Reader Mail #19: Some Personal Questions, Answered

Posted by Fitz Villafuerte under Reader Mail on June 10, 2011

Through the years, I’ve received a lot of emails from readers asking me various questions and advise on business, investments and finance.

Once in while, however, I get curious personal questions which I try to answer the best I could without giving “too much information” about my life, for obvious reasons. πŸ˜‰

Below now, are some of the more interesting inquiries I had the privilege to respond to.

By sharing these, I hope you can get to know me better; and more importantly, pick up a thing or two and learn something which you can apply into your own life.

Investments

What was your very first investment?
Stocks of First Philippine Holdings (FPH) back in 2002. I didn’t know anything much about the stock market back then and eventually lost all of the money I invested from day trading various stocks.

When I got a financially smarter several years after, I went back to investing – this time, in zero to low-risk investments such as time deposits and conservative UITFs. I suggest you invest in those too if you’re just starting.

How much passive income do you have now?
Let’s just say my pure passive income can now cover 30% of my monthly expenses. My semi-passive income (money I earn from blogging and my businesses) cover the rest.

I still have active income from my freelance activities. The earnings from these are mainly used for my travels and most of my luxury expenses.

Inside the Google Office in Singapore

Favorites

What’s the best book you’ve read so far?
I’m a big Sidney Sheldon fan. I’ve read all his books. And also, the Harry Potter series. Locally, F. Sionil Jose is a favorite.

However, when it comes to business and personal finance, E-Myth is the best for me, along with The Millionaire Next Dorr, Think and Grow Rich and The Richest Man in Babylon.

Do you watch television? What’s your favorite show?
I rarely watch television. Often, I tune in only for the news. However, I do follow a handful of shows through DVD’s. Currently, I’m in love with Big Bang Theory and Outsourced. I like sitcoms.

What’s your favorite movie?
This is hard to answer because I’m a movie buff. But if you ask me what my favorite Pinoy movie is, hands down it’s the movie “100“. Filipino movies have been immensely improving through the years so I’m sure this will change soon.

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Routine

How does your typical day go?
I usually wake up around 10:00 AM, sometimes much later depending on what time I slept, but never after 12:00 noon.

Then, I go about doing the things I need to do for the whole afternoon. After dinner, I’d often go and hang out in a coffee shop to meet and talk with friends. If not, then I’m just home reading or blogging.

What do you do when you’re not online?
On ordinary days, I manage my businesses, do some freelance work or look for offline income opportunities. During lazy days, I meet and hang out with friends, go to the movies or just read books and watch DVD’s the whole day at home.

When I have enough money, I travel and do outrageous stuff like riding a zip line 2 kilometers above sea level in South Cotabato. πŸ˜›

Mindset

How did you know it was time to quit your job?
I wrote down the goals I needed to accomplish before I could resign from work. I made a plan for those goals and set a target date – that’s basically how I knew.

Those goals included having six-months worth of expenses as emergency fund, a running business that’s already earning and a handful of freelance job opportunities that I could do.

How does it feel to be financially free?
I’m not yet financially free, but I know I’m getting there. With enough patience, determination, focus and discipline, I know I can retire by the time I’m 40.

And I know you can too. πŸ˜€

And that’s it for now, there are still a handful of questions I’d like to share but I’m reserving those for another time. πŸ˜›

However, if you do have something that you want to ask about me, then just ask it below in the comments section. If it’s nothing too personal, then I might just answer it. πŸ˜‰

Be with me in my journey towards financial freedom by subscribing to Ready To Be Rich today. Thank you.




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22 Responses to “Reader Mail #19: Some Personal Questions, Answered”


  1. Nino says:

    Thanks for sharing…I’ve been really wondering how does a semi-financially free person do his day to day tasks. πŸ˜›

  2. Joanna T. Zabanal says:

    Hi! I’m currently a full time mother of 2, after being laid off from the company I’ve worked with for almost 10 yrs. Nevertheless, I received a separation pay. I would like to seek your assistance on making that money grow, for I don’t intend to be employed again since I enjoy being with my kids. I’ve read several of your articles already and I’ve learned a lot but still I’m confused and hesitant. Please help me.

    Thanks.

  3. Fitz says:

    Hi Joanna, you can use my contact form at the sidebar to send me an email and let’s see how I may clarify some of the things you’re confused about. πŸ˜€

  4. Erwin says:

    Hi Fitz –

    I’m not sure if you’ve already answered this question from your previous posts but I’ll ask this anyway:

    Which one is the best choice between Mutual Funds and Time deposit if I have Php 50,000 on hand and I wish to put it in on my first ever investment?

    TIA

    πŸ™‚

  5. Wow, thanks for sharing Sir Fitz. I like your routine. πŸ™‚ I don’t know if this is already included in those series of questions you have. May I know “What type of business do you have right now?” Thanks and God bless.

  6. Fitz says:

    @Erwin
    It depends on your investment horizon. How long can you “not touch” your investment. If it’s less than a year, better put it in a time deposit.

    If it’s more than that, then moderate mutual funds are a good choice. But for 3 years or more, I’ll recommend the stock market. πŸ˜€

    @Red
    I have an internet cafe, a photocopying center, an eload station and an IT outsourcing company. My newest business, which is currently on pre-launch stage, is an online store which I will be announcing here very soon. πŸ˜€

  7. Erwin says:

    Thank you for the prompt reply, Fitz.

    I think I can leave it untouched for 5 years.

    However, I don’t have any knowledge on stocks and I’m afraid that I might make the wrong decisions

  8. desertman says:

    @Erwin

    Aside from investment horizon, you also have to consider how much risk you can take. They always say the higher the risk the higher the return ryt? If you have no experience at all in investing in stocks, then it’s a no no for now. TD is safe but for you to grow as an active investor, you can try investing in mutual funds first. I only concentrated before in two types of mutual funds -one where the total fund is geared on TD, FXTN and other long term bonds which is the safer type of fund and then the other fund which is concetrated more on stock trading and a bit of FXTN and bonds. The latter is a bit risky but it’s where I earned way better during the financial crisis. To understand mutual fund or UITF better, ask your bank about it. I can say that it’s more of a prequel to stock market investing. By saying that you can leave your money untouched for 5 years, then i think, mutual fund is the right investment vehicle for you at the moment.

    Hope this helps.

    just my two cents

  9. desertman says:

    Hi Fitz,

    You mentioned that you have an IT outsourcing company. I am not sure if I read it from your blog or from another blog about IT outsourcing business and call centers but would you mind giving some discussions about it? I’ve been wondering if it can be done even with a small number of employees let’s say 10 or below just for starter. Besides, I have no idea on how it operates or how to establish one.

    Thanks a lot.

  10. Erwin says:

    Thank you so much, Fitz πŸ™‚

    I’ll keep that in mind. I’ll do some more research on what type of MF or UITF suits me. So far I’m leaning towards the balanced funds from Sunlife and FAMI. Do you think they’re a good choice for beginners?

    Again, thank you for finding time in answering my queries.

    God bless and more power!

  11. desertman says:

    @Erwin,

    Balanced Fund looks okay with me. Just try to review the fund’s performance for the past 1 year to give u a general idea on how the financial managers handle the fund. The only thing you need to know with this type of investment is not only when to come in but most importantly is when to go out. Check also their fees and other charges. I think BDO has the lowest. Try to double check. Goodluck.

    BTW, this is Desertman and not Fitz. Sorry Fitz. πŸ™‚

  12. Fitz says:

    @Erwin
    The last pieces of advice did not come from me, but from desertman. He’s a regular visitor here and I assure you that his advice and knowledge about investing is trustworthy and reliable. πŸ˜€

    @desertman
    Thanks again for helping out my readers here.

    Regarding your question about the IT outsourcing company, my business is geared more towards English proficiency learning and basic web content research and development.

    We have business partners abroad who provide us with clients in need of online English tutors and virtual assistants. Our Manila office then provides the manpower to them from our database of individual contractors.

    Everything is home-based, thus there is no need for us to have a physical office where people can work. All our “employees” work at home and get their salary from us on a “per project / module” basis. πŸ˜€

  13. Erwin says:

    Once again, thank you so much.

    @desertman – I appreciate it a lot

    I’ll carefully study all my options. And when I get lost, I’ll ask for your opinion again. Hehe!

  14. desertman says:

    @Erwin
    No problem. I’d be more than welcome to give u my two cents.

    @Fitz
    Thanks for the compliment sir. Your IT outsourcing company is very interesting. And to be honest, that’s the exact type of business I am longing to explore since I’ve heard about it a year ago (next is blogging). But due to some compelling reasons, my current status does not permit me to do so. If I remember it right, you offered me a cup of coffee before right? hehe. Hopefully we could do that next year.

  15. desertman says:

    @Erwin,

    Just a clarification. UITF and mutual fund technically are two different investment types. UITFs are offered by banks and under the supervision of BSP while mutual funds are being offered by investment companies like Sunlife and being regulated by SEC. Both have their pros and cons but I personally prefer UITFs since they are backed by banks and their fund managers passed thru a stingent training and years of experience in investing practice. But again, it’s just my personal opinion. Hope this helps.

  16. Erwin says:

    @Fitz

    Remember that I asked about which one is better between MF and TD and you’ve mentioned that for the situation that I’ve given, it’s better to invest it in MF or stocks?

    Well, I think I’ll break the 50k in two and invest in MF and UITF then just leave it there for 5 years and perhaps add a few thousands quarterly on both.

    Now, lets get to my question for the day. Hehe!

    The thing is I’m an OFW in Malaysia and I do send most of my monthly salary for paying expenses back home and of course, some are for savings.

    While I was checking my account online from my bank here, I stumbled upon a product that they call “Fixed Deposit Account” which I think is TD.

    To give you visibility on this, you can visit the page below:

    Maybank Fixed Deposit Account

    What is interesting here is I’ve seen that the difference in the Maybank interest rate from BPI almost doubled. If you have the time, please visit the URL above and kindly enlighten me so that I could decide if I should transfer some of my money in the savings account in to the Fixed Deposit Account.

    @desertman

    I would also appreciate it if you could again give me your 2 cents on this πŸ˜€

  17. desertman says:

    @Erwin,

    If I would just consider the interest rate, 3% is a bit okay compared to the rates in the Phils. BDO and Metrobank offer about 2.125-2.75% i guess the last time I placed an investment. But interest varies according to the amount you would invest and the tenure. Of course, the higher the amount the higher the interest rate. The Maybank offer you mentioned is maybe similar to a TD and mutual fund combined and obviously it’s a much better offer.

    If you have a bigger amount to invest, try to ask about long term bonds coz they can offer 6.5-7% if placed for 60-120 months.

    I just want to share with you some ideas here. Banks and other financial institutions offer different types of investment products just to entice people to place money into their banks. To give you an actual example, an unknown rural bank offered me a double your money product if I would place a certain amount of money in their bank for 5 yrs. Considering reports about bank runs and financial troubles surrounding most rural banks, any investors would shy away from these types of banks. But since we have a relative working in that bank, we tried it out and after 5 yrs, our money did double and it’s tax free. But very seldom you will find any leading banks in the Phils that would offer the same product. Hope you got my point. It still follows the principle “the higher the risk, the higher the return”. But I have no knowledge about Maybank2u. It may be a big bank in Malaysia. But the thing is, in every investment, we should always study it carefully because there is always a catch in every offer and most of the times, they are written in very fine lines and small fonts. πŸ™‚

    Going back to your case, my guess is that you are not allowed to touch your deposit prior to the agreed tenure right? So if it’s an extra money and you’re investment horizon is more that the deposit tenure, then it’s a good investment. My idea is that it is similar to a mutual fund because I think, they would pool all your money and then place it in another investment. Once you pull out ur deposit before the tenure, you will be charged accordingly or the interest rate would be lower than what was agreed upon. Again, the decision is your. Just be careful with your hard-earned money.

    Sorry for the very long explanation. Goodluck again.

  18. Erwin says:

    @desertman –

    Thank you very much. And don’t worry, I do love to read and absorb new and helpful information. Your explanation was full of substance.

    I’ll visit the bank when I get the time. I normally don’t touch majority of what’s left of my monthly salary less the remittance and expenses. I just thought of transferring maybe half of the untouched savings to the fixed deposit account.

    Also, I’m not thinking of investing big here. I want to treat this as a learning experience. The more I think about it the more it appears that it’s a desire for me to learn aside from earning. I’m hoping to learn the ins and outs starting from the basics so that I’ll be more comfortable to invest big should the time comes that I have that “big” money to invest. And I know that reading blogs and success stories and searching the web is just half of the homework. I need to experience and I’m willing to start small for the sake of learning.

    My contract here ends in August 2012 but there’s a likely chance that it’ll get extended. So maybe I’ll opt for the 1yr tenure “if ever”” I decide to jump in. I’m crossing my fingers that they could explain it to me in good english. πŸ˜€ (My experience with the filing of taxes last April was forgettable)

    Well, thank you so much for your time. I appreciate it a lot

    @Fitz –

    You don’t know how much this blogsite changed me a lot when it comes to financial stuff..

    Thanks and God bless!

  19. desertman says:

    @Erwin
    U’r welcome bro. Investing is really a learning process. Up to now, I still learn a lot of new things from Fitz and from other blogs as well. And the most important thing is we should all keep on sharing to others what we learn from all these things. And when others learn somethiing from us, well, you can treat it as an interest earned from ur investment. hehe.

    @Fitz
    I could share with Erwin’s sentiment about ur blog. Keep it up and continue inspiring others to be financially fit and free.

  20. Fitz says:

    @Erwin
    By opening ourselves to investment opportunities, you’ll see that there are actually a lot of options out there and it’s just a matter of finding the best fit for us.

    And yes, it’s also a good idea to invest the money into several instruments instead of putting them in just one vehicle. Diversification will lessen your risks.

    @desertman
    Thanks for the compliment. And sure, we’ll have coffee soon. Your treat? πŸ˜›

  21. desertman says:

    @Fitz,

    You deserve the compliments Sir Fitz. I look up to u as a mentor. U know what? I have a lot of money matter things I wanted to discuss with u. Hope u don’t mind me sending u an email again and then have a little chitchat next year over a cup of coffee. Of course my treat. hehe. thanks again.

  22. Liza says:

    Dear Sir Fitz,

    I’m a certified noob in growing my money, though I’ve started reading through Robert Kiyosaki, Donald Trump books and watching Pesos and Sense in YouTube. I have purchased a number of VULs (insurance plus a little bit of investment component) since I started working since my belief was such products get more expensive as I get older. However, after reading your article, I felt like I may have over-purchased (if there’s such a term) insurance+investment products from Manulife and Philamlife, to the point I’ve become a VIP client. But the return may not be as big as I’m expecting them to be (or maybe I’m just not monitoring them as closely). Did I make the wrong choices before? Should I start investing on UITFs as you’ve mentioned?

    By the way, I think I bought a UITF without me realizing that I did… it’s the Shroder Funds here in Singapore. But after I bought 9.75K worth of units, now it’s only at 8.25K total worth. Is this a sign that I made a mistake?

    I’ve just learning and I regret investing without learning first. But I guess I’ve learned my lesson!

    Hope to hear from you soon.

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