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Keep Calm and Stay Invested in 2017

Should you keep or even start investing in 2017? Even before the start of the year, the stock market has been going down and alongside the value of the Philippine Peso. There are many factors that cause this – technical, political, and economical. Of the three, mas madaling makita at mapansin ang political factors. Not only in our country but outside just like the election of Donald Trump, Brexit, etc. However, it doesn’t always mean that politics is the major factor.

Mag-iinvest pa ba tayo? Financial experts agree that we should and here are the reasons why:

1. The economy will not stop moving with the changing of government leaders – politics play a significant factor in the economy BUT businesses will not stop making money and trying to make more money. Halimbawa, nagsasara ba ang SM tuwing nagkakaroon ng bagong president? Ang American mall na Target ay bukas pa rin sa kabila ng mga anti-Trump rally.

There are what we call captains in the economy, these are personalities like Henry Sy, John Gokongwei, Tony Tan Caktiong and more- sila at ang kanilang pamilya yung marami ng napagdaanan at alam na alam na kung paano magpatakbo ng negosyo, sa anumang sitwasyon. These are the same companies that we call “blue chip” where many mutual funds include in their portfolio.

While many of us are holding back and focusing on the issues and reasons why we should stop pursuing our dreams, tycoons like them see opportunity beyond the challenges and remain steadfast in running their business. If you invest in mutual funds, you grow with the economy which according to Sun Life of Canada (Philippines), Inc. will continue to remain strong and could even grow by 7%.

2. It is cheaper to invest while the stock prices are low – while several factors contribute to the “decline” in stock prices, it is the best time to invest and afford more shares now versus waiting for the market to go up. Remember, the cheaper you buy your investments then the bigger your return could be once the market reaches its peak.

Naaalala mo ba noong 1997, Asian Financial Crisis? Ang baba ng stocks noon, at ang mutual funds ay binubuo din ng stocks. Ang ibang investors, nag-panic and sold their shares at a loss. Then, there are those who remained steadfast and even kept investing. Sa tingin mo, sino kaya sa dalawa ang mas kumita ngayong tapos na ang krisis at umakyat ng muli ang Asian economy?

Sun Life Chief Investments Officer Michael Enriquez says, “With stock prices cheaper, it’s a good time to buy so they (investors) can enjoy the greater gains once the market goes up”.

3. Long-term view of investing (5-10 years) will allow you to create wealth – there is a difference between trading and investing. Investing is much like running a business where you try to create wealth not instantly, but overtime. Sabi nga nila, time is gold and when it comes to investing – it really is!Registered Financial Planner, Randell Tiongson advises investors to remain steadfast and disciplined in saving and investing. This will allow you to certainly win for the long term, 5 to 10 years from now.

Thinking about it, my own investments in mutual funds 5 years ago still have a positive return despite the ups and downs of the market. Long term kasi! Of course, we should also know when to reap the rewards of our long-term investments i.e. you have reached your financial goals like your child’s college fund, etc. This is why as normal people, we should still educate ourselves on the market outlook that prevents us from panic and derail us from our financial journey.

The signs are bright that we should remain steadfast and disciplined in achieving our financial goals, no matter what the market might look like – there are financial institutions and financial experts who understand the workings of the economy, knows how to lock-in returns to honor plan holder’s benefits, and know where to diversify its investments. Sun Life Chief Investment Officer adds that with the country’s increased consumer and government spending, the outlook remains fundamentally positive.

Mommy Lace Tip: Keep investing in 2017 while making sure that you and your family remain liquid or has the ability to pay in cash. This includes in times of emergency. Before you add to your investment or start investing, do have a budget on how much you need in cash for your daily needs and set aside this amount monthly while keeping at least 3 months worth of your salary accessible in cash in case of emergency. This way, you will not withdraw your investments or sell your insurance products before they realize their returns or benefits.

Stay positive, work hard, and enjoy your journey to financial freedom!

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

Year-End Last Minute Money Saving Tips

Magandang araw mga mommies! There is still a month to go before 2016 ends and before we all get busy preparing for Christmas, here are some tips to free up some space in our homes, kitchens, and our wallets!

Watch: Year-End Saving Tips

1. No Grocery Shopping Week – this is a good time to review our kitchen cabinets for near expiring items or items that have been stocked for the last few months but are left unused. Take time to review and whip up recipes that maximize all of these unused ingredients. This way we also avoid having expired canned goods, sauces, and other food items next year. Sayang naman!

2. Review unused items like clothes, toys, gadgets, etc. and sell, share, or donate – I followed this tip just a few days ago and this has saved me money from buying presents for my son’s exchange gifts, teachers, etc. Of course, these items are unused but can be very useful to others who will receive them. As our kids grow up we are also left with clothes, toys that they no longer use. These can be sold via a garage sale or donated to family, friends, and even institutions.

3. Plan errands and outings – before the Christmas rush, plan your outings like grocery shopping for noche buena, new year, and other gatherings. List down common ingredients and stock them now to avoid traffic and return trips to the supermarket. Schedule outings (paglabas ng bahay) with other errands like paying bills, going to the bank, or visiting relatives together to save money, time, and effort.

These are just a few quick ways to boost our savings before a new year starts, don’t forget to budget your money wisely and think twice – even thrice before spending!

Happy Saving Mommy & Baby!

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

How to Use Insular Life Finance Manager App

Creating a budget and managing expenses are the first steps to achieving our financial goals. With technology, listing expenses is now easier with the use of mobile apps. Just recently, a new expense monitoring app that is especially made for Filipinos was made available for both Android and iOS devices.

I downloaded the Insular Life Finance Manager App here, I am using it to make my dream come true of owning a College Education Plan for my son and hopefully save P5,000 to start. Unlike other budgeting apps, I appreciate the simplicity of the Finance Manager, plus – it is very easy to start using. Here’s how I setup my personal dashboard:

1. Personalize Expense Categories – we all have different expenses and the more customized the app is to your lifestyle then the more you will be encouraged to use it.

Under Overview, click on Categories. Pick the category you want to change, click on the 3 vertical dots beside that item and choose edit. For example, you can edit Phone & Data category to display Prepaid Load or edit the Utilities category to display Meralco instead. Don’t forget to click on the Save icon on the top right area of the app.

If you’re good with the preset categories then you can skip this step.

2. Set your budget – we all know making a budget isn’t the most enjoyable thing to do BUT it is a must especially if you are working towards a goal. My tips to make this process more fun is to do it in the morning when your mind is fresh and the house is still quiet.  Maybe you can even play this Spotify #MagandangAraw Playlist to encourage you.

Back to the app, just enter your allotted budget for each expense category. To make it easier, just refer to the last receipts of your grocery bill, electric bill, or credit card bill. That is if you don’t have any idea at all. It’s better to start somewhere.

While in the Category section, click on the Plus icon and select Set a Budget. Enter your desired amount. To move to the next category, just click on the dropdown box (see encircled in red). Don’t forget to click on Save icon.

3. Start entering your expenses – now that you have setup a budget, your dashboard will look similar to the first screenshot on the left. Enter expenses as you go, for example you bought P50 pesos worth of load then just click on the Plus icon and tap on Add Expense.

You can then add the amount and title of your expense and choose the Expense Category it should be recorded in. For this example, prepaid load falls under Phone & Data. You can also back date your expense or set it as a recurring (repeating) expense.

4. Monitor your budget – now that you’ve setup your budget and start entering expenses, you can now monitor through the Overview and Financial Planning sections if you are spending more or less than your budget. If you spend less then it means you are saving money. If you are spending more than what you allocated, it’s time to rethink your expenses.

Above, the Financial Manager app displays easy to understand and colorful visuals to track & keep expenses within your budget. It automatically computes total expenses and savings. If you scroll down further, the app encourages users to make their money work!

5. Financial planning – the Insular Life Financial Manager app allows users to have an idea of how much their money can grow if invested in sound financial products. The computation will depend on your savings as computed by the app and projected to grow in 5, 10, and 15 years at 10% .

You can also easily click on the blue button (if you scroll down further) to learn more about these financial products.

Happy saving, Mommy & Daddy!

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

Insular Life launches Finance Manager App

It’s shocking to think that this year 2016 is about to end. We all have wins and losses when it comes to managing our finances. For one, I personally think I wasted the first to second quarter by being lax about saving and budgeting.

Many of us, myself included need several reminders, activities, or life events in order to stick to our financial plans. Plans like saving for next year’s tuition fee, reducing expenses, and maybe intermediate plans like buying insurance or starting and/or continuing to invest in mutual funds.

It’s normal to get bored, para sa akin ang pag-iipon ay tulad din ng ibang activities natin sa buhay. For example, keeping our house clean, trying to get fit, etc. Now how do we keep ourselves motivated? One way is to try, learn, and experience something new.

Insular Life Finance Manager App – newest way to track your expenses

Have you tried using an app to track your expenses? Many of us will say, mahirap yan, bakit pa, etc. but the truth is, these are just excuses not to start tracking expenses. Sabi nga ng iba, what you don’t know won’t hurt you but sad to say, this is not the case when it comes to money. What you don’t know will really, really hurt you!

Screenshot of Insular Life’s Finance Manager App – for Android and iOS

Try this new and free app from Insular Life called Finance Manager. At first glance, it’s similar to what I use – Wally but maybe simpler and more appealing to Filipinos for whom the app is designed for.

The Insular Life Finance Manager App helps make monthly budgeting easy. It allows users to categorize expenses like food, communication, electricity, etc. There’s a visual element (bar graph) that makes it easier for users to visualize how much budget is remaining. I haven’t used the app yet but have downloaded it. Stay tuned for a review that I hope helps you use the app too.

More than a Financial App

What’s also promising about this app is its other features that is very Pinoy. Like how many of us get motivated by listening to music or singing upbeat tunes, the app offers Magandang Buhay tracks on Spotify for free.

According to the Insular Life Facebook Page, the app also features savings and investing tips from Insular Life’s pool of financial advisors which may include video messages too! You can download the app here.

At the end of the day, different people have different ways of achieving their dreams – including financial goals. What’s important is that we all keep trying, innovating, and motivating ourselves, family, and friends to stay on the right track.

Keep this app on top of mind, who knows it may propel you to achieve your dreams faster or inspire you to create new financial goals as we enter a brand new year.

Happy saving, Mommy & Daddy!

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

#Money4Life: Purpose of Buying Life Insurance

Nabentahan ka na ba ng life insurance o may nagbebenta ba sa iyo nito ngayon? Many of us have been sold life insurance and some buy it without a clear purpose. All we know is that life insurance allows us to leave behind a sum of money to our loved ones when we die.

This is also my experience. When I had a child, financial products like life insurance suddenly became relevant. What if mamatay ako bukas anong mangyayari sa anak ko? So when someone approached me to buy a VUL life insurance, I used my savings for it.

Types and Terms of Life Insurance

Some life insurance like the one I purchased can be a one-time purchase and have an investment component. This means that the money you put into the product will participate in the stock market. As long as you do not remove or withdraw your investment, you can enjoy the life insurance benefits. This benefit is usually a lump sum amount that your beneficiary can claim upon your death. The amount must be greater than your investment, some institutions offer 125%, some higher.

Other life insurance products are term, parang prepaid load. You will pay x amount to be covered for 1 year and when you die within the year, your beneficiary can claim a lump sum amount. However, if you die after your term insurance expires, wala ng makukuha ang pamilya mo.

There are other types and products that bundle life insurance component with them. Pwedeng health + life insurance, investment + life insurance, at iba pa. Para malaman kung ano ang maganda para sa iyong pangangailangan, dapat isipin muna kung ano ba ang gusto nating magawa ng life insurance. We need to go back and review what we want our life insurance to do for us when we die.

Purpose of Life Insurance

This is a personal view of what life insurance can be used for. Please consult a registered financial planner from a reputable institution.

1. Funeral expense – for some of us, this is the first purpose we think of for life insurance. We do not want to burden our relatives and our children to ask for donations just so we can be buried properly. Question to ask for this purpose is, how much is your expected funeral expense? Mahirap isipin pero hindi masamang gawin ito. Iba iba kasi ang presyo ng funeral packages at maaaring higit na sa kailangan ang iyong life insurance.

A year after I got my life insurance, someone offered me another type of insurance – yung St. Peter. This takes care of funeral expenses and will take care of all the preparations (hopefully) except if you like to be laid at a private cemetery, then you need to purchase your own patch of land.

2. Replace income and take care of family – when you die, can your family bounce back and recover financially? This is important to ask yourself, especially if you are the bread winner. Take into account how many months (or years) do you think before they can come up with their own way to earn money.

When I die, I want to leave something behind. Normal na na tanungin sa lamay kung “may naiwan ba sya?” at gusto ko ang sagot ay oo.

3. Child’s education – if you die today, will your child be able to go to school? In our culture, it is not unusual for families to take care of children who are left behind by their parents. This is fortunate if all your relatives are doing well and you are in good terms with all of them. Your life insurance can help support your child’s continuing education, the question to ask is – how much would your child need?

4. Payment for estate tax – last but not the least, your life insurance can help settle your estate tax. This is the tax on the property that you leave behind. For example, land aside from your family home, your savings account, and if you have other investments other than life insurance. Did you know? Hindi ito magagalaw ng mga kamag anak mo hanggang hindi pa nababayaran ang estate tax?

With life insurance that is exempted from this tax, your beneficiary can claim this financial benefit without any problems. Siguraduhin lang na maayos ang iyong papeles tulad ng certificate of complete payment, receipts, etc. Ayusin ito habang nabubuhay pa!

Your beneficiary can then use this amount to pay your estate tax and “unlock” the assets you left behind. This should equal about 20% of your total assets.

How big or small should your life insurance be?

Now that we reviewed some of the purposes of life insurance, we can now compute the correct value of our life insurance. For example, if putting in P100,000 in life insurance will give you a death benefit of P215,000 – will P215,000 be enough for your chosen purpose?

If not, then you should add and continue to put in money to enjoy a bigger benefit. If you are using term life insurance, review if your premium will yield the suitable amount for your purpose. You might want to increase or decrease your premium depending on your need.

All of us will die and my belief as a Christian is that we need to die to enjoy eternal life. Death is not all bad, it only becomes unfortunate when we are not prepared. We cannot control everything but we can take steps to prepare ourselves and our family in the event of our demise, this includes financial preparation. Being financially prepared will allow your family to focus on reflecting upon your life and death, receiving compassion from others, and heal emotionally when you pass on.

Do you have life insurance already? What are the areas that you wish to review about it? Share it 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.

Why Filipinos need Critical Illness Insurance

One of the signs we are getting old is when more people who are close to us i.e. family and friends start to get sick. What’s worrying is the rate at which people close to us have discovered health conditions that range from moderate to critical illness. Diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, and the most feared of all – cancer.

If you have started worrying about your own and your family’s health, you are not alone. 89% of Filipinos now place high importance to being healthy, 18% up from the previous year. Yes we all want to be healthy and avoid getting sick, mahal magkasakit kaya bawal magkasakit!  However, only 58% of us exercise regularly. 46% of us still do not get enough sleep and 41% of eat unhealthy.

There are many reasons why many of us cannot afford to be healthy – time, money, and resources are some. I will not lie, getting fit takes a lot of discipline and sacrifice. If I do not work from home and many of Filipinos don’t, I will also find it extremely difficult to hit the gym thrice a week and prepare healthy meals.

While good diet and exercise will greatly improve our health and well-being, it does not guarantee that healthy people will not get ill.

Be Prepared and Protected with Critical Illness Insurance

Many of us have lost sleep, created different scenarios in our heads, and worry about being diagnosed with a serious health condition. In fact, I believe it is one of the reasons why many of us are afraid to undergo an annual check-up with our doctors.

What will I do if I find out I am sick? What about my family? Where will I get money for treatment? The last question being the hardest to answer for many of us. There is one clear solution to this and that is getting a health insurance.

How many people do you know who have turned to loans, donations, etc. when they or their loved ones got seriously ill? In a very challenging time of sickness, it takes a lot of energy, effort, courage, and gut to pool money to pay for hospital bills. Having health insurance takes off the burden from your family and friends to source money to fund your treatment.

Health insurance protects and provides you with funds upon diagnosis. Some products like the new Sun Fit & Well offers comprehensive coverage from prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation. Depending on your policy, you may even receive income protection i.e. the insurance company will replace your income when you cannot work because of your illness, and daily hospital allowance on top of providing you with a lump sum amount to fund your hospital expenses.

It only takes P1,500 a month

Did you know? For just about P1,500 a month you can have insurance protection from over 100 critical conditions across minor and major stages. If only many of us started to talk more about critical illness insurance then many of us would already have protection and worry less about getting sick. Many of us will not say “bahala na” and feel helpless when we or our loved ones get diagnosed.

I actually talked to a Sun Life financial advisor and expressed my worries about the topic of health. It was then he told me about the new Sun Fit & Well product. I am so thankful to know how affordable it is especially for a family like us.

It was very easy for me to convince my husband to get one for himself. He says, “I agreed to purchase a critical illness insurance because I need medical and health support just in case I acquire a serious illness in the future. Also, this will motivate me to be more fit and healthy.”

Do not be fooled by the wine, we were at an event when we asked our Sun Life Advisor to join us – just to save time and money :)

As a wife, this was a proud moment for me and I even took a photo of my husband and my financial advisor while they were filling up the Sun Fit & Well application form. Having peace of mind is priceless and now whatever happens, we have a level of protection because we made the right decision. We have a son and I have heard many stories of how children suffer emotionally and financially because of parents getting sick. Kung kaya namin, mas kaya niyo rin!

Our perception of insurance being for the rich only must really change. It is the fact that we might not afford medical expenses that we get protected by insurance products like this. Imagine, if you paid the quarterly fee of about P5,000-P6,000 and you get diagnosed with one of the critical illnesses – you will receive P400,000 from Sun Life. This is just a simple illustration but depending on your health and preference, premiums and benefits can vary.

The best time to be insured is now

Because my husband is 39 years old, his premiums were higher but still affordable at about P1,500 a month. However, he is no longer qualified to benefit from daily hospital allowance unless we get the plan with a higher premium.

If we were a year late and he hit 40, my husband won’t be qualified to get this valuable health insurance. So the best time to be insured was yesterday but in case you are late – act fast before your time is up.

Sun Fit & Well Benefits

On top of insurance protection, the policy holder is also entitled to wellness programs from Sun Life like community workouts, weekly fitness classes, and discounts to health establishments.

SunLife Go Well
I took this photo when our Sun Life Financial Advisor invited me to check out one of the free Go Well programs

This is good news if you are like many of us who cannot afford to enroll in fancy gym classes and fitness programs. Instead of paying for monthly gym membership fees, putting your money in health insurance products like Sun Fit & Well is a bright idea.

At the end of the day, we do not want anyone of us to get sick but when we do – being prepared allows us to focus on getting well and getting back on our feet versus worrying about our health expenses on top of our health conditions.

Stay healthy and bright mommies!  

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