As per Wikipedia, a millionaire is “an individual whose net worth or wealth is equal to or exceeds one million units of currency.” Because I only started getting really serious about my finances in 2013, I only began keeping tabs of my net worth the year after that. You see, I’m a government employee and we, in government service, are required to submit our SAL-N annually. Prior to 2013, though, I was not minding the numbers there. I knew I was making some money from my job but the net amount (assets minus liabilities) I didn’t care much about.
One year after my last post in this series, I’m writing again to celebrate another milestone in my financial life — my third anniversary as a direct stock market investor via COL Financial!
So far, things have been doing great. The market is bullish once again after several months of being bearish. During those gloomy months, I intentionally didn’t check on my port. The few times I did, I just bought more stocks so I could average down those that were in the red at the time, SSI included. And what do you know? SSI finally recovered last month. It went as high as PHP4.33 per share against my average price of PHP3.88. Thinking that the trend would die down soon, I sold my SSI shares immediately when it got to 4.07, which gave me a gain of around 4.8%. Now, why did I not wait for it go higher? I have to admit I got emotional. It’s been more than a year since I had SSI on the red, with losses reaching as high as 43% at one point. Having seen it turning to green recently was an overwhelming feeling. I just felt I needed to sell it right away for fear that its price would go down again and I would have to wait for a long time before it could recover. At least I still made money from it. The decision also prevented me from selling at a loss when I felt like it.
While many can’t keep their credit cards at a zero balance, some people can. I’m one of those people who pay their monthly credit card balance in full (but not after experiencing getting neck-deep in credit card debt first which was one of the reasons why I got to appear on a local business and finance TV show last year!). More than learning my lesson the hard way, I think what made me get my acts together was getting drained (financially and emotionally) by this vicious cycle which only I could break. The thought of being credit card debt-free (and the joy that comes with it!) was just a bonus.
Maintaining a zero balance on credit cards is doable. Here are some practices I employ to make sure the hubby and I get to pay our credit card debts in full every month:
I only started saving money more seriously in 2014. It was also around that time when I started investing in the stock market. Back then, I created this MS Excel file that I would update religiously. (I actually use it to this day!) I took advantage of Excel’s autosum feature as a way of adding up the money I got to save every month. I made several tables and filled it with relevant items and figures. I felt happy and accomplished because at the end of each passing year up to December 2016, I saw my savings grew dramatically from how it was prior to 2014.
My monthly income distribution, or how I divide my income to provide for my needs and that of my family, is pretty simple. Take note that this “income” refers only to the salary I receive from my job as a rank-and-file government employee. It doesn’t include the hubby’s as we manage our respective salaries and pay for our marital expenses on a shared basis. He still pays more than I do, like he solely takes care of our house and lot amortization, which is something I appreciate about him.
Do you wanna know what my birthday gift to myself is? A wallet. Do you wanna know what I asked the hubby for his birthday present to me? Another wallet. Why would I need two wallets, you might ask. My answer is…why not? One for weekdays, one for weekends. End of story.
But wait, I’m in the mood for a wallet story, so here it is. Growing up in the province, I always saw the contents of Mame’s wallet. I always knew when she still had money or when she was running out of it. When I knew she had extra money, I’d ask her to buy me the few fancy things I liked. When I knew she had very little money, I kept my mouth shut and never bothered her for anything that would have the potential of burning a hole in her pocket.
When I officially assumed the role of wife in our marriage, travel planning was one of the tasks I assigned to myself, with the hubby’s consent, of course. Actually, I’m the one looking into every single thing that involves money in our household. Traveling requires a certain amount of money, and so I have always been the one allotting a budget for it. This set up has been working out just fine for us, so far.
Ever since our wedding in 2012, our travels have been confined within the country. We have not traveled abroad as a married couple yet. (When we were still bf-gf, we got to travel to Singapore and Malaysia together.) Of course, we have plans to see more foreign countries in the future. One of our dream destinations is Japan. We have some friends based there and they’re more than willing to accommodate us during our stay there. I even have a cousin who has been working and living there with her family since the early 2000s and she’s long been bugging me to come over. Right now, we’re still saving up money for it and we don’t have any concrete plans yet.