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.