Sunday, 28 April 2013

National Financial Literacy Month Comes to a Close

Financial Literacy Month comes to a Close
Well, I for one think it is awesome that we have a National Financial Literacy Month in the USA.  Financial Literacy is so important to all of us.  When I first started teaching Personal Finance I thought students were taking my class because they wanted to get rich by investing in the stock market.  Boy was I wrong.  What they taught me was that they just wanted to enjoy life and be able to easily pay their monthly bills. Those first kids taught me a valuable lesson that I carry with me today in every lesson I design.  They were so smart!
To end the month on a high note let’s take a look at two fascinating businessmen.  Check out the videos below.  
Whiz Kid Investor (MoneyTrack Episode 312)

 Buffett's best tip for personal finance


Thanks for Stopping By! 


wanted: energy

I agree with Gretchen Rubin when she tackled vitality first in her happiness project. Just 3 days to go before the formal start of my project and i'm still trying to harness all the energy I can muster.

First on my list, which seems so difficult to accomplish, is sleeping early. Since I went back to work from my maternity leave, I've been going home late. And to make up for the long workdays, I sleep in during the weekends. This bad habit had screwed my body clock. My erratic sleeping pattern has left me feeling lethargic.

I'm also currently struggling with my belly fat which gets me feeling frustrated every morning when I put on my clothes and nothing fits well. I'm not a fan of sports and i have never hit the gym so this is proving difficult for me to address. I tried cutting back on rice but whatever I lose during meals I gain again courtesy of junk foods.

In preparation for my happiness project action points this month of May, I've been going through my past issues of Women's health. But the talks about calories and diet plans seem alien to me. I can't totally grasp the concept of counting calorie intakes and fiber and grains.

Given my little inclination for physical activities, these are the simple rules I hope I can stick to starting tomorrow (source/ inspiration: The Belly Melt Diet)

1. Wake up at 6 am and use the stationary bicycle for at least 20 minutes. It's what we have at home and it's been ignored for as long as I can remember. It was already in the apartment when I moved in with the hubby.

2. Drink 2 8 oz glasses of water before breakfast (and before every meal).

3. Eat breakfast and prepare lunch baon (at least 3x a week). I already made a menu for the week last Sunday. Nothing special, just less rice. :) Eat lunch at between 11:30 am to 12 pm.

4. Avoid junk foods (bye bye Vcut and Pepero) and snack on healthy foods such as banana, corn, hardboiled egg, yogurt and apple (with skin on).

5. Avoid rice during dinner (as much as possible). Eat Nestle fitnesse cereal for at least 5 dinners. Eat dinner no later than 7 pm.

6. Join the in-house Zumba (kuno!) session in the office every TTH from 8 to 9 pm. Hopefully, I only have to work overtime during TTH too. ;)

7. Say goodbye to tv, ipad and iphone at 10 pm. Sometimes I stay up late reading, Yes, Star or OK! Magazines. I've got to curb my addiction to celebrity gossip too.

8. Try to sleep no later than 11 pm and try to wake up at the same time each day even during weekends. :)

Okay, it's nearing 10 o'clock. Must say goodnight to my ipad. Hopefully, I can stick to these rules. May this post serve as a reminder and a pressure! I can do this, yes I can. :)

(By the way, my weight today is 107 lbs, the peak of my belly (stomach out) is at 34.5 inches. I am barely 5 foot tall!. I used to weigh between 90 to 100 lbs. It's the tummy that has ballooned after giving birth to my 2 sons.)

Friday, 26 April 2013

thank God it's Friday!

There is something seriously wrong with me these days.

This morning, I spent almost an hour going through my meagre wardrobe looking for something that would fit. Gaining weight is proving to be a constant source of frustration. I need more Zumba sessions and more discipline to lose my belly fats (from pregnancy) and some pounds (from stress bingeing during the busy season).

We had our first in-house Zumba session in our group yesterday. Just us and the dvd player. No instructor. Hopefully, it will turn out to be a regular fitness thing.

Last night, I went to sleep at 2 am. And woke up at almost 11 am! I promised myself I would sleep early this week but there were some important things at work that I had to lose some sleep over. And for two consecutive midnights, the kids wake up as soon as husband and I get through the door. Next week will be different. I hope and I pray.

I can’t concentrate on my job. I’m used to being efficient. I know because I log my tasks every 15 minutes (a habit) in an excel worksheet and I do not like having a pile of files for review in my inbox. I am burnt out. I need more than a day off from work to recover. Hopefully, this weekend will be rejuvenating for me. I am so looking forward to the day out with the girlfriends tomorrow.

Today husband reprimanded me on being nega. To be fair, it’s been a while since I’ve been this negative. I tried to sail through the months of January to March with positive vibes and much enthusiasm. The month of April was the turning point. I’m just drained. I need to regain some semblance of normality in my weekdays and weekends.

Oh well, it’s Friday! Thank God for weekly Fridays. Waiting for hubby for the date night. Loving my life despite of and inspite of. :)

here i go again

(This is a repost from my other blog. For the past weeks, i have created 2 new blogs with posts about my happiness project. I wanted to start fresh. I wanted some anonymity. But now i'm getting confused trying to maintain 3 blogs.)

Here I go again.

It is tax season and I'm stressed and chronically fatigued. I put in long hours at work and feel that I have limited time for family and leisure. My enthusiasm meter which was full, fresh from the new year, is now drained.

This is my 11th year and one would think I would have acclimated by now to the stress and demands of my profession. Big NO. Every year, during this time, I rethink my profession and my decisions. And I end up - still Here!

During these difficult times, I resort to wishful thinking... How I wish I were so rich, I did not have to work one single day! Then I turn to Lotto and hope and pray (with million others) that I win. I don't. But for some time, I allow myself to dream that I did. Sarap sana!

Same thoughts year in year out. The big joke's on me ;)

I started the year 2013 with positivity and much enthusiasm. I bought The Happiness Project and formulated my initial happiness project. But I have one very difficult opponent - time!

The good news is that this phase is not permanent, it always passes. It is part of an annual cycle I've been caught in for the past decade. And as I start another cycle, I decided to give it a twist. Make some small changes. Be more mindful. Take it one day at a time. Be more in control of my behavior. And at the end of the year, I would like to own the experience. I chose this rather than this was imposed on me. At least, i'll try :)

As I struggled to motivate my fatigued self today, I came upon a podcast (The Public Speaker Quick and Dirty Tips) and gathered these grains of wisdom:

> you can't control anything or anyone else but your behavior

> do whatever you can do to succeed in the environment that YOU CHOSE

> think about possible changes to improve the situation that bothers you

> make the necessary adjustments or move on

Life is a choice.

This is my ongoing pursuit - of better, happiness and meaning. Been there, am there, almost there but not yet. :D

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Reverse Eminent Domain, Again

I've said it before, and I will say it again: we need to have a REVERSE EMINENT DOMAIN policy. In other words, we need to allow businesses to purchase government assets when they see fit. In the past I have argued that the right be extended to all non-military government assets and national parks. Given sequestration, I'd be willing to start smaller: any government service that stops functioning effectively (e.g. air traffic control) should be open to purchase by private entities. That will give policymakers incentives to keep the functions they really want to maintain under government control. As matters stand, they have incentives to make life as difficult as possible for ordinary Americans to extort more taxes from them. News flash: air traffic control can be privatized. Policymakers just have to allow it to be. Reverse eminent domain is a MARKET method for reducing the size of government: the government functions most easily privatized will be the ones that businesses bid for first and most heavily. Revenues from the sales can then be used to reduce the national debt.

The Throne of Games (and Other Academic Arcana)

Once upon a time, a bold band of historians from France
called the Annales tried to crown their discipline the Queen of the Social
Sciences, but the Ivory Throne ultimately fell to the tribe called economists.
Unity was one of their tools of conquest: although some economists considered
themselves different, and identified with exotic realms like Austria and
Heterodoxis, most fought under the newly restitched banner of a Scotsman who
perished in 1790.

The neoclassicals, as the dominant caste of economists came
to be known, frequently disagreed amongst themselves, such great believers in
competition they were, about such important matters as how far away from the
ocean they plied their black arts, but against outsiders they were as solid as
the hoplite phalanx at Marathon. “We know better than all the pretenders to the
throne,” they told the people of the realm, “especially that great bitch
goddess Clio because we manipulate the same magical figures as the great
Wizards Physicks and Chymistry do. We also know a bunch of clever games that
are much more powerful than anything the Sociologists, Psychologists, or
Political Scientists can concoct. Let us lead you and we shall all live happily
ever after.” And then, in soliloquy, “though of course some much more happily
and much longer ever after than others.”

Instead of uniting under the Annales, many historians
bravely decided that they no longer wanted to live in the land of the Social
Sciences. Their legends all say that most of their academic forebears took a
gigantic linguistic turn towards the principality of Humanitas where,
ironically enough, they had to pay homage to a more philosophical set of
Frenchmen who bore names like Derrida, Foucault, and Habermas. There,
generations of their graduate students did dwell, scribbling tomes of great
erudition read only by each other and subsisting on the crumbs that trickled
down from the feasting tables of the great Wizards and the Social Sciences.

Many historians accepted this sorry state of affairs as
their lot in life but a few, called financial historians, came to believe that
if they studied topics widely considered of importance to the realm they would
find their just rewards and honors. Off they went to study the subjects the
mighty Annales had, in particular economics and its cognates business and
public policy. A few even deigned to develop clever games and to use the
magical symbols of Physicks and Chymistry but in a more nuanced and perceptive
way than most of the economists of the neoclassical caste ever could.

After the Great Misfortune that befell the realm five
harvests ago, something the neoclassical caste emphatically stated could never
happen, the new generation of financial historians have grown increasingly
restless. Like their French forebears, they know that the realm would be better
governed if they held the Ivory Throne, perhaps with the best of the Austrians
and heterdox economists as trusted Hands of the Queen. The financial historians
know how to improve corporate governance, reduce the number of people enslaved
throughout the realm and across the seas wide and narrow, and how to judge the
overall merits of different types of economic systems so that all may live as
happily as they deserve to, for a very long time. They are still too few and
too weakened by their association with Humanitas historians to seize control but
their position grows stronger every day the reigning Queen proves herself
incapable of responsibly financing her government, much less fixing the Great
Misfortune she helped to create. The recent defeat of two mighty neoclassicals
in battle against a mere apprentice, who slew them by pointing out elementary
errors in their manipulation of some of the magical figures, bodes well for financial
historians indeed.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

"The World's Best Hope": The U.S. Founders as Development Economists

China's Economy: A Long-Term, Incentive-Based View

Global Climate Change Policy: Some of the Economic Issues Involved

Global Climate Change Policy: Some of the Economic Issues

By Robert E. Wright, Nef Family Chair of Political Economy,
Augustana College SD for Greenfest, 19 April 2013

I’ve never understood why some
people, mostly political conservatives its seems, push back so hard on claims
that humans are changing the global climate. We’ve been doing it on a local
scale for hundreds of thousands if not millions of years. Our buildings are
mostly about climate control and in fact that euphemism is even used in the
HVAC -- or heating, ventilation, and air conditioning -- business. A fire in a
cave is a form of local climate control, as is a shelterbelt or hedgerow. Our
cities are regularly several degrees warmer than the surrounding countryside,
and the larger the city, the larger the differential. That several centuries of
factories and a century of automobiles has caused larger scale changes is,
therefore, not surprising to me. I don’t know if the claim is true or not as I
am no expert in such matters but it does strikes me as quite plausible.

Of course simply because humans are
changing the global climate – and specifically that we are making the climate
warmer and more volatile – does not in and of itself necessitate any policy
response. Policies should be implemented only when their total expected
benefits exceed their total expected costs; policy proposals that would
generate costs that exceed benefits should be rejected.

So first we need to know if the
expected climatic changes will be positive or negative on net. If they are
expected to be positive then clearly no policy action is necessary, unless it
be to ask if we would benefit more by inducing even more global climate change.
The net effect of climate change is a serious question, one that economists are
better equipped to answer than scientists are because the latter typically do
not understand how market economies adapt to changing circumstances. You might
recall how an economist name Julian Simon schooled a biologist, Paul Ehrlich,
who in 1968 predicted that we’d all be dead by now. Scientists and politicians
tend to think that if things are different they are likely to be worse but
economists generally show that different can be just different, with little to
no net effect.

Higher sea levels, more violent
storms, higher temperatures, stressed ecosystems, and so forth sound bad but if
change is gradual and somewhat foreseeable they need not impose catastrophic
costs. Robert Fogel won a Nobel Prize, for example, by showing that if
railroads had not existed, U.S. economic growth would have been just three
months behind where it actually stood in the nineteenth century. That sounds
preposterous at first given the huge stress on railroads to economic
development, but Fogel pointed out that without railroads, factories simply would
have located along navigable rivers instead. Steel would still have been
created but used in ships and buildings instead of for rails. And South Dakota would
be more heavily populated in the middle and less heavily populated on each end.
In the end, in other words, it doesn’t much matter if we have a fixed port at
New Orleans or at Baton Rouge or at Vicksburg, or if we switch to a floating
dock system. Where there is a will, which is to say a profit, there is a way.

More volatile weather looks like a
loss all around and there is little to be said in favor of it, but the risks
can be spread via global insurance markets and reinsurance. They can also be
mitigated, with a little help from more enlightened public policies dissuading
people from living in the most risk prone areas, like Fargo and parts of the
Gulf Coast. They can also be mitigated by new construction standards and
techniques like putting power lines underground instead of under trees. Bad
things, like earthquakes, are going to happen anyway and better that they do so
in a robust risk management environment than in a less developed one. Still, on
net, it seems liked increased climatic variability will prove somewhat costly.
How costly, though, I don’t know. And neither do you, or anyone else.

And here again economics has
something important to say. How much should be willing to spend today to
prevent, say, $1 trillion of damage in the future? If the future is tomorrow,
then something up to like $999.99 billion. But what if the damage isn’t going
to occur for, say, 30 years? The answer depends on how much money is worth and
what the likelihood of the future damage is. If the damage is almost certain,
money isn’t very valuable, and we are expecting no inflation, then we might use
a discount factor of say 1 percent, in which case it would be rational to spend
up to $742 billion today, if we compounded annually, to save the expense of
paying $1 trillion in thirty years. If money is more valuable, some inflation
is expected, and the savings of $1 trillion is somewhat uncertain, we might use
an annual discount factor of 10 percent, in which case it would be rational to
spend up to only $57 billion today to save $1 trillion in 30 years. If 20
percent is a better discount figure, then anything more than $4 billion
expended today would be irrational.

Of course nobody knows what the
expected costs of global climate change are, even if many suspect that the sign
is negative. Nobody is quite sure when the costs will be borne. And the
appropriate discount rate for any pre-emptive policy action is also far from
certain. We can say, however, if the costs are distant and somewhat
predictable, they will be minimized through market adjustments like those I
just outlined. If the costs are imminent and largely unpredictable, we are all
screwed already anyway. There is little that policymakers can do in either
case, at least in the developed world. What we should focus on, therefore, are
the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people as they will be hit far harder
by climatic variability and their economies will be less flexible in their
responses to gradual climatic change. So we should be concentrating our efforts
on the world’s poor, a billion Latin Americans, a billion Africans, a billion
Indians, and some 2 billion east Asians. But we should be doing that anyway,
regardless of the state of the climate or the climate debate.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

So much to do, so little time

I barely have free time. And during those rare times that I do have free time, I don't get anything done. I want to do so much that I end up... browsing and reading celebrity tsismis at or reading Star and OK magazines. :) Entertaining but hardly productive.

It's been months since I finished reading The Happiness Project and vowed to start a project of my own. I had the best intentions but no time. But finally, April is almost over and work should taper off a bit.

The remaining days of April should be about tying up loose ends at work and gearing myself up for more intentional living starting May. I'll be needing lots of discipline, structure, good habits and resources. Most importantly, I hope that by some good fate, no major issue will crop up at work that will keep me pre-occupied.

The month of May will be about: Clarity and Positive Energy

1 - Toss, Restore and Organize
2 - Tackle nagging tasks (ie. dental and OB check up, LTO drivers license renewal) - warts removal - check!
3 - Continue beauty regimen
4 - Dance workout and Dinner Diet :D good luck!
5 - Finish reading the book How to Simplify Your Life
6 - Look for inspirations via podcasts, blogs, magazine articles, books

Hopefully, by tackling goals one category at a time, I can make some progress. Life is a work in progress. Looking forward to me version 3.1. going 3.2!


People are staring at me. My head is aching. My face feels weird from the anesthesia which is now starting to wear off. My lesions are starting to hurt and itch. Ouch! I had my facial warts removed today and i'm making a 'drama' out of it. The drama queen has found time for drama. Another busy season is over. :)

I spent the whole morning since I woke up trying to contact my HMOs. I was a bit guilt-stricken from the spending last week that I felt like scrimping today for the warts removal. Unfortunately, HMO 1 will shoulder only 1K and it has to be done by an accredited doctor (PF!). HMO 2 covers face and neck warts removal but not the face. After making some calculations, I settled on going to a derm clinic where the rates are cheaper. Take the risk. :)

I'm not supposed to wash my face for the next 48 hours (oil production!) so i'm taking Monday off (yey!). I'll be cooped inside the house (blog time)! I can see the light.

May I be able to stick to my beauty regimen and may this ugly duckling :) transform in some way in the coming weeks. It is important to look good to feel good.


Skin 101 Dermatology/ Cosmetic Surgery Clinic Market! Market! (tel. no. 844-3763) - warts removal for P2,000 (face) + P200 for the Betamycine ointment

Friday, 19 April 2013

National Personal Finance Challenge

National Personal Finance Challenge

One of the most interesting sites I came across recently is the National Personal Finance Challenge.   It sounds pretty cool.  . 

Their site reads,

The National Personal Finance Challenge is an opportunity for students to demonstrate their knowledge of Personal Finance by competing with other students across the nation in a three-round competition. The two teams with the highest scores will then compete for the national title in a fast-paced "Quiz Bowl" round.

In the spring of 2013 we will crown a new National Personal Finance Championship team. Students will have a chance to win awards such as $1,000 per team member, $500 per team member, iPads and Kindles. All students will enjoy an exciting day of challenging competition, meet students from other states, and have the opportunity to win additional prizes and cash!

The National Personal Finance Challenge will be held May 2, 2013 in St. Louis, MO.

The National Personal Finance Challenge is the culminating event to state challenges across the country. Participating states use the Finance Challenge Online portal to offer the online round in their states. Top teams then compete at exciting on-site events to crown their state champion. This year, those state winners will go on to compete in Saint Louis to determine a National Champion.  

Click on the logo below if you and your students are interested in finding out more about this competition.

I’d like to hear from you if you and your students have ever participated in this competition.  Please give us a review of your experience.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, 15 April 2013

Celebrating Financial Literacy Month

Celebrating Financial Literacy Month with a SALE!
In celebration of Financial Literacy Month, my big sale at Teachers Pay Teachers begins today.  The following Personal Finance lessons will be 20% off between April 16th and 18th.  These are all great lessons that my students love.   I am sure your students will love them too.

The Wonderful Life Assignment – Setting Goals is FREE.

This fun, interactive project gives students a chance to get to know each other while creating a presentation that reveals their goals regarding career, wages, and lifestyle. It also sharpens their communication and presentation skills. As a culminating activity each student presents their project to the class. It is a great first lesson.

This is an outstanding lesson, not only for personal finance, but for any class where the objective is for students to introduce themselves to the class and talk about their goals and interests.
Pages: 19   Price:  FREE

Selecting and Financing a Car

This bundle of 4 lessons is a great way to teach students everything they need to know about purchasing a new or used car. It is loaded with hands-on lessons that teach students the ins and outs of selecting a vehicle, finding the best interest rates, and calculating car payments. By the time your students finish this lesson they will be well equipped with the necessary tools needed to make well informed decisions when it comes time to purchase their first vehicle.
Pages: 64  Regular Price: 12.00 Sale Price: $9.60

Personal Finance Conversation Starters for Teens

This packet contains 160 printable Personal Finance Conversation Starters that are designed to get students talking about personal finance and money issues that we rarely discuss with them.  The conversation starter cards are questions on a wide range of personal finance topics including spending, ambitions and goals, career choices, job loss, health care, bankruptcy and more. These cards can be used in small group or whole class discussions or for journal writing.
Pages: 31 and 160 Cards  Regular Price: $4.50 Sale Price: $3.60

Investing Terms

This three part, hands-on lesson covers basic investing terms used on the New York Stock Exchange, and is designed to aid students in analyzing stock summaries, charts and graphs. It is packed full of reinforcing activities, like crosswords, on-line flashcards, games and quizzes.   

Pages: 45  Regular Price:  $5.00   Sale Price  $4.00

Intro to Investing in the Stock Market Presentation
This presentation is an easy-to-understand review of basic concepts and terms that are used every day in the financial world when discussing stock and the stock market.  Students will learn everything from what a stock is, to how investors make a profit, to how the market is regulated plus much more.
Slides: 29  Regular Price:  $4.50   Sale Price: $3.60

Andrew Carnegie – an assignment to accompany the movie, Andrew Carnegie, Prince of Steel
The movie, Andrew Carnegie, Prince of Steel is one of the best rags to riches stories of them all.  It details the life of Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919), a self-made steel tycoon, and one of the wealthiest businessmen of the 19th century.  He was three times richer than Rockefeller. The Movie is available for free download on the Internet.

This brainstorm, review, reflect and create assignment was designed to accompany the movie, Andrew Carnegie – Prince of Steel. This engaging assignment is designed to get kids thinking at a higher level.
Pages: 13   Regular Price: $3.50   Sale Price: $2.80