Sunday, December 7, 2014

Iphone or Ipon: A Call Center Agent’s Take on Investing

To get the latest IPhone 16GB model you need to shell out Php6,000 pesos for IPhone 6 and Php12,000 for the IPhone 6+, that’s just the initial cash out however, if we add in the monthly fee of 2,000 pesos for  the 24 month lock-in period the estimated cost of owning Apple's latest phones would be Php54,000 and Php60,000 with the assumption that you won’t go over 150 minutes of calls. The computation is based on SMART’s IPhone 6 Data Plan 2000.

If you feel like your salary is similar to Coke where it’s either “Sakto” or Zero then it’s time to reconsider how you spend. Most of us are guilty of spending to things that we don’t really need like a new gadget, the 2 bottle sessions that ends up with multiple buckets, online shopping, travel and lastly cigarette packs. I can’t blame you for that because it’s our way of coping up with stress however, at some point in our life we would wonder where our money is going. Since most of us have received our 13th month pay, I decided to share with you some investment schemes that I have personally tried.

1. Continuing your education – Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Michael Dell and Mark Zuckerberg most call center employees have something in common with these billionaires; just like the those four famous people most of us are college drop outs or undergraduates.

Being an undergraduate is not that of an issue in this industry because, you could still get promoted to TL or Supervisor. In fact based on my experience the best people in the call center industry are not degree holders, which proves that credentials on the wall doesn’t make a person better than the other. Though this is the case,  I still decided to pursue my education because in our country most college undergraduates have lesser opportunity in landing a career in non-BPO companies, aside from that most of us wanted to get out of this industry so we better prepare ourselves.

Talk to your manager about your plans in going back to school so that, he/she can give you a schedule that would allow you to work and go to school at the same time. I know you can do this since we are very capable of juggling multiple things at the same time and multitasking is one of our greatest assets.

2. Stock Market – If you want to know how it feels to be an owner of top companies like PLDT, Meralco, Ayala and Puregold then, invest in the stock market. Buying a stock of a company means you will be a part owner of the corporation. I initially funded 5,000 pesos to my BPI Trade account so for that amount you can be a stock trader just open an account trough BPI trade.

How would you earn:
Let’s say you were able to buy Puregold’s stock when it was initially offered at Php 12.50 each your Php5,000 pesos can buy around 380 shares of Puregold Inc.
12.50 x 380 Shares + BPI commission per trade = Php 4800 (estimated total cost of the transaction)
Earnings: Based on latest data of Bloomberg Puregold’s share is now priced at 35.15. So if you sell all your shares at the current value you could earn around 8,000 pesos.
Computation: 35.15 X 380 Shares = Php 13,357 - BPI commission per trade = Php 13,300
Note: Price per share of the company may go up and down depending on market conditions so carefully pick which stock you will be buying.

If your IPhone can increase its value after 3 years please let me know how.
I get this email on a regular basis to monitor the prices.

3. Savings via Automatic Salary Deduction – The idea is simple; a portion of your salary is automatically deducted and will be put on to your savings account. There are two banks that I know that offers the said service, Citibank and BPI.  My payroll account is trough BPI so I have scheduled the auto debit to occur every payday on my BPI Save up account and since there’s no ATM you won’t be tempted to withdraw your savings.

Aside from savings you would also be getting a life insurance this is important because some call center companies are not offering full life insurance coverage.  The amount of coverage will be equivalent to as much as 5 times the account balance or up to P2 million. Some BPO companies are not providing comprehensive insurance to its employees so check with your HR if  life insurance is also included in your benefits.

Your new IPhone might be the cause of your death if you decide to hold on to it instead of just surrendering it to manong holdaper.

4. Certifications – Investing is not just saving money, it could also mean investing in yourself. I think investing in yourself could be the most profitable investment that you can venture into because it can shoot up your salary and career.

Acquiring a certification might be costly but I was able to get it for free by taking advantage of the scholarship program that my call center company was offering. I got Php 60,000 grant, as usual there’s a catch I need to be in the top 50% of the stack rank and I should stay with the company for 6 months or else I have to pay the scholarship grant.
Illustration of Promotion Letter:  A certification can get you a promotion an IPhone does not.

If you don’t want to try the methods above you can also try the free methods below that can shoot up your savings.
Finally had the strength to cut the plastic. 

Quit Smoking and track it using the QuitNow FB App

Investing might be difficult because you have to deprive yourself from the usual things that you used to do however, once you start reaping the revenues you can say to yourself that it's time to reward yourself. 
An old Iphone which I handed over to my wife and my two year old Cherry Mobile Phone.

Let me end this article with the quote below; 
"Too many people spend money they haven't earned to buy things they don't want to impress people they don't like." - Will Rogers

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