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Success Wizard: Manage Your Credit Cards Effectively

(Originally published on August 28, 2011; reprints previous original material published in this section)

By Jordan Patente

Whoever said genies aren’t real? While they no longer live in traditional magic lamps, they’ve moved to a smaller and more powerful house: the credit card. One swipe  (no need to rub!) and you’ll get what you want. And unlike the old genies, the credit card will not ask you to trade your soul in exchange for three wishes—you just need to affix your signature.

This is the life most of us are living. We treat the credit card as the modern day genie. This genie can give you the life you’ve been dreaming of, but on the other hand, it can also make your life miserable. If mismanaged, it can ruin you, your family and even your career.

With the help of my business partner Ramonchito Alba Flores, I will share tips on how to use your credit card and maximize its numerous benefits.

Your credit card management style ref lects your cash management approach. If you handle your cash right, you will do the same thing with the credit card. This means that if you have troubles handling cash, expect to have more of it with credit card. If you’re looking at a credit card to settle your debts, think twice and figure out long-term solutions.

For beginners, it is wise to maintain only one credit card account. Once you are confident about managing your credit card finances, then you can get another account that will give you more perks.

Choose your credit card wisely. There are several types of credit cards available. You can pick the most suitable card based on your requirements and financial situation. I highly recommend an account with annual membership charge. If you manage your account dues well and have no outstanding balance at the end of the year, your annual fee can be waived.

Make wise decisions about purchasing items you need versus those you simply want. Using your credit card responsibly means recognizing which things you need and which you just want. Use your credit card to buy things you can afford. Living a borrowed lifestyle and using a credit card as a substitute for cash is the quickest way to get into debt. To purchase something is easy, but it is hard to pay higher interest rates on credit amount. For ordinary purchases, leave your credit card in your wallet and use cash or a debit card instead.

Zero percent deals are good, but only if you have the cash to pay for these items. If the lack of cash is your reason for availing of the deal, forget it. Don’t count your chicken if the eggs have not yet hatched. If you have full control over your credit card, only then can you start enjoying credit card deals and promos. You can charge most of your expenses to it.

Be in touch with your credit card company and pay your monthly dues on time to avoid interest. You should have also knowledge of late fees, extra charges and hidden factors of your credit card account. Knowing your credit card terms and conditions will help you manage your debt effectively.

Don’t get into the habit of making minimum-only payments. Making only the minimum payment each month increases the amount of time it will take to pay off your debt. It also increases the amount of interest you end up paying. Spend based on your financial status.

Use your credit card if you have cash on hand. After the credit card purchase, save the cash to pay for it, and it should not be used until the due date comes. This strategy will earn credit card perks for you to enjoy. Credit card companies will entice you to spend and be indebted to them. That’s perfectly fine, but paying them so much interest is not.

Don’t give your credit card to someone. If you want to share your credit card, share it with someone you trust. Supplementary cards are good if the other person has credible exceptional financial management skills; if not, forget it.

Stay within 30 percent of your credit limit. Lower balances are easier to manage.

Communication is key. Let your creditor know in advance if you won’t be able to make your monthly payment on time. The worst thing you can do is simply forgoing your credit card payment. Most creditors will assist you if you let them know before you miss your payment. Simply call your creditor, briefly explain the situation, and ask that any late fees be waived. As a one-time goodwill gesture, credit card companies will grant you that. Let me end this article with a memorable story. This took place a couple of months ago and it will continue to happen as a result of good credit card management. Hopefully the above tips will earn you the same experience in the near future.

It was such a busy week for Dynamic Empowerment Philippines Co. that my business partner and I decided to unwind that weekend. We had a good meal and we watched a movie. The movie left us with topics to chat about over coffee. Just before we left the mall, for the first time I appreciated their parking system. It was an excellent day!

Dinner to parking was all-expense paid—thanks to our credit card. Credit card providers offered good promotions with our prior purchases and we’ve accumulated enough

receipts to exchange for all those perks that day. This, too, can happen to you. Don’t let your debt manage you; instead, manage it and enjoy boundless opportunities.

 

Jordan Willy Patente is the president of Dynamic Empowerment Philippines and has been a success coach for five years. He has also conducted motivational talks and directed musical and theatrical productions.

(All rights reserved. Copyright Manila Bulletin. May not be reproduced or copied without express written permission of the copyright holders.)

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Success Wizard: Control Bad Spending Habits Now

(Originally published on August 24,  2011; reprints previous original material published in this section)

By Jordan Patente

My mother moved to a new address recently. She had to organize a lot of things before moving to the new house, and the most challenging part of moving was transporting all her knickknacks. I saw a lot of unused items still in their original packaging. These are pieces that do not fit her lifestyle and just occupy space in her house. Summing up the cost of all those items, she could have already bought a brand new bed.

Most of us complain about not having enough resources to fund our lifestyles. But if we look closely at our expenses, we’ll find that we’ve been investing in a lot on things we don’t need. Not a lot of us are aware of our spending habits.

Who doesn’t love red-hot specials? I know friends who mark their calendars to anticipate the big event. Some prepare their credit cards and borrow money, while others purchase items they feel are badly needed at that time.

There are thousands of good deals out there and if you are not strong enough to turn down temptations, you’ll be an impulsive buyer. I know colleagues who enjoy shopping so much that they let expenses control their lives.

Who said your earning is not enough for you to meet both ends? Who said the amount of money that comes in is more important than what you’re saving? I know a lot of employees who earn well and spend bigger than what they earn every month. Regardless of your earning capacity, how you deal with money defines your present and your future.

Below are some of the tips that you could use to control bad spending habits and start saving:

Make a list and stick to it. You have to be organized when shopping. Create a list and religiously follow it. This will help you avoid unnecessary purchases. The list is created to identify items that you need, and if it’s not in there, then it is unnecessary.

Follow a mandatory waiting period. When you see something you’d like to buy, rather than buying it on the spot, force yourself to think about it for a week. We normally want something with so much emotion the first time we see it, but think—do you really need it? After a week, you will realize if it’s a must-buy, or forget about it altogether.

Avoid shopping on payday. Most people feel richer on payday and are more vulnerable to frivolous purchases. Set a working budget first before you go shopping. This will set a limit to your spending so make sure you stick to it.

Pay in cash. Numerous studies have shown that when people pay in cash rather than their credit card, they tend to spend less. This is because using cash makes spending more real, and the money harder to part with. If you still opt to use your card, every time you use it, set aside your cash payment or pay your provider the day after.

Wait for second-generation gadgets. When it comes to buying the latest high tech gadgets, it makes sense to wait. Most technology decreases in price after it is initially released. Later versions usually have fewer bugs and better capability. Most of your current gadgets have all the functions you desire, so think wisely if you need a new one or just save the money for better use.

Set and focus on your goals. Knowing what’s important to you and what you really want to achieve with your money will help distract you from short-term wants.

Always begin with an end in mind. If discipline and control over your spending is a must to achieve your greater goals, do it. Saving and achieving your goals are just the effect of good money management. What you learn from the process is priceless and will give you boundless opportunities in return. Bigger goals, once achieved, will help finance your wants in the near future. For now, maximize your hard earned money by multiplying your fortune, not your liabilities.

These are some of the benefits that you’ll get when you follow these tips: you’ll see your savings grow, you’ll feel great pride in controlling your spending, and saving will become second nature.

 

Jordan Willy Patente is the president of Dynamic Empowerment Philippines and has been a success coach for five years. He has also conducted motivational talks and directed musical and theatrical productions.

 

(All rights reserved. Copyright Manila Bulletin. May not be reproduced or copied without express written permission of the copyright holders.)

Success Wizard: Start Managing Your Money Now

(Originally published on August 7,  2011; reprints previous original material published in this section)

By Jordan Patente

I landed my first job as soon as I graduated college. That was seven years ago. Just like any other Juan, I wanted to plant as many trees that could bear fruits in the near future.

Those were the years I established my career and personal life. I now have my training business and still manage to work in a multi-million company. I live in my own house and drive my own car, all because of my relationship with money.

Growing up was a humbling experience. I only had my mother to raise me. Mom did her best to meet both ends for my two siblings and me. I know that there were times when Mom was in financial turmoil, and it was for this reason that I started managing my finances during college; and it contributed a lot to my accomplishments of seven years.

If you manage your finances early in your life, you will most likely do the same thing when you mature. You only reap what you sow. Below are some of the tips that I used to train myself in money management:

Allocate a weekly budget

If your parents can afford to give you a week’s worth of allowance, ask for it. This is an effective strategy to forecast your expense limit for the week. I still do the same thing now. Every payday, I allocate a daily and weekly allowance. Keeping your expenses within limit will develop self-discipline. Managing money is about self-control. Never let money control you.

Most of my work colleagues are in financial turmoil because they allow money to manage their life. Money is just an object, and without the spender it is nothing. Take full control of your money, and decide on when and how to use it.

Social stature

Today, high tech mobile phones are selling like hot cakes. If you don’t possess the latest popular gadget, you are out of fashion. Part of managing your finances is the people that you surround yourself with. If you choose to group yourself with “rich kids,” you might force yourself to spend like them. I have nothing against people with money, but you need to keep your finances within limits. If you can’t meet their standards, the choice is yours to either stretch it or look for a better crowd to suit your money situation.

Invest early

Your today is your tomorrow. When I was still in school, I sold all types of bags, coffee mugs and even scented candles to help me save for my thesis. Today, I have small businesses that have become earning streams. Selling would’ve been out of my comfort zone if I didn’t try it firsthand.

In my last “Magic to Success” theatrical seminar, I had a participant who was just 17 years old. It was a heartfelt experience, because having a participant his age is a testament that in the near future, another successful man will be born.

Starting early is good training for all of us. The more we expose ourselves to success, the more we become successful.

We are all after our own emotional growth and maturity. Starting young means more opportunity to learn, as well as a bigger chance of becoming the new breeds of success.

I’ll be teaching a financial management seminar dubbed “Magic to Success (Money, Love and Health)” on September 24 in Ortigas Foundation Library at 7:30 a.m. To maintain high quality of training, we will only accommodate 50 participants. This event is not your typical seminar. We will talk about success tips to fast track the  accomplishment of your dreams. Participants will be asked to put their learning into action within the seminar. We also have actors to play key parts to fast track your learning. You may contact us at (915) 211- 7878, (2) 380-3180 or e-mail us at dynamicempowermentphilippines@gmail.com.

Jordan Willy Patente is the president of Dynamic Empowerment Philippines and has been a success coach for five years. He has also conducted motivational talks and directed musical and theatrical productions.

 

(All rights reserved. Copyright Manila Bulletin. May not be reproduced or copied without express written permission of the copyright holders.)

Success Wizard: Lessons in Money Management-Why Lotto Winners are Still Broke

By Jordan Patente

(Originally published on July 27, 2011; reprints previous original material published in this section)

My great grandmother passed away four years ago. She left us with her six-digit combinations of lotto numbers. I still remember stories about her leaving the house without notifying anyone that she was betting on the lotto. That’s how devoted my 96-year-old granny was on getting that jackpot. Just like every Juan, she, too, had plans on spending the millions. Whenever there was an opportunity, Lola would tell me she’d

Lessons in Money Management:

Why Lotto Winners are Still Brokedistribute half of the amount to all her grandchildren to guarantee them a better future, and the other half would go to my account (my relatives claim that I’m the favorite grandson). It sounded like a good plan, but she left us without winning the jackpot.

Once, I tried my hand at fulfilling Lola’s lotto dreams. I gambled on her numbers, hoping that she would guide me in getting the jackpot. A local network’s show about a lotto winner’s life story influenced me to do it. In the show I saw scenes of family members claiming the jackpot from their departed loved one’s lottery ticket. Unfortunately, their fortune was not mine. I never won it.

Who doesn’t want a better future for their family? But I’m sure you have heard of jackpot winners who are now broke. Before winning, they only owed a couple of thousands to their friends and relatives, and several years after winning multimillion jackpots they are indebted to major financial institutions. Just like Lola, they shared their fortune with their family, relatives and friends. Most of them invested their money in buying mansions and luxury vehicles. Some invested their money in businesses.

What Went Wrong?

Winning the lotto is parallel to winning multi-million contests and competitions. Most international boxers before Manny Pacquiao are still broke. Some of the famous celebrities had the same fortune, but are now in financial turmoil. Money is not the answer to our financial problems: it’s how we manage it.

Money Management

Money management is an organized way of protecting your money in aspects like investing, budgeting and banking. You can’t just spend that jackpot money freely without caution. Do so and you will soon end up broke.

Most of us act thirsty and want to consume money whenever we have it in our possession. I call it “payday sickness.” I know a lot of colleagues who spend the bulk of their hard earned money on payday. Payday sickness is a clear indication of not valuing money. For money to stay and be loyal to you, you have to value it. Make it feel important and respected. If this is your habit with regard to payroll money, you will most likely do the same with the Lotto jackpot.

With money management, you have to start with ways to multiply that money before you spend it. Sharing your fortune with your family, relatives and friends is not a bad thing—you just have to do it systematically. Most gratuities are temporary. They, too, will let go of that money easily. Help them invest and spend it wisely.

What I would do in that situation is to share with them a minimal amount and then buy a franchise or open up a business. Stocks will be shared with them. It will not be easy money for everyone. They have to wait for it to bear fruit, before they can enjoy it. Its long-term effect, however, will benefit all of us and teach them proper money management in the process.

Mansions and Luxury Cars

I’ve always envisioned living in a mansion. I want it modern, with glass walls, and I want a huge garage housing my top-down convertibles and high-tech RVs (recreational vehicles). Winning the jackpot can make these visions a reality. But it’s just that those are not my priorities. Instead I will settle for a humble house and a multi-purpose vehicle. The world’s third wealthiest man Warren Buffett (“Forbes” magazine, March 2011 issue) still lives in his 1957 five-bedroom stucco house inOmaha,United States. He remains humble even with his immense.

 

Jordan Willy Patente is the president of Dynamic Empowerment Philippines and has been a success coach for five years. He has also conducted motivational talks and directed musical and theatrical productions.

(All rights reserved. Copyright Manila Bulletin. May not be reproduced or copied without express written permission of the copyright holders.)

Success Wizard: Dealing with a Bully Boss

By Jordan Willy Patente

(Originally published on July 13, 2011; reprints previous original material published in this section)

You are being offered your dream job: a generous compensation package, terrific benefits, and supportive office colleagues. It’s almost the perfect opportunity, except that your future boss is a tyrant and a bully. Are you taking it?

You can only hope to get this offer every time you sign up for a new job. In most cases, it’s already too late to back out and you will have to face your worst nightmare.

Who would have thought that juvenile bullying will reach the corporate world? The truth is that bully bosses can be found in abundance.

It’s becoming common in almost every industry. There are bosses who are mind-controlling abusers, demanding perfectionists and slave drivers. There are obnoxious bully bosses who rule by intimidation, insisting on achieving goals their way. They treat subordinates like children and seldom ask for anyone’s input.

Studies indicate that bullies are clumsy people with such rage against themselves that they express this outward, toward people they see as being better than they are. It’s from a point of weakness that they express violence toward others.

Life with a bully boss is dreadful. You need to continuously motivate yourself to perform and your health will go down the drain. If you are in this situation, I have two options for you: work it out with your boss or leave.

I’ll start with the easiest option: leave. If you can’t bear the situation, just leave and look for a new company. It’s that easy. Millions of companies are waiting for you to be part of their elite team. You’ve worked hard to be where you are now and you don’t deserve to be maltreated.

However, the drawback of moving on as soon as you’ve recognized that your boss is a tyrant and that he’s picking on you is that you don’t get to learn life’s valued lessons.

Your second option is to work it out with your boss. One of life’s goals is to achieve mastery of one’s Self; and this will only occur if you allow yourself to learn from every event presented to you. Working with your boss to improve the situation will benefit you more than him. Helping your boss improve his life is just one of the many effects of your personal development.

Walking away from a bully boss does not guarantee you won’t meet another just like him. Turning your back is just a band-aid solution to the situation. To get the most out of the odd situation, consider the following strategies in dealing with a tyrant boss:

Bullying will only happen if you allow it. No one else is responsible for your life and all the things that happen to it. You can’t blame your boss for giving you that treatment. Who gave him the authority to treat you like that? Analyze your responses—Sam Horn, author of “Take the Bully by the horns,” says that bullies prey on the easiest targets.

“Bullies will pick on the nice people,” Horn says. “They throw their stuff out there and test to see if they can knock you off balance, fluster you. If you are weak or just swallow it, the bully owns you,” he says.

The second strategy could help you avoid becoming a target:

Be confident. Having the right amount of self-esteem will push him away. Send signals that you will not tolerate lunacy from him. Your appearance plays an important role, so dress up and broadcast a positive attitude. Rhonda Byrne, author of “The Secret” says: “like attracts like.” If you are feeling good about yourself, you will only attract good things to happen to you.

Be logical in your approach. Be methodical in how you behave, perform, and strategize. Stay unemotional. Even though he is trying to make you think the opposite, it is the bully who has a serious personal and professional problem, not you.

Your boss is sure to have soft spots, and you may want to touch on that. Your boss has set standards that if met, will spare you from bullying. He’ll consider you an asset rather than a liability.

Communication is key. Everything happens for a reason. Your boss’ actions have stories behind it. Understanding and respecting his past will give you a clearer picture of the situation.

Some bosses think that it’s lonely up there; they feel that no one supports and encourages them. They, too, are humans and hungry for recognition. If your boss has moments of sanity, try to talk with him about the effect his actions and verbal abuse have on you and your work. Keep the focus of your comments on the boss’ behavior and its effects, not on the boss personally.

Some bosses like spreading rumors in the workplace. Tell bullies as little as possible about your life, family, friends, hobbies, interests, religion, and so on. Information about you gives them power. Being friends with a bully boss should be the least of your priorities, but having a professional relationship with him is desirable.

If you feel that you have exerted all efforts to reach out but your situation has not improved, then consider the first option and look for a new job. Life is a choice and we could only do so much to help the people around us. Your physical and mental health should not be sacrificed to keep the boss and the company happy.

Jordan Willy Patente is the president of Dynamic Empowerment Philippines and has been a success coach for five years. He has also conducted motivational talks and directed musical and theatrical productions.

(All rights reserved. Copyright Manila Bulletin. May not be reproduced or copied without express written permission of the copyright holders.)

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