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Aug 8, 2018

EKSTRA: How OFWs earn extra cash to send home

Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) are well known multi-taskers, performing several duties at the same time. This delicate balancing act requires not just skills but a deep sense of commitment and focus to make life better for their loved ones.

This perhaps is best illustrated in “Europe”, a short film by BDO Kabayan, about a female impersonator who works in Europe. Inspired by true events, “Europe” shows the great lengths a father will go to in order to provide for his family.

Jacks and Jills of all trades
The story is a familiar one, resonating among the millions of OFWs around the world, wherein many of our kakabayans resort to accepting odd jobs to earn for their families back home.

Dolores Perez, a registered nurse, discovered a hidden talent that became her source of extra income when she was working in Dubai.

“One time my friend asked if I could give her a massage. After I gave her one, she said I was really good,” recalls Dolores. “So after that, I decided to do massages for a fee on my days off.”

“I chose giving a massage as my sideline because it only lasts for an hour, no more, no less,” Dolores continues. “If a client wants to extend the session, then she must pay extra.”

Having a few practical skills can be quite useful, according to Teddy Santos, Jr., a husband and father of two. Having lived in Italy for the past 18 years, he has gone through many ups and downs when it comes to work. Today, he prefers having several part time jobs over regular work as this set-up pays him more and gives him more flexibility in terms of work hours.

According to Teddy, his regular day consists of working in a pharmacy from 7 to 11 in the morning, doing odd jobs like housekeeping, babysitting, or driving for various clients from 11:30am to 2:30pm, and doing clerical work in a law firm from 3:30pm to 7pm.

“It’s tiring and sometimes the travel time between jobs is challenging,” Teddy admits. "But the work that I do every day pays good money and is enough to support my family.”

Everything for the OFW Family

Indeed, their family’s welfare is the main motivation of OFWs wherever they may be in the world. Making sure that their loved ones back home are well provided for is top priority, no matter how difficult.

“I guess every padre de pamilya would say family comes first above anything else,” Teddy says. “All that they need should be provided by the parents, might it be in the manner of financial or moral support.”

Dondon Mangilog, Jr., a telecom technician in Saudi Arabia, agrees. For the past 15 years, he has been installing TV satellite dishes for private clients after office hours and during weekends. But despite its financial rewards, Dondon admits working extra has its disadvantages.

“Tinitiis ko ang init o lamig sa pag-aakyat sa bubong at hirap sa pag-install at pagbabarena sa dingding (I endure the heat or the cold when I go up on rooftops and the difficulty of drilling walls),” Dondon admits. “Ginagawa ko ito para maitaguyod nang maayos ang pamilya at makapag-ipon para sa magandang kinabukasan. (I do this so I can give the best support for my family and save money for our future.)”

Building the ideal future today

For Dolores, it’s important to teach her children how to prioritize their needs as early as now.

“Tuition fees, books, baon…these are the most important,” says Dolores. “If there’s extra money left, that’s the only time we buy other stuff or go malling.”

Too many sad stories have been told about OFWs not being able to save or losing their money because of uninformed financial decisions.

“You don’t have to be good in Math to manage your income,” Teddy says. “It’s just simple: don’t spend too much above your paygrade.”

For OFWs, it’s also crucial to have a trusted bank that will assist them in making sure their earnings make it to their families back home. BDO Kabayan understands this and commits to providing OFWs with products and services that adapt to their ever-changing needs.

“Having a bank that looks out for me is really helpful,” says Dondon who regularly sends money to the Philippines. “It makes me feel more secure knowing that my family gets the money I worked so hard for.”

The story of “Europe” is a familiar one, resonating among the millions of OFWs around the world. Just like in the story of “Europe”, many of our kababayans resort to accepting odd jobs to earn extra cash for their families back home.

While they find ways to earn for their families back home, BDO finds ways to safeguard their keep and provide innovative options to send this money to their loved ones. The service called Cash Agad for instance was introduced by BDO as a channel for the beneficiaries to withdraw the remittances without the need to go to a bank. Neighborhood establishments like sari-sari stores, water refilling stations, hardware stores, and pawnshops can be their “go-to-bank” as long as these establishments have the Cash Agad terminals. Cash Agad is currently offered in more than 5,000 partners nationwide. For more information, you may visit this link: www.bdo.com.ph/kabayan-remittance-services.

BDO is a full-service universal bank which provides a wide range of corporate and retail banking services. These services include traditional loan and deposit products, as well as treasury, trust and wealth advisory, investment banking, private banking, rural banking, cash management, leasing and finance, remittance, credit card services, and insurance, and stock brokerage services.

BDO has one of the largest distribution networks, with more than 1,200 operating branches and over 4,000 ATMs nationwide. It also has a full-service branch in Hong Kong as well as 24 overseas remittance and representative offices in Asia, Europe, North America and the Middle East.

BDO ranked as the largest bank in terms of total assets, loans, deposits and trust funds under management based on published statements of condition as of March 31, 2018. For more information, please visit www.bdo.com.ph.

Oct 23, 2017

Five Real Estate Business Ideas You Can Try

At this point you might already be aware that real estate is a blooming industry in the Philippines. Developments are being built left and right and there are always a demand for property. It's an industry that continues to develop and become one of the most in demand in the country.
But many people are not aware that investing on a property is not the only business that you can do with real estate. There are other businesses in real estate that will surely give you substantial profit. Below is a list of some of the businesses that you can do with real estate.

Rental business
The easiest way to earn money in real estate is through renting. There's a steady demand for rental properties since tourists and professionals who rent out places in Metro Manila are always constant. There's a steady cash flow and it's not that hard to keep up with the maintenance of your rental unit.

Property management
Property management is created for property owners who want to lease their properties but simply don't have the time to manage their rentals. Property managers handle the maintenance, the rent collection, and overall management of the property. You can start out by handling one property then proceed to handling more clients.

Real estate photography
Got some skills on the camera? Put your expertise to the test by taking photos of beautiful homes around the country. Real estate developers and agents know that having a great property photo can make a difference to their online marketing campaigns. They will use the photos to entice clients who scroll down social media or use online property portals. That's why they often hire photographers to take photos of their properties. Create a portfolio of your previous work and show it to interested patrons.

Become a real estate agent
Real estate agents are still very much in demand. People still seek for the expertise of real estate agents. Become a legitimate real estate agent requires time and effort so make sure that you are in it for a long run. 

Flip property
You probably heard this term in various home related television shows. Flipping a property means buying an old property, giving it a makeover, then selling it to a better price. Some flip property aficionados even turn the property into a commercial business, creating a new restaurant, laundry shop, etc. It can create a large one time profit and can be managed in the comforts of your home.


Dot Property Philippines offers property searchers, home owners, developers and real estate agents a comprehensive advertising platform to buy, rent or sell property online – and all with the option to list for free. 
Dot Property Philippines makes it easy to ‘move online’ with inclusive search features that allow property buyers to find the perfect house, villa, apartment or condominium to call home or even a new investment. Pinpointing your ideal property by filtering a search by type, location, number of bedrooms and price.

Oct 7, 2017

Debunking Five of the Most Common Misconceptions about Real Estate Investing

Relatively fewer people invest in real estate compared to those who take part in the stock market. Among the common reasons are fears and uncertainties that cloud the judgment of potential investors.

What these investors do not know is that they are missing out on this promising market, given that real estate has a value that appreciates over time. Lamudi even noted that it is a safer investment that allows investors to be flexible with their assets.

Investors must, however, be informed and well-equipped to avoid unwarranted risks. Here are some of the common misconceptions about real estate investing and how these spur the wrong idea about the market.

You have to be rich.

Perhaps, this is the most common misconception you will hear from people who would discourage you from venturing in real estate. While it is true that investing would not be as easy if you do not have enough in your war chest, it doesn't necessarily mean that you should have a battalion should you decide to push through.

The key here is financial security. If you have an ample amount of disposable income, then you have the freedom to invest it to make it grow in value. To illustrate, consider this situation: You have the savings to pay for the down payment of a condominium unit in Mandaluyong. Being in a busy city, the unit will naturally appreciate as the demand for housing near business districts swells.

Now, you have two options: Either you choose the rent-to-own track, meaning you can occupy the unit yourself, or you rent out the said unit while you settle the loan in predetermined terms. This way, not only will you have possession of the property, you are also settling your dues with no hassle.

Another option, especially for those who are just starting, is to find a venture partner. This will not only help distribute the financial burden but will also widen opportunities, as two heads work better than one.

If you still think you have to start with a lot of money, just remember that investing can be done in baby steps.

It's easy as one-two-three. 

Let's say you have overcome the first hurdle in investing and are stable to acquire more properties. Should you just lay back, enjoy your drink, and expect yields to just roll in?

The answer is no. Real estate investing takes a lot of work. It requires a clear understanding of the concepts not just in investing but also in law and the economy, among others. As Forbes put it, real estate is not really complicated at its core, but this does not mean the job is simple.

You would not go to battle without having a strategy, and the same goes with investing in a market as particular as real estate. Knowledge of the current market situation of potential locations is vital. You should be able to determine the demand for spaces in the area, as well as your target clients. For example, if you have your eyes set on a residential area with not so much retail presence, then it would be wise to look for nearby properties where you can set up commercial spaces.

For others, hiring a financial advisor is necessary. However, even with an advisor, you should not take the job so lightly as you would still have to manage your accounts, attend to your tenants' needs and concerns, and maintain your network.

The priority is keeping your property occupied.

While this is partly true, it is still important to profile your tenants. As Eric Tyson and Ray Brown from Dummies.com point out, investors often overlook the importance of tenant selection.

The crucial thing here is making sure your property is marketed in such a way that it would attract those who are most qualified. Investors can achieve this by targeting their advertising to a specific market.

Likewise, the investor should have the knack of determining early on if the tenant would want to stay long-term. Of course, this is on top of other qualities an investor should look for. It is essential to determine if the tenant can help you settle the mortgage and build the value of the property.

In a nutshell, the journey to having your property always occupied does not end with having tenants who come and go. It is always better to encourage longer commitments from them.

Go big or go home.

Most investors believe that you have to go big to get ahead in the game. This is not the case, however, in real estate investing.

This is especially true if you are a nascent investor—you can always start investing in small properties. For instance, you can snag a property within a stone's throw away from the University Belt and turn it into a viable student accommodation. According to Lamudi, the built-in demand for these student spaces makes investing in this area a great start to your real estate portfolio. And with an already determined market year in and year out, student spaces have the potential for greater cash flow.

Take note, however, that gains in this market are not instant as it would take time for you to get that steady and good cash flow. But this should not discourage you from starting small. As stated earlier, baby steps will get you a long way.

All you need is luck.

Luck should always be welcomed with open arms when it comes your way. However, relying on it will get you nowhere if you are investing in real estate.
It pays to do your homework and research on current market trends, allowing yourself to be well-versed on how you can utilize a property's location or how you can acquire a property at a fair price.

As they say, before you invest your hard-earned wealth into something, invest in your own plethora of knowledge first. Many misconceptions are rooted in superstition and unproven claims. Instead of trusting luck with the direction of your investment goals, you should use your own judgment and analysis of things to pave your way to your desired outcome.

Real estate investing, like any other type of investing and financial planning, requires only two things from investors: financial security and the willingness to take risks. Investors who are gunning for high rewards must, therefore, expect the high risks that investing could entail. It is important that this concept is taken not as a caution but rather as a challenge for potential investors, young and old, to thrive in this exciting market.

LAMUDI is a leading global property portal focusing exclusively on emerging markets. It offers sellers, buyers, landlords and renters a secure and easy-to-use platform to find or list properties online. Lamudi was established in 2013 in Berlin, Germany and it is currently available in Latin America (Mexico, Colombia and Peru), Asia (Philippines, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Sri Lanka) and Middle East (Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates). Within fewer than three years, Lamudi has established its presence as a key online real estate marketplace in the countries where it is operating. 

Property Investment in Makati City. Only P15,000 / month

Sep 3, 2017

How Bitcoin and coins.ph can make Filipinos and OFW life easier

I have wrote an article before about Bitcoin: The Future of Payments and gave basic ideas about Bitcoin. I haven't made any follow-up article about it after that and its been two years now. There wasn't also any major news about it until just this month when its price against US Dollar surge to 1 BTC* (Bitcoin) for USD5,000++. So, if someone bought 1 Bitcoin (BTC) on 2015, it have already grown 1500%** in value. That's a huge profit in two years!

It is indeed a revolutionary invention in our time but one of the questions I would like to answer in this article is "How Bitcoin can make Filipinos and OFW life easier". I will be giving four (4) best examples on how I have utilized the potential of bitcoin in my daily life and hopefully you can find value on it and somehow make you and your family's life easier.

Here are the four (4) best usage of Bitcoin for Filipinos and even OFWs that will make their life easier:

1. Buying Prepaid Load.

You don't need to go outside and look for the nearest store just to load your prepaid number. You just need to Register an account with coins.ph, download their Apps and Cash-In to load your account.

Not only that, You get 10% back on all your prepaid load purchases.

2. Pay Bills.

You can pay your Meralco, Telecom & Broadband Bill, Cable Subscription, Credit Card, Insurance, and for OFWs, you don't need to ask someone to pay for your Philhealth and SSS, you can now pay Philhealth Premium and SSS Contributions with your coins.ph Apps. All you need to do is Register an account with coins.phdownload coins.ph Apps

3. Hang Out and "Pay Peer-to-Peer"
Source: nypost.com

If you typically hang out on Friday with co-workers or friends and you end up always paying the bill or you unintentionally forgot to pay your share and your good friend reminded you about it, then here's a simple solution I can share which me and my friends have been doing everytime we hang out.

If you always pay for the bill, immediately divide the total expenses and let them know how much is their share and tell them to send PHP or BTC via your coins.ph digital wallet. It will be much easier if you will use your QR Code to minimize giving your wallet address or email/SMS/Facebook account.

How? Just click "RECEIVE" and "Scan QR Code"

If you find this article helpful, you can 
send a little donation to help support maintaining this site and be able to 
reach out and help more filipinos and helpspread financial literacy. 
You can donate by scanning the QR Code above. Thank you!

And if you will be paying your share, all you need to do is to request for the QR Code or wallet address and input the amount and "SLIDE TO PAY".

4.Virtual Debit Card
If you have difficulty applying for a Credit or Debit Card, it is now easy to purchase anything online with your Virtual Debit Card. You just need to Activate it and put "enough" funds in your card in order to complete a purchase online.

What are the advantages of using the Coins Virtual Card?
The Coins Virtual Card is a convenient way to make online purchases wherever Visa cards are accepted.  Our Virtual Card accounts link directly with your Coins.ph  wallet in order to provide the same convenient cash-in options.  Additionally, your funds on the Virtual Cards will be stored in US Dollars, enabling convenient international purchases as well as local online purchases in Philippine Pesos.

Where can I Use Coins Virtual Card?
You can use your Virtual Card wherever Visa cards are accepted online, including leading internet services like Amazon, Zalora, Uber, Grab Credits, and many more.

For more FAQs about your Coins Virtual Card, you can visit this link.

* BTC is the symbol used to represent Bitcoin
** - assuming purchase price was during all time high of 2015 and its current value as of writing is $5000 as of Sept 2,2017.

For those outside the Philippines, you can use COINBASE to buy bitcoin and trade using Binance Exchange. 

Aug 4, 2017

Five Common Misconceptions about Insurance in the Philippines

Photo courtesy of Siala via Pixabay

Although life insurance is a crucial aspect of a healthy personal finance, only 2% of Filipinos have life insurance. This is mostly because of the insurance misconceptions that are rife in the Philippine society. The lack of awareness of the benefits and importance of insurance is why many have failed to take action. The following are some of the misconceptions that keep people from getting an insurance.

That you don’t need it

Yes, you need it, especially if you have people depending on you. One of the main purposes of life insurance is income continuation. This means that should you meet an untimely death, your dependents can continue having the same quality of life at least long enough for them to gain their footing and become financially independent themselves. You see it all too often on the news,  the family’s breadwinner figures in an unexpected tragedy and the loved ones are left reeling not only with the loss but because of the financial uncertainty they are left to deal with.

Photo courtesy of Geralt via Pixabay

That your HMO is enough

People often confuse their HMO coverage for life insurance. While both are great products, they serve different purposes. While some life insurance offerings include hospitalization, they generally do not cover checkups and annual physical examinations, which are the specialities of HMO. Life insurance, on the other hand, is very helpful in the event of an accident, permanent disability or critical illness. These things can be just as sudden as an untimely death, and the hospitalization and medicines they require can easily deplete whatever savings you may have, especially as you are likely to lose your job and be without the HMO insurance it provides.

While these things can be awfully scary, dealing with them head-on is crucial. It is an unavoidable fact: our time will come. And there is simply no telling if an unexpected tragedy will befall you. No one is completely immune to such things. The most you can do is to be prepared, not just for yourself but for the people you care about. 

Photo courtesy of DariuszSankowski via Pixabay

That life insurance is only for grim events

Beyond just fortuitous events, life insurance actually has other uses. It can fund your retirement, pay off tuition fees, and help you reach milestones. If, say, you retire at 65 and live 15 years more, you would need funds to live off of for the rest of your days. How would you do that if you no longer have your salary? As any financial expert will tell you, what you will receive through SSS is just not enough. Your food alone, if each meal costs Php100, would add up to Php1.6 million. How about the cost of maintenance medicines, utilities, and loans you may still be paying by this age? You will find insurance plans that provide maturity benefit that will let you withdraw the full cash value of your fund at a certain age. This will help you enjoy the same quality of life even when you no longer have an active income.

Life insurance is also great for funding your children’s education. You don’t have to be one of those people who have to downgrade their kids’ school or have them stop schooling altogether because you are going through tough times. You can avoid this by going beyond just covering the costs head on. You can put your money in a fund that will grow in time instead and keep up with the yearly tuition fee increase. You can do this by choosing plans that link insurance with investments, such as the Variable Unit Linked (VUL). This has become increasingly popular because of its ability to beat inflation.

Your life insurance can even help you reach some of your major life goals, like your dream of owning your own house, car or business. You will find plans that offer living benefits, allowing you to withdraw your funds so you can purchase or fund these things.

Photo courtesy of Jarmoluk via Pixabay

That it is expensive

Life insurance is not as expensive as you’d expect. Term insurance is by far the most affordable. A 30-year-old can have a Php500,000 coverage after paying for only Php3,000 to Php4,000 each year. That amounts to only Php300 per month, or the equivalent of two cups of coffee from a coffee shop. A VUL can cost as low as Php1,200 to Php2,000 per month. With an investment component, you get the chance to earn just enough to recover all the premiums you paid. A group or corporate insurance costs even less with some offered at a premium of less than Php100 per per year for each member of a group. Life insurance really does not have to be expensive. Mind you, you can even find plans like the Palawan Pawnshop Insurance that only require a one-time payment of Php20. 

Photo courtesy of Monoar via Pixabay

That it can wait

The truth is that you should secure protection while you don’t need it just yet, and for several reasons. For one, as you move through different life stages, you will have to deal with different needs. You may be single in your 20s but would have to be married soon and have children whom you would have to provide for, then you will grow old and stop actively earning an income. Life is simply much easier when you have a sound financial foundation. Moreover, the rate of premiums increases as you age. This is because the risks associated with older people are higher, especially in terms of health. Also, people do tend to acquire illness as they grow older, which can cause insurance applications to be declined. Insurance providers do take the efforts to manage risks. Insurance companies are known to reject applications by people who are already in a critical medical condition.

Another great reason to start paying for a life insurance now is so you could leave your investment with more time to grow. You should use the power of compounding to your advantage. This allows the fund value of your VUL plans to increase over time. You also have to remember that deaths and accidents can be sudden. No one really knows when their time on earth will end. Plus, you have to be aware of the contestability period often included in policies. If an accident or death occurs within the period, the insurance company can deny the claim after duly investigation.

Learning about the prevalent Filipino insurance misconceptions is a great start at finally taking your steps toward a financially-sound foundation. The best time to work on your financial health is now.


Patricia Evans
Twitter: @patevans016
A mum blogger who loves travel and interior designing

Patricia Evans is a part time interior designer and a full-time mother. She has worked in Marketing before but she quit her job to pursue her true passion: fashion and interior design.

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