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Adulting 101: My Sunlife Variable Universal Life Insurance (VUL)

Sun Life VUL

There’s just something so “adulty” about the word insurance, don’t you agree?

A VUL is a variable universal life insurance. According to Investopedia, a VUL is a form of cash-value life insurance that offers both a death benefit and an investment feature.

This post is actually 6 months late because I got my very first life insurance policy way back in December last year. I had a draft started, but I never got around to actually writing it. But I remembered it a couple of days ago because my payment was already due lol. Also, a couple of my previous officemates were asking about the VUL. Why did I get Sun Life’s VUL? This is not a sponsored post; I just want to tell you about it.

I never planned to get an insurance policy. Job and I, we decided to start investing in a mutual fund, so that’s what I looked for. After doing some research and comparison, I decided to go pay the local Sun Life office a visit.

Sun Life Davao

(Trivia: During the Expo Mom bazaar in Abreeza last year, one of the booths I visited was Sun Life’s. I got in touch with an agent and even left my details and contact number with her. But she never got back to me, so I just went ahead, visited the main office, and got another agent.)

I met my financial adviser, Paul Chavez, there. I inquired about mutual funds since it was my original purpose, but upon interviewing and assessing me, Paul suggested I get a VUL instead. There were three main reasons that convinced me:

  • First, I have a son who is dependent on me, and he will surely benefit from his parents’ life insurance.
  • Second, we have nothing else (yet) in our portfolio. Because this was our first investment, it’s more prudent to prioritise protection over plain growing of money.
  • Third, it’s not like the money won’t be growing. The projected returns is quite high and we’re getting protection, so yes they’re right – it is like getting the best of both worlds.

Aside from that, there are more benefits outlined here including the VUL’s liquidity (you can withdraw your money if you need it, and it’s called “withdrawal,” not a “loan) and the flexibility of premiums (I treat my VUL as a bank and put in more money if I have extra). Because you can just Google the benefits of getting a VUL, and since I already described a few, I won’t be focusing on that anymore. Let’s talk about my personal experience and impressions.

Why I’m Happy With My Sun Life VUL

1. Because Sun Life is the biggest insurance company in the country and even outside, I feel safe that I am investing my money with the right company. You can do your own research about it and see for yourself the past performance of Sun Life.

2. I have a great agent and I’m very satisfied with the service. Paul is very diligent in reminding me about my due dates, and if I cannot go to the office myself to pay, he adjusts and personally visits me to get my payment. Unfortunately, not all agents are built the same, so please be wise in choosing the right person.

3. There are no penalties for late payments. While I always pay my bills on time, there are circumstances beyond our control (just like what happened to BPI recently).

4. The payment scheme is very flexible. When I first got my policy, I was paying monthly. However, it has gotten more taxing since my schedule is tight, so they changed my mode of payment to quarterly. Just like that!

Sun MaxiLink Prime

5. It’s surprisingly affordable. One of the reasons why I delayed getting an insurance is the cost. Upon inquiring, I was pleasantly surprised to know that it’s not only affordable, it’s also flexible. I have the Sun MaxiLink Prime, and to give you an idea of how much my monthly payment is, let’s just say it’s even cheaper than our Davao City electric bill.

6. Unlike mutual funds and other investment vehicles, a VUL withdrawal is not taxable.

7. Unlike regular insurances, a VUL doesn’t need to fulfil a single, specific need e.g. education. With a VUL, you can decide how you want to use your money, whether you want to use it to fund your child’s college education or build your retirement fund.

I can think of other benefits, but I’m sure a Sun Life financial advisor will be able to better explain it to you. If you think you can benefit from a VUL, try consulting with an advisor. It’s free anyway. In my experience, they didn’t try to upsell me; they looked at my monthly income and my expenses and came up with something that will not be too burdensome for me. All I can say is if you want to protect your loved ones, you need to look into this.

If you’re from Davao and want to consult a Sun Life financial advisor (not all agents are made the same — there are inactive/lazy/unknowledgeable ones who just want to make a sale), send me a message or leave a comment and I’ll give you my advisor’s number.

Money Matters WAHM Diaries

Help! I’m Living Beyond My Means

Re-evaluating Finances

This is all so foreign to me.

I mean, I used to run a regular Finance Fridays column in my old blog, Davao Mommy. I used to spew all kinds of financial wisdom — from technical stuff like investing in stocks or mutual funds to life concepts like being contented and living beneath one’s means.

I know we used to live way beneath our means. Despite paying for the amortisation of a house and lot, we were still able to set aside ample emergency fund.

Things are different now. We’re no longer paying for amortisation (we actually withdrew our application and, with the refunded payment, bought a bigger lot just outside the subdivision). I am no longer freelancing and have been working as a full-time employee for a year now, and Job is in Riyadh. Ideally, we should have been saving more because the income is more regular, but the bitter truth is, our savings account are stagnant.

Well, it’s funny how regular salary gives you a false sense of security. I thought we were doing okay, financially, until I took the time last weekend to assess how we were really doing.

The Hidden Expenses

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Money Matters

3 Investing Tips Every WAHM Should Know

3 Investing Tips Every WAHM Should Know

Hey everyone! I’ve been talking about homeschooling lately (because it is school season, after all), but today, let’s talk about something that we should talk about all year round: money.

When it comes to handling the family budget, it’s usually left to the woman of the house to juggle the finances. Apparently, there’s a scientific reason why females handle the family’s money rather than men. Research featured by CNN Money said that women investors perform better than men, but they lack confidence when it comes to investing and planning for retirement.

Why so? Well, they invest wisely. However, their conservative thinking in terms of wealth has also led to many women, particularly stay-at-home moms, with less money to invest in their future or retirement. Here’s a post dedicated to wonderful WAHMs out there on how they can invest without putting too much pressure on the family’s finances.

1. Assess and set your financial goals

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Money Matters

10 Money Principles Kids Should Learn

10 Money Principles Kids Should Learn

Hey guys! I’m still on self-imposed hiatus (wow it’s been 10 days since I last wrote something here!), and while things are getting better, I still need to use my time for prayer because our struggle is not yet totally done. Thank you Lord for the developments and please grant our prayers!

Meanwhile, MoneyMax Philippines sent me a very awesome infographic that made me rethink how I’m raising my son in terms of handling money. He has just turned 4, but kids are never too young to learn about finances! In our case, he’s started to keep his own coin bank. It’s a start, but this infographic — 10 Money Principles Kids Should Learn — inspired me to do more!

Here ya go! (Trust me, it’s awesome.) Continue Reading

Money Matters

Financial Wisdom, Come Back to Me!

I’ve been a bad money manager.

I used to write regular posts about financial wisdom, saving and investing in my old blog (if you’re interested in reading them, here’s my old Finance Friday series). To be fair, I am still very much interested in learning about the proper way to manage personal finances.

Then life happens.

When I had a full-time job (still homebased but very different from my previous long-term freelancing gig), I was suddenly thrust into a fortnightly payment scheme. What a vast difference from my old once-a-month pay!

And, get this: regular pay. Haha I know this sounds weird to people who have always held regular paying jobs, but for someone who used to get paid on a per-essay basis (read: no essay/work, no pay), this was a welcome change.

12501900_1526209297672918_1631079742_n-1024x768So I got used to life with a regular salary every two weeks. And then I got comfortable — too comfortable. Before, because I couldn’t predict how much work I’ll get in a month, and because I receive my salary only at the beginning of the month, I needed to be careful with how I spend the money. I create budgets, follow them strictly, and even set some aside for an emergency fund and a retirement fund. Looking back, I was wise with money.

But now, not that there’s anything wrong with being paid regularly and on a fortnightly basis (in fact, I am very thankful for it!), it seems as if I forgot the values that made me financially wise before. I can spend everything I receive in one fortnight — down to the last peso — without fear because I know it’s only a short matter of time before I receive another pay. I could live from paycheck to paycheck because I needn’t worry about the immediate future.

What a dangerous mindset to have.

This year, I’m making the conscious decision to commit to growing my financial wisdom again. Here are the specific steps I plan on doing:

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Money Matters

10 Tips for Mums on a Budget

10 Tips for Mums on a Budget
This is a guest post from PawnHero.ph.

There are times when no matter how much we work and no matter how much we save, we just can’t seem to have enough money. Our family’s expenses just keep growing. What’s a mum to do?

During these tough times, mums like us need to think creatively to stay within our budget. We can save a lot of money just by thinking out of the box and doing things differently.

Here are some tips that may help you out.

10. Borrow Instead of Buy

Whenever someone in our family needs something, our first instinct may be to buy it. But before you do, think hard if you really need to buy it or not. If the item is something that you need for the long term, it might make more sense to buy it. However, if it’s something that will only be used for a while, such as books for example, just borrow it from someone else and return it after you’re done using it.

9. Go for Value

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Money Matters Tips and Tricks

How to Apply for a BPI More Fun Prepaid Card

BPI More Fun Prepaid Card review

You’ve been redirected from DavaoMommy.com.

This is part two of my post here.

And no, I am not paid to do this post. I am just amazed at this discovery and want to share it with you.

Before I begin, let me reiterate the difference between a prepaid card and a debit card. First, while you can use both cards for physical transactions, you can’t use debit cards online (at least in my experience!). Usually, in online transactions, when they ask for credit card details, you can’t input your debit card details. (An example is GoDaddy.)

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Credit Card Money Matters Product Review

BPI More Fun Prepaid Card

BPI More Fun Prepaid Card review

You’ve been redirected from my post on BPI More Fun Prepaid Card on DavaoMommy.com.

So I just got myself a credit card.

My first one, in fact, as I had always just borrowed mother’s CC for unavoidable transactions. I was wary of getting one because I don’t want to be into debt; thus, I almost always pay for stuff in cash. If I use a credit card, I like to pay it as soon as I can.

So why have I gotten myself a credit card?

Well, because it’s prepaid.

Remember what I said in my last blog? When I told you how we waited for almost 3 hours in BPI? Ito yun. I was lining up to claim by BPI More Fun Prepaid Credit Card.

Why did I choose this over other credit cards? 

Again, it’s prepaid, which means if I use it, I’m not using the money I don’t have. On the contrary, I will be spending my own cash (in card form). Think of it as the child of the credit card and the debit card.

What is the difference between a prepaid credit card and a debit card?

The difference between this and a debit card (which I also have) is that it comes with the features of a credit card: card number, security number, and is a Visa. The works. This means you can use it in whatever transaction requires a credit card.

BPI My ePrepaid vs. BPI More Fun

There are actually 2 prepaid credit cards offered by BPI: this and My ePrepaid. I first considered the latter but ultimately decided to get a More Fun card because of two reasons:

  1. It has a lower opening fee: P250 vs. P600.
  2. You can upload your own picture to serve as background for the card.

Oh yes, I’m not kidding. More than the lower opening fee, I gravitated toward More Fun because I can choose the picture I can use. Woot!

I decided to use a picture of Yuri when we were in Costa Marina.

The photo was ultra-crisp on the website but in person, it looked a bit blurred. Maybe this was intentionally done to highlight the card number or other features. Anyway, it does not matter because the actual card is cute enough.

As of now, I haven’t used the card yet. I submitted my account number for the enrollment of the credit card in my BPI online, and I didn’t check whether it has been enrolled already. I will do an update, though, once I finally get to use it!

I applied for this card online and it took around 3 weeks before I finally received an email saying that my card was ready to claim. I’m not sure, though, whether this wait has been made longer because I applied for the card in the middle of Christmas season. To show you what I did to apply and eventually claim the card, I will write a separate post later this week.

If you want more information about this card, you can visit BPI’s website. This is, in any way, a sponsored post. I applied for the card on my own accord and reviewed it because I think it’s cool.

This post was originally written in January 2015. 

As of now, I have already used my BPI More Fun Prepaid Card several times, including a couple of times with GoDaddy and one time with Photobook Philippines. I’ve also connected it to my PayPal account and used it to re-verify my account. It’s fail-proof and the best part is that I don’t have to think of debts to pay!

For instructions on how to apply for a BPI More Fun Prepaid Card, read this!