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.




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.




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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Filed under Determination, Finance Talk, Finance Tips, Financial Coach

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.



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.)


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.




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?



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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Filed under Finances, Financial Advice, Financial Literacy

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.





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.





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.



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.




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.


Eminem Recovery Wallpaper 5


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.



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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Filed under Finance Is Not A Rocket Science



Have you ever wondered why money is so hard to manage? I used to think about that a lot when I was just starting out. Then, later on in life, we discover techniques as to how to save money. We learn how to budget, we learn about the impact of investments, and we learn different ways of how to win long term. If you don’t know these things yet, we have several articles in this same website that talk about that, too. In this article, we’re going to talk about the things you must have before investing.




1. Purpose

When we see people invest, we are sometimes just astonished by how well they handle their investments. We are also given this drive to invest because we see the growth of their money. I mean, really? 9.5% PA? Who doesn’t want that? But guess what… it isn’t that simple. These people, like it or not, have a purpose as to why they are investing. As a Bancassurance Sales Executive. I’ve encountered people who handle their investments well. You know what their common denominator is? Purpose. They know WHY they are investing. Some are saving up for retirement, some are just adding a bit of growth for next year’s tuition fee, and some are already placing their funds so that their children and grandchildren could benefit from their money without the tax eating it all up. Whatever your purpose is, you need to know what exactly that is. The people who usually fail in investments are those who do not know why they are investing in the first place. “Growth” isn’t just going to cut it.
Each purpose has a different timeline, ergo, a different investment body. You might invest in the right fund with the wrong purpose. Don’t ever, ever make that mistake. Pray about it. Your money is meant to be handled with good stewardship.

2. Budget Discipline

Read up. Know your basic budgeting system. How can you invest if you don’t know how to make a budget plan? A budget plan is really important. I think, of all the 3 things in this article, this is the one you probably know about already. You need to be disciplined in following this plan.
I failed many times in this area. You know what my problem was? I knew how to make a budget plan. It was easy! It only took simple math! What was hard was applying it. It took GREAT discipline. Before making a budget plan, pray for it first and pray for the discipline that comes with it. You cannot do it alone. More often that, you’re going to compromise a budget plan for a simple want. Discipline yourself. Stick to the PURPOSE of the budget plan. If you want to know how to make a budget plan, refer to the other articles in this website that talk about it.

3. Emergency Fund

Many people think that this is savings. That is a big NO. An Emergency Fund is a fund that you build so that if an emergency comes along that will require a lot of money, you wouldn’t have to sacrifice your savings and investments. An emergency can put all your hard work down the drain. Years of saving and investing will get to waste if you do not have an emergency fund. This is the wall you build to protect your savings and investments from life’s uncertainties. If you do not have this, you are exposing your investments to more risks than it already has. An ideal emergency fund is 3-6 times the amount of your monthly salary. It’s going to take some time but you won’t regret it.
Remember, these things change with the times. Finance keeps up and changes every time. Make sure that you do, too. Because if you don’t study up and read every now and then, finances could be really tricky for you. Instead of money being a blessing, in might end up being a burden without correct stewardship.
To sum it all up, just make sure why you’re investing. Once you know why you need to invest, use that as a driving force to discipline yourself to create a budget that is required for you to be able to reach your financial goals. Once you are already consistent with the budget plan that you have, build your emergency fund. After you have all of these things, then it’s time for you to know more and to get yourself in the market because you are financially ready.
I pray to God that He will give you the discernment as to what your financial path is going to be. In the end, don’t let these 3 things hinder you if God is instructing you to do something else with your finances. After all, everything that we have, including our finances, are His. He has the final authority in everything that we do. I’ll let you in on a secret; this is the best thing that you could do with your finances: surrender it to Him. Let Him have the final say because that is the benchmark of being a great steward.
Jay Ganotan is a  Former Radio Jock at Jam 88.3 and currently a Bancassurance Sales Executive at BPI – Philam Life Assurance Corporation. He Studied Communication at De La Salle University

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Filed under Behavioral, Finance Advocate

Top 3 Powerful Lessons That Made A Difference With My Personal Finance

When we were growing up, not every one of us was taught how to handle our finances. The great concept we are told when we were young is to study well, so that we can get a decent work with a good salary to assure our family’s good wealth, our children’s education, purchase our dream car and dream house but, ta-da! Surprise! Unfortunately, a decent job won’t just do it all.

When I started working, I was surprised that even if I already got a high-paying job, finances is still a difficult concern. So here, let me share to you these powerful points that brought change to my personal finance.


A magnifying glass hovering over several words like deceptions and lies, at the center of which is Facts



When we say, “know the facts,” I encourage you to first know your own financial profile. Those who are already in the investment industry are already aware of the financial profile survey usually have to be filled out first before signing up or during signing up for an investment, but more than that we can take part in simple ways to figure out and understand our own financial views and behavior. Let me share to you how I do mine:


Here is an example of a personal monthly budgeting which I also apply with my own finances. In this simple way, I figure out how much I would be spending for a month and to what is it allotted for, also knowing how much I can save or place as an investment it makes me aware and well-informed on how my finances’ flow. I do this every month, making it a habit sustains a healthy attitude and makes wise with my spending. After this, you can now expand your knowledge about investments that are best suitable for you! Engage in facts! Study! Learn! And always know the facts!



Don’t be afraid to make it simple, don’t even make it complicated. You don’t need to be a Math genius to figure this one out. The important thing is that YOU KNOW. It makes you one step ahead to being financially wise.






Now that you are one step ahead, after you figure out the current flow of your finances, it’s time to lay down the things that you want to save up for or you need to prepare for. Considering the table stated on point number one can also give you a timeline of when you could purchase the thing you desire, or when to start your own investment in a specified time only if you keep the discipline of being consistent and sticking to the concept. Let me also share to you these questions that I answer before I plan, purchase or invest on something:


-Do I want it? (If NO, then don’t. If YES then answer the second question)

-Do I need it? (If NO, then don’t. If YES then answer the third question)

-Can I afford it? (If NO, then don’t. If YES, GO! )


But be careful because the third question is sometimes tricky, sometimes we can afford it only if we would compromise something, if you are to compromise something just because of the thing that you are desiring to purchase, DON’T.


Fear concept with word eraser and pencil on white background




It’s okay to be cautious, but if you being cautious is keeping you from possible opportunities to expand your financial wellness, then I believe that is fear. But if you use fear as an advantage and motivation to expand your financial wellness, then you are on a great path!

Fear is normal. It is in our nature, our instinct. If experts aren’t afraid of losing financial wellness, coming up with an insurance, investment and other financial wellness concepts couldn’t have been possible. It is up to you on how you would use your financial fears to your advantage.


Now that you know the facts, and you understand your priorities well, and removed fear out of the guideline, let me leave you with this one simple point that can bring a difference to your personal finance —-




Criselda Dejuras is a Bancassurance Sales Executive at BPI-PHILAM who excels in her work in spreading financial literacy in the country today,

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Filed under Behavioral, Behavioral Finance, Clarity

Long-Term Investing

Guest Post by Rex Pascual

This article will talk about building wealth through long term investing in stocks.
Some years ago, I started working in the financial industry as an account representative for a small brokerage firm. My uncle was one of my clients, and he was anxious to invest with me. Through research, I picked a small company that made the tools so that scientists and researchers can do their job well. My uncle bought shares of this company. Within 3 weeks I made my uncle 50% on his initial investment. From there, I never looked back.


Although this 3 week time frame may seem very short to long term investors, I just wanted to illustrate the power of investing as a whole. My uncle was so happy that I made 50% for him. He proceeded to use the gains on the stock position to do major repairs on his car. The money really came in handy.
Now it may seem that long term investing does pose risks, and to be honest, any investment poses risks. Many people throughout my career have told me that stocks are risky and that investing is gambling. To that I say, yes, stock market investing is a form of gambling. You put your money on a position hoping to sell that position in the future at a higher price. Buy low and sell high, right?


As an example, I cite the Google IPO (initial public offering). Google went public on August 19, 2004, at $85US per share. That may seem a bit high to many of us, but think of how Google has performed since then? Google now is approximately $772US per share, a staggering 808% performance! $10,000 invested in Google at the IPO would be worth $8,080,000 now! Sure it was a gamble, but who would have thought that Google would be such a technology powerhouse?

Now I’m not saying that finding the next Google is easy, and there are professional money managers whose job it is to find the next Google. For the rest of us, we do our research on companies that are well known, whose products and services we already use and love. These are the companies that have seen the test of time, have weathered the storm and are still with us. These are the types of companies that deserve our investment dollars. Who hasn’t heard of Coca Cola or General Electric, or General Motors, or even WalMart?
These are the companies who sell products to you and me year after year. They are in it for the long term, and many of them pay dividends to their shareholders. These are the companies that, on occasion split their stock to make it more affordable for you and me. These are the stocks to build wealth.


Thank you investors for your time. I truly believe that you can and should build wealth through long term stock investing.


Rex Pascual is the owner of Trading US Stocks, a soon to be FINRA member ( www.finra.org ) in the US. Mr. Pascual is currently building the business so that Filipino investors can gain access to the US stock market. For further information, kindly email him at info@tradingusstocks.com or Viber him at +15624450126


Filed under Finance Tips, Growth

JOY in talking about money


Guest post by Avic Tatlonghari owner of littlegreatjoys

For a long time, I made myself believe that I did not need much help on managing finances. After all, I was pretty good at it – paying all my bills, living within my means (or so I thought) and saving a little here and there.

How wrong I was! I need help as much as everybody else does. It does not matter whether one has an advanced degree in finance or one is totally clueless about financial jargon. We all need that kind of help. Most specially when one is married.

Money is one of the causes of breakdown in many kinds of relationships. And marriage, having children, moving from two incomes to one, or having two incomes and yet not being on the same page when it comes to financial decisions, would all lead to some degree of tension. And if one is not careful, it will slowly steal away the joy in the relationship and one ends up wondering what has gone wrong.

And so every year, Pido and I set up a date to talk about our financial goals and plans. He loves to call it our Financial Conference so we would take it a little more seriously. We usually do it after the weeklong prayer and fasting. We want to make sure that we have individually prayed about our concerns on finances before consulting each other. We want to make sure that we are clearly reminded of some fundamentals before we lay out our financial plans.

During the long train ride from Saitama to Tokyo and then to Chiba prefecture (to see the beautiful newborn of the Gomezes), we did the Tatlonghari kind of FinCon.

We agreed to do the following:



1. To believe that God has been providing all our needs and that He has been faithful and will always be faithful in doing so.

We have so many financial aspirations. We want to have a lot of money. We want to buy so many things. We want to be ready for retirement. And we have a lot of needs. And so before all these crowd our hearts with ideas on how to reach all these financial goals, we wanted to make sure that our hearts are in the right place. We wanted to be in a position of gratitude, not in a position of entitlement. We wanted to remind ourselves that everything we have is from the Lord. Everything we have is a gift. And all the things we do not have are not enough reasons for us to think that God failed to provide. We pointed our hearts back to the great provider.





2. To trust God as our source.

It does not really matter if we have a lot or very little. Trusting God and seeing Him as our source say a lot about our relationship with the Lord. When we trust Him as the source, not our income, not our employers, not our host country that provides employment opportunities, not our spouse, not ourselves, we are putting our finances in the realm where faith works. Trusting Him has allowed me to dream of owning properties we would not be able to have given our single income and burgeoning needs. It has allowed me not to put pressure on my husband to go home and bring as much money as he could because I wanted a lifestyle he could not afford. It has allowed me to have a certain kind of peace that things are going to be provided for anyway and I can do my part in the best way I can and watch God move.




3. To put God first.

I love reading financial books that do not only provide tools to help manage our finances, but also put premium on giving our tithes faithfully and being generous to others as prerequisites to having financial freedom and peace. And so even before we started talking about the things we needed to do this year to meet our financial targets, we reminded ourselves to be accountable to each other when it comes to giving our tithes. We also decided to pray about being generous in our giving, specially in planting seeds in good soil. In the past, we have supported a few missionaries in small ways because we felt that we wanted to be a part of what God was doing in the nations they were trying to reach. We prayed to be blessed so we could bless our extended families and those God wants us to bless.



4. To be good stewards of resources entrusted to us.

It was a big step of faith when we jumped from being a two income family to a single income one, more than three years ago. We were not prepared for it. I often wished we had heeded the advice of living within the income of my husband only and saving my income during the early years of our marriage. We now give that same advice to new couples. The issue is not really about whether the wife/mother wants to work after having kids. The choice to stay home or be a working mom is neither good nor bad. I think the greater issue is whether she has to work because there is no other choice, because the lifestyle that the family has chosen to live and enjoy would require both people working so many hours a week to bring home more bucks. And so as good stewards we learned to embrace how to use certain tools to live within our means. Pido and I talked about changing our mindset about being debt-free; agreed to write down our goals and be very careful with writing and following our budget; planned how to reach our target emergency fund this year; put a deadline to pay all kinds of debt including mortgage in the next two years; talked about investment we could make and the types of insurance we should prioritize; decided to scale down our lifestyle and postpone our dream trip we have been planning to make when we turn 40 next year; emphasized the need to set aside money for celebrations most specially anniversaries because they are important to our marriage; and committed to doing each other’s role with excellence so we could reach our target.

We still need a lot of help and practice in this area. We still need to learn from our mentors who have gone ahead of us and have made wise financial decisions. We still need to read a lot of books and re-visit the way we budget, spend and save. We still need to work hard in order to have the seed money for our dream business and investments. We still have to learn how to communicate better, fight less, and work together as a team so we would make decisions according to what God wants us to do with the resources He entrusted to us. We will still need to keep asking for forgiveness and to give our sincere and immediate “I forgive you” when one of us makes mistakes and a silly financial decision.

Talking about money with one’s spouse does not not only bring both of you on the same page as you manage your resources; it also makes you fall in love with the other person more and more as you listen to his/her faith, fears, dreams, secret prayers, disappointment, frustrations, and regrets. Talking about money gives you a chance to rediscover the other person and makes you see that it is really not just about the money. It is also about remembering two types of very important covenants- the covenant God has with us and the covenant of marriage to this other person God has given us.



God is our provider. We just need to take time to remember. And maybe, talk about it a little more often until we get to a place where we can trust God completely, surrender our fears and doubts; give thanks despite lack and loss; and bask in the promise that He will be there for all our future needs, in His perfect ways and in His time.

Originally posted 


Avic Castillo-Tatlonghari is the blessed wife of Pido, a trying hard stay-at-home mom of Adana and a Filipino trying to live to the fullest, discovering all my little great joys, here in Japan. She would loved to hear from you. You can reach her through her  e-mail at avictatlonghari@yahoo.com


Filed under Financial Literacy, Mindset

Top 5 Things I Have Learned And Still Learning To Be Successful Financially

Guest post by Tatiana Cyrile Alvarez-Castro a Fellow Chartered Financial Practitioner


Before I begin to share with you the learnings in my journey to financial success, I would like to share with you 3 principles that are guiding me in this path to success.



1. There is only one limited commodity on earth and that is time. We are all given 24 hours in a day. Other people are more successful because they are willing to do more, learn more and be more given the same limited resource.
2. There is abundance of resources all around us.
3. We can only accomplish something when we can. Decide when we can. Do when we can. All of us will reach that time when we cannot anymore.


You may choose to read the whole article from top to bottom or just choose one learning and put the article down. I have learned that the best way to really learn is by absorbing bits and pieces at a time, chewing on that piece and savoring the flavor. Decide then if you want to swallow it or spit it out. I am suggesting this because I also did not learn the top 5 things in one sitting. It involved different events and evolving belief systems in the duration of my life.


Here now are my top 5:


awareness (1)

(1) Awareness
Awareness of where I am and where I want to go.
Financial Success is the destination. In order to go there, you first need to know where that is by defining what is financial success for you. We all have our unique description of what that is.

These are a few of my descriptions of my destination:
(a) Affording quality and quantity time with my family.
(b) Having 2 vehicles. One for my husband and one for me.
(c) Having a house that is in a nice location near the church, hospital, school and mall.
(d) Being able to send my son to the school with high standards where tuition is usually high.
(e) Travel abroad once a year as a family.
(f) Local travels with the family at least 3 times a year.
(g) Affording to give significantly to charity or someone in need anytime.

I also need to know where I am as of the moment. These are a few questions I need to answer.
How much am I earning? — I am earning X number of pesos.
Can I afford now what I listed earlier? — Not all of them as of the moment.
How much more do I need to earn?
How much do I need to set aside?
If I cannot afford it now? Am I willing to do something about it?



(2) Focus
What you focus on, expands. Focus on the problem, the problem gets bigger or more will come. It is like a carrying a glass of water. The longer you carry it, the heavier it feels.  Focus, instead, on finding a solution and you will marvel at what you can accomplish.  Set an appointment with yourself and allow yourself to go deep into thought. Ask yourself what you can do and list down all that come into mind. Do you still have time to spare to earn more? Do you need to change jobs or look for an additional source of income? Are you happy where you are? Do we need to find ways to fall in-love with what you do all over again for you to be more productive? Studies have shown that you are more productive at work when you like what you do. You may also want to list down your talents. It may be another source of income.



(3) Delayed Gratification
Delayed gratification is a crucial part of financial success. Delayed gratification is putting off satisfaction for the short-term in order to enjoy greater rewards in the long-term. Example, I love going to the movies at least once a week. Instead of going to the movies 4 times a month with my family, we will just limit it to 2 times a month. A movie date would usually cost around 1,000 including the food. In lessening the movie dates from 4 to 2 in a month, I would have 2,000 to re-allocate every month and set it aside for one of my future plans like having a comfortable retirement. I may also choose to save and invest the 2,000 every month for five years and withdraw it later for a dream vacation with my family.




(4) Seek Counsel
Always have somebody better than you to ask about the different areas in your life. In marriage, talk to somebody who is happily married.  In book-keeping and taxes, seek advice or services from an expert. When going into a work-out, it is best to seek a trainer or coach to get the best routine for your preference and body type. In finances, it is also best to seek advise from an expert or from someone you know who is doing better than you.  Even financial advisors need  advise from other financial advisors to get a better perspective and clearer picture. Doctors need other doctors as a barber needs another barber to get a decent haircut.



(5) Education
Everybody can earn more.  The best way to start is through education. It is the best investment that has the potential to double or triple your income.
You can start with free education. There are free seminars, on-line articles, shows on t.v., video clips on youtube and more that offer trainings on finances, how to handle money, how to improve your craft, and how to be better at whatever you do.
When you have the funds, you can put more value into what you do by buying books, attending paid trainings, and earning yourself an additional title.
Keep your options open. When somebody says, “open-minded ka ba?”, you may want to listen. It may be what you are looking for. Just be careful to separate the decent ones from the scams. Allow yourself to make mistakes and learn from them. It is faster to learn that way as compared to waiting for the best time when you have already mastered something. Remember that experience it the best teacher and learning from other peoples experience is even better because you will not have to go through the mistakes they have gone through.

After listing down all the things that I learned, I can say that financial success is also a journey as much as it is a destination. You are also successful every time you learn more, grow more and be more of what you are. You are successful also when your increase in personal value increases the value of another person.




Tatiana Cyrile Alvarez-Castro is a self-confessed student of life. She considers every situation a learning experience.
Her parents have been in the wealth creation, preservation and risk-management business since she was three years old. She decided to join the same industry her parents are in when she was 32 years old.
Now 7 years in the practice of being a financial advisor, and 3 years as a unit manager; she still welcomes new learnings from diverse fields to be a more effective advisor and leader. Last year, she graduated as a Fellow Chartered Financial Practitioner.


Filed under Behavioral Finance, Cash Is King