How We Did It


A Door, Windows

Did”.  I am not sure about that word.  Because it is in the past tense and means the fun and the adventures are over.  When they are not.  We are just beginning.A reader wanted to know how we “did it”.  She said she read my first post but that I just skimmed the surface of how we overcame the bleak prophesies of our first financial planner, that I did not really explain how we got that 24% increase in our annual income, and more importantly, how we overshot it.  If you have not read that first post, here is what our first financial planner said:

“While the couple’s Emergency Fund Ratio (EFR) will be over 1x by the end of 2007, the ideal ratio is 3x.  The couple would need to add around Php149,000 to their annual income to meet such a ratio.  To raise their savings rate to 18.1% from 6.7%, the couple would need additional annual income of Php262,000, or add 24% to their current annual income.”

So, how?

Continue reading →

Why You Need to Track Your Expenses

Money Matters
Money Matters

I never used to until our financial planner told us we have to.

It was not an easy exercise.  There is that little notebook that you need to haul with you everywhere.  And you have to be on your guard everytime – I know I still have a dollar here, where did it go?  And there’s the hubby that you have to nag to please write every little expense when you know he will not because he does not want to.

He still does not want to.

Continue reading →

Postscript to A Storm

After the Storm

After the Storm

After lashing out and wreaking havoc to the Philippines and leaving 246 people dead, Ketsana then demanded Vietnam to bear witness to its great power of destruction, leaving another 20 people dead.  In another part of the world, an earthquake caused a tsunami to race to the Samoan shores, leaving, in this part of the world, 99 dead.  Very recently, Australia bore witness to a red dust storm that turned it crimson for a few terrifying hours.

As if taking a cue, people are likewise greatly unsettled after being at the receiving end of repeated blows: first, the financial collapse of the world markets, and now, atmospheric convulsions of the epic and never-before-seen kind.

The unsettling thing is that this time, man knows he has brought it upon himself.

Continue reading →

On Paypal, Internet Scams and Phishing



I almost fell off my seat when I read Paypal’s letter to me.

“Issa, many different computers have logged into your account and that there were multiple password failures before the login and thus, we have limited your account.  Please download the form attached to this email, open it in a web browser and it will provide you with steps so you can restore your account access.”  It ended with a plea for my understanding because they only desire the safety of my account.

My heart started pounding – huh, wah, how….? My Paypal account has been compromised!

Continue reading →

Getting the Help to Help


Inday, A Portrait

“Mam, wala nang bigas”.  Ma’am, there is no more rice.

Inday can make me crazy sometimes.  We just bought 600 pesos worth half-sack of bigas (rice) three weeks ago.  And in the house, it was just me, husband D, daughter C, Inday 1 and Inday 2 .  And Yo-yow, our Maltese brat, but she’s not counted because I do not give her people food (uhm).

D and I, we hardly eat at home.  We eat out all the time (I am not complaining).

But there is no more bigas.  The day before, no more drinking water.  The day prior, out of Coke, and I do not even drink it.  A week ago, no more cooking gas.  Meralco, too high.  Maynilad too high.  If I think about it (and I do think about it), it is too easy for me to fall into the I-am-being-duped trap and go crazy.  I imagine the Indays, which, by the way, is a form of endearment we use for our househelp, holding huge parties at my expense, having the TV on 24/7, aircon on full blast, cooking my food and my bigas and giving it away to friends, relatives, lovers, the whole subdivision and beyond.

But I refuse to fall into the trap.  To quell my doubting heart, I asked Inday to make me The List.

Continue reading →

Walking Down the Aisle with Our Financial Planner


Swimming Together

Swimming Together


D and I have been meeting resistance from our financial planner these days.

We (okay, I) had wanted to purchase a lot at Tagaytay Highlands (fine, Midlands) which will give me a free club membership.  He said no.  I wanted to buy a foreclosed house for which I would pay a pittance for.  He said no.

It could be quite frustrating to be told that you cannot buy something that you really, really want to have.  But that is the function of a financial planner – he will tell you if you can, when you can, how you can.  He is my personal financial brakes, someone to tell me that I am going overboard, or that I am just being silly.

Continue reading →

Do You Want to be Rich?


A Look Into the Future

It just happened.

I was in law school, one daughter, one husband, a house, no mortgage, no money.  Husband wanted to quit work and start business and asked my permission to which I said, um, okay, how…?, yes.

If there is one important thing I learned in married life, it is the power of believing.  If I believed in D, let’s call my one husband D, he suddenly soared, flew, made miracles, painted rainbows.  If I nagged him, he would flail, shrink to nothingness, felled by my ungraciousness and unbelief.  In the many years of our marriage, I always resorted to lashing out.  In my years of law school, I who never put food on our table all those remaining law school years, would slay D with my words  – and everything that remained – our confidence, peace, sanity – would shatter.

Continue reading →