i create. i am a creation.

Planning for retirement (adulting is very hard)

Posted on: February 14, 2016

courtesy of philstar.com

courtesy of philstar.com

My conversation with my friend (see previous entry) prompted me to ponder about my immediate financial future (Will I get a raise after working my butt off for a year and six months? How should i ask for a raise? Shall i ask for a change in contract?). While I did so, I couldn’t help but think of (and act on) my financial future 30 or 40 years down the road.

My mother has scrimped and saved and was brutally frugal when we were still under her roof and she’s now reaping the rewards: she has more than enough money in the bank; a generous retirement package c/o GSIS; and she will be going on an Alaskan cruise, a European religious pilgrimage and a Canadian tour all within this year.

While I don’t plan to have a grand retirement like that, I suddenly felt that I should be saving more than 50% of income for retirement since the SSS is going bust in a decade, methinks, if they don’t mend their ways and be beaten to a pulp to shape up.

The benefit of being a business journalist is that you get to learn more about investing than an average Juan from the streets. So while I was writing about Lehman Brothers going belly up and the subsequent tanking of the markets in September 2008, my mind was whirling and began gathering up my courage. On the second day that PSE was on a tailspin after Lehman, I bought 3 stocks that (having previously bought a power/energy stock prior to Lehman) I knew I could hold for the long-term until my kids enter college (I was 28 years old then and didn’t have kids). So until today I hold those 4 stocks that I bought for dirt-cheap prices that I will never see in my lifetime again. When markets bleed, I buy. When they do a rights offer, I buy. I never sold any of them yet.

Prior to Lehman (around February 2008), I bought myself a traditional insurance policy. A few months after that, I placed a huge sum of money (for me at that time) in a mutual fund.

I terminated that traditional insurance policy last year and shifted to a VUL with several riders in it (I neglected to keep up with my traditional because life got in the way and my insurance agent left the country and was an orphan policy holder until last year). My mutual fund was still intact and in fact it earned well. I just regret that I wasn’t able to top up my investment for the past 8 years because again, life got in the way (high-octane job that made going to the bank for payments a little off-putting) and because my former agent left me high and dry. *Aww shucks for the lost time, I keep telling myself* I got my financial life in order last year and a few weeks ago I just transferred my mutual fund into another fund. Then topped up my investment after the market tanked. I’m hoping the market would tank again by March or by the third quarter (US Fed hiking rates) so I could place another tranche of my savings into that mutual fund.

Last month, I bought my nearly 5-year old twins insurance policies with investment riders that hopefully we could use for their college education (the direct stock investments are for their college funds as well). The other education policies being offered to me were expensive that I felt I would be stretching myself too thin if I was suckered into buying those so I searched for other insurance products that have good investment riders. I would pay for the policies for my kids annually while my own insurance policy is a quarterly thing so my monthly budgeting would be easier.

Aside from my mutual fund and insurance policies, I’ve been putting funds in another savings account that I don’t touch. That is my emergency fund. I want to have at least 6 months’ worth of expenses for my emergency fund, just for my peace of mind. I hope I don’t get to be unemployed that long.

I’m still not satisfied with my investments since I worry about inflation and future medical costs. I’m thinking of placing some savings in time deposits but—bahahahaha! As someone who covered Treasury auctions, I know it’s nearly impossible to make money out of these unless the Philippine government goes back to its bad habits and blows its finances and starts borrowing more than it can collect revenues. Of course I wouldn’t want that. But I can revisit this time deposit option since I don’t want inflation eating into my savings in my regular savings account. Inflation is a brutal animal but at this moment, with oil prices dropping and food inflation a slightly less-than-worrisome issue, I can put it off my mind in the next 6 months.

Or I can go for a UITF. The Landbank Growth UITF looks ok to me (40% fixed income, 60% stocks) but I have to check their performance vs other UITFs. After I meet my desired emergency fund ceiling, then I can go back to thinking about investing in a UITF.

I have two vehicles that are over 5 years old (one is 10 years old and another is 7 years old) but they’re running well and have a couple of more years in them. I don’t see any need to replace them in the near future. I am renting right now but I must think about buying a property outside Manila to be the forever home. How I would budget for that is still a mystery. Either I would have to change jobs again or be brutally frugal like what my mother was, sending us to school while paying for her forever house, which by the way, worked out well in the end.

Adulting is very hard.


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life in business journalism

crazy. exciting. boring to some but hey, you get to understand the world better when you're a business journalist. you learn to be patient with tons of documents, make sense of numbers and charts. all geeky stuff. this is my story, behind the scenes.
February 2016
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