It’s 5:30. You wrap up work, pack your stuff and pat yourself in the back for another productive day in the office. It seems only yesterday that you started working. But you didn’t start yesterday… You’re years into the corporate grind (boasting substantial mileage in keyboard mashing and spreadsheet crunching). You’re happy with your salary (you tell yourself), but at the same time wanting even more. This situation is all too familiar.
If you’re a few years away from 30—or maybe even over that—it’s high time to catch up on your investments. It’s just logical: the older you get, the need for a secondary stream of income only strengthens.
It pays to check your portfolio (or to start one if you don’t have one). Investing is, after all, still the best way to accumulate wealth. Make sure to update your portfolio with these essentials:
UITF (Unit Investment Trust Fund)
Most commercial banks, if not all, offer UITF as one of their investment products. Here, the bank pools together a money fund to invest in other products like government securities, bonds, and stocks, among others.
Here’s how it works: Say, for instance, the price of one unit or the Net Asset Value Per Unit (NAVPU) of XYZ company is P1.50. You invest P30,000 in UITF. This means you own 20,000 units of XYZ company. If the market of XYZ company goes up, you can expect your UITF to increase as well, and vice-versa.
If you don’t have the time or patience for actual stock trading, getting UITFs is a great way to begin your investing journey. Aside from getting a diversified portfolio off the bat, you also get expert fund managers to do the dirty work for you. Of course, that’s not to say that UITFs are the all and be all of casual investing. It’s just the tip of the iceberg, but when it comes to building your portfolio, it’s a giant leap forward.
Life insurance is an investment you build not for yourself but for others who depend on you. It’s not unusual that people approaching their 30s have already started a family. Plus, you might have other family members that depend on you.
To maximize your earning potential, you can get a life insurance that doubles as an investment. VULs or Variable Life Insurance pretty much gives you that: a cash-value life insurance that has both death benefit and investment features.
The investment feature works like a mutual fund wherein the cash value can be invested in a variety of separate accounts. Insurance companies like FWD offer different types of VUL that’s tailor-fit to your needs, with flexible term options, loyalty bonuses and optional add-ons to choose from. Check out their VUL options here.
Tip: Insurance companies can help you design a comfortable investment plan that fits your budget. Set aside 10, 15, or 20% of your salary to fulfill insurance premiums.
I know, it’s technically not an investment product (you can’t use your diploma to buy yourself a new car). But trust me, getting post-graduate studies can hasten your career progression substantially—along with your salary, of course.
With tuition fees projected to increase in the coming years, the sooner you pursue that Masters or PhD, the better. If you currently have a full-time job, you can ask your HR department if the company offers an education plan/package. Better yet, check if you can arrange a special schedule to accommodate your school hours.
Tip: Follow an aggressive investment strategy or consult with investment agencies about education plans.
Your rainy day fund, along with your life insurance, is your safety net for life’s uncertainties. Anything can happen in a blink of an eye. Whether it’s financial turmoil or health issues, having a buffer goes a long way in preserving your financial integrity, as well as your peace of mind.
Building your emergency fund is just like saving. Only this time, it’s a good idea to put safeguards so that you can keep your grubby hands off it. My advice is to try time deposits. It’s a type of account that essentially serves as an investment by offering higher interest rates.
In return for getting high interest rates, the account requires you to keep the deposit untouched for a fixed period of time. After the said period, your time deposit matures, meaning you can either withdraw your funds (plus your earnings) or deposit them again. And because your money will be locked-in for a certain period, it’s even protected from yourself (and your sudden urges to spend).
Tip: A good rule of thumb to follow is to have at least 6-month’s worth of expenses cooped up.
Pardon the cliché, but have you ever asked yourself “Where do you see yourself in 20 years? Or even 30 years?” Do you picture yourself drinking piña colada on the beach and enjoying the spoils and comforts of a successful career? Or are you desperately hunting for loan sharks to support your children and your grandchildren?
The difference maker is your retirement fund. I mean, you wouldn’t want to be 60 years old and still clocking in an office from 9 to 5, right?
The best way to build your retirement fund is simple: don’t spend what you don’t need to. If you have leftovers from windfalls, don’t spend it on luxury; invest it in a UITF, stash it in your time deposit, or open a separate fund altogether.
Tip: Consider inflation and price hikes when you build a retirement fund.
At the end of the day, your retirement fund depends on your willingness to live comfortably and—most importantly—on developing sound saving and spending habits. Remember, growing old is inevitable, but living comfortably is a process.
Written by Dos Pingol, Security Bank