Updated: May 9, 2023
Today, we have a Reader Mail. We’ll advise someone who has a problem we all wish we had – having money and not knowing what to do with it.
I know a lot of possibilities are now running through your thoughts. So what would you do if you have money? Start a business? Invest in real estate? Invest in mutual funds? Buy insurance? Shop until you drop?
Ain’t it fun to daydream? But of course, our email sender’s situation is not really how you think it is.
She doesn’t have millions in her bank account. What she has is a few thousand pesos that she was able to save from doing freelance work. Let’s all read the letter she sent me and let me know what you would do if you were in her situation.
From Ms. P
Hi. I have a question that I hope you can answer for me. I’ve been doing some freelance work lately and have been able to successfully finish several projects. More are coming in and I predict that my schedule would be quite busy for several months, maybe until the end of the year.
I’m not complaining though, in fact, I’m having fun doing this. However, my regular work and freelance projects are using up most of my time and I don’t think I’ll have the luxury to pursue other opportunities such as starting a business.
So my question is, what should I do? Is there something I can do with my money other than just letting it sit in my savings account? I don’t want to invest it though because I am afraid to lose it. Is there such a thing as zero-risk investments? Thank you and will wait for your reply.
Hi. It’s good that your freelance work is doing well. I started this way too and it was my key to finally quitting my job. Maybe that’s your stepping stone too towards getting out of the rat race.
Anyway, considering your situation, here’s what I’ll do if I were in your shoes:
First, I’ll build up an emergency fund. I’ll specifically save at least 3 months’ worth of my monthly expenses.
Once I’ve achieved that, I’ll then consider investing. For zero-risk investments that will not require a commitment of my time, I’ll go for time deposits.
When people hear time deposits, they often think that it’s a long-term investment that requires a large sum of money to open. In fact, many banks offer time deposits that only require a holding period of as short as 30 days. These are virtually risk-free and guarantee higher earnings than a regular savings account.
An alternative to a time deposit would be to open and put your money in a digital bank, which offers higher than usual interest rates as compared to regular savings accounts in traditional banks.
Now here’s a smart way to manage your emergency fund. In this illustration, I’ll use a time deposit as the chosen investment, but you can choose to put your money in a high-interest digital bank savings account instead.
And so, here’s what you do:
Leave one month’s worth of your expenses in your regular savings account (your emergency fund) and invest the rest in a 30-day time deposit account. So if I have an emergency fund for 3 months worth P45,000, I’ll leave P15,000 in my savings account and invest the remaining P30,000 in a time deposit account.
At this point, I’ll still continue saving and building my emergency fund up to at least 6 months to 1 year’s worth of my usual monthly expense requirement. But I’d be funneling the additional funds I get to save each month into the next 30-day term and keeping the P15,000 (1-month emergency fund) accessible in my savings account.
When I’m feeling more confident with my financial situation and my income sources are quite reliable, I’d then consider investing the money for longer periods, say 60, 90, or even 120 days or more so I can enjoy higher interest rates with my deposit. (Or just continue with the digital bank until you reach the current PDIC coverage of P500,000).
I’m assuming that you have plans for the money by early next year that’s why I’m limiting myself to just short-term time deposits. However, do know that banks offer other investment products where you can earn more with only minimal risks involved.
I don’t exactly know your investment goals and risk tolerance but it would be wise to also consider treasury bills, mutual funds, and Unit Investment Trust Funds (UITF).
Go to the banks in your area and ask a bank officer for advice. Let them show and explain to you their products that can accommodate your specific financial needs.
And that concludes our reader mail for today. Please also share your thoughts and suggestions regarding her situation. If you were her, what would you do? The comment box below is waiting for your answer.
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Another alternative to short-term Time deposit is a Money Market Mutual Fund such as that offered by Sun Life Financial.
Unlike bank products that provide tax breaks on your interest earnings only when you stay with them until your money “maturesâ€, your mutual fund proceeds are not subject to the usual 20% withholding tax.
This tax-free feature of Philippine mutual funds, combined with the liquidity, zero load, and no holding period attributes of Sunlife’s Prosperity Money Market Fund, make it a good alternative to time deposits. That dilemma of not being able to pull out your money because you’ll be “taxedâ€ is no longer a problem with this Fund.
Investing in a Money Market Mutual Fund is a good step if you want to feel your way on how to start in Mutual Fund investing. If you want a Sun Life Financial Advisor to discuss this with you, you may email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Be a member of Ayala Coop.Good start up for first time investor.