10 Financial Advice to my 20-Year Old Self

I am now in my 50s and, although we have a fair amount of money in the bank and some good investments, I feel that I could have done much more in terms of wealth-building. The first thing that I regret is not starting earlier. So, looking back, here are some of the things I want to tell my 20-year old self when it comes to finances. Maybe those in their 20s and 30s will also find something valuable in my advice.

  1. Saving in itself is not a wealth-building strategy. No one will tell you that you can get rich by saving, but it is a good way to begin your journey. Having cash in the bank can help you start a small business using your own money without having to borrow from the bank. So, do save money regularly. However, your aim should not be simply to grow your money in the bank, but to use the money eventually whether to buy what you need in cash, start a business or make investments.

2. Buy everything in cash, particularly your wants. Want a new cellphone? Save money and buy it in cash instead of taking out a loan. Ditch the concept of buy now, pay later. If you can’t afford it now, then defer it until you can pay for it in cash. Live by the mantra: SAVE NOW, BUY LATER. Repeat: SAVE NOW, BUY LATER. SAVE NOW, BUY LATER. Why? Paying in cash can save you a lot of money because I’m sure you know that you end up paying more than what it’s worth when you take out a loan because of the interest on the loan. This brings me to my next point.

Avoid debts no matter how tempting.

3. Loans have the tendency to pile up if you’re not careful about it. Why? Because it’s easy money and makes you think that the monthly payment is so affordable or ‘magaan sa bulsa.’ But what happens is that you are tied up and obligated to this monthly payment for several months or even up to four years. In effect, you have exchanged your freedom for the next few months or years for this amount of money and the interest on your loan. Yeah, you may have heard that there good loans and bad loans according to Robert Kiyosaki. But, until you have fully understood his concept, stay away from debts.

4. If you want to achieve financial freedom, then get rid of your mental and emotional issues about money. This is the biggest hurdle there is. It’s not whether you are born poor or not, the biggest hurdle is your perception about money. Get to the bottom of it because you cannot expect to make money if you have negative perceptions about it. If you think that money is the root of all evil, then what’s the point of having money? Do you want to know how to get to the bottom of it? Observe what you think of people who have money. Do you somehow think that rich people are bad people or that they were able to acquire wealth by stepping on other people’s toes? Do you think they are inherently bad? Do you think they are just stealing from other people? Do you think they are just oppressing and victimizing the poor? Yet, at the same time, do you feel envious of their success and wealth? All of these are indications that you have a negative attitude towards money and that you need to work it out. You cannot attain financial success and freedom if you have these beliefs. If you don’t like money, then money will not like you back.

5. Start a business while you are young. Any successful and wealthy person will tell you that having your own business is the best investment strategy there is. It is not easy and you might fail in your first few attempts. Just consider your failure as part of your journey to success. Learn from it, but don’t give up too easily. Stay on course and you will get there eventually.

6. Get yourself some financial education. Our parents did not educate us about how to manage money. There’s no financial subject in our educational system (unless it’s your course in college). So we must take the initiative to learn it on our own. There’s so many books on financial education and lots of free courses on the internet. Start your search with Coursera or edX. Warning, the courses may be free but you have to turn in some works (assignments, essays, contribution to discussion boards, quizzes), so do take them seriously.

7. Invest early. Trust me, the sooner you do this, the better. You will have more leverage if you start at a young age. You will also learn a lot by investing early – what’s good investment, what’s not. You might make a lot of bad decisions, but, then again, it’s all part of your learning curve. By the time you reach 40, you will be more financially sophisticated than most people and will probably be able to retire ahead of your peers.

Get the advice of successful people.

8. Do not take financial advice from your neighbors or kamag-anaks (or your school teachers) who have nothing to show you. This is common sense and self-explanatory. Why should you listen to people who have not achieved what you want to achieve? Find someone who is successful and listen to that person because they can guide you to where you want to go.

9. Get out of your comfort zone. Get out of that job that isn’t paying you good salary. Get out of the place where you grew up unless that environment is helping you nurture and achieve your dreams. Don’t wait too long to do this because you will lose a lot of opportunity.

10. Make good use of your time. Time is money. What you do with your time is very important. If what you spend your time on/with does not add value to you, then it’s just a waste of your time. Sure, recreation and relaxation are important for your emotional and mental well-being, but make sure that you’re spend just the right amount of time on this activity and nothing more than enough. If you are spending 8 hours a day watching videos of cats and dogs or looking at the photos of your friends on Facebook, then do you think that’s still recreation? What value do they add to your personal and financial growth? From now on, assess your time by asking whether it adds value to any of the following major aspects in your life: personal (includes personal relationships), financial and spiritual.

Positivity Challenge!

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Quote of the Day

Positive thinking is a conscious effort to view ourselves with high esteem.  It is a choice to bring out our strengths and lovingly work on our weaknesses.  It is a choice to appreciate, support and encourage the positive characteristics of those around us, especially the people we love.  It is a conscious mental effort to appreciate our past and current circumstances in life while also seeing that the future has much in store for us, that the future is for us to make.  It is a decision to be happier. – Pili Losa

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10 Tips to Keep a Positive Attitude

Have you noticed that it seems much more natural for people to be negative than positive?  I know, this is a negative way of thinking about people; I just can’t help it but notice it in myself and most of the people.

It’s much easier for us to complain about things, to criticize and see what’s problematic in situations than to praise, appreciate and be grateful for what’s around us.  Complaining has become a favorite past time among us Pinoys.   It makes a convenient ‘small talk’.

We are so used to negative thinking that it has become our default way of thinking.  It gets in the way of our personal development, maturity, mood and general sense of well-being.   We don’t realize that it’s affecting our own way of living, our lifestyle, our relationships and livelihood.

I have observed this in my self.  When I allow myself to see and think about every single fault in the people and situations around me, I would feel generally unhappy, which in turn would affect my relationship with family members and co-workers.  Most of the time, it also affects their own thoughts.

When I began to realize the power of my mind, that it is the creative power behind the way I perceive things and the way I live, I had to make a conscious effort to shift to a positive way of thinking.

Positive thinking is not the same as naive thinking.  Being naive is thinking that every single mistake is going to turn out positive.  Being naive is thinking that every single person we meet has only good intentions.  Being naive is allowing other people to take advantage of us.

Positive thinking is a conscious effort to view ourselves with high esteem.  It is a choice to bring out our strengths and lovingly work on our weaknesses.  It is a choice to appreciate, support and encourage the positive characteristics of those around us, especially the people we love.  It is a conscious mental effort to appreciate our past and current circumstances in life while also seeing that the future has much in store for us, that the future is for us to make.  It is a decision to be happier.

Sounds like a big leap?  Not really.  The good thing about positive thinking is that our little efforts can go a lot.  It’s like planting seeds, which then grow into trees with time, if  you consistently nurture them.  You can do this quietly as it all starts with your mind.

10 things you can do to shift to a more positive way of thinking

1.  Make a digital vision board on your mobile phone or tablet.

The simplest way to do a digital vision board is to google for photos, symbols and texts that represent what you want in life.  Put them all in a slide and save the slide as jpeg or PNG file on your phone or tablet so that you can look at it daily or whenever and wherever you feel like it.  Before you look at your vision board,  open your heart, set aside any doubt in your mind and try to feel happy even for just a little while.  Look at all the elements in your vision board and believe that  you have each one of them.  This w

Here is a sample of a powerful vision board…

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2.  Pray

Prayer is a certain mental attitude, a certain way of thinking, a certain way of believing… the answer to prayer is in the prayer when it is prayed…. Prayer is its own answer.

  • Ernest Shurtleff Holmes, The Science of Mind

Pray for a positive mental attitude.  Ask for more faith in your heart.  Give thanks to God everyday.

3. Be grateful.

Say thank you  not only to God but to all those who do you a favor, give you a compliment (no matter how small), give a gift, praise, support, love etc.  Say thank you for your pet, your food, your education, your parents or whatever.  Find something to be grateful for everyday.

4. Get enough rest and sleep.

I’m sure you’ve  noticed that people tend to get irritable when exhausted or deprived of sleep, so do get enough rest and sleep yourself.  Don’t burn yourself out.  Don’t overextend your body by depriving it of sleep.  

5.  Exercise.

Scientific studies have proven that exercise has a positive effect on not only our physical health but also on our mental well-being.  Dance, walk, jog or whatever.  A five-minute workout is better than nothing at all.  The key to exercising is just do it.

6.  Read books, articles, blogs on positivity everyday OR watch motivational and inspirational videos on  YouTube.

Positive thinking, as I said, is a conscious effort for many people (I know there are people who are naturally optimistic).  If you are like me, you should make it a habit to read motivational books, articles, or blogs (like this one!) to maintain your positivity or watch similar materials on YouTube.  There’s just so much negativity out there bombarding us every minute and we could overcome that by feeding our soul with positive messages.  We have to really take the initiative to seek them out because they don’t come too easily.  That’s because negative news, ideas and messages get more attention and publicity.

7.  Stay away from the news for a month or even more.

Yep, you read that right!  Stay away from the news for at least  one month.  There’s just too  many bad news out there.  Every media channel is guilty of this and there’s nothing we can do about it because it’s the bad news that get more views.  Too much of it has an unnerving effect and could trigger anxieties.  So, abstain from the news every so often.

8.  Avoid negative people.

Now this could be difficult  especially if you have relatives or close friends like this.   Other people’s negative thoughts influence our own mental attitude and emotions, so it’s important to keep them away from you particularly during the initial stages of your “transformation.” If you cannot avoid them entirely, just keep your interactions with them at the minimum and mentally guard yourself from their negativity.

9.  Stop complaining.

You must also be on guard when it comes to your own thoughts.  Stop complaining, stop criticizing, stop blaming others, stop finding fault in every little thing, not even in your mind!  Studies show that complaining actually shrinks the brain.   Make an effort to catch yourself complaining and immediately replace it with something positive.

10.  Don’t compare yourself with any one.   Stop the envy.

Some of the negative perceptions about ourselves come from comparing our lot with others.  We imagine other people to be better than us, happier than us, richer than us.  Not really.  Others have their own problems, too.  We just don’t know anything about it.

If a friend, neighbor or relative is able to achieve something, don’t feel envy.  Instead, replace it with a genuine feeling of happiness for them.  Take a deep breath, smile and sincerely think, “I’m happy for them.”  This will immediately stop the envy from eating at your heart.

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FAMILY-FRIENDLY MUST-DO IN LEGAZPI CITY, ALBAY

Legazpi City has become become one of the prime tourist destinations in the Philippines.  Not only does this place boast of one of the wonders of the world, the beautiful Mayon Volcano, it is also home to colorful festivals, historic churches, world-class resorts and adventure tourism facilities.  It is definitely a worthwhile place to visit with your whole family.

Here is my list of family-friendly must-visit, must-eat, and must-do when visiting Legazpi City for two nights and 3 days.

MUST VISIT (Malls not included)

Mayon Volcano

Of course, Mayon Volcano should be at the top of any visitor’s list to Albay.   The perfect cone volcano is considered a sacred place in Bicol.   You may trek to the mountain or take the ATV ride.

 Entrance fee: (through the Cagsawa Ruins) P20; ATV ride is P300

Sidenote:  The best time to view the volcano is around 7am.

Tripadvisor Rating:  4.5 and #1 of 21 things to do in Legazpi

Mayon_volcano_in_Albay

Cagsawa Ruins (Cagsawa National Museum)

The remnants of a 16-century Catholic church by the Franciscan order.  The original church was burned down and destroyed by Dutch pirates in 1636.  It was then rebuilt by a Catholic priest, but was again destroyed in 1814 when Mayon Volcano erupted.

Entrance fee:  P20

Opens at 6am and closes at 6pm.

Other activities to enjoy at the park:

  • ATV ride
  • Try their Sili Ice Cream

Tripadvisor Rating:  4 and #2 of 21 things to do in Legazpi

Photoshoot

Lignon Hill Nature Park

Provides overlooking view of Legazpi City and the beautiful Mayon Volcano.

Entrance fee:  P20

Open 8am to 10pm

Other activities (additional charges may apply):

  • Zipline
  • Hiking
  • Rappelling
  • ATV ride
  • Biking
  • Paintball game
  • Explore the Japanese tunnel used during WW2

Tripadvisor Rating:  4 and #4 of 21 things to do in Legazpi

Ligñon_Hill_Nature_Park (1)

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Albay Park & Wildlife

A picnic grove, nature park, and zoo that houses hundreds of animals.

Entrance fee:  P50

Opens at 6am, closes at 8pm.

Other activities to enjoy in the park:

  • Boat-riding
  • Biking
  • Fishing

Tripadvisor Rating:  3 and #10 of 21 things to do in Legazpi

Albay_Park_&_Wildlife_lagoon

800px-Albay_Park_&_Wildlife_Lignon_Hill

MUST DO

Trek or take ATV to go to Mt. Mayon.

quad-523999_960_720

Join a festival/fiesta:

  • Bikol Arts Festival (February 21-28)
  • Magayon Festival (April)
  • Karangahan Festival (May)
  • Great Sibidan Festival (October 21-24)
  • Ibalong Festival (October 25-31)
  • Bicol Pastores (December 18)

Magayon_Festival

MUST EAT

1st Colonial Grill Restaurant (Villa Amada Hotel, Daraga City & Pacific Mall, Legazpi City)

Pasta Bicolana – pasta in olive oil base with Guinobatan longganisa.

Sili Ice Cream

Tinutong Rice Ice Cream

Pili Ice Cream

Smalltalk Cafe (Dona Aurora St., Legazpi City)

Laing Pizza

Pili Basil Pasta

Ten’s Salad – salad made with sigarilyas (purupagulong in Bicolano), tomatoes, onions and vinaigrette.

Pasta Mayon – ravioli filled with laing and based with tuna sauce.

Sibid-Sibid Food Park (Penaranda St., Bonot, Legazpi City)

Canoos Negro – squid with ink cooked in coconut milk and chilli.

Sibid Express – sailfish or tuna cooked ala Bicol Express.

Pinakong Hanit – alimango (mud-crab) cooked in coconut milk and a local fern.

Bicol Blends Cafe (Villa Amada, Daraga City)

Pili Shake

Sili Shake

Pili Bread

Tinutong Shake

Sushi Laing – bread filled with laing and served with its own dipping sauce.

Frozen Kapeng Mainit – blended coffee with frozen sili ice cream.

Sources & Photo Credits:

Sidetrip Travel Magazine, January-March 2011 issue

Wikipedia

Tripadvisor

Wikipediang Bikol Sentral

Pixabay

Flickr

lakwatsero (blog)

driftwoodjourneys (blog)

wowlegazpi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BYE, BYE OLD JOB! HELLO, NEW JOURNEY!

When it’s time to let go, don’t doubt or hesitate.  Goodbye to Good is, Hello to GREAT!

After 17 years working for this company, I am finally saying goodbye to this 9-6 job to embark on a new journey on my own. Though I loved this company that has given me so much, it is time to move on. I haven’t grown for the past five years and my soul is yearning for so much more. I wanted to stay, believe me. I wanted to just hang on for seven more years so I could enjoy its full retirement package, but, alas, my heart is no longer in it. I can’t trade my heart for money.

But what exactly is my soul yearning for?

Freedom.

Relevance.

Creativity.

Fulfillment.

I’m old enough not to settle for anything less. Yes, financial stability is still an important factor, but it is not everything.

I want freedom to pursue my own path. I want to create my own product, my own content and to feel the joy of my own creation. To achieve that sense of fulfilment of having to contribute to other people’s lives.

This is truly a bittersweet moment for me because I loved the job, but I have to let go of it. I am excited about what lies ahead, excited that I would be able to spend my time with my children. But I confess that I’m also anxious if I would be as successful. You see, I have been what you might consider a successful employee for a very long time, and so I haven’t really developed business-acumen skills. What I need to do is to take the self-discipline I’ve developed over the years and apply that to this new adventure with the hope that I would also be able to acquire the skills necessary to be successful in this new endeavour.

Boldness.

Courage.

Perseverance.

Passion.

As I close this door, I have to find new open windows. I need a new vision and a new set of goals. I have to change my daily habits as my old habits are for my old job, my old life. I have to plan my new life while keeping my eyes open for unexpected surprises along the way. I love surprises especially those presented by God/Universe himself. If I look back on my life, it is the unexpected twists and turns that have been most rewarding. And I learned that we cannot have 100% control of our lives; that indeed only God is in full control all the time. So, while I am making plans and whatnot, I am also surrendering to God’s plans for me.

Right now, all I could share with you is what I have planned for my new daily routine, which I hope to turn into habit. I researched the web to look at the daily habits of successful people and picked those I think will work for me or those that I want to develop with myself. This routine might change yet as I adjust to my new life.

MY NEW DAILY HABITS:

  1. Wake up at 6:30am.
  2. Daily meditation and prayer in the morning. My goal is to meditate for 30 minutes.
  3. Breakfast is between 7:30-8:30am.
  4. Healthy eating. This is very important not only for myself but for my kids’ wellbeing as well. As a fulltime employee, I hardly had time to plan and prepare my family’s meals. I left most of the meal-planning and preparation to our kasambahay. And then on weekends when she is on day-off, my family and I would often eat out. Obviously, we haven’t been eating very healthy. I had my gallbladder removed just recently because of an enlarged gallstone and this really woke me up. That’s why I am excited to reclaim the kitchen once again so we all could develop healthy eating habits.
  5. By 8:30am, I should be sitting in front of my computer to work on my online business . With or without an idea to work on, I need to sit in front of my computer every morning so my mind will start rolling. My mind is not accustomed to staring at a blank white page. Immediately, my brain would start to think of something to fill up a blank page and I have to take advantage of this tendency.  
  6. I will keep my journal/notebook with me while I work so I can jot down all my ideas and thoughts.
  7. 11:30pm is meal preparation, followed by lunch break until 1:30pm.
  8. Back to work at 1:30pm.
  9. Working ‘til 4:30pm, followed by a 30-minute break.
  10. Evening meal preparation is 5pm-7pm.
  11. Yoga or aerobics at 7pm before dinner.
  12. Dinner at 8pm.
  13. Reading time at 9:30pm
  14. Journal-writing before bedtime.
  15. Visualization and affirmations before bedtime.
  16. Wednesdays are for trainings, research and running errands.
  17. TV/movie time and other recreations during weekends only.

Now that I have written my new structure down, I feel much more excited and happy about the future. My goal is not just to achieve the same level of financial success at the very least, but, more importantly, to make way for healthy living for me and my family as well as to attend to my spiritual development and growth.