People get surprised when they hear that i am actually very responsible when it comes to my finances... i have repeated this many times, my mom instilled in me the importance of hard work & earning your keep. And i believe because from the age of 16 years old when i stopped asking for an allowance- i really knew that i had to keep an eye on my expenses.
My first very practical tip- be generous with the people who work for you, especially those who have worked for you many years, share your home, and take care of you and your children. It makes wrong economic sense to not reward hard work because the people closest to you should never feel tempted to steal from you because you are being selfish. In the end- you lose more by scrimping on the staff’s salary and food because you don’t have loyalty and trustworthiness if you aren’t a compassionate boss. But i’m also not going to allow myself to be taken advantage of- everybody sees how hard i work and i expect the same level of dedication.
2nd choose a maximum of 2 credit cards, preferably 2 that are tied to different airline mileage rewards programs. I have been with the same travel agent for 9 years, and i use 2 cards, the BDO CX AMEX card which is attached to my AsiaMiles, and my BDO World Elite MasterCard which is attached to my PAL Mabuhay Miles. Loyalty pays off. My sons and i will travel for my birthday, and 2 of our 4 business class tickets are coming from my credit card rewards. Establish a good relationship with stores you shop in regularly. SM has the Advantage & the Prestige Card- several times a year, with the Prestige Card the whole store is 10% off. That is a huge savings! Topshop is great because they give a celebrity discount & good rebates. (But in Central Embassy in Bangkok- Topshop floored me because the last time we were there they had a special promo for tourists- 30% off for a purchase of 10K Baht plus there was the VAT refund!) Mercury has the Suki Card that earns points, every P200 earns you a point which you can then collect for future purchases.
Since we travel often, i try my best to book in either a Hilton or Marriott chain hotel- for Hilton we achieved diamond status (because of all our Hawaii trips) & for Marriott we are gold. The perks are early check in and late check out, automatic room upgrade based on availability, and the all important free high speed wifi. When traveling with my sons, i always choose paying extra to stay in the Club Level because of the free breakfast, all day snacks, and light dinners. Or we stay in a serviced apartment type that has a full kitchen for trips lasting at least 10 days because this can really help save on food costs (especially with 2 boys who have healthy appetites).
I am not employed, and my Mom was super strict from the time i got my first paycheck to declare all income to the last centavo. The new taxation being implemented is a double edged sword for me. I shall now only have to worry about my sons paying 6% in estate taxes from their inheritance from me, that’s a big difference from the 20% before- and it made me regret opening several trust accounts where i had paid the 15% deed of donation just to be sure that they were liquid and had easy access to funds should anything happen to me. But the withholding tax has been brought down to 8% from the previous 15%- so now that my tax bracket has gone up to 35%, it means that my old rule of setting aside a 15% tax fund (because we are allowed deductions so 15% was a safe tax payment allotment when the maximum taxation was 32%) now has to go up to a minimum 20% of UNTOUCHABLE money set aside for the BIR. Trust me when i say trying to hide money from the government is stupidity because tax evasion is a sin as stated in the Bible, you will inevitably be found out, and the penalties are just so huge.
My last realization is that if you can afford health coverage- and you pass all the medical exams required, go for the highest available plan. We have a family plan, and the only reason our yearly premium is high is because of my pre-existing conditions. But i chose the plan that has worldwide coverage and included travel insurance as well... I asked for several companies to submit health care coverage for those working for me and we’re in the process of comparing all. PhilHealth gives some help, but the reality is it isn’t enough- and in most cases you will shell out cash for those working for you when there are medical emergencies- so investing in coverage is a practical and worthwhile expense. I am now also looking at a cremation plan and funeral services plan for myself- i’m not being morbid, i just don’t want to hassle my sons. I already bought our spots in the St. Michael The ArchAngel Columbarium in BGC.
To end this- my Mom again had 1 very practical tip for me. There were many times i was tempted to invest in a property abroad or to buy a beach house for the 2 boys. My Mom said the nature of my job didn’t give me regular hours or weekends and normal vacation time. So the upkeep of those properties not to mention property taxes and employing a caretaker were all unnecessary expenses. I just needed 1 home- the place where my sons and i lived. And she emphasized the importance of location- it’s weird that she gave me this advice when traffic wasn’t this bad and property prices hadn’t skyrocketed the way they have. She said that investing in a well maintained, centrally located subdivision assured me of having a nest egg- i just had to make sure that our home was built with no debt and no mortgage, and that this would hold true for the remainder of my life. The exclusive subdivisions in Quezon City, San Juan, Mandaluyong, Pasig, Makati, and now Taguig will only continue to appreciate in value because of their central location and in all those areas there was no chance to add more land.
And as a footnote- i’m a great believer in tithing. I really believe in sharing the blessings God gives me... i believe He really does bless me so that i may be a blessing to others. And life has proven to me that when i keep that circle of prosperity active, God truly listens to my prayers and is appreciative of all my effort to express my gratitude.