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Where the battle for wealth begins

At a time when the world is preoccupied with technology and innovation, wealth and power, information and connection, one of the most powerful truths is this: the single, most important arena where the battle for the fate of the human race will be fought is within the walls of our own home.

Conversations at mealtimes are extremely more important than Facebook posts. What children do during their spare time at home are more indicative of the kind of leaders we will have 30 years from now than any training in school or anywhere else. The language that we speak, the food that we eat, the games that we play at home, how well we act as stewards of money and resources, the amount of real and deep conversations that we have—all these have more impact in molding our young than anything else the Department of Education can ever create.

It is a tragedy that we, as a people, do not spend more time thinking about building better homes and better families. If we do, we would solve many of the economic and social ills of our generation and those that are to come.

We all have a very important role to play. Keep on keeping on, even when things seem difficult or hopeless. The barriers are huge and may sometimes seem insurmountable; the problems seem so complex. We are fighting culture, history, apathy, laziness, media, even technology sometimes, among many other things. But, as many brilliant minds have said: “if not us, then who? If not today, then when?” #SalveSays

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Posted in Parenting.

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How do you feel about paying taxes?

April 15 is fast approaching. A day of collective pain, for want of a better adjective to describe this annual event. Plus, people’s hatred for taxes is only exceeded by their frustration with how difficult it is to pay the right amount.

This is a reform area that has few brave souls. Battling the difficulties in the Philippines’ tax system requires a superhuman–and someone who may not be a bit right in the head (haha). Raymond Abrea, who is on a suicide mission to fix tax administration more than anything else, may be a candidate. I have front-seat view of his mission, wondering if he will survive the battle. (Just kidding!)

Here’s a thought, however. We are what society becomes. Its our individual resolve to give our share that will tip things in favor of an equitable tax system. We don’t have to wait for a perfect government to pay the right amount. We don’t have to wait for all corrupt politicians to die. We pay and then become the kind of citizens who will demand transparency and accountability. That’s real people power. #SalveSays

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Posted in Taxes.


The 50-centavo thief

November 4. 2011

Call me a weirdo; I don’t care. I’m a girl, but the sights and sounds of a good hardware store sends happy hormones through my brain. I can easily spend 50,000 smoolas there in an hour.

So, it was with some restraint that I went through Ace Hardware store on SM City North EDSA. I only needed a 4.5-inch-diameter PVC pipe and after I get that, I’m stepping out. Or that was my plan.

When I walked in with my daughter, I saw a gel hot-and-cold compress, which in the long run would be much cheaper than the disposable one. (I have four kids, the smallest is still a toddler and you know how that goes.) Then I picked up neon band-aid for dear daughter who needed it regularly for a fingernail being treated by the dermatologist.
Continued…

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Posted in Spending.


The Youth Personal Finance Challenge: beyond texting, surfing and raging hormones

The high finance of parenting requires patience and inspiration more than money.

The high finance of parenting requires patience and inspiration more than money.

Young people are selfish. That’s a fact of life. Raging hormones, peer pressure, and identity issues are all hot ingredients in the cauldron we call teenage life, and dealing with these are not easy for them either.

It took me quite awhile as a parent to accept this without my irritability antennae going up. I used to be so frustrated as I watched my only baby girl transform from this sweet and delightful angel into a distant, pouting, mp3 devourer. But as soon as I found the inner resolve to see and feel about things as she did, I mellowed and learned to shut up and listen.

Result: she learned to communicate with more patience with her aging mom. We stopped talking to each other and had many, delightful two-way conversations. We talk about everything and anything, including sex, boys, body odor and David Archuleta vs David Cook. It was possible, after all, to drown the parental panic by repeating this in my head: “being self-absorbed is just a phase!”

Occasionally, I would insert a couple or more pointers about personal finance.  I admit, investing and saving money wisely are principles that don’t get into her mindstream as easily as “how to be cool when your crush is around.” But I can see that little by little, the messages are hitting home run.

Here are some things that worked for me:
Continued…

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Posted in Parenting.


Embarrassed to be frugal?

The more than decade-old watch!

The more than decade-old watch!

I hate forwarded email, but I got this “maldita moments” email that had me laughing out loud. One entry went:

I once told an officemate who kept on bragging about her new shoes, ” Sale, right?”

Too funny, I thought, but it also made me realize one thing. There’s a lot of stigma associated with being frugal, going for “sale” items, buying in often literally wet wet markets instead of the grocery, using up the ketchup up to the last drop…

Does being wasteful mean the social ladder looks so much shorter from where I stand, I wonder? Were there times when I felt luxurious—and hence good about myself—because I could afford to throw away a pair of shoes that’s still perfectly okay except for some frayed edges? Was I ever embarrassed about wearing clean and decent clothes but a bit dated in style?

Honestly, yes, I can recall feeling those things. But I have since graduated from the dark side of consumerism. And it feels good.
Continued…

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Posted in Spending.

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The urge to splurge

shopping bags

A personal finance expert I was interviewing once challenged me: “Can you go to the mall with only P500 in your wallet?

Made me think hard. What if I see something needed at home? I am a mommy after all. The household will stand still without my efficient shopping skills. Or so I think.

What if there’s a sale? What if I get hungry? What if I don’t have time tomorrow? What if, what if?

What if these are only justifications for what all women love to do–splurge!

Truth is, I am a spending addict. That’s a weakness I share with my husband. (Hala!) And yes, I constantly have to repeat the following mantra to help me control the urge to splurge when the usual inner debate on “want vs need” no longer works:

Continued…

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Posted in Spending.


What now for pre-need policyholders?

shoptalk

The camera was no longer running yesterday at the ShopTalk set at ABS-CBN and the crew were already clearing up, but Pia Hontiveros, Alvin Tabanag, Randell Tiongson and I were still huddled together. This time, the words were less subdued and (at least for me!) we were less self-conscious (haha).

The subject that kept us engaged in a lively discussion: the pre-need industry’s irresponsible boondoggling through the years that led to its demise and what policyholders can do now.

I have been getting loads and loads of email from people I don’t know, with tones ranging from bellicose cries to resigned acceptance, asking about what to do with their pre-need policies. Let me spell out the answer to their questions in terms no one will misunderstand.

Should people still buy education plans and other pre-need products?

No.
Continued…

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Posted in Pre-need.

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‘Do I have a chance of getting rich?’

story of money

I got into the taxicab feeling stressed, out of breath, and worried. The to-do list in my mind felt heavier than the bags of school supplies and groceries I was carrying. It was a blah and tiring kind of day.

Then the cabdriver, let’s call him Mang Tonyo, spoke and my day went from blah to amazing.

Ma’am, meron po kayong mga lumang libro pang high school? (Ma’am, do you have old books for high school students?)” his voice was pleasant enough, but I stiffened, thinking he was going to sell me something.

In Filipino, “po” is an expression of respect, the way “usted” is in Spanish.

Wala eh, sorry (No, sorry.),” I said, determined not to give additional information that would make him continue the conversation.

Nagtatanong po kasi ako sa mga pasahero, baka sakali pwede kong mabili ng mura. (You see, I ask my passengers, just in case I can buy secondhand books cheaper),” Mang Tonyo continued. Hmm. My personal finance antenna started beeping.
Continued…

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Posted in Need a lift?.

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