Investment Hacks That Will Make Your 2017 a Different Year

As 2016 draws to a close, do you feel you have achieved all your financial goals? If it’s a yes, you deserved a pat on the back, otherwise, you could just be in the same group as those who couldn’t afford a Christmas gift or dinner this year. Nevertheless, here are some investment strategies for 2017 to get you a bigger bank account.

It’s no secret, the only way to have more money is to actually make it grow. Saving is just one part of the equation then investments complete the whole balance. But like many, you may feel a bit intimated about the word investment. However, it’s not as hard as it sounds, and many wealthy investors today at one point were in the same position you are. Continue reading Investment Hacks That Will Make Your 2017 a Different Year

Did Your Financial Advisor Use Fake Credentials?

You have heard of diploma mills. They sell BAs, MBAs, and PhDs to individuals who want to look more educated than they really are.

Did you know there are also diploma mills that sell fake certifications and designations to financial advisors who use these credentials to deceive you into believing they are financial experts?

Unethical advisors know you do not question the advice of experts. This makes it easy to convince you to buy what they are selling.

Here are some interesting stats presented in this Infographic.

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What are fake credentials?

Real credentials have prerequisites, a comprehensive curriculum, proctored examinations, and continuing education requirements. Fake credentials have none of the above. There are no significant curriculums or meaningful tests. Advisors buy these credentials for a few hundred dollars.

Why use them?

Incompetent, unethical advisors know you want a financial expert helping you plan your future and invest your assets. Fake credentials help bad advisors convince you they are planning and investment experts.

Are they legal? 

There are no regulations that require advisors to disclose the work they did to earn their certifications and designations. It is your sole responsibility to validate the quality of their credentials. 

Why do they work?

If you are like most investors, unethical advisors know three things about you.

1.  Strings of initials after their names (alphabet soup) have a good chance of convincing you they are financial experts.

2.  Bad advisors safely assume you do not know what the initials stand-for and what they did to earn them. For example, everyone knows CPA® is Certified Public Accountant. A few people know CFP® is Certified Financial Planner™. But, most people know nothing about the other 250 designations that are used by real and fake financial experts.

3.  Unethical advisors know there is a low probability you will take the time to validate the quality of their credentials. Therefore, this is a safe sales tactic that can be used to deceive you into making bad financial decisions that benefit advisors more than they benefit you.

How do I avoid advisors who use this deception?

You can delegate investment work and decision-making to financial advisors, but you are solely responsible for selecting the advisor who does the work and makes the decisions. There is no regulatory agency that will protect from licensed advisors who use deceptive sales tactics.

When you select an advisor there is a free, fast, easy way to check the quality of their credentials. Go to Check a Credential at PaladinRegistry.com to view free reports and quality ratings for more than 250 frequently used certifications and designations.

Do you want to risk selecting an advisor who used deception to gain control of your assets? A few minutes now can help you avoid making a huge financial mistake that could haunt you for the rest of your life.

Source: Jack Waymire, Investor Watchdog, Paladin Registry

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P.S. 1. Are you an OFW who’s been looking for a investment placement where your money could grow higher than your time deposit accounts? Are you outside of Metro Manila and would like to start investing in mutual funds but have no personal advisors to help you out? Click here so I can help you open a mutual fund account NOW! .

P.S. 2. Bro. Bo Sanchez has appointed me as a coach for our young and new investors at the TrulyRichClub social site. It’s a fun, learning family with the purpose of “helping good people become rich”. I’m inviting you to join the TrulyRichClub too and email me at burngutierrezblog@gmail.com if you have any questions. Click here to join!

P.S. 3. My co-author/illustrator Des Feliciano and I have just launched our “The Adventures of Pepot Kuripot and Dora Gastadora” comic book! It’s arguably the first and only personal finance-influenced comic book in the Philippines. You may grab your copy at your favorite National Bookstore and Powerbooks outlets. Or you can grab your copy yourself at ilovemilktea in Las Pinas City. Now available also in Australia, Saudi Arabia, and the USA! Email des_feliciano@yahoo.com for more details.

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Money Pitfalls To Avoid: Advise To New OFWs

Since joining the bandwagon to work abroad, you’ve been earning four times as much than when you’ve stayed in the Philippines. Your pay slip proves this fact. But why then are you more cash-strapped and debt-ridden as ever?

Many new OFWs fall trap to the promise of a bigger salary when they set out for overseas jobs. But what most OFWs don’t realize is the equally huge money challenge that may accompany this deal.

If you’re a new OFW or planning to become one soon, don’t fall trap to these pitfalls.

Cost of living blindside

In the Philippines, some things are arguably cheaper: rent, groceries, and even cab fares. Eating out and occasional movies won’t break the bank either. But if you find yourself in other corners of the world, be prepared if the price tags suddenly skyrocket.

A studio apartment might already halve your salary if you relocate to a big city, such as Hong Kong. Then there are the standard service charges and taxes that come with purchases. Even a simple haircut might cost you a few thousands in peso-terms.

Check the proportion of your income against your new place, and adjust your lifestyle according to what you can afford.

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Double household shortfall

While tending to your expenses abroad, you’re probably also juggling financial obligations back home. If you’re raising a family or have dependents staying behind, their spending is intertwined with yours.

This means utility bills will always come in two, as are other basic necessities. Do you have a budget list of your regular expenses? If not, you have to make two of such right now. It’s also equally important that your family knows how to value the money you send so that your budget is met both ways.

Cash cow dilemma

Since you’re earning dollars, some friends and distant relatives might have no qualms in designating you as the go-to person for emergency (or not) appeals for cash. Especially if it’s a matter of life and death, such as medical predicaments, most OFWs would oblige to foot the bill. The long list of common SOS to OFWs includes tuition fees, home repair, to business capital.

When doling out loans, remember to only lend an amount that you can write off. It’s also good to have a fund for these kinds of requests. Don’t be guilt-tripped if you set a cap to what you can offer as help. Far too many relationships have been strained by money issues, which could only get worse because of the long distance.

Wallet drainers

Many OFWs succumb to the temptation of buying the latest gadgets, designer bags, and custom jewelries (sometimes charged to credit). And some are constantly stuffing their balik-bayan boxes with sundry items from rubber shoes to canned goods. It’s partly shopping therapy from the stress and overwork they face.

Having spent a huge part of their income compensating for their absence in the form of material goods, it’s no surprise that many OFWs head home with little to no savings at all. They then sell or pawn expensive items they’ve purchased at a fraction of the cost. So goes the cycle especially for those who have to shell out placement fees.

If you’re prone to impulse buying, hold tight to your wallet and ask yourself why you decided to work abroad in the first place. If it’s to secure your children’s education or to fund a small business, then bid adieu to that flat-screen TV for now.

Big-ticket commitments

You might think that a pre-selling two-bedroom condominium unit might be the perfect investment for you. After all, the interest rate is waived and you have ten years to complete the payment. Or not – if you’re only on a three-year work contract abroad.

If there’s uncertainty that you would be getting the same income that you have from your overseas job in the long-term, it’s best to forego big-ticket investments if it’s going to cost you future headaches. You can focus on mutual funds or the stock market rather than commit to resource-straining investments such as real estate.

Far too often, money matters sidetrack OFWs from enjoying what living and working abroad can offer aside from fatter paychecks. Guard yourself from these common pitfalls – peace of mind is priceless.

*This article first appeared on www.angatph.com
Ray Calbay is the co-founder of PageJump, a content studio for print, digital, and interactive projects. Based in Taiwan since 2010, he handles content requirements for mobile and connected devices. He has also consulted for multinationals and SMEs. He holds a master’s in communication from the University of Santo Tomas, researching on technology transfers and user-generated content.