Personal Finance

With the 2016 elections close at hand, politicians have been teasing us with proposals such us an SSS contribution reform and tax cuts to ease the burden on the labor force. Until those ideas become laws, here's a rundown of what you can do for your financial planning and monthly budget to make every peso in your salary count.

Step 1: List, purge and budget

Every month, you will have expenses and you may have debt. Expenses include rent, water and electric bills, food, as well as transportation allowance. Debt may be in the form of a credit card or a loan you borrowed from a friend or from the bank. Budgeting involves listing all debt and expenses and then allocating your money among those in the list.

Tip: Once you receive your salary, the first thing you have to erase from the list is debt. Debt is the constant monster which disturbs your work and wakes you from sleep. If you only pay the minimum amount in your monthly credit card dues, you'll end up having more debt in the next month because of interest.

Remember this basic formula:  Income – Expenses = Savings

Step 2: Allocate your savings

Filipinos love the idea of "ipon" or savings but aside from what is being tucked away in a bank, we also like to budget or "save up" for something. Case in point: that long planned trip to Palawan with colleagues at work or with family. The millennial mind believes that travelling is an "investment" when they say, "I want to see the world and invest in memories." Don't worry, we believe and support you 100%. However, you need to list that too to manage budget on your monthly financial planner or else you'll end up getting money you allocated for paying your monthly dues.

Go to a school supplies store and buy a pack of those small brown envelopes and label them with what you want to save for, like "travel – ₱500 a month, or retirement – ₱1000 per pay day." This planner tip will help you save ₱6000 at the end of the year.

Remember this basic rule in your budget planner: Do not touch the envelopes.

Step 3: Invest

Here's our favourite step in personal finance – investments. Big word, isn't it? By the end of 6 months, interest earned in your bank account can only grow by as much as your "pamasahe" in one day. But if you invest, it can double or triple, depending on what you invest on. For the busy millennial, the more popular investments include mutual funds, IUTF, insurance and stocks.

Although the interest earned in investments can be huge, they involve risks which can be great or minimal. To avoid making heavy losses, read up and learn before choosing the right one which suits your budget and time. 

Remember this basic budget rule: Do not put all your money in one investment vehicle. Diversify.

Would you like to know more about tips on investments and budget management? Follow the blog of GoBear Philippines, the only unbiased meta-search engine for financial products.