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Job-hunting Tips for Fresh Grads

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You roamed the halls of your university for four years (or more), endured the late nights and toiled tirelessly to meet deadlines. Before you know it, your college life comes to a close. If it hasn’t sunk in yet, welcome to the next chapter–work, or should I say, looking for one.

Read more: 5 Common First-Job Problems and How to Overcome Them

Before you even get the chance to warm up to your well-deserved diploma, you are now faced with the anxious but thrilling task of finding your first job. Here are some tips to help you get started.

Play to your strengths

An obvious but often unheeded piece of advice: As much as possible, you should align your degree to the position you’re applying for. It’s time to cash in on those years of hardship. If you find it difficult to align your degree to your career path, you should—at least–consider your hard and soft skills. In a nutshell, hard skills are specific abilities that can be taught and measured (basically what you got in college and the backbone of your degree). Soft skills on the other hand are harder to measure, but are equally important in the work environment. These may include self-management skills like self-confidence, stress management or people skills like communication and networking.

By now you should more or less have an idea of what you want to do and what kind of future you see for yourself, career-wise that is. If the work you want is out of reach, take steps to put yourself in a more favorable position. Get a Master’s degree, attend short courses, go to seminars, or even get a second degree.

Another crucial thing about your first job is that they can dictate the trajectory of your career. You should take your time in planning which industry and which company to apply for. Don’t rush. Remember, you’re starting to build credibility and employers look for it first on a resume, which brings us to the next tip.

Write that perfect resume

Fresh grads make the common mistake of beefing up their resume by adding unnecessary elements that do more harm than good. Some bad examples:

  • Lying on your resume. Padding your credentials with fake details/information is a guaranteed one-way ticket to the company blacklist.
  • Adding unnecessary information. According to a study, recruiters only allot an average of 6 seconds per individual resume. A cluttered, busy-looking resume not only hurts the eyes of the recruiter, but your chances of getting considered as well. Make those six seconds count!
  • Writing “watching movies”, “eating”, and “sleeping” as your hobbies on the Personal Background section. Unless those are essential to the role, keep this section personal while being professional.

A good resume should show your accomplishments, your experience in the field you want to work in, your skills applicable for the job, co-curricular activities (which is also important!), major research papers, and trainings/seminars that are related to the work. Try to keep it short but packed with enough information that shows you at your best (truthful) light. 2 pages maximum, with a professional font style like Arial, Times New Roman, or Calibri should make for a standard resume format. A more creative and personalized format can be used as long as it is appropriate to the industry, say for example if you’re applying for an advertising or creative agency.

Apply, apply, apply

It goes without saying, but sending out applications to different companies will increase your chances of getting that sweet, sweet call. Through online job search portals such as JobStreet and Kalibrr, looking for open positions and sending out resumes take only seconds, so you have no reason to procrastinate.

Don’t fret if your job hunting is taking a while to reach fruition. While waiting, brush up on your entrance exam reviewers. You will need it for various aptitude/IQ tests of varying difficulty given by the companies.

Better be prepared

Let’s say that you already have an interview scheduled for that company you really want to work for. Are you prepared for the questions that will come your way? In preparation, try to do a quick run-through of their history, structure, products/services, key people, and of course the role you are applying for. Trust me, when it comes to preparation, it’s better to be over than under.

It also helps if you do interview dry runs. Write down your possible responses and rehearse by yourself or with your friends. It helps a lot if you get mentoring from someone with substantial experience in doing interviews or, better yet, experience in human resources. A dry run may not be the real thing, yes, but it goes a long way in calming down the nerves.

It’s also a good idea to take note of the following documents and prepare them as early as now. It will be asked from you when you finally land your dream job.

Pre-Employment Requirements:

  • NBI Clearance
  • Police Clearance
  • Birth Certificate (NSO Copy)
  • College Diploma and Transcript of Records
  • ID Pictures (1×1 and 2×2 are common sizes)
  • Valid IDs (Original and photocopy)
  • SSS, Philhealth, Pag-ibig, and TIN numbers

Tip: Go to one-stop government centers located at several malls. You can accomplish most of these in one day.

Look the part!

What good is your physical attendance when you’re mentally absent? People adjust their working hours to try and be more productive, when in reality, their efficiency suffers during the day when a proper night’s sleep isn’t a priority. Going to bed at the same hour every night is the start of a good habit. Work your way up to a complete rest of 8 hours per day and notice the drastic change in your energy, all while looking fresh and ready to seize the day.

Of course, more than just minimizing your eye bags, you need to dress the part as well. Leave your cargo shorts and ripped jeans behind, and embrace the new you by sporting long-sleeved shirts, slacks, skirts, and blazers. Remember, showing up to an interview with the proper attire could spell the difference between an offer sheet and a rejection.

Enjoy the ride

Fresh out of college and eager to prove yourself? A heart set on something is a force that moves mountains, and right now, you see a vision of yourself with your dream job, a comfortable life, and surrounded by people you love. By all means, go at it with all you’ve got! Just remember that it won’t happen overnight. Success stories are rarely driven by just luck. They are a combination of hard work, patience, the right skills, and the right people. Learn quickly and adapt, but don’t rush or you’ll lose sight of the important things – life lessons, the people you’ve met, the skills you’ve picked up along the way.

Read more: 5 Good Reasons to Start a Career in Banking

Looking to start a career in banking? Learn about our available career opportunities by visiting our career page.

How to Recover from a Bad Working Day

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We all have bad days. Whether it’s a confrontation with your boss or a misunderstanding with a colleague, a rough day could pull your productivity down to the ground. You might be sitting on your desk thinking “How could this day get any worse?” You lose focus, you sink your head to your desk, and worse, you start lagging behind your tasks.

Read more: 5 Worst Money Mistakes that Millennials Make

Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Yes, even the most positive person in the planet is not immune to the stress and pressure of work. No matter how much you love your job, there’s going to be days where you just want to go home and curl up on your bed. The worst part, if you don’t act on this quickly, you’ll find yourself turning a crummy day into a crummy week.

For some, this might be a been-there-done-that scenario. But for people who are looking for a ray of sunshine after the rain, here are ways to recover from a bad working day.

Go for a walk.

The easiest way to get a ray of sunshine is to—literally—get some. First, stop sulking, get up from your desk and take a walk outside. Now if company policy prevents you from leaving the office, you can always get a little quiet time in the pantry or the cafeteria.

If you’re in Makati or BGC, take a walk to the nearest park or café, enjoy the greens, and take a sip of your favorite latte. Getting some air to destress isn’t superstition either. Research shows that getting fresh air while surrounded by nature has tremendous effects in revitalizing energy. Breathe deep and let it free your mind from all the negativity. Trust me, a few minutes of peace can go a long way in getting you back to the right mindset.

Vent it out.

Bottling up your feelings is never a good thing, but let’s face it, you can’t just tell someone that you want to pull their hair out–especially if it’s your boss. Try this: write down what you’re feeling in a piece of paper. Don’t hold back, include profanities if you have to (just don’t forget to shred it after).

If the situation calls for it, you can even call a trusted friend or talk to office ally. Rant until your chest clears. Sometimes letting it all out helps reduce the tension you feel inside. After all, it’s better to let it out while you still have control. Snapping and unleashing in the office can get you in a world of trouble.

Do something that makes you happy.

Stop for a moment and think of something that makes you happy. Is it eating your favorite chocolate? Going shopping? Whatever it is, it wouldn’t hurt doing it once in a while especially if you’re going through a rough day in the office. You don’t have to torment yourself when you can’t handle it anymore, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up. Take a sip of your favorite drink in the pantry or visit the mall after work hours! Doing something for yourself gives you a hint of color when everything seems to be dark.

Whatever you do, don’t bring it home.

Work can suck sometimes, and that’s just the reality of it. After evaluating what happened, do whatever it takes to rid yourself of negative emotions before you go home. Stop over your favorite bar, watch a movie, or go shopping if you have to. Most importantly, you should establish a clear end-of-work routine. In other words, you should understand when work hours end—stop checking your email, talking about work, and worrying about stuff that happened in the office.

Try exercise.

Sitting all day in a cold area could be a huge stress factor as well. If you’re an active person, chances are you might know this already: hitting the gym after a hard day’s work is actually a great stress reliever. Studies also prove that a good 30-minute workout not only makes you healthier, it also helps stimulate your body, making you a lighter and happier person at the same time.

If your company offers free gym membership, then great! It’s just a matter of slipping into that gym attire. If you can’t get hands on a free membership, you can always start that free membership trial on the nearest fitness center.

Book a Staycation.

Saving your vacation leaves? Try a Friday night staycation instead. Book a stay at one of the nicest hotels in the city and enjoy the peaceful ambience of the city skyline. Whether it’s taking a dip in the pool or staying in bed all night, a quick escape from reality is the best way to relax your senses after a stressful week. Eventually, you’ll wake up feeling great because you’ve managed to recover from a bad working day.

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What to Do During the Holy Week in 2017

Holy week is upon us. For Catholics, the season heralds a significant time for self-renewal. During the week, devotees commemorate the Passion of Christ through different practices, some even dating back centuries. More than just following tradition, the spirit of Lent is also about taking some time off to think. Think about it, how often do we get the chance reflect on ourselves? Of course, it also means that you get two extra days off, which may or may not be more important to you depending on your level of devotion.

Read more: What the Bible Says About Money

We are free to use this time to do whatever we wish to do–whether it’s to detox from the city grind, to stay in the city while watching cars scramble on the streets, or to go on your own spritual journey. Here are some ideas for a practical and productive Holy Week.

Enjoy the Empty City

For those that don’t want to bother with the frenetic retreat of people to the provinces, you can do the laziest and yet–probably–the most peaceful option: to stay put. Not only does staying in the city save you valuable travel time, it also saves you from the physical, emotional, and monetary toll of Holy Week travel, a pursuit that’s often contrasted to the peaceful nature of the season. In other words, you save your sanity while saving money.

Think about it, you can drive along the empty streets of EDSA and C5, walk the peaceful streets of BGC and Makati while visiting the old churches Manila to satiate your religious needs. To name a few, you can visit the Nuestra Senora de Gracia Church at Viejo, Makati, the San Agustin Church at Intramuros, Manila, (or any church in Intramuros for that matter), or the Minor Basilica of San Lorenzo Ruiz (popularly known as Binondo Church).

By staying in the Metro, you can maintain your normal weekend flow, while getting two days to relax and catch up to your Binge backlog (We recommend 13 Reasons Why and the OA). You also save yourself from the hassle of going back to the Metro which, depending on your province, could be more hellish than the retreat.

Practice Abstinence, But Treat Yourself After

For those who are more serious in practicing fasting and abstinence, waning off meat may be quite the challenge. Of course, fasting isn’t only about food, it’s also about avoiding your normal guilty pleasures (some of which we already enumerated above). Think of it as respite from the busy lives we live, a chance to renew the spirit and to strengthen faith.

While we can’t give any advice for you to enjoy yourselves while avoiding earthly pleasures, we can help you with food.

For our sweet-toothed brethren limiting their dairy intake for lent, here’s a dairy-free chocolate cake you can make to satisfy that craving without the guilt.

Lenten Chocolate Cake Recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups Flour
  • 2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 6 tbsp Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 2 cups Sugar
  • 3 tbsp Vinegar
  • 2 tsp Vanilla
  • ¾ cup Cooking Oil
  • 2 cups Cold Water

Directions:

  1. Sift the flour, baking soda, cocoa, salt and sugar together in a large bowl.
  2. Add the vinegar, vanilla, oil, and water to the dry ingredients and mix well. Because of the soda and vinegar combination you’ll see some bubbles and that’s normal.
  3. Pour batter in a greased 9 x 13 pan and bake at 350 for 45 minutes.
  4. You may make a butter cream frosting using margarine instead of butter if you like (to keep the cake dairy-free) or dust with powdered sugar to serve.

Easter Sunday, a day of joy and celebration, entails a more festive atmosphere filled with colorful Easter eggs, decadent breads, and mains like ham, lamb, and roast chicken. Feel free to get back to the meat-zone but keep in mind the lessons you learned from the season. Some discipline to cut back the excess goes a long way and is good for the heart, literally and figuratively.

Visita Iglesia

A Lenten tradition embraced by Filipinos, The Seven Churches Visitation is a pilgrimage that embodies the solemn atmosphere of the season by being the channel for meditation, reflection, and prayer. The faithful are tasked to go on a spiritual journey to seven different churches of their choosing, with each stop being a different experience – a feast for the eyes and the soul. It is also said that a completed round of seven churches grants the person a fulfilled wish or an answered prayer. While that may sound superstitious for the standard skeptic, your dedication in finishing this tradition is–in itself–a testament to your faith.

When it comes to Visita Iglesia, you have two options. You either go to the province and visit more secluded churches as you reconnect with friends and family or you stay in Manila for a historical tour of its most iconic houses of prayer. Deciding is a matter of how much effort you plan to exert and your willingness to visit new places. In a nutshell, if you’re looking for quick and accessible spiritual satisfaction, you should give the Manila churches a try. But if you want to visit new, more serene and, perhaps, more exotic places, then going on a provincial Visita Iglesia might just be your cup of tea.

When All Else Fails, Go on a Staycation

Those seeking some much-needed time off from their daily routine can find a lot of affordable staycation spots here in the Metro and nearby provinces. You can rent a hotel for a family getaway, go hiking with friends, go glamping (glamorous camping), and–most importantly–be together with the people you cherish the most.

Before you know it, you’ll already be back to your everyday grind. What did you get from this short vacation? Did you find peace that you were looking for? Good. Not really? Well, don’t worry, there’s always the next year.

Missed the Coldplay Concert? We’re here to make you feel better

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably seen all the Coldplay Concert pictures and posts flooding social media. And if you’re reading this article, then you’re probably like me: you have your go-to Coldplay playlist on repeat—casually listening on your couch at home, knowing that you saved a ton by not attending a live and more rowdy listening session. Then again, it might be the complete opposite: you tear at the sight of your friends who got a selfie with Chris Martin courtesy of their VIP tickets. You might even whimper while singing along a 240p recording of the concert.

What’s the big deal? Let me refresh your memory. Here’s the ticket price breakdown for the recently concluded concert:

  • VIP – P22,500
  • Platinum – P17,500
  • Gold – P12,500
  • Silver – P7,500
  • Bronze – 3,500
  • Gen Ad – 1,800

While it’s not a completely unreasonable amount of money, it’s still a huge sum—one that you can use to increase your future income. If you missed the concert, don’t worry! Here are a few practical alternatives in spending that cash:





More on Investing

They say millennials turn the tide on current world issues, as they are more socially conscious, take the fight to the streets, and are not afraid to voice out opinions. What they’re not doing on the other hand, is investing. According to a survey done by Harris Poll, majority of this generation does not invest – the biggest reason being they find it confusing. Millennials also feel that it costs a lot to start up an investment, a notion quite untrue.

Final Thoughts

We all have different priorities in life, but happiness is something all of us strive to achieve. If a Coldplay concert is something you want marked off your bucket list, then you should make sure that you have the cash you need for a ticket the next time they announce a show–whether it’s thru a secondary stream of income, a business venture, or your reliable savings that you can grow in time.

Then again, if a night of music and pulsing lights isn’t quite your thing, you can channel those extra resources into something you’re passionate about. Travel to lesser known places and discover hidden gems. Get that postgraduate degree you’ve been pining for so long. Redecorate your room into that space you’ve always wanted. Whatever that dream is, one thing’s for sure: You should be starting this early in making sure that you reach them.

Read More: 5 Worst Money Mistakes that Millennials Make

Security Bank Wins Best Managed Fund of the Year

The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Society Philippines, which embodies the global standard of excellence in the investment industry, named Security Bank the winner of the “Best Managed Fund of the Year” in the Peso Balanced Funds category. The Bank also ranked 2nd in the Long Term Peso Bond Fund and 3rd in the Peso Equity Fund categories.

The Best Managed Fund of the Year Awards recognize high-performing funds open to the public, based on their five-year risk-adjusted returns. The awards are a collaboration of the CFA Society Philippines, the Fund Managers Association of the Philippines and the Trust Officers Association of the Philippines. The program aims to raise investment awareness among retail investors and aid them in making sound investment decisions.

Security Bank encourages clients to find investment products that can help beat inflation. The Bank urges them to invest regularly for the long-term and build a portfolio of diversified investments.

Security Bank is a multi-awarded financial institution in the investment industry. For more expert advice and further information on UITFs, go to www.securitybank.com/invest or visit the nearest Security Bank branch.

Auto Tax Reform: What It Means for Car Buyers

The auto industry in the Philippines has seen a steady incline due to the booming economy and improving spending power of Filipinos. Car loan interest rates are at an all-time low, making it more affordable for working citizens to own a car.

In fact, the Philippine automotive industry closed 2016 with total record sales of 452,751 units. CAMPI (Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc.) reported a 24.6% increase in sales from the previous year, while AVID (Association of Vehicle Importers and Distributors) reported that their total sales increased by 60%.

Just look around during your daily commute and you will see the manifestation of this growth. The roads are packed. Brand new cars sprawl the city along with outdated public transportation, clogging the major thoroughfares of the Metro. For many, it’s almost unbearable.

If you’ve been paying attention to recent events, the Department of Finance (DOF)—in its slant towards a more ‘progressive’ tax measure—has proposed a new auto excise tax. The sweeping tax reform (which includes aggressive reforms in the excise taxes of of automobiles and petroleum products), has been lauded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) as an auspicious policy to support the Duterte administration’s 10-point economic agenda. According to the DOF, this new policy “will probably be effective in 2018.”

One of the major reasons for the change? To curb Manila’s worsening traffic condition. The proposed tax reform is contingent in reducing new car ownership, thereby preventing further road congestion from private cars and indirectly encouraging use of public transportation.

Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said it best, “What’s the point of buying a new car and not moving in the streets?”

Why the change?

The new car excise tax proposal by the DOF and its counterpart in Congress, House Bill (HB) 4774, is structured to even out the income tax reduction. Revenue from auto excise taxes is said to be allocated for new infrastructure and improvements in public transportation.

Dominguez stressed, that “the point of the matter is we want to direct the people to use public transport. We are making big investments in public transport, particularly the bus rapid-transit system, and we’re fixing the trains whose maintenance has been neglected over the years.”

While it remains to be seen how the new tax structure will benefit industry players—along with its implications to ordinary citizens—one thing seems certain: being informed of the ins and outs of the car buying process is as important as ever. Let’s start by answering the question: What does it mean for current and potential car buyers?

Current tax structure

The current auto excise tax structure uses a value-based model that Filipino car buyers have enjoyed since the early 2000s.

With the current auto excise structure, vehicles with a manufacturer net price of up to 600,000 pesos will be taxed at 2%; those over 600,000 up to 1.1 million at a fixed excise of 12,000 plus an additional 20% of the amount in excess of 600,000; those over 1.1 million up to 2.1 million at a fixed excise of 112,000 plus 40% of the amount in excess of 1.1 million; and cars over 2.1 million at a fixed excise of 512,000 plus 60% of the amount in excess of 2.1 million.

This is the current excise tax structure:

Net Manufacturer’s / Importer’s Selling Price Current Excise Tax Structure
Up to 600,000 2%
Over 600,000 to 1.1 Million 12,000 + 20% in excess of 600,000
Over 1.1 Million to 2.1 Million 112,000 + 40% in excess of 1.1 Million
Over 2.1 Million 512,000 + 60% in excess of 2.1 Million

In a statement, the DOF positions that auto tax rates have not been increased or updated for the past 13 years, which is why they decided to use auto taxes to increase their revenue in order to offset the impending decrease in income taxes. Note that Public Utility Vehicles such as buses, jeeps, and jeepney substitutes and special purpose vehicles such as cargo vans are exempted from this auto excise structure.

The new auto excise tax system proposed by the DOF is outlined below:

Net Manufacturer’s / Importer’s Selling Price Current Excise Tax Structure DoF Excise Tax Proposal
Up to 600,000 2% 5%
Over 600,000 to 1.1 Million 12,000 + 20% in excess of 600,000 20%
Over 1.1 Million to 2.1 Million 112,000 + 40% in excess of 1.1 Million 40%
Over 2.1 Million 512,000 + 60% in excess of 2.1 Million 60%

The new system simplifies the auto excise tax structure to 5% (increased from 2%) for vehicles priced up to 600,000; 20% for vehicles priced from 600,000 to 1 million; 40% for vehicles priced from 1.1 million to 2.1 million; and 60% for vehicles priced from 2.1 million and above.

Since its announcement, some proponents of public and private sectors have vehemently opposed the new tax structure. Social media has been set ablaze by infographics detailing the new—and substantially higher—standard retail prices (SRPs) of the most popular car models. The DoF then amended their proposal on January 17, 2017.

Amended Proposal

The amended proposal was then incorporated into HB 4774, also known as The Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Bill Act. The revised system is outlined below:

Net Manufacturer’s / Importer’s Selling Price Current Excise Tax Structure HB 4774 Auto Excise Tax Proposal
Up to 600,000 2% 4%
Over 600,000 to 1.1 Million 12,000 + 20% in excess of 600,000 24,000 + 40% in excess of 600,000
Over 1.1 Million to 2.1 Million 112,000 + 40% in excess of 1.1 Million 224,000 + 100% in excess of 1.1 Million
Over 2.1 Million 512,000 + 60% in excess of 2.1 Million 1,224,000 + 200% in excess of 2.1 Million

If this bill passes, excise tax almost doubles, depending on the Net Manufacturer’s or Importer’s Selling Price (NMISP) of the vehicle being purchased. Taxes for vehicles priced up to 600,000 will go up from 2% to 4%, while vehicles priced from 600,000 to 1.1 million will be taxed at a fixed excise of 24,000 (from 12,000) plus 40% (increased from 20%) of the amount in excess of 600,000 pesos.

Larger vehicles and high-end cars selling at 1.1 million to 2.1 million will be taxed at a fixed excise of 224,000 (increased from 112,000) plus 100% (from 40%) of the amount in excess of 1.1 million, while those selling at over 2.1 million will be taxed a fixed excise of 1,224,000 (increased from 512,000) plus 200% of the amount in excess of 2.1 million.

Net Manufacturer’s / Importer’s Selling Price Current Excise Tax Structure DoF Auto Excise Tax Proposal HB 4774 Auto Excise Tax Proposal
Up to 600,000 2% 4% 4%
Over 600,000 to 1.1 Million 12,000 + 20% in excess of 600,000 20% 24,000 + 40% in excess of 600,000
Over 1.1 Million to 2.1 Million 112,000 + 40% in excess of 1.1 Million 40% 224,000 + 100% in excess of 1.1 Million
Over 2.1 Million 512,000 + 60% in excess of 2.1 Million 60% 1,224,000 + 200% in excess of 2.1 Million

What does it mean for car buyers?

If you’re planning to buy a car in the near future, then it’s probably best to pull the trigger sooner rather than later. If and when this policy becomes effective, expect the market to react immediately; think of massive uptick in demand for luxury car models (whose prices will be hit harder by the tax reform) and a slight shift in low to mid-end vehicles.

Price increase for low-end cars and starter models will hardly be felt especially if the car is being amortized through a bank loan. Why? Car loans are paid through monthly installments so the net increase in SRP will be spread throughout the duration of the loan. Monthly installments will hardly move.

On the other hand, the increase in SRP will be all the more remarkable for bigger and more expensive vehicles such as luxury brand cars and SUVs.

Car Price Before Tax SRP (Current Excise Tax) SRP (DOF Excise Tax Proposal ) Increase in SRP
Toyota Wigo 463,725 473,000 486,912 13,912
Mitusbishi Mirage G4 561,765 573,000 589,853 16,853
Toyota Vios 587,255 599,000 616,618 17,618
Ford Ecosport 735,833 775,000 883,000 108,000
Honda Mobilio 770,833 817,000 925,000 108,000
Ford Ranger 830,833 889,000 997,000 108,000
Nissan Juke 906,677 980,000 1,088,000 108,000
Mazda 3 921,667 998,000 1,106,000 108,000
Honda Civic 996,667 1,088,000 1,196,000 108,000
Toyota Innova 1,107,143 1,222,000 1,550,000 328,000
Chevrolet Trailblazer 1,219,206 1,378,888 1,706,888 328,000
Toyota Fortuner 1,228,571 1,392,000 1,720,000 328,000
Ford Everest 1,476,429 1,739,000 2,067,000 328,000
Theoretical Car 6,717,500 10,000,000 10,748,000 748,000

Please be advised that the figures presented in this table may not be exact and is for educational purposes only.

Tips for Car Buyers

The proposed auto excise tax reform will not affect used or second-hand cars. That means that if and when the new tax system is implemented, going for bank-repossessed cars might be the practical way to go.

Since the DOF sees this new tax policy being implemented by 2018, car buyers still have at least a year to finalize their purchases.

For his part, House Speaker Rolando Andaya Jr. says that it may be better to buy a car now while it’s still cheaper, as the proposed excise tax will “raise car prices by approximately 400,000 to 600,000.”

With affordable financing options such as car loans, car buyers can take advantage of the current tax structure. Auto dealers also offer lower down payments, so there’s an argument that there’s wisdom in buying a car now while the current (lower) tax system is still in effect.

If you amortize your car payments through a financing institution or bank that offers friendly payment terms, you can avoid 2018’s auto excise tax reform and save hundreds of thousands of pesos of your hard-earned money.

Please be advised that the figures presented in this article may not be exact


References:

http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/car-excise-tax-seen-in-place-by-2018/

http://www.dof.gov.ph/taxreform/index.php/2017/02/16/adb-backs-dofs-progressive-excise-tax-reforms/

Romantic and Budget-Friendly Date Ideas for Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day has a weird way of reminding—or should we say brainwashing—us that showing affection is synonymous to spending big. But there’s no denying that going out on dates around Metro Manila can be expensive these days, at least if you stick to the typical, predictable way.

Read more: 4 Smart Gift Ideas for Valentine’s Day

The good news is that you don’t necessarily need to have deep pockets to have fun with your special someone. You just need to think outside the box. If you’re looking to save big and still have a good time, check out these dating spots for any cost-conscious lover:

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What You Need to Know About EMV

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You might’ve recently received a new prepaid, debit or credit card equipped with what seems to be a ‘sim card’ of all things. You might be scratching your head while asking yourself: “My old card was just fine, why do I need a new one?”

$2 Billion—this staggering number was the reported loss due to ATM skimming around the world in 2015. That was 2 years ago. The latest report in the Philippines dates back to 2013, which shows losses as big as P400 Million. When ignored, this figure is only expected to rise with a projected 50% growth in the usage of debit cards in the Philippines by 2020, according to a report by globaly payments company Visa. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Read more: How to Protect Your Credit Card from Hackers

Cybercrime is increasing on a global scale. In this age of the Internet, social media, and online shopping, fraudsters are finding creative ways to steal your information. This brings us to the million dollar question: “How do you protect yourself against cybercrime?” Well that little chip on your new card has something big to do with it.

It’s called EMV.

What is EMV?

Upon closer look at the new card design, you’ll immediately notice a chip on the upper left portion. That chip will potentially save thousands, if not millions, of your hard-earned money.

EMV stands for “Europay, MasterCard, and Visa” —the original developers of EMV. It is the new global standard for card security, acting as an added layer of protection for your transactions. Here in the Philippines, the BSP has mandated all banks to abide by the EMV standard as of January 2017.

How does it work?

“The magnetic stripe on traditional credit, debit and prepaid cards contains unchanging (static) data which can be easily copied by fraudsters via a simple and inexpensive skimming device. Unlike a magnetic stripe card, every time an EMV card is used for payment, the chip on the card generates a unique transaction code that cannot be used again,” says the BSP (Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas).

The BSP adds: “This feature, known as dynamic authentication, makes it difficult, if not virtually impossible (and costly) for fraudsters to counterfeit EMV cards.”

Look at it this way. If you’re using your new EMV card to pay for a fancy dinner, it will generate a unique code that will only be acquirable during your payment. It won’t be used again, forever closing that potential back door to fraudsters. This also means that your online transactions are more secure, giving you peace of mind the next time you shop at your favorite online store.

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In terms of customer experience, EMV chip-compliant cards are read in what is called “card dipping” mechanism instead of the usual swiping of magnetic stripe cards. Because of the additional validation and data flows for the EMV chip-compliant card, the process may not be as quick as the swiping process. The infographic below shows the EMV chip card acceptance/validation process:

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Image Source: http://www.transfirst.com/resources/infographics/emv-chip-card

What are the features of the EMV chip?

  1. Card authentication. The card is authenticated during transactions, protecting you against counterfeit cards.

  2. Card verification. Your card contains confidential information that is vital for thefts to prey upon. The EMV chip secures your card and data from unauthorized charges and attempted fraud.

  3. Transaction authorization. With EMV, all your card dealings are safeguarded online through a set of rules to authorize your information.

The transition to EMV

While EMV technology has been effective in minimizing counterfeit fraud and skimming, it is not a silver bullet or a one-time solution. It is, however, “far more secure than the old magnetic stripe technology which is defenseless against card skimming,” according to the BSP.

If you haven’t received your new EMV card, you should update your contact information with your issuer(s) to receive timely notifications when you’ll be issued a replacement chip-based card.

If you’re a client of Security Bank, please note the following in getting your EMV:

  1. Go to your branch of account and get your EMV by presenting one (1) valid ID.
  2. You don’t need to surrender your old card but you do need to dispose of your old magnetic stripe card once you receive your new EMV card.
  3. Activate your new EMV card immediately upon receipt to secure your account

For more information about EMV, click here.

Smart Gift Ideas for Valentine’s Day

Buying gifts for Valentine’s has become a yearly routine but it doesn’t seem to get any easier. The usual suspects that complicate this supposed simple task are the seasonal price hike for gift items, lack of research on the gift-buyer’s part, and—the most guilty of the bunch—the lack of gift ideas.

Read more: Romantic and Budget-Friendly Date Ideas for Valentine’s Day

By now, you’ve probably given your special someone the staples. And if you’re financially conscious, you’re probably looking at a strict budget. Here are some gift ideas that won’t break the bank:

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No Security Bank credit card yet? Click here to check out our list of cards or here to apply online.

5 Investments You Need to Have by Your 30s

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.

Read more: 5 Worst Money Mistakes that Millennials Make

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:

  1. UITF (Unit Investment Trust Fund)

  2. 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.

  3. Life Insurance

  4. 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.

  5. Education

  6. 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.

  7. Emergency Fund

  8. 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.

  9. Retirement Fund

  10. 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.

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