Welcome to a brand new 2009 and our special second anniversary issue!
It was the same time last year when we opened the year with bright hopes, only to be dashed by the subprime meltdown, global financial crisis, skyrocketing oil prices, rice shortage, and economic recession. The Philippine stock market lost half its value in 2008. Pooled equity and balanced funds got battered. Several rural banks were closed.
As you know, we’re entering 2009 with a little cautiousness (or outright panic for some). It can be depressing, I know. But here’s my take: change your perspective. Instead of being pessimistic, be positive. Don’t be in denial of course. Get real but at the same time stay focused and look for opportunities. Be hopeful, I say. Really, it’s not that bad. Yes, growth will slow down, but it’s still growth. As our cover story on page 44 from Tina Dumlao shows, there are reasons to be hopeful. Certainly, you need to take appropriate action. Here’s what I suggest:
Protect your money. It’s always good to be on the safe side. If you need liquidity, stay liquid and invest in money market funds (page 40) and government securities. If you have to place your money in time deposits, be careful where you open a bank account (page 54). If you want to take some risk with smaller banks, make sure your deposit is covered by PDIC and invest only a small portion of your portfolio, not your entire life savings.
Always buy at a discount. This is actually a great time to buy great stocks at a bargain. In fact, make it your philosophy to always purchase things at a discount, whatever it is – securities, real estate, consumer goods. Savvy investors know that the real profit is made when you buy, not when you sell. And smart spenders never pay retail (starting on page 67).
Spot opportunities. There’s a reason the richest Filipinos invest in their businesses, even when the times are tough. They know that money can be made regardless of what’s happening to the economy. If you have some money, you can look into low-cost global master franchises (page 58).
If you’ve made financial mistakes in 2008, consider this year as a fresh start. In that spirit, we here at MoneySense are introducing some changes. As you can see, we have a fresh new look, which is even closer to how I envision the magazine to be – consumer-friendly, quickly grabbing the attention of typical Filipino magazine buyers browsing the magazine stands, and information-packed, hooking them to apply practical money tips to their financial lives.
We also have new sections – Savvy Investor, which offers investment primers and compares stocks and funds, and Income Earner, which features money-making opportunities and career advice. We also tweaked Easy Money to be more of short interactive tidbits as originally planned and Smart Spender to have greater diversity.
Watch out also for our new seminar series to be launched soon. In the meantime, let us know what you think of our new look and format.