By Randell Tiongson

Despite the huge importance of mastering personal finance and invetments, many of us shy away from it. Personal finance is not rocket science and you can be surprised at how simple the answers are to these common questions.

Jacob asked when was the best time to invest.

The best time to invest was yesterday and the next best time is today. You see, investing is more about time and less about timing. Investing is best when done for the long term especially if you are investing in properties, the stock market or mutual funds.

Joshua asks what inflation is and how it will affect us.

Inflation is used to track the rising costs of general goods and services. Because of inflation, the purchasing power of our peso will actually deteriorate. Countering inflation is done through an increase in income—as long as the increase in income is equal or higher than inflation, things will be OK.

In terms of savings, its real value will go down in terms of what goods and services it can buy if it will not appreciate faster than inflation.

Esther wants to know what a VUL insurance is and if she needs it.

The variable universal life (VUL) insurance is a kind of financial instrument that has both insurance and an investment component.

Personally, I think that VUL is better than the traditional ones because the investment component can be invested according to your objectives and risk tolerances. But if your sole objective is purely for investing, then this may not be the right instrument for you at this time.

Paul is wondering if investing in real estate is still a good idea.

Many of our parents preferred investing in properties, for a good reason. Experience has proven that the value of properties goes up over time. I still think real estate is a good way to grow your money, but the issue here is time. For you to see substantial growth in your investment here, it will take years.
There also are other costs involved, including association dues, property taxes and transfer costs.

Should we have a lot of money before we invest?

There are investments that do not require large amounts of money. You can actually invest your money in the stock market, mutual funds or UITF for as low as P5,000 to P10,000. Some banks even offer auto-debit arrangements that allow you to invest for as low as P1,000 a month.

Before you invest, I recommend you build your emergency funds first. A fund of about three to six months’ worth of expenses will be sufficient.

Randell Tiongson, RFP is an advocate of Life & Personal Finance. With his 25 years of experience in the Financial Service Industry – Banking, Mutual Funds, Insurance and Financial Planning, and Management Consultancy, he has become one of today’s most respected personal finance coaches in the country. Randell regularly appears on TV as resource person for various shows like TV Patrol, Bandila, 700 Club Asia, Mornings at ANC, Shoptalk, Business Nightly, Failon Ngayon, On the Money, Umagang Kay Ganda, Unang Hirit, Aksyon TV, and News to Go among the few.
Randell Tiongson, RFP is an advocate of Life & Personal Finance. With his 25 years of experience in the Financial Service Industry – Banking, Mutual Funds, Insurance and Financial Planning, and Management Consultancy, he has become one of today’s most respected personal finance coaches in the country. Randell regularly appears on TV as resource person for various shows like TV Patrol, Bandila, 700 Club Asia, Mornings at ANC, Shoptalk, Business Nightly, Failon Ngayon, On the Money, Umagang Kay Ganda, Unang Hirit, Aksyon TV, and News to Go among the few.

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