Career & Finance

When to Invest, Inflation, VUL and More

Sharing with you 5 basic personal finance questions with 5 simple and straightforward answers.

Julian sent me a question; he asked when the best time to invest is.

Well Julian, 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. Time is a big factor in investing so I recommend people to start investing as early as they can. Investing is best when is done for the long term especially if you are investing in properties, the stock market or mutual funds. Start investing early and give your investments enough time to grow. Remember, as far as investing is concerned, time is your greatest asset.

Gerald asks what inflation is and how it will affect us?

Simply put, inflation is a measure being 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. The case for your savings is a different one. If your savings do not appreciate faster than inflation, the real value of your savings will go down in terms of what goods and services it can buy. The solution to this is investing your money where it can grow faster than inflation.

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

VUL stands for Variable Universal Life insurance. It is a kind of financial instrument that has both insurance and an investment component. It’s like having insurance and mutual funds in one product. VUL will give you insurance benefits but it will also have a fund that is being invested according to your objectives, risk profile and other preferences. If you need both insurance and investment, you may consider having a VUL – but if your sole objective is purely investing, then this may not be the right instrument for you at this time.

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

Many of our parents preferred way of investing was through properties and for a good reason. Experience has proven that the value of properties goes up over many years. Personally, I still think real estate investing is good way to grow your money but the issue here is time. In general, for you to see substantial growth in your investment in property, it will take you many years. There also are other costs involved in real estate like association dues, property taxes and transfer costs which should be added in the cost of your investment. One of the big attractions of property investing is that you can also earn from rental income as well. If you have the resources and you are willing to wait for a long time, consider investing in real estate but always remember to consider other investments too as there is no such thing as the best investment.

Should we have a lot of money before we invest? Jesse asks.

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 5 to 10 thousand pesos. Some banks even offer auto-debit arrangements that allow you to invest for as low as 1 thousand a month. However, before you invest, I recommend that you build your emergency funds first. An emergency fund of about 3 to 6 months worth of your expenses will be sufficient. To maximize your investments you need enough time for them to grow and it is not a good idea to pull it out whenever you have a need for it, which is why I recommend having an emergency fund first. Once you have your finances in order, start investing in small amounts to get your feet wet. Happy investing!

Got more questions? Ask and let’s see if I can be of help.

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