Baby Step to Financial Freedom : Budgeting 101

“Do not save what is left after spending, but spend what is left after saving.” Warren Buffett

Sharing my learnings on Budgeting during Healthy Money Habits Seminar that I attended at Feast PICC ( now Feast Bay Area) which was conducted by Coach Randy Molina, a member and a trainer of Financial Mentoring Ministry at Feast PICC. I just modified the 10-20-70 rule.
Healthy Money Habits
1. Eternity Fund – Tithes 10%
Learn to give back 10% of whatever you received from the Lord. This is our highest form of investment as there is no financial institution that can beat the interest rates that He gives. As He said in Malachi 3:10 “Bring the full amount of your tithes to the temple, so there will be plenty of food there. Put me to the test and you will see that I will open the windows of heaven and pour out on abundance all kinds of good things.” I also met a businessman and he told me that if I want to be successful in life, I need to do charity works.
2. Education Fund – 5%
Education is a continuous process. Never stop learning, be an eternal student. Invest in yourself by reading books, attending training, seminars and even conventions. Read also biographies of successful people on your field of interest.
3. Enjoyment Fund – 5%
We only live once, so live it to the fullest. As we dream, we should not forget to live. Don’t deprive yourself of the luxuries of life. If you love to travel, visit at least one place every year. Explore the world. This is for you to appreciate life more and be able to see how beautiful the world is. Do not just confide yourself to where you are. If you love to watch movies or dine on fancy restaurants, do it but ensure not to overspend on this.
4. Empower Fund – 5%
This is for your short term needs / wants. Want to buy the latest gadgets available in the market? Or anything that you want to, go buy it! But, don’t buy it with your credit card. Save 5% of your income until such time that you already have enough money to buy that want. Never borrow for this sake. It’s a bad debt! Learn to delay gratification.
5. Everyday Fund – 55%
This is for your daily living. Fund for rent and utility expenses and daily allowance.
Live below your means. Try to list down your daily expenses for at least 1 month and you will be surprised that there are things you bought that you don’t really need. How many pair of shoes do you have? How about bags? Can you use them simultaneously? In going to the grocery / to the office, do you really need to ride a taxi or a tricycle? Or you can walk instead? Learn to differentiate your needs from your wants.
6. Emergency Fund
As you notice, there is no corresponding percentage for this because this should be built first before you save and invest for your retirement fund and other financial goals. How much emergency fund do you need? It depends if you are single, married or head of the family. For single, three months income can do while for married and head of the family it should be six months income. You can go higher if you think it’s not enough.This fund should be used only for emergency purposes such as loss of job, house or car repairs, medical needs and the like. Do not use this to buy your wants!
7. Emancipation Fund – Retirement Fund – 20%

Save and invest for your future. This fund should be working for you when you retire. So your goal is to have enough investments that will earn interests and/or dividends equivalent to your salary when  still employed or still depending on your active income. Your goal is to be LIVING ON INTEREST of your investments.

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Killing Me Softly : Mediocrity

Our response to God’s mercy is to live our lives to the fullest.” – Bro. Alvin Barcelona

(Photo credits to

Last Sunday, April 2, 2016, the topic at The Feast PICC was about Mediocrity. Bro. JC Libiran joined Bro. Alvin Barcelona at 4pm session in discussing the “Five Reasons Why We are Stuck in Mediocrity”. Bro. JC Libiran discussed the first two reasons and the rest were discussed by Bro. Alvin as follows:

1. Lack of drive – drive is borne out of pain. Most people becomes successful because of the pain that they encountered in life. This pain might be a:
a) personal pain – from their own story or own life;
b) vicarious / secondary pain – story of other people.

Bro. JC qouted that “If your why is big enough, your what doesn’t matter.”

2. Lack of dreams – dream is the fuel of success. Dream to be bigger not just for yourself but for others.

3. Lack of discipline – Discipline requires sacrifice. The reason why most people stays in mediocrity is that they lack the discipline do to what should be done. Bro. Alvin said, “Kaya masarap ang tagumpay ay dumadaan tayo sa sacripisyo at disiplina.” There is no such thing as overnight success. Success requires sacrifice and discipline. Sacrifice is the product of hard work and discipline is the habit of hard work. Whatever your dreams are, start small.

4. Lack of direction – hard work is not enough to survive. Work hard and work smart in order to reach your sweet spot. Sweet spot is when your passion and potential reach your income.

Average people talks about people. Exceptional people talks about their dreams. What are you talking about?

5. Lack depth – What is your purpose in life? Do you really love what you are doing? People becomes successful because they love what they are doing that even they fail a hundred times, they still find ways how they can achieve their goals.
Find something you truly believe in and fight for it whatever it takes. Don’t remain fallen, don’t remain defeated. Rise up. Rise again. Follow your dreams!
Look at Easter and remember that nothing is impossible with God.

“We are the champions of the Lord. Under using our life will kill us softly.” Bro. Alvin

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How I came across with IMG?

I started investing in the stock market in January of 2012, which is already more than 3 years ago. At first, I feel great because my stocks were gaining. I even did position trading, but my excitement turned to fear when most of the stocks in my portfolio were losing. My 20% gain turned to 20% -30% losses due to US Tapering in May, 2013. I was so afraid that time that I might lose all my hard earned money because I had no emergency fund and protection. All I have was investment in stocks. During that time, I did all my best to gain knowledge why the stock market is behaving that way. I read books, blogs and any materials that can help me understand the market.

One day, when I was looking for a book in National Book Store, I came across with a book entitled 9 Steps to Financial Security by Suze Orman. Suze said in her book that we should not invest without proper protection and emergency fund. At first I did not get the logic why should I get an insurance and healthcare first. I felt too young to have it. I was only 23 yrs old that time. So I still searched for other books to read because I did not know somebody who can help me. I am a CPA and I have lots of friend who are also CPAs but I know that they cannot help me because what we know is the theoretical part of investing only. Again I read a book of Robert Kyosaki (forgot the title already) and still the same advice, that I should protect myself first before I invest on high risk investments. Since I have Facebook account, I also searched groups/people that could help me out and I came across with a group where I met the person who became my sponsor in joining IMG. My Caring Group Head already told me about about IMG before, but I did not pay attention to it thinking that Makati is very far (I am residing in Boni, Mandaluyong and our office was in Ortigas) and I had no time to attend such seminars beside I am earning in my stocks.

When I  met the person who sponsored me in joining IMG, I was already working in Ayala. Knowing that IMG is just along Chino Roces Avenue and it is near to our office; I set an appointment with one of the trainers there and attended the Financial Literacy Seminar. The topics discussed during the seminar were no longer new to me as I already read various finance books and one of my friends also invited me before to attend the same seminar in different company. After the seminar, I immediately told the financial coach who did the financial check-up with me that I will join and start my investment with their long-term healthcare. Why? Because what IMG is teaching is the same with the advice of Suze and Robert. Aside from that, I will get to know different financial coaches who could help me in building my wealth properly. Also, I will get direct access to different financial services companies in the country.

IMG Coaches

At this time, it is already 2 year and 2 months since I joined IMG. I can say that somewhat something has changed in me. I have learned a lot in IMG. Not just on financial aspect but also on personality development, spiritual (because IMG is teaching us to tithe, to give back to the Lord) and many more. Thru IMG, I also met various financial gurus in the country. I’ve met Rex Mendoza – former President of PhilamLife, Randel Tiongson – RFP Director, Paulo Tibig – Mr. Entrep Champ, my favorite Wilson Sy -Philequity’s fund manager, Xuan Nguyen – head coach of World System Builder, and many more. I also met mentors from WSB – WFG, a company in USA and Canada where IMG is affiliated with. My vision was also stretched.

Now, I am happy doing the mission of IMG which is to “Help Every Family Achieve Financial Freedom thru Financial Education”. Join us in our National Campaign for Financial Literacy. 🙂

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Capones – Anawangin Getaway for P1,749.00 Only!

One of the things that I love to do is traveling. I love visiting places I’ve  never seen and this  is always part of my goals every year. I ensure that I have at least 2 new places to visit. And this year, one of my travel bucket lists is to see and explore the beauty of Anawangin.
So to achieve this goal, I together with my office mates, booked Anawangin Tour with DLC Travel and Tour. Week-end package costs Php1,599.00 if you are travelling alone, however, since I traveled with my office mates and we were 16, the tour cost only Php1,499.00. The tour includes Manila – Zambales (Pundaquit) – Manila transport via air conditioned Hi-Ace Van, tour to Capones Island and Anawangin cove.
Day 1
  • 1:00 am assembly time (since we traveled by group, we  requested DLC to fetch us in Makati but this is with additional cost of 500.00 / van)
  • 1:30 am departure time from Makati
  • 2:00 am departure time from McDonald’s, Quezon Ave
  • 5:30 am arrival at San Antonio, Zambales market. Here you can buy everything that  you need during the trip like meat, sea foods, vegetables, fruits, rice, disposable cups, plates, spoon and fork, drinks (limited only – so better buy before the tour) etc. We spent around 200.00 each for our foods for the 2-day trip. We had three dishes (meat, fish and vegetables) every meal. So if you just plan to have one dish, 100.00 per head would be enough. DLC is also offering Php300.00 for four meals. So  if you do not know how to cook or do  not want to cook, you can just avail the meals from DLC.
  • 7:30 am arrival at Brgy. Pundaquit – This  is where the the bangkeros are waiting. Upon arrival, DLC coordinator was already there to guide us in going to our bangka.
  • 8:30 am arrival at Capones Island. It will only take more or less 30 mins to reach the top of the Capones lighthouse. Ensure that you bring with you your sleepers / aqua shoes as you alight from the boat because the trail in going to the lighthouse is rocky. Be careful as there are areas where the water is so deep, more than 5ft. So if you do not know how to swim, better to bring your life vest (also included in the tour package). The view at the top of the lighthouse is so great as you will be able to see the whole Capones island.


Capones Island, also known as Grand Capon or Capon Grande Island (Spanish: Isla de Capon Grande) is a small island approximately 1.9 kilometers (1.2 mi) long by 0.4 kilometers (0.25 mi) wide, at its widest point, lying some 3.8 kilometers (2.4 mi) off the coast of the province of Zambales on western Luzon island in the Philippines. It is the largest of the Capones Islands (Islotes de los Capones), a group of three small islands which also includes nearby Camara Island and another islet connected to it by a sand bar.[1] The island is administratively part of barangay Pundaquit of the Zambales municipality of San Antonio. The island is characterized by huge rock formations and steep cliffs surrounded by white sand and coral beaches. The Capones Island Lighthouse is located on the hillside near the western end of the island. (source – Wikipedia)
  • 10:00 am – departure from Capones Island
  • 10:30 am – arrival at Anawangin Cove. Free time.
If you love camping, Anawangin is for you as there are limited “bahay kubos”  available there and most of the tourists preferred to stay in tents. All of us also stayed in tents and this is already included in the tour package.
Here are the other inclusions of the tour package we availed of:
  • Entrance fee / overnight fee at Anawangin Cove
  • Set of bonfire – i think this lasted only for 1 hour
  • Ice – This is enough only for drinking water. There are stores selling ice blocks there but i think it is quite expensive. So if you have cooler, better buy in Pundaquit.
  • Charcoal – the charcoal provided was not enough to cook our food. It’s good that there were fire woods scattered on the area where we stayed which we used in cooking our foods. You can also buy fire woods at the stores there at Php200.00 per tali.
  • Tables and chairs (bench) are free but these are only limited and not safe in case it will rain as there is no roof. So we rented tables and chairs (bench – non-detachable) with roof for Php300.00.
  • Distilled water – this was enough for us as DLC provided 3 slim gallons of distilled water. We used this to cook our food. DLC advised us not to use the water from the drums in cooking our foods as this is not safe.
  • Cooking utensils like grill, casserole, ladle, pitcher, pan, chopping board, knife were also provided but you need to deposit Php100.00 upon getting it for security purposes.

anawangin collage

Anawangin Cove: It is a crescent shaped cove with a pristine white sand beach. What makes the place unique is the unusual riddle of tall pine-like trees flourishing round its vicinity. In fact they are not pine trees; they are Agoho trees (scientific name: Casuarina equisetifolia), a species endemic to the Philippines, some Southeast Asian countries and north-eastern parts of Australia.
There are no roads leading to Anawangin. It is only accessible by a 30-minute boat ride from Pundaquit, San Antonio, or by a six-hour trek through hot, open trails thru the Pundaquit range. (source – Wikipedia)
Things that you can do in Anawangin:
  • Swimming
  • Snorkeling
  • Beach volleyball – you can rent volleyball on the stores there at 50.00 / hour
  • Trekking

Day 2

  • 6:00 am to 1:00 pm – Free time
  • 1:00 pm – departure from Anawangin
  • 1:45 pm – arrival at Pundaquit
  • 2:00 pm – departure from Pundaquit
  • 3:00 pm – arrival at Royal Subic Bay Duty Free
  • 4:00 pm – departure from Royal Subic Bay Duty Free
  • 6:30 pm – arrival at Quezon Avenue
Summary of expenses:
  • There is NO SIGNAL in Anawangin, so before the trip, inform your family, friends, loved ones or whoever that might communicate with you.
  • There is NO ELECTRICITY also. So buy candles to use or bring your flash light.
  • The comfort room is just a typical comfort room in the province (see above picture). There is an in-charge who sees to it that there is water on the drums located outside the CR. 

“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” Saint Augustine

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Rule of 72 : The Power of Compounding Interest

Do you know how money works? Have you heard the Rule of 72? There are some people who consider the Rule of 72 as the eight wonder of the world. So what is this all about? Rule of 72 is developed by Albert Einstein which helps you determine the approximate number of years will it take for your money to double by dividing 72 by the interest rate of your savings or investments.

Rule of 72To illustrate, let’s have this example. Mara, Thea and Fiona are professionals who have Php100,000 each and decided to invest this amount for their retirement fund. Mara is a conservative investor, Thea is moderately aggressive while Fiona is an aggressive investor. These three professionals have different risks tolerance but they have the same investment horizon. They all wanted to retire at age 65.  Considering their risks tolerance, they decided to invest in different financial instruments. Mara, the conservative investor, decided to invest in time deposit. So she invested her Php 100,000 in her favorite bank. Thea, the moderately aggressive investor, decided to invest in mutual fund particularly  balanced fund (combination of bond and equity fund). So she did some research and ultimately decided to invest her money in a mutual fund company with proven track record (consistent high historical earnings). On the other hand, Fiona, the aggressive investor, decided to invest her money on equity fund (purely stocks). Since she does not have enough time to monitor the stock market and lacks the passion of stock investing, she decided to put her money on a mutual fund company whom she thinks will give her the best return. These professionals decided to just go back to the financial institution where they invested their money at their retirement age, 65.

After 36 years, the long wait is over. The three were very excited to know how much did their money earn. Mara, went to her favorite bank and the bank told her that her investment is already Php 400,000.00. Mara, the conservative investor, were so happy thinking that her money grew by 300% in 36 years. Her money earned 4% per year in 36 years. Thea went to the mutual fund company with proven track record and found out that her money is already Php 1,600,000.00 which is 1,500% higher than her invested money. Her investment grew by 8% per year in 36 years. Thea, the aggressive investor, went also to the best mutual fund company and found out that her money is already Php 6,400,000.00. That’s whooping 6,300% increase. Her money grew by 12% per year in 36 years. Fiona was so shocked that her Php 100,000.00 36 years ago is now Php 6.4M.

The three professionals were so excited to share to each other what they have earned in 36 years, so they decided to meet right after going to their respective investment company. Mara was the first one who shared her earnings. She was so happy when she informed the two that her money grew by 300%. Fiona was so shocked why is it that Mara’s investment grew only by Php 300,000.00. Then here comes Thea sharing that her money grew by whooping Php 1.5 million. The earnings of Thea’s money is 5x higher than that of Mara. On the other hand, Fiona was already hesitant if she will still share what she had earned because her money earned 4x higher than Thea and 21x higher than Mara.   But to be fair, Fiona still shared that her money earned Php6.3 million. The two were so shocked and they cannot even imagine how it was happened that they have different rate of returns but they invested the same amount of money, have the same investment horizon and only differ in investment vehicle.

Moral of the story? Learning how money works will save you with high opportunity costs. As they said, financial ignorance is so expensive. So you need to increase your financial IQ if you really want to be financially independent. You need to learn how money works. You need to know your financial needs, how to properly build your wealth and what are the proper investment vehicles you need to use in building your wealth so that you will not become like Mara who invested her money with the wrong investment vehicle or Thea who could have earned better return.

Note: Rate of return for the three investment vehicles mentioned are not the actual, these are just used for illustration purposes.

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