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Tips to #LiveBetter with Vitality in 2018

Happy New Year! Every new year means new beginnings and the first few weeks of the year is a good opportunity to develop new lifestyle habits. These minor lifestyle tweaks are what it would take to reach different goals.

An example is waking up earlier than usual like 5am. This is one of my favorite new year resolutions that I actually started before the end of 2017. Vlogger Sam Ozkural inspired me to do it, watch her video on how waking up early can change your life:

Many of our goals can be categorized into relationships, career, finances, and health. At a glance they look so different from each other but they’re actually so interconnected. An example is when you’re healthy you’d be able to perform better at work, possibly get that promotion that will improve your finances, and allow you to take care of your relationships such as family, especially your children.

Quick and Easy to Do Wellness Hacks to Try in 2018

Taking this example, here are things you can do now to improve your health and spread wellness in all aspects of your life:

1. Relax your senses with scented candles as you destress after a long day at work. You deserve these few minutes of peace and quiet. It’s a simple way to love yourself more and feel taken cared of.

2. Squeeze in a few minutes of fitness no matter where you are. I recommend using any type of resistance bands. They’re portable, affordable, easy to store, and you can find full body workouts on YouTube that use resistance bands. If you’re new to working out, this is a good and practical way to start.

 

Tip: Watch Camp #LiveBetter for inspiration on how to get fit outside of the gym. You’ll also learn fitness tips straight from celebrities Solenn Heussaf, Nico Bolzico, and Raymond Gutierrez. Camp #LiveBetter is a total wellness game show powered by Philam Vitality that will help contestants train harder, eat healthier, and manage their finances better.

 

3. Fuel your body with complex carbs like brown rice or biodynamic rice. From my own experience, brown rice is the easiest way to lose belly fat. I even think they help in building abs! I’m not a nutritionist so try it for yourself in 2018 and let me know how brown rice helps you.

 

4. Worry less about your finances by making informed choices. One of the worries we’ll always have is money. But, if we take charge of our financial wellness by learning more then we’d fear less about the future and enjoy our life more.

Make it one of your habits to check out financial products from different companies. Here are 3 financial products to check out from Philam Life:

Active Money Works

Active Family Provider

Active Health Invest Plus

You can read about other financial products from this blog here. Contact a registered financial planner or a licensed financial adviser if you’re interested to know more about these investment and insurance plans.

5. Make every day count. Days make up weeks, months, and an entire year. Don’t wait for tomorrow and rob yourself of achieving your goals and living your life to the fullest. One of my mantras this year is to “just go” because sometimes, overthinking gets us nowhere and as they say – action speaks louder than words. Try to squeeze the most out of each day. Make every day the best day of your life.

 

What are your New Year resolutions and goals? Please share your tips and motivational thought via comments below! 

Mommy Lace is a blogger from the Philippines. She started this blog to share information on pregnancy, breastfeeding, childcare, family, and health.

Teaching Kids the Value of Investing

The common misconception is that kids may be too young to be taught about how to handle their money. But the danger behind this is we assume that children will not be able to understand what saving means even after we have taught them. So instead of actually teaching them earlier, we wait a couple of more years when they are almost an adults to teach them the importance of delaying gratification.

Turning investment into a family activity

Obviously, you cannot start their financial literacy lessons with terms like diversified portfolios and mutual funds. Start with the basics like saving money. Simply telling them saving money does not mean you get to spend it all in one go. While it is important to buy things that will add value or generally make you happy, it also pays to delay gratification. What this means is if they want a toy now, they would have to forego buying sweets for a couple of weeks so that they can buy the toy and still have money left in their piggy bank.

 

When you see improvements on how they handle the money you give them that is when you slowly give them an idea about what investing means. Tell them the difference between saving money and making it grow by investing it. You can tell them that investing is one of the ways they can make more money out of the money they have now. Maybe you can start with simpler concepts to grasp like stocks — which is buying a tiny piece of a company, and then telling them the importance of being on top of that company’s performance.

 

Adapt to your children’s learning style

Some kids get bored when you simply define terms to them, especially on a topic like this. The best way to deal with this problem is knowing your children’s preferred learning style. Some kids understand concepts more when there are stories involved. Maybe you can talk about your experience with saving and investing money, the first time you chose a company to invest in and the day-to-day tracking you are doing to make sure they are performing well.

 

Some kids are more visual, which means they might want to see graphs and pictures while you are explaining. What you can do is pick a company that they might be interested in from your own portfolio, print out the latest reports , and then show it to them. There are kids who would like hands-on experience, and for this one, you have two options:

 

  • If you are already thinking about buying stocks again, let them do it. Just instruct them on what to do and explain what happens in each step.
  • Open their own investment account and ask them which company they want to start with. Preferably, start with companies that are already in your own portfolio since you know how those are performing in the market.

 

Use everything that you have as tools for teaching them like videos, apps, pictures, and so on.

 

One of the most effective ways to keep them interested is to start involving them in your investment transactions. Explain to them the concept of risks and rewards, show them that there will be times when it seems like an investment is losing money, and tell them what you do as a countermeasure. Learning financial literacy is important no matter what age; it is best that you start teaching them now.

Mommy Lace is a blogger from the Philippines. She started this blog to share information on pregnancy, breastfeeding, childcare, family, and health.

How to Increase Your Income to Start Investing

Last month, I set a money challenge for myself and that is to save and invest for a trip to Australia. It is my first time to save for something specific. Many of us moms know how to save and be frugal in general but like me, choose not to have any specific goal.

Part of my challenge is to use an app called Wally and already, I have listed down every expense that I pay for: for myself, work, social, and family. Nagulat ako sa dami ng gastos. Last month, my expense almost matched the money I made. Wala na halos natira. Based on the app, 63% of these expenses are made for my family and 37% are personal or pang-sarili lang.


It’s easy to be discouraged by this situation especially when you know that you work hard, you are frugal, and you already limit your expenses. Still, your income is not enough. Remember, I need to save more or less Php 100,000 to travel to Australia with my son. Huwag nalang kaya at baka wala na akong pang tuition next year? Then I reread my previous blog post and felt my determination then to show everyone I can and I will.

Speaking with a Financial Advisor

Kendrick Chua, Sun Life Financial Advisor is teaching me what the Index fund is all about. He uses a newspaper to illustrate what companies are included in this fund. (I posted below his contact details).

The last time I met my financial advisor was December last year or should I say, only when I have extra money to invest. This happens rarely nowadays but that said, I guess it was time to receive money advice again. Like an old friend, I updated my financial advisor on my current situation plus the ultimate question: how can I save Php 100,000?

My target travel date is March 2017, he said that I have more or less six (6) months to make this happen. Here is his advice: I need to save and invest Php 10,000 every month for six months to reach my goal. Wow! P10,000, paano? Here are some ideas I came up with and have started doing.

Some ideas to increase your income (so you can start investing)

1. Sell your stuffalam ko na yan, pero kailan mo huling ginawa? Me – two years ago. Stuff easily accumulates in the house, most of them we don’t really need. I started taking photos of all the things I want to sell and posted them on Facebook for friends, neighbors, and colleagues to look at. Virtual garage sale!

Result: I keep all the money I made from selling unwanted and extra stuff. Now I have budget for the sari-sari store. Based on the Wally app, madalas akong bumili ng mga gulay at iba pang ingredients dito. Now that I use extra income to buy vegetables, etc. it is one less expense to deduct from my main source of income.

2. Upsell your skills – if you are a work-at-home mom like me, chances are you have other skills up your sleeves. For example, aside from writing you also know how to manage social media pages or even setup simple websites. To achieve my goal, I started offering other services to the people I work with. Maybe I can even look to apply for other part time online jobs!

If you are a working mom in an office setting, do explore other areas of the business operations where you might have the opportunity to help or add value. Also check if there are job openings within the same company that offer a higher pay. Do communicate your intent (and your goal) with your employer to give them the opportunity to help.

3. Know your value – it’s not enough to take on additional jobs, the jobs you take must be worth your time and effort. I read a similar advice from a fellow mom, published on Brighter Life. There are many potential part-time jobs but sometimes the pay is not substantial. Or, if you are already in this situation – don’t be afraid to negotiate a raise especially if you have established a good working relationship with your client. Sabi nga nila, hindi mo malalaman kung hindi ka magtatanong.

Tip: Use the Wally app to track your work-related expenses i.e. transportation, food, childcare (when you hire someone to look after your children), etc. to find out how much you really earn.

Changing our Money Mindset

Personal finance expert Aya Laraya once said that “mindset greatly influences behavior”. Before I set this challenge for myself, my mindset was that I am happy, I eat three times a day, I am okay and I do not need to change anything because I already know.

However, one month into the challenge, I realized I knew nothing about where my hard earned money was going (expenses) and how tight my income really was.

Let us change our mindset to believe that we can do more if we want to. It is not bad to be contented with what we have but it is not bad to dream of a better life either. Instead of dwelling about limitations like time, the new sacrifices we need to endure, and imagining the extra work we need to do to achieve our goals – let’s focus on the wonderful idea of having money for life.

Contact details of Kendrick Chua (Registered Financial Planner)
kendrick.c.chua(at)gmail.com
0917 521 2482

Do you have any more tips and advice on increasing income or reducing expenses? Please share them by posting a comment below.

Mommy Lace is a blogger from the Philippines. She started this blog to share information on pregnancy, breastfeeding, childcare, family, and health.

Our “Money for Life” Experience with Sun Life Financial

I can cite several reasons why 2016 has been financially tough for me but instead of wallowing, my mantra has always been to enjoy and learn from the ride. Many people will shun investing when the going gets tough but wouldn’t it be more productive to make investing a goal and inspiration to start making changes and imagining a better future for ourselves and families?

I know a lot of parents like me are still recovering from tuition fees and other household expenses. Sometimes, it’s a good idea to step out of our households and see things in a different perspective, or at least a fresh set of lenses.

One afternoon in Makati, my sister and I were just discussing our bills and how to split them when we spotted a unique yellow bus parked beside Shangri-la hotel. Both of us have stopped topping up our investments – maybe because of political uncertainties, limited income, and rising expenses.

We were invited by Sun Life Financial staff to board the bus which they call “bus to the future” and asked us to wear these interesting VR (virtual reality) goggles. With the VR goggles on, we watched our own dream futures – having a nice house, the ability to work anytime, anywhere, a relaxed household, and a comfortable life for our children. After viewing, it was explained to us how this dream can be a reality if we continue investing and being serious about financial independence.

Money For Life PH

Sun Life Financial is also promoting their new website http://moneyforlife.com.ph where you can immediately start your own financial plan, get product recommendations, and even buy mutual funds. This is Sun Life’s answer to Filipinos who are embarrassed, shy or simply do not want to talk to a financial advisor.

Right now, one of my concerns is not having health insurance. This is after we let go of our HMO due to high premiums that we can no longer afford. I tried Money for Life PH and it recommended three products for my concern:

1. SunLife Assure
2. Sun FlexiLink Assist
3. Sun First Aid

I do have a very good and approachable Sun Life Financial Advisor whom I will ask about these products. However, if like many – you want to do your own research and deal with everything online then the Money For Life website can automatically connect you with an advisor and process your payments too.

“Bus to the Future” schedule:

If you want to experience Sun Life’s Bus to the Future and learn more about financial independence, catch the bus on the following dates & venues:

BGC High Street – June 11
Eastwood – June 19
SM City Cebu – June 25
Solenad, Nuvali – July 2

School tours:

Mapua Institute of Technology – June 2
Ateneo Graduate School of Business – June 12
De La Salle University – June 16
UP Diliman – June 17
San Sebastian College – June 20
University of San Carlos Cebu – June 24
Lyceum of the Philippines University (Manila) – June 29
UP Los Banos – June 30

Sun Life financial advisors will be on hand during all the tours and stops to accommodate inquiries :)

 

Mommy Lace is a blogger from the Philippines. She started this blog to share information on pregnancy, breastfeeding, childcare, family, and health.

Moms, you can start investing – yes you can!

One day, my mother went to a bank. She was interested in one of their investment products. The bank person sized her up, dismissed her, and said, “pang malaking pera lang ito” (this product is for persons with big money). Obviously, that person has a stereotype for what he considers rich. I feel sorry for that bank because they lost a potential client. I wonder how people with smaller capability, knowledge, and experience are treated.

I am not surprised why many of us are afraid to invest. Let alone ask and inquire about it. It is as if investments and other financial products are only meant for the rich.

The rich gets richer and the poor gets poorer.

When we were in college my friend and I would dream of becoming rich. During break time, we would look at stock prices in the newspaper and wonder how ever we can own a share of companies like Jollibee. One day My 17 year old self asked my mom. Like the bank person, she dismissed me and said investing is only for people who can afford to lose their money.

Can you think of anyone who can afford to lose their money? 

Fast forward to 2010, I had my son at 25. My husband and I were living a carefree blogging lifestyle. We did not have regular work but spent our time doing what we love – writing, going places, and discovering new things through blogging.

People lining up to deposit their money in the bank.

How I wished I can raise our child in that setup. For the first time, I encountered the word financial freedom. In no time, I was back looking at investing and making my remaining savings work for me. But this time, my maternal instincts to give my son a bright future pushed me not just to look or wonder but to learn and research.

Stop thinking and start learning

I joined local forums about money, read financial blogs, and searched for online jobs so I can have something to invest. I was so driven I even started my own blog about personal finance. In my mommy blog, I wrote about how much it cost to deliver a baby in the hospital so that expecting moms can prepare. I wrote how moms can open a junior savings account to preserve monetary gifts to their babies.


My son’s welcome letter from the bank after opening a Junior Savings Account

I could only wish to write about investing but I couldn’t because I haven’t made a single investment even with my knowledge!

Who should I call when I am ready to invest?

Like an answered prayer, my husband was invited to a blogger event of a financial company. One of our blogger friends worked there. This was my cue to ask for an introduction to a financial adviser.

Finally my questions and intention to invest were no longer dismissed. It did help that I did my own research, after all it’s not a good idea to get into anything we do not understand.

My financial adviser and I agreed, an endowment plan for my son was the best choice. I cannot believe that 5 years has passed since then and in a matter of years that plan will be fully paid and we can enjoy a level of financial freedom – the one thing I wish that all mothers like me can have so they can fully experience little and fleeting moments with their own babies, without worrying about their future.

2015: My financial adviser is now a popular personal finance guru

 

Today I also invest in mutual funds with the same financial company. Before you paint a picture of me that is rich or well-off, let me tell you that my first investment was just Php 5,000. I top this up whenever I can, sometimes I can, sometimes I can’t but the important thing is, I’ve finally invested!

I hope this post gives you the courage to invest or at least start learning. Don’t let other people discourage you. If I can turn back time, I wish I started investing the first time I asked my mother about it. But, I let other people dismiss me and my goals.

Don’t make the same mistake. 

You can start investing, yes you can! 

Mommy Lace is a blogger from the Philippines. She started this blog to share information on pregnancy, breastfeeding, childcare, family, and health.