Friday, October 19, 2012

Simple Financial Lessons From A Freelancer

I've been a freelancer for almost 2 years now. And so far, I never experience the strike of boredom nor the urge to go back to the corporate world. While I am far from being content and stability is a question, I am happy and comfortable of where I am right now.

Being a freelancer is quite different from a 9am-to-6pm employee. Freelancers work entirely at their own time. Nevertheless, that doesn't equate to time-freedom. The only liberty we really have is how we work and where we want to work. Needless to say, like everything else in life, hard-work is necessary.

In less than two years in my freelancing career, I felt I've learned so much than working in the corporate. Not only about the job and the projects I've handled but also about time management and, most importantly, personal finance.

For over a decade, I worked relying on the 15-30 paycheck. When I shifted to a freelance career, I now have the option when, how, and how much I am going to be paid.

I didn't started easy. I have to tell you, it was truly a rough road. But my experience made me better as a freelancer and as an individual.

I've short-listed some financial lessons I've learned as a freelancer:

  • Time is money. Every minute that I spend on unimportant things is literally time wasted.
  • Since time is money, money is indeed valuable because I work hard for it. So, I use and spend it wisely. 
  • My time is precious because I see it with monetary value. Hence, I try to spend my time reasonably.
  • It takes hard-earned money to buy and enjoy delicious meal. Thus, I make sure to finish my food and make sure not to waste it. 
  • I earn more if I work more. The saying "reap what you sow" is indeed true.
  • Well-managed personal finance is very important. The freelance business can be unpredictable sometimes. Having enough savings help me survive at times that there are less projects or no incoming money.
  • Managing your personal finance requires awareness of the money that is coming in and going out.
  • Allot budget for typical monthly expenses (electric bill, water bill, internet bill, phone/communication, etc). It gives you less headache when you received the actual bill.
  • I spend time for resting and spend money for a little pampering or simple enjoyment. A happy and well-rested body and mind is more productive and can work longer.

I live with these lessons by heart. These are something I learned from experience, and I hope you've learned something from them too.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

RH Bill: What's In It For You?

Source: PinoyExchange
We've heard the clamor about the RH bill. Many religious sector especially the Catholic Church are very active in promoting their stand and views about the issue. So many dissenting opinions everywhere. And sometimes, it just made me think that they wasted too much money in debate and bickering. This is the problem of too much democracy--everybody just wanted to say something that they never realize they have spent too much time and money and ignore what is really expedient. And as the days go by, more mothers are giving birth--some of these poor mothers are throwing their babies in the garbage dead or abandoning their hungry and cold infant along the streets. We see that a lot on TV and read it on the papers.

What prod those mothers to heartlessly leave their children? Obviously, in the current state of the Philippines where there is a very clear and big gap between the poor and the rich, poverty is one of the main reason. So sickening!

Country's population

For such a small country, the Philippines has 95.8 million people as of January 2012. It was expected that we would hit a 97.6 million mark this year. By 2014, the population may increase to 101.2 million. Do we consider ourselves lucky to have this kind of number?

A large population in a small country can be compared to a big family in a very small space. A big family, say 5-10 members, living in one single space are less relaxed with less food to eat, less opportunities for better education and a bleak future. There may be food; however, because the family has more mouths to feed, each member would receive a meager share insufficient to feed their hungry stomach. Not only that, children don't get enough attention, love and care from their parents because they are too many of them. 

The problem with having a country with a big population is higher demand of food, higher crime rate, too much pollution, and not enough job opportunities for everyone. 

If we are not just too many, then everything wouldn't be in the state of chaos.  

What is RH Bill?

The Reproductive Health Bill, known as the RH Bill, are Philippine bills aiming to guarantee universal access to methods and information on contraception, fertility control, sexual education, and maternal care. The bills have become the center of a contentious national debate. There are presently two bills with the same goals:
  • House Bill No. 4244 or An Act Providing for a Comprehensive Policy on Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health, and Population and Development, and For Other Purposes introduced by Albay 1st district Representative Edcel Lagman, and 
  • Senate Bill No. 2378 or An Act Providing For a National Policy on Reproductive Health and Population and Development introduced by Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago.
(Source: Reproductive Health Bill)

House Bill No. 4244 shall be known as the "The Responsible Parenthood, Reproductive Health and Population and Development Act of 2011".

Part of the Declaration of Policy states: " The State recognizes and guarantees the exercise of the universal basic human right to reproductive health by all persons, particularly of parents, couples and women, consistent with their religious convictions, cultural beliefs and the demands of responsible parenthood. Toward this end, there shall be no discrimination against any person on grounds of sex, age, religion, sexual orientation, disabilities, political affiliation and ethnicity."

Furthermore, it states: " The state likewise guarantees universal access to medically safe, legal, affordable, effective and quality reproductive health care services, methods, devices, supplies and relevant information and education thereon even as it prioritizes the needs of women and children, and among other underprivileged sectors."
(Source: House Bill - House of Representatives)

The bill doesn't coerce women or couple to use a method nor does it states that it impose a certain number of child per family. At the end, it is still a personal choice.

The passing or rejection of the RH Bill mean so much to the future of this country. As a citizen of this republic, we are going to reap what is going to be decided in the senate. So, pray that the people in charge of passing the law realize how big their responsibilities are to our future and to the future of our children.

As a Christian

I am a self-confessed bible believe and follower. However, I am also entitled to my opinion. I am a pro-RH bill. What helped me decide are these biblical truths:

1. God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground." 
(Genesis 1:28, NIV Version)

God told us to be fruitful and to increase in number. He also said to subdue it. Subdue means to control, subjugate, conquer, suppress, discipline, etc. Therefore, controlling the population is one of God's instruction to men.

2. But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband. The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
(1 Co 7:2-5, NIV Version)

The bible encourage every man and woman to have their own wife and husband so they can do the sexual act with liberty and without the guilt of fornication. The husband and wife has duties to fulfill to each other. I don't see any abstinence in here except for the reason of prayer when they have to briefly deprive themselves by mutual consent.

3. Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.
(1 Co 7:7-9, NIV Version)

The bible clearly understand how difficult to suppress the desires of the flesh. Hence, Paul advice to the unmarried and widows that if they could no longer contain themselves, they should marry.

With all of these, I leave it up to you to think, understand and judge.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Consider Your Ways: Stories on Rain and Flood

Do you still remember that song when we were still kids: "kung ang ulan ay puro tsukolate...o kay sarap ng ulan" (if the rain is all chocolate...Oh, the rain taste delicious)? I bet you'd dreamed about it. I thought about it a lot of times when I was a kid. I even thought that I should bring buckets to catch the chocolate rain. It was a nice childhood fantasy. Impossible and senseless even but nice and unadulterated.

Now that I am an adult, I never fantasized of chocolate rain but I am dreaming of being blessed incessantly, pouring like rain until I have no room to catch. Nice, right? Then, I wish I could be flooded, overflowing with all those blessings so I can share it to everyone. However, blessings, especially financial or material blessings do not pour like that. Often, you really have to work for it--work really hard. That's the cause-and-effect or the reap-what-you-sow principle. The same principle applies to the heavy rain that flooded Metro Manila and some areas of Luzon.

I've been reading messages asking people to pray so the rain would stop and spare us from more damages.  What came to my mind is the phrase: "Consider your ways..."

The rain that floods

Rain is a blessing from heaven to water our vegetation and to cool the dry earth. Habagat (southwest monsoon) season in the Philippines is a natural occurring phenomenon that happens around May to September. Who would have thought that this is going to devastate homes and caused the death of many people? It's not even a typhoon!.The non-stop monsoon rain the past few weeks has caused knee to neck-high flood in some parts of NCR and provincial Luzon areas.

Reuters - Cheryl Ravelo

Reuters - Erik De Castro
Reuters - Erik De Castro

Cause and effect

No need for a nose-bleeding scientific explanation. The intense heat during summer and the excessive and heavy rain during the rainy season is the results of climate change. Climate change is nothing new to many of us. It's been taught in school. What we do to our environment always comes back. And often, it comes back twice or thrices that it can take away our homes, properties, and even lives.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Principle of Giving

I would like to briefly discuss about the principle of giving. How does giving relates to money, which is the main topic of this blog? Well, you'll soon find out. However, I need to warn you, I will be using the bible as my reference. I understand that some, if not many, people don't see the bible as a relevant source of information. If that's the case, I'm encouraging you not to read on unless you want to know.

I am a bible-believer Christian. I believe that the bible is a source not only of good doctrine that is being used in the church but as a source of instruction in life. It helps us understand God and his attitude towards His children and other people. God as a being has feelings. If you are a bible reader, you will understand what I am saying.

One of the things that is being taught in the bible is giving. And a lot of Christians, I believe, fail on this. I have to admit, I also faltered. Let us bear in mind that even if the bible teaches us all of these things, the Church may choose not to impose it because God wants us to be a cheerful giver. He wants us to obey to show our love and obedience to Him as a father and as a Lord. He wants us to be spontaneous in giving and not to be tied with our money, which we couldn't bring when we die. While the principle of giving in the bible is quite a burden to some Christian and see it as bondage, looking at it, it is the same with other bible instructions like modesty in our apparel or having sex within marriage.

There are couple of reasons why a Christian should give. One, is to return what is for God. This refers to tithes, which is the 10 percent of our fruits, our earnings and profits. Some people thought that this practice is no longer applicable to this age. Second, is the belief that when we give, we shall also receive. This refers to offering to the church in addition to the tithes and showing our charity or generosity to other people.

If a Christian don't tithe and offer, what then is God's measurement of plenty or generosity? If you don't tithe and offer, who then is your God--is it the money because you fear of losing it or is it the God in Heaven whom you should trust? I see giving as a test of our obedience, love and faith.

So, what's in it for a Christian who tithes and offer? The Christian will be able to provide meat to God's house (the Church that Jesus Christ built--Please be wary on where you give your tithes. You might be giving it to the false preachers who are just getting richer because of what you give).  Second, the bible says that God will pour the windows of heaven for his blessings,  which could be materially, financially or other aspects of our lives, until you have no room to hold it. Third, the measurement of what we give, will be the measurement of blessings that we receive. Simply put, the principle of giving is similar to the reap-what-you-sow belief or the more-you-give-the-more-you-receive saying.

It is all up to us on what to believe and what to do. We live in this world with our free will. But let us not forget that even though some of us may not be spiritually inclined, there is an unknown force that we couldn't explain. Force that make things happen in our lives, whether it be good or bad. For a Christian, that force could be God who has hands over things, who can either bless us continually or hold His blessing away from us.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

This Blog Is Not Dead

I'm sorry folks for not updating this blog regularly. Well, it's been over 6 months since my last update. But, no! This blog isn't dead!

I've been pretty busy the past several months. I have several clients to provide my virtual services to. In fact, I'm just taking an hour break from my research work I am doing right now. I'm also quite busy with my social media marketing--I'm still in the real estate industry and I'm also marketing for a local rattan manufacturer.

Though, I'm not actively posting here, I've been working hard to drive web traffic to Soliloquy, my primary blog. With all the changes and the effort I did with it, sort of an experiment for me, I am pretty happy seeing the traffic coming in. I've been seeing a decline of the bounce rate (the percentage of or visits in which the person left the site) and increase of the organic search. Hopefully, it's going to be the same here in Money Talks Over Coffee (MTOC).

I have a lot of catching up to do, really. I'll be working on a schedule and will try harder to stick to it. Part of my schedule is to deliver fresh weekly post in this blog and never leave it like it's dead.

Ciao for now! Feel free to drop me a line.
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