Frugal Honey

Investing & Retirement

Cash Dividends

I received my very first cash dividend last week from my hero stock Megaworld (MEG).

The cash dividend was Php0.03322 / share and with my 4,000 MEG shares, I received a cool Php119 after taxes! Woohoo!
That might not seem a lot to others, but think of it this way, if I deposited Php10,000 in a savings account (SA) that earns 2% p.a., I would have earned Php160 after taxes [(Php10,000 x 0.02) – (Php10,000 x 0.02 x 0.20)]. With stocks, I earned a little lower than my SA but at a shorter period of 2 months (Ex date was June 26, 2012). So 2 months of investments yielded dividends almost equal to one year of earnings with my SA.
And take note that we’re only talking about the dividends here, the profits that my stock earned are another thing altogether. Any way you look at it, stocks easily trump any SA.
My other stocks are also scheduled to release dividends soon. Again, the dividends I’ll be receiving are practically inconsequential, but considering that I only started investing last April, I think it’s a good start. Here’s to baby steps!

Investing in Mutual Funds

I don’t remember when and why I started to become curious about mutual funds, but what I do remember was that I saw it as a middle ground between the snooze worthy interests of a time deposit or a savings account, and the roller coaster ride that is trading in stocks.

I knew that the interest offered by my savings account was a joke, but I didn’t know how to start investing in stocks and the idea of disturbing a broker to place my pitiful investment left me anxious (Broker: Whut?! You want me to invest this?! I don’t get out of bed for less than Php100k sister!).

So enter mutual funds.

I did a little research and Sun Life appealed to me because (1) I was already aware of its life insurance products; (2) I wanted to work for Sun Life before because it had an Alabang office,* and the idea of taking a trike to work made me happy; and (3) I knew Teeyah worked there.

The fact that I only needed to shell out Php5,000 for my initial placement was also mighty attractive to me. Thus I opened a bond fund, shifted to balanced fund after a few months and then promptly forgot about it for the next year or so. Fail.

In fairness to me though, I was busy paying off my credit card bills and had no spare cash to drop in mutual funds. But when I finally managed to wipe out my credit card bills, I opened a whole life insurance with VUL with Sun Life and reactivated my sleeping balanced fund account.

I’m happy with the performance of my balanced fund (15% YTD growth), but it appears that I could have been happier if I plunked down my cash with FAMI-SALEF instead. Check out this table of mutual funds performance from Randell Tiongson:

It’s sad that Sun Life didn’t even rank in the stock and balanced funds. However, Randell Tiongson says that performance is not the only thing to consider when choosing a fund, to wit:

xxx When investing in a Mutual Funds, there are many things to consider other than performance. I’d pay close attention to fee structures as one company differs from another. Other concerns should be investment track record, experience of fund manager, shareholder servicing, among others. In my experience, after sales servicing is a big must and not all Mutual Fund providers give the same effort in servicing.

Be careful on just looking at yields. Aggressive fund managers will have better performance during a bullish market but will have also have performed worse during a down turn.

I have no plans of pulling out my Sun Life investments and intend to ride it out for the long haul, but in the meantime, I’ll be setting up an account with FAMI-SALEF as well to take advantage of its consistently top-notch performance.

When it comes to mutual funds, the question isn’t “What fund are you investing in?”, rather, it’s “Why aren’t you investing in mutual funds?”

*Although I soon found out that the Alabang office was merely a branch and all the corporate staff report to the Makati, now Taguig, main office.

Stocks Update

After weeks of a sideways market leading to losses which reached -6% at some point, my stocks finally showed a profit at a solid 1.28%! Woohoo!:p
If I cash out now, I can buy myself a nice juicy burger or two, except that I don’t eat fastfood anymore after my recent medical scare

Seriously though, it’s great that my stocks are now on the upswing and one stock (MEG) is even slowly inching its way to the buy below price pegged by Bo Sanchez. If this trend continues, I can stop buying MEG in a few weeks and transfer my monthly budget to another stock.
Even CEB which dipped to -8% before is now at a more attractive -2.46% but it’s still way under the Php90++ peg. 
My other stock was recommended by my insurance agent and it’s sadly neither here nor there. Come on Mwide! Make me proud!
I know that long-term stock investing means that I shouldn’t closely monitor my stocks because the daily performance won’t really matter in, say, 5 years. But I just can’t help logging in at CitiSec everyday to see my portfolio’s performance at closing. I even jot down my stocks’ performance on a small Post-It and then line these Post-Its on my filing cabinet for easy viewing.
Anyway, here’s hoping that the upward trend continues but that a dip happens around the time I buy more stocks….hehehehe.

On Network Marketing

My first experience with network marketing or multi-level marketing was in the early 2000s when my mom put down money with the Mateo Management Group (MMG). That time, there were no products to be bought and sold because MMG supposedly used the members’ money to finance their many businesses, but the emphasis on recruiting others in your downline and eventually not working at all because of commissions from your recruits, was also present.

I still recall my mom talking about how she only needed to recruit x number of people, and pretty soon, she’ll just be sitting around collecting her monthly commissions. It seemed pretty shady to me and just plain too good to be true.
And true enough, MMG folded a few months later and the officers were slapped with numerous estafa charges. Thankfully, my mom got out in time and didn’t lose any money, but my brother’s experience is another story altogether.
Now, my friend is recruiting me to join the network marketing company he’s affiliated with, starting his presentation with heady promises of wealth, freedom and the joys of passive income. The process seems fairly simple, it’s either you buy or sell the products and monetize the points from your sales, or recruit enough people, who will in turn recruit more people creating a virtual forest of downlines. But of course, it goes without saying that recruiting people will make you more money than simply buying or selling the products.
Even if my family didn’t have that unfortunate history with MMG in the past, I would still think twice about signing up for network marketing, mostly because I don’t like selling stuff to other people. I know my strengths and talents, and sales isn’t one of them. For all we know, I might have some hidden talent in sales and can actually sell ice to an eskimo, but really, at this point in my life, I am satisfied with my streams of income and would rather focus my attention on improving and expanding those streams on my own terms and for my own benefit, and not for some nameless few on my upline. 
I sincerely hope my friend doesn’t get burnt over this.

Stock Trading

I’ve been subscribed to Bo Sanchez’s Truly Rich Club ever since the year started, and though the daily GodWhispers is nice, what I really look forward to is the monthly stocks update report. 

After months of reading about stocks and perusing the charts from the Truly Rich Club monthly reports, I finally decided to take the plunge, because I knew that I would be forced to study up on the matter more if I had something at stake. So for my birthday this year, I set aside Php10,000 to start an account with Citisec Online. Based on Bo’s recommended stocks, I picked Cebu Pacific (for loyalty reasons) and Megaworld (because it just became part of the TRC at that time and I wanted to sync my stocks with the monthly chart. Does that even make sense?)
And in just two months, my Php10,000 has grown to Php9,500!! Ugh.
In April, I had earnings of 7.9%, but that was quickly wiped out in May and June and now I’m at a troubling -5.8%. But hey, that’s how stocks roll I guess and in his last two newsletters, Bo did say that the next few weeks would be bearish, so I can’t really say that I was caught off-guard.
In my almost three months of investing in stocks, I now know what board lot means, although I still had to google the difference between bear and bull markets. And I’m still confused what price to put down when making a bid, so I’ve been merely copying what the last successful bid was when making my offer.
I obviously still have a lot to learn and it’s been pretty exciting. The geek in me is very, very happy.
I just funded my Citisec Online account and I plan on buying minimum board lots of Cebu Pac, Megaworld and Megawide (as recommended by my financial adviser) within the week. Thus, the game continues!

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