Sunday, September 24, 2006

Our Social Security System (SSS)

If you are employed in the private sector, you can not escape the SSS. They are present on every payslip you receive. Their mandate is to provide security through pensions to private sectors employees when they retire. Recently they announced triumphantly the following:
1. 15 days after date of retirement, an employee will start getting his pension.
2. Another condonation of penalties on long overdue low-cost hosuing loans is on the way.
3. SSS made a profit of P3.7B
4. The life of SSS stretches to year 2031.

Let us analyze these claim :
First. The 15 days retirement-pension scheme still need to be seen. Currently the SSS took 90 days before a retiree receive his first pension check.
Second. This condonation of penalties is at least the THIRD such amnesty program.They are rewarding delinquent borrowers. For those who have a background in business, this is a constant bewilderment. Why is that SSS does not reward those who pay religiously?.
Third. In a social security system a profit should be distributed as dividends to members. So when they announce that they earn 3.7B it is nothing to members unless it will be transformed as dividends.
Fourth. When they announced this you have to ask the devil for the details. To stretch the life of a social security system they WILL NOT INCREASE THE PENSION OF THE MEMBERS unless again if they increased the contribution of the current members.
In conclusion, work as if SSS will not be there when you retire. Save as if SSS will not be there to provide you a pension check. Invest in stocks or mutual funds now as if the SSS will again take a cut of your salary tomorrow.


Next Call Center Destination: SE Europe

For about 10 years, India and the Philippines were the two biggest players in the offshore outsourcing business. But a recent article written in the July 2006 Business Finance Magazine quotes " Once salaries in the Philippines rose substantially, the southeast european countries of Romania, Bulgaria, Slovenia and Croatia are poised to attract outsourcing business due to business maturity, english speaking people, infrastructure, cultural compatibility and geopolitical environment".
A message to my past and present students, please do not stick for the long term if you are employed in a call center business. Start sharpening your skills, enrol for a graduate studies and start looking for alternatives.Once you notice that your boss starts to kick his door seven times a day and your colleagues begin encoding their resume instead of doing their job, that's the signal for you to call your networks and start tempting them that you are available!.


Tuesday, September 19, 2006

7 Steps to Retire with Money not in Poverty

I was deeply hurt when I read a friend’s blog that he will die broke and sad. Honestly he mentioned that he is not good in handling money and he was not trained to save. Statistically he belongs to the more than 90% of Filipinos who do not plan for the long term financially. The uncertainties of job loss, double digit inflation and changes in the economic policies are not enough to scare us to save for the rainy days. Why is it that our mentality is like these? Is Colayco right that the education system is a failure on teaching about money management and personal finance? Judging from the many who rely only on SSS or GSIS pension there is indeed a failure. Why will you rely on the government pension alone when you don’t even know that they will be there when you retire.
Many of people that I know, from the corporate and the academe, are likely to delay planning for retirement until a few years prior to it. When they reach 50 or 55 years old, they began to panic and suddenly realized that leaving their workplace is now around the corner.
Some reason out that they are not saving money right now because they are young and have more pressing concern such as buying a house, a car or a cellphone. However, the longer you put off preparing for the years when you are no longer working, the less likely it is that you will have enough during retirement. This is because at 50 or 55 years old you will have less time to accumulate what you need.
Since I belong to the tribe of positive thinkers and do-gooders, I rather propose to you steps to retire with money rather that sit in my comfort zone and see good people die broke, sad and even angry.

Here are the steps:

1. Life Insurance. In my case I go only for the term insurance and I selected Insular Life because it is a mutual fund and belong to the top 3 in the insurance industry. The term insurance is less expensive, my P200,000 coverage require me to pay only P2,600 annually. I need life insurance to make sure that my wife and children will have money if I die suddenly. You try to browse all personal finance website and they will tell you, coerce you and convince you that getting a life insurance is a must.
2. Private Pension Plan. When I say private pension plan, I do not mean the pension plan offered by pre-need companies. If a person from a pre-need company offer you a pension plan, I advised you to run literally!. The pre-need is in the melt-down stage. If you were born from Mars maybe you are not aware yet that CAP, Professional and their likes can not meet the payment due to their policy holders. While waiting on their toes to be burn in hell slowly explore the private pension plan offered by top insurance company. In my case I bought an endowment plan from Insular and you may get your own from Sunlife.
3. Save 10% of your gross income for your emergency fund. You will save this in an ATM account of your choice. You have to exert effort to save at least 3 months of your gross monthly salary(i.e. if your salary is P15,000 you need to save P45,000). This emergency fund will be your source for sudden sickness, accident and other emergency expenses.
4. Save 10% of your gross income for your investment fund. This is somewhat tricky for those without a background. For an expert you know that stocks will be the primary choice. For the neophyte, it’s the mutual fund. There are lots of mutual funds in the Philippines but you should be careful on choosing it. The first thing that you need to do in order for you to be aware is to read the Businessworld newspaper and see the list of mutual funds. Choose only mutual funds that offer the best return of yield. Your benchmark should be 20%. In my case, I parked my money to First Metro Equity Fund but there are others who performed also well like ATR Kim Eng and Philippine Equity Fund. You have to read properly their prospectus before investing.
5. Eliminate debt. You know why CITIBANK convince you to get their credit card? Because they earn from you. Your face is profit to them. In return you will be a slave in their interest. The best thing to do is to throw the plastic and pay in cash. Avoid debt at all cost so that you will have enough money to invest.
6. Take good care of yourself. eat right, begin walking or join a gym, keep balance in your life. You can not save nor invest if you are always lying in the hospital every month and munching their expensive medicines. Do I need to say more?.
7. Own a business and buy real estate. Please don’t plunge unless you are prepared to face the risk. Though there is saying that the higher the risk , the higher the returns it is better to do your homework first before burning your money.

When we follow the above steps we are indeed on the road to enjoy our retirement.

Arnel L. Cadeliña

(You may e-mail your reaction to this article at )

Stay in School

My Dear Students:

You are very lucky. Your family can send you to attend Sacred Heart College rather than require you to work early. With the current unfavorable economic condition, staying in school is your best choice and your parents without any doubts, knows that a degree in college will give you a fighting chance to get a job in the future.
Today, when there is so much talk about unemployment, I remind you that college graduates have a relatively great chance to get a job than high school or elementary graduates. Staying in school does not come easy. It can be won and enjoyed only with a lot of efforts, and often of heroic sacrifices.
And why should you put high premium on sacrifices to stay in school?. The answer is as simple as it is natural: what you sow you will reap. In other words that for every sacrifice there is an equal and opposite rewards. We only get back if we put out. The fascinating thing about staying in school is that you never know when will you be rewarded; when will you receive the prize of your time and effort. But I assure you, rewards always come.
But there’s a catch there, if you put mediocre effort you get mediocre results and when you put quality and excellent efforts you will get excellent result. There’s no escape on the law: what you saw you will reap.
As your professor, staying in Sacred Heart is not enough, you should apply what you learned and continuously improved yourself. With that, you control your destiny rather than you are controlled by others.
Stay, it’s your best choice.
My best wishes, always.


Monday, September 18, 2006

Ten Reasons Why I am a Catholic

Arnel L. Cadeliña

I have numerous friends belonging to different denominations. My experienced with them were rather pleasant and fulfilling. I remember my MBA classmate at Ateneo, Djukifli Candao, who was raised as a Muslim but religion to us was not a hindrance to be friends. Tolerance is the key. Though many of them did not ask why I am a Catholic it was rather obvious because of my rosary. Knowing myself, if I was born a Jew or a Muslim I will be also faithful. Since Catholicism nurtured me, giving me contacts with good priests and nuns, provide me beliefs and values, convinced me enough that I am better as a Catholic.
Here are the 10 reasons why I stick to the faith:

1. I find God just about everywhere, around every corner, under every leaf, in
the eyes of a child, in the eyes of the poor and the eyes of a very old person.

2. I find joy in the seven sacraments which bring me in contact with Christ through my senses.

3. I can find communion with the saints where I feel I belong to a community that is not limited by time and space. That’s why I adhere to All Saint’s Day because I find it joyful to continue having relationships with people who have died.

4. I have thousands of saints and a Blessed Mary to pray for me but believing also that their powers are not independent of God’s power.

5. I have a blessing for every occasion. Looking at the Book of Blessings, I can find blessing for family, for son, for daughter, married couple, single parent, birthdays, elderly people, sick , victim of crime or oppression and so on.

6. I can pray with water. Baptism, confirmation, marriage, death I am or will be sprinkled with holy water by a priest. I believe that the holy water is a source not only of healing but it is life itself.

7. I can go to mass anywhere in the world with the same structure. The mass that made me selfless, more charitable, more kind, more braver and stronger. I absorb the pattern of Jesus. The Host gives me strength to run the race.

8. My faith gave the Christmas, the Carols, the tree lights , the simbang gabi and the Christmas prayers. This season of joy gave us the time to celebrate the birth of Christ and nowadays even non-Catholics are celebrating it.

9. I have a 40 days of season of Lent to paused from my hectic pace, to slow down from the hustle and bustle and to look at my relationship with God.

10. I can trace my faith all the way to Apostle Peter and the succession is not broken ever since.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

The Triumph of Entertainment and Mammon

The Triumph of Entertainment and Mammon

By: Arnel L. Cadeliña

My 50 students were excited. It was 4:00AM of September 13, 2006 but we made the front gate of Sacred Heart a busy place. What’s the fuzz?. We are attending the 4th IT Congress at U.P. Diliman. But how come, judging from their faces, that they are more excited to be away from their home rather than looking forward to learn?. Why are they like these? Is hunger for learning less attractive therefore not satisfying anymore nowadays?

As we boarded the van, I felt a sudden hunch of a day not so productive. I even can’t sleep maybe it’s damn too cold or I was disturbed by the myriad thoughts in my head.
We arrived at U.P. Diliman around 7:45AM . Students from all over the country were lined up and snaked toward the U.P. Theater.

You asked me what I noticed about U.P.? It’s very dirty. Garbage are everywhere. Students mingling with squatters and squatters roamed freely in the campus. Why is it U.P. Diliman allow this to happen? You can not even see a decent organized bulletin board. They definitely thrive in chaos. Maybe it’s the reason why they are the premier state u. Everything they challenged, even their surroundings.

To dispel the negativity, I rode the IKOT jeepney but sadly it’s the same old story. Buildings bear no soul that identifying their relationship with one another was a huge puzzle. I saw NUS in Singapore, my God the buildings there are easily distinguished having connections to one another, the color, the architecture , the lawn, etc. When I look at UP Diliman, I saw the reflection of our own country: chaotic, prone to short term goals and hostage of the past.

The only positive thing that overwhelmed me were the students. They study, I mean they really study. Under the tree, in the sunken graden, near the sorbetero, inside the jeepney, and even while walking. Now I know why UP Diliman is different, it’s because of its students. They spell Q-U-A-L-I-T-Y.
Slightly overjoyed, I return to UP Theater. The program started very late. To entertain the 3000 students, the organizers brilliantly fielded 2 gay emcees whose jokes ranges from toilet green to below the belt insults.
For the 8 hours we been there, 5 hours were consumed listening to the 2 gay morons who made every person they called in the stage a butt of disrespectful jokes. As I helplessly sat in the theater, I am slapping my face if I am at Wowowee or at IT Congress. What’s so painful here, the students are enjoying it. They did not felt that they were robbed.
Compute this 3000 students x P450 registration/student, that’s a whooping P1,350,000.
Really the organizers are laughing all their way to the bank. It’s daylight robbing time in a grand scale. I had a seatmate who came from Capiz with her 60 students paying expensive air fare and hotel fare just for this fiasco. Is she regretting it? No! In fact she and her students are enjoying it.
Yeah It’s Wowowee and mammon who won that day and the suckers love it!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Beatles Songs

In my high school, nobody affect me like the Beatles. Their songs played on our AM radio every 5:00AM by a local AM station made we woke up early. I am a Beatlemania. A certified one. I was not born yet when Filipinos hear the first song sang by four young guys from Liverpool, England. My father said that the Beatles were seen in front of our small black & white television sets on February 9, 1964, when the Beatles made their first American debut on TheEdSullivanShow.

During my high school days, I watched a documentary about their debut in America and I saw the Beatles for the first time performing. I can not believe the fondness and excitement of the audience as they sang five songs in the following order: All My Loving, Till There Was You, She Loves You, I Saw Her Standing There, and I Want To Hold Your Hand. Ed Sullivan said on that night, seventy-three million people watched the Beatles. Their appearance had such an impact that most normal activities in America came to a standstill watching their performance. Criminal activity in most of the major cities and towns in America was put on hold, and getting a taxi or bus in New York was almost impossible, until their performance was over. Mass hysteria resulted wherever the Beatles appeared, and Beatlemania was created.

After hearing their songs I did spot geniuses.Their music touches my soul. Their name etched in me that I wrote in my diary their complete names:
John Winston (Ono) Lennon ; James Paul McCartney ; George Harold Harrison ; and Ringo Starr.

The song writing duo of Lennon-McCartney is the most successful in the world. The only other song writing duo to come close to the success of Lennon-McCartney is Elton John and Bernie Taupin. Although they almost never wrote any of their songs together, John Lennon and Paul McCartney decided that all songs written by each of them would always be credited to both of them. Generally, what each would do is write a particular song, then present it to each other. In areas where each song needed a word, or some changes, they then would sit together a fine tune the song.

From 1962 to 1970, the Beatles recorded 214 songs. But many people, up to now speculated what many Beatles songs really mean. To gather the truth, I decided to research some of it and chosed interesting songs and outline its meaning.

About young love and relationship- Please Please Me, With The Beatles, A Hard Day's Night, Beatles For Sale and Help! .
About adolescent- Nowhere Man
About Dorothy (girlfried of Paul)- P.S. I Love You
About cynthia (first love of John)Do You Want To Know A Secret
About Life's Sadness - There's A Place
About separation from love ones-All My Loving.
About being together- Things We Said Today
About classmate of Julian lennon- Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
About the weather- Getting Better
About a missing girl- She's Leaving Home.
about Pablo Fanque's Circus Royal- Being For The Benefit of Mr. Kite!
About inflience of maharishi- Within You, Without You,
About using the sitar- Norwegian Wood
About Paul's tribute to his father -When I'm Sixty-Four
About parking violation- Lovely Rita
About Kellogg's Corn Flakes that John liked to eat for breakfast- Good Morning, Good Morning
About a newspaper articles in the Daily Mail- Day In The Life
About a street in Liverpool- penny lane
About salvation Army- Strawberry Fields Forever
About Julian and Cynthia- Originally titled, "Hey Julian," then "Hey Jules," it was later changed to Hey JUDE, because from a song standpoint, the name was stronger.
About eric Clapton- SavoyTruffle

If you notice, the songs the Beatles wrote are simple experiences in their daily life yet these songs changed history and the music world in a dramatic way. That's what made them tick up to now, they write simple songs, with simple melody but a LOT of meaning. How many bands do that and survive?

Thursday, September 07, 2006

WHY I AM A TEACHER ( a re-blogged)

This article was written 3 years ago and was re-blogged in celebration of "International Teachers day"

By: Arnel L. Cadeliña

Dear Alyssa and Amiel:

Both of you asked me several times why I am teaching and why I leave the corporate world. The frequency of your query is getting higher as you get older and you see your classmates riding in their shiny cars while both of you literally squeezed in the tricycle. I even remember a prayer of yours requesting the heaven and the saints to send me in far away places in order to earn the mighty dollars. Amiel even whisper to me that almost half of his classmates were boasting that their parents are OFWs and I should be one. How can I blame both of you? Your generation is bombarded daily of thousand advertisements tempting you to buy anything and everything. The TV, radio,cellphones and internet are part of your life that these so called technology helped you and your peers to have a blurred distinction between needs and wants. Sometimes when I hear you and your friends talking about the latest Nokia cell phone, I started to ponder that materialism already won the battle and my children are being groomed by the environment to be the next disciples.

My dear Alyssa and Amiel, you are very much correct that I earn less than the parents of your classmates. The OFW’s who are breaking their backs to feed, clothed and send their children to school are earning more than I. You should remember though that your classmates are enjoying the benefits in replacement of having the physical present of their parent. I know several OFW friends suffering homesickness, toiling from sunset to dawn and missing the important events of their growing up children in return for earning more. But remember though, majority of your classmates OFW parents were not provided good job opportunities in our country and going abroad for them is not an option but a necessity. Every time you kneel for a prayer, include prayers for them.

In your case, I am there when your tears are flowing when you fell in the bicycle; you hear my voice every night while I read stories; we watched wrestlemania together with both our feet up in the chair and sharing Gatorade and spit it loudly every time John Cena loses; we are both teary-eyed when we watched Superman dying ; we pillow fight in the wee hours of the morning; we play soccer until we can not stand anymore; we go to church together and held each other hands while singing the Lord’s Prayer. Would you believe I eagerly await the first time you will be in love?

There are other million things that we did together which you may vividly remember ten years down the road. The memories imprinted on you are irreplaceable. I can not earn dollars but I am with you while you are growing up. For me that’s the best thing in life.

Before I forgot, I am teaching because I am happy doing it. I worked for 14 years in the corporate world which help me build the house we call home. Lord even blessed you in having funds for your college education because of my incessant savings. However, working in a corporation and teaching are like Mars and Venus. In teaching, I found out that I can shape the future, that I am standing on the shoulders of the teachers before me who find teaching noble: Christ, Buddha, Confucious, Gandhi, Franklin, Rizal and million others. Your generation may call as nerds, geeks and weirdos but we are not treating it as a blasphemy but notice our passion. You must remember that a lot of people are successful because of being passionate and I am a passionate teacher at the same time a passionate parent. While I make sure that my students learned, I always find time to be with you.

When will we scale Mount Banahaw?