Life Updates Personal Finance

RMH Reader’s Survey-It’s time YOU get heard and get a chance to win Robert Kiyosaki’s bestselling book, Rich Dad Poor Dad

Over the past weeks, I’ve been writing mostly about myself.  I wrote about my financial situation the past year, my goals for this year, as well as my health & investments.  Enough of my stories.

This time I want to hear from YOU.

Let me know your thoughts, your dreams, and your ideas on how this site can help you achieve your financial dreams.

Participate in the first ever Rich Money Habits Reader’s Survey .

Click here to take the survey

Take the survey and get a chance to win Robert Kiyosaki’s all-time bestselling book Rich Dad Poor Dad-What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and the Middle Class Do Not! for FREE!

This survey will officially close on February 21, 2010.   After the survey is closed, I will choose among those who participated in the survey who will receive the FREE book give-away.

Hurry! Take the survey NOW!  Answer the 7 questions in the survey and get a chance to win our FREE giveaway – Robert Kiyosaki’s bestselling book Rich Dad Poor Dad!

IMPORTANT NOTE: The FREE book is a paperback edition.  Only one copy of the book will be given away.  FREE shipping is available to Philippine and US residents only.  If you’re based on another country, you’ll have to shoulder the shipping for the book.

Life Updates

Be featured in the 1st ever edition of Rich Money Habits Blog Carnival

Today, we are launching the first ever edition of Rich Money Habits Blog Carnival.

This edition is now accepting submission of the best money stories and articles showcasing money habits that make people rich through personal finance, business, investing, stocks, mutual funds, bonds, real-estate, internet marketing, and more.

Submission of entries is until January 26, 2010, at 12 midnight Pacific Time.

So hurry, submit your stories and articles now and be one of the chosen few to be featured to the first ever edition of Rich Money Habits Blog Carnival.

Let your story be heard.  Be featured.  Be Inspired.

What is a Blog Carnival?

“A Blog Carnival is like a magazine. It has a title, a topic, editors, contributors, and an audience. Editions of the carnival typically come out on a regular basis (e.g. every monday, or on the first of the month). Each edition is a special blog article that consists of links to all the contributions that have been submitted, often with the editors opinions or remarks.” –

Investing Life Updates Money Mindset Mutual Fund Personal Finance Stocks

My Financial Goals for 2010: Get Into the Money Game

As I’ve mentioned in one of my recent articles describing my financial journey last year, my wife and I were pretty lucky in 2009, being able to transition back to working as an IT professional in the Philippines even in the midst of the worst recession since the Great Depression.

As a consequence, our financial situation at the start of 2010 is relatively OK as summarized below:

  • We don’t have any debts.
  • We have an emergency fund.
  • We have a little bit of savings on top of the emergency fund.
  • We both have Life Insurance.
  • We have started investing in RTBs.

As you can see, our financial situation is relatively safe. However, we are still slaving ourselves into the 9-5 job.  We still need to wake up early in the morning, go to the office, sit in front of a computer, think & type on the keyboard the whole day and then go home to take a rest.

We have cash, but we don’t have TIME.  I want to have both cash AND time.  And I won’t get that if my cash is sitting idly doing nothing while I am working hard the whole day.  I want my cash to work hard too, so that someday I don’t have to work as hard anymore.  That’s why I want to learn to invest my money.  That’s why I want to get into the money game.

I understand that aiming for financial freedom will take some time.  And I’m ok with it.  It will require that I learn more and more each day how the money game works.  And I’m up to the challenge.  I will probably lose some money along the way.  And although I think it will be painful actually losing money, I’m looking forward to the lessons it will teach me.

Here are my 3 financial goals for 2010:

I originally planned to list 10 goals, but I realized it’s too much.  I’m really not a big fan of remembering things so I’ll just keep it short this time.

1) Buy a House

Ever since I got married, my wife and I have been planning to buy a house.  We worked in Malaysia for two and a half years and we were able to set aside at least a down payment for a decent house.  The only problem is, we have NOT found our dream house yet.  Worse, we don’t even know where we want to live.

Our work and my in-laws are both located in Mandaluyong.  Naturally, we would want to live somewhere near to save on cost and for convenience.  Unfortunately, Mandaluyong is not the most tranquil and home-friendly-neighborhood place often portrayed in movies.  It is a busy commercial area and business district.  So all you see are tall buildings, noisy buses plying the busiest highway in the Metro they call EDSA, and lots and lots of busy people going to their work everyday.

We want a nice single-detached home with enough backyard to have a little garden where our kids could play.  We want a house where the air is fresh and we could walk along the neighborhood while watching the sunrise.  We want a safe community for our kids, where they can play around with other kids, much like what we both used to do when we grew up.

The two pictures are contrasting to say the least.  But there’s no other way to be closer in making our dream house a reality than to actively checkout the houses for sale now.

2) Invest 20% of My Money

As I’ve said earlier, our money is hardly working for us.  Last Monday, my wife was shocked when she heard that the 180-day time deposit interest rate is currently at 0.25%!  What??! Only 1/4 of 1%!??  I think I’d rather keep my money with me, thank you.

Yes, we’ve started investing in RTBs. We got 7% interest on a 7-year tenor bonds.  But it’s hardly enough when you take into account the 20% tax on the interest as well as the rising inflation.  I’d say it’s just a little bit over breaking even.

So this year, my goal is to invest the 20% of my money in something that will earn at least 10% per year.  I’ve already opened an online stock brokerage account, but I have not bought any stocks yet.  So my goal is to finally start investing.  I’ll probably start actually investing in mutual funds, businesses, and more this year as well.

This is precisely the reason why I described my goals this year as “getting into the game”.  It’s easy to read about the different vehicles on where to invest your money.  But it’s another story to actually do it.  You haven’t actually learned anything until you’re already doing it.

3) Be consciously alive

I spent my birthday last weekend having a nasty cold & cough.  Hardly a great way to celebrate a birthday.  On top of that, most of my holiday vacation was spent in my room trying to recover from another cold & cough I got a few days before.  It’s very hard to celebrate when you’re getting sick all the time.

I want to enjoy life, while I’m young and even when I’m already old.  Who’s to say that we should sacrifice now for the future, when what we have is only today.  Yesterday is gone. We don’t know what will happen tomorrow, or the next day.  Or even the next year.  What we have is NOW.

So I’ll start enjoying the present.  I realize that we can and should enjoy today and prepare for tomorrow.  My problem has been always thinking about the future that along the way I forgot to appreciate the blessings I have today.

That’s not to say I should be spending like crazy.  My goal is to start consciously living day to day with the energy of a young kid.  Be amused.  Be inspired.  Be wondering.  Be excited, once again.  Be alive.

Yes, I will still think about my future. I will still try to learn from my past experience.  But this time, I’ll try to be more conscious of the present moment.  Just like now.  I’m having a conversation with you, and having a great time.

Life Updates Personal Finance

A Look Back on my Financial Journey in 2009

I have been reflecting the past couple of days on the many blessings I’ve received in 2009 and realized that no matter where you are, no matter what you do, there’s only one person responsible about your finances – YOU.

Living in Malaysia

My financial journey over the past year started by working as an IT professional in Malaysia.  My 2-year contract with my foreign employer just got extended for another year.  To top it off, my wife also got absorbed by our client company and got a new contract.  We both got a raise, though it was only minimal due to the ongoing recession.  We were both safe & fortunate to say the least.

Some of our friends were not as fortunate.  Their employer had to terminate their contract to cope up with the recession.  Some even have their families with them, which makes it more challenging.  Panic was everywhere. It was disheartening to see everyone trying to stay focused while their eyes reveal their fear, wondering whether it was their turn to be let go.  The recession made everything “temporary”.  Nothing was permanent.  Not your job.  Not your house.  And certainly not your visa. 

Thankfully, my wife and I was not hardly hit by the ongoing recession. 

Financially, we were doing OK.  We still had jobs.  We still had each other.  We have earned enough to put up an emergency fund.  We have stayed debt free. And more importantly, we were able to set aside some of our money, which we could use to support us if our employer decided to shorten our stay in Malaysia. 

If we learned one thing in our stay in Malaysia, it is to be prepared, always.

On the bright side, we were also able to enjoy some of the money we earned. We splurged on a lot of “doodads” as Robert Kiyosaki puts it.  We bought a 32’’ Sony LCD TV (which is now broken and could not have it fixed because it costs more to repair than the original price I bought it for – duh??), a Nikon D60 DSLR (which I love to this day), and a Macbook which my wife loves very much because she can do her video editing projects and post her Facebook pictures very easily with it.

We could have stayed in Malaysia if we wanted.  However, something was just not right.  We knew something was missing and we had to change.  And after much discussions over dinner and sleepless nights, we decided to take the chance of finding what we were missing in our home country – the Philippines.

Going Back Home to the Philippines

By middle of 2009, I got a call from my previous employer from the Philippines.  They have a big project going on and wanted to check if we’re interested in going back to the Philippines.  At the time, my wife and I have been contemplating whether to finally go back home or not.  To cut the story short, we left a life full of promise in Malaysia to a seemingly challenging life back home with family and friends in the Philippines.

To be honest, the next two months were REALLY challenging.  We had to immediately report to work as soon as we arrive in the Philippines.  We didn’t have any vacation at all.  We had to squeeze everything including preparations for our working papers, fit to work health clearance, and unpacking the 5 “balikbayan” boxes in a span of two weeks.  To make it worse, a 10-day self-quarantine was required after arriving at the airport because of the ongoing AH1N1 virus scare.

It’s been 5 months now since we arrived and I like to think that we have already adjusted living in the Philippines again.  Yes, work is stressful and challenging.  Yes, because of stress we got sick a lot of times during the past few months.  Yes, the traffic is bad and watching bad news on TV is sickening. But on the bright side, there were also lot of things I’ve been very thankful for for the past few months. 

First, my wife and I were able to attend Bo Sanchez’s Truly Rich Financial Seminar and Truly Rich Financial Coaching Program since we’re now in the Philippines.  We learned a lot, not only about the many ways you can make & invest your money but also about how my wife and I view money as a tool to help ourselves and other people. 

Second, I get to eat my favorite Filipino food like “longganisa” (locally made sausage), “inihaw na isda” (grilled fish), “chicken and pork adobo”, and many many more. 

Lastly, I am also thankful I was able to spend some time with my mom and dad, as well as my in-laws.  I get to know more about them, their concerns, their plans, their dreams.  The time I’ve spent with them is priceless and I won’t trade it for anything else in this world.  

All in all, year 2009 was great for us financially.  We were able to transition from being an IT professional in a foreign country to a similar work in the Philippines.  We’ve started investing in Retail Treasury Bonds.  We’ve also opened an account in one of the leading online stock brokerage firms in the country (I’ll tell you more about this in one of my upcoming articles).  And we’re also starting to learn to give back to other people.

How about you?  How was your financial life the past year? 

Life Updates Personal Finance

Happy New Year!

First of all, I’d like to greet you and your family a very Happy New Year! May God’s blessings continue to pour through your life and bring you happiness, love and hope that a more prosperous 2010 awaits ahead!

Second, I’d like to THANK our dear readers and subsribers of Rich Money Habits articles. About 3 months ago, the site was re-launched as Rich Money Habits – a personal finance website helping people build long term money habits so they can achieve financial freedom with peace of mind. The response has been simply amazing, as the visitors of the site grew to a whopping 300%! Thank you very much for continually inspiring me to bring more helpful, practical and useful money & personal finance articles. Watch out for more interesting articles to help you with your finances this coming year!

Third, I’d also like to thank our friends who are continually inspiring people to learn to make, save, grow and invest their money wisely.  May the coming year bless you more so you can continue to inspire and encourage people to be wiser with their own money.
> Fitz @ Ready To Be Rich
> Jay @ Foreclosure Philippines
> Tyrone @ Millionaire Acts
> Celine @ Frugal Pinoy
> James @ Pinoy Money Talk

Lastly, watch out for more exciting things happening @ Rich Money Habits in 2010 as we create more new ways to help you build rich money habits and live the abundant life.

Again, Happy New Year to you!

God bless,

Rich Money Habits

Life Updates Personal Finance

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone!

May you and your family be blessed with the goodness and financial abundance as you celebrate the Holiday season together!


Life Updates Money Mindset

I am back home – Philippines

It’s been quite a while.  So many things have happened in the past couple of months.  The biggest of them is – I’m back home.  For good.  After a 2 and a half year stint in Malaysia, I am back in my home  country – the very beautiful 7,107 islands of the Philippines! 

It’s a mixed feeling being back.  The past 2 months was like a whirlwind.  So many things had to be done.  I had to wrap everything up in a hurry.  So many things to pack.   In my count, we actually shipped 5 balikbayan boxes just for that.  I’ haven’t actually settled in yet.  Hopefully I’ll be able to share more about my experience of settling back in the coming weeks.  Stay tuned.

Life Updates Money Mindset

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers!

Here’s a great video created by my wife for mother’s day!  I’m so proud of my wife.  By the way, that’s me singing the background song “You Raised Me Up” by Josh Groban with my own acoustic guitar.   Enjoy viewing!

Business Life Updates Money Mindset

Escapade to Malaysia's Pangkor Island Beach Resort

To celebrate my wife’s birthday, my wife and I wanted to go out of town.  Take some time off.  Relax. We’ve both been very busy at work the past month and thought we both needed a break – a perfect getaway.

There were a couple of things we had in mind.  First, it had to be near.  We don’t want to take another 8-hour bus ride to a very far island, only to go back again the day after.  That’s what we did last year.  After that experience, I don’t want to have to sit inside a bus again.

One option we thought of was to go to Port Dickson, a short 2-hour bus ride from Kuala Lumpur.  Port Dickson, or P.D. as commonly referred by locals, is a very nice place, with a few beach fronts.   I only knew “The Legends Water Chalet”, a hotel in PD as my team mates and I had a team building there last year.   The hotel is very nice but it’s a bit pricey.  Besides, my wife and I already went to PD a couple of months back.  We spent the night at another place, a western cowboy style resort they call “Eagle Ranch”.  We had lots of fun there.

For this year, we both wanted to try something new.

Then we heard about Pangkor Island.  The island is a 4-hour bus ride from KL.  It’s not as near as PD but it certainly better than an 8-hour bus ride to east coast Malaysia.  The bus ticket is about 25 ringgit one way.

Early Friday morning, we boarded the Plusliner bus going to Lumut.   Since it was a weekday, there were only a few of us in the bus.  The bus left on time.  Soon enough, we were already coasting along the highway going to Lumut.  My wife was busy listening to her  i-pod while I tried to catch some sleep.  As we came near the Lumut town, my wife and I noticed that there were only 3 of us in the bus.  Me, my wife, and the driver.  We were the only passengers left.

It was around 1pm when we reached Lumut town.  My wife and I were both hungry, and excited at the same time.  The bus terminal is walking distance to the ferry station.  We hurriedly went to look for the ferry going to Pangkor Island Beach Resort.  We were lucky to find very friendly locals who pointed us to the right direction.  The next ferry is 1:45pm, so my wife and I had an extra time to spare and have lunch.

We went back to the plaza to look for a place to eat.  There were a lot of stores offering local delicacies, but we wanted to have something else.  We looked around and found the only familiar fast food chain in the area, a local KFC store.  We wasted no time and went immediately to have lunch. It’s nice to finally eat something after hours of travel.

After lunch, we went back to the ferry station.  When we got there, there were already other tourists waiting for the ferry to arrive.  From what I heard, it is a half-hour ferry ride to the Island.  We were both excited as we boarded the ferry.  We took some pictures left and right.  Smiling. Laughing.
It was only 30 minutes but it seemed like an eternity.  I was glancing at my watch every minute or so.  When I finally saw the shores, it took my breath away.  The fine white sand is inviting and looks very good to walk on.  The sound of the waves are calming.  It’s a paradise.

The hotel staffs were very courteous.  Within a few minutes, we were on our room.  The room is very spacious, adorned in the middle by a lovely king-size bed.  The bathroom is very clean and I couldn’t wait to soak myself in the tub.  From our room, we could see the infinity pool,  overlooking the beach front and the enchanting sea. It’s a very nice place.

The resort is very secluded. It’s the only resort covering the whole beach front. The resort is enclosed like a cove, making it a very very peaceful, with only the sound of the small waves singing like a lullaby.

My wife and I enjoyed the walk on the beach early morning the next day.  We even took a picture of the dazzling moonlight on the beach.


In the afternoon, we rented a bike and went around the resort.  There were a lot of trees along side the beach.   There was also a swing hanging on an umbrella tree.  We went over, had fun sitting on the swing, taking some pictures, just having lots of fun watching the sea and time go by.   This place is nice.

I really enjoyed my stay in the resort.  I’m specially fond of these 3 things.

  1. The place is secluded, peaceful and relaxing.
  2. The staffs are very courteous
  3. The resort facilities are very nice and clean

On the other end, I also had some reservations to recommend the place as it might not be for everyone.

  1. It’s a bit pricey
  2. There were not much choice for food
  3. The beach is not very clear like those in East Coast Malaysia

If you’re looking for a place to relax with family and friends, and you have the money to spare, you will like it here.  But if you’re on a budget and would like to do a lot of things, you might get a better deal somewhere else.

In the end, what matters is you enjoy it with someone you love.  Have fun at Pangkor Island!

Business Life Updates

Is Facebook now more popular than Friendster in the Philippines?

During the past few weeks, I’ve discovered that more and more of my friends are now in Facebook.  Just a year ago, I still didn’t have a Facebook profile.  The past few years, I’ve been pretty much satisfied with Friendster.  As most of my friends are also there, I didn’t find the need to create a profile on another “social networking” website.  But ever since I joined Facebook, I’ve seen a gradual increase in the number of my fiends who were in Friendster that are now also using Facebook.  And the more friends I am connected to, the more I am fascinated with the features of Facebook.

What are you doing right now?

One of the more popular features used by Facebook members is the status update labelled “What are you doing right now?”.  I guess a lot of people want to let the whole world know what they’ve been up to the last few days, or hours…or even minutes.  Some users drop a one liner status like “having the greatest time of my life in …” while other can speak more in just one word like “zzzzz”.  Others like to be profound but barely making sense, while others like to be funny. 

The wonderful thing about these status updates is the ongoing comments from friends and colleagues.  Sometimes, the comments border on wild and funny ideas, but often times, people just want to say they’re there to listen.

I am a fan!

Another thing that I find interesting in Facebook is the numerous ways on how people can express what they like.  For example, I am a fan of Roger Federer, so obviously, I want my friends to know that about me.  What better way to do that than just clicking the “I am a fan” button in Roger Federer’s facebook profile?  Others, would like to find causes that inspire them.  Just a few days ago, the passing away of a great nationalistic Filipino Rapper, Francis Magalona, inspired a lot of Filipinos to voice out their support and love through fan profiles.  On the other end, oher people just want to let the world know of their favorite movies, TV shows, or even favorite food. 

I am tagged in a Photo

One of the most popular uses of social networking sites is to share photos with friends.  One of my college friends, for example, posted a photo of our “barkada” [a group of friends] about 10 years ago.  It’s a nice feeling to be able to remember what we were like then.  It certainly made me miss college and left a big smile on my face. 

The one thing I am amazed in Facebook photos is the tagging.  Thanks to Facebook, I can now be “tagged” on my friends’ photos.  Now, I don’t have to copy the same photo into my profile.  It automatically links those photos to me.  Sweet!

I am still fairly new with Facebook.  To be honest I haven’t really been that active with it.  But I am constantly amazed with the buzz and activity within my friend’s network.  It’s surprising.  It’s exciting.  And it’s definitely a lot of fun. 

So, is Facebook now more popular than Friendster in the Philippines?  What do you think?