It's Me. Hi.

November 05, 2022

I'm awaking from a long hiatus to write about three major breakthroughs in my journey towards financial freedom. 

But first, a quick background because it's not something that I've written about.

A Quick Background

I grew up in a middle class family in a Philippine province--the beautiful island province of Palawan. What that means is that whatever the cost of living and socioeconomic standards are in Metro Manila, where I come from is automatically significantly a step lower because it's also a lower 'class' city.

My parents did well in making sure I get the best possible education in my hometown. And when I moved to Manila for my college education, my Academic Excellence scholarship significantly helped in ensuring I get a degree from a top computer university with minimal expenses.

As an only child, I will not say we had more than enough, nor were we comfortable.

Fast-forward to starting my first job out of college during the height of a global financial crisis, otherwise known as The 2008 Global Recession, I quickly learned that money was crucial for survival as early as the first paycheck that hit my corporate payroll account.

In stories here and there on this blog, you'll see how I have come (literally) far--from Manila to Singapore to NYC--and I'm happy to say that while I have not reached my Financial Independence (FI) goal, I'm now at a level that is comfortable enough for me to have multiple ventures and be less risk-averse to achieve my goals.

As far as growth goes, my salary trajectory throughout the years have been astronomical. That said, the cost of living also significantly went up. Lifestyle creep is real and it was only until the pandemic when I started getting more serious with building wealth. 


Like any other objective, it's important to clearly state the WHY--the reason why the objective matters. I have several reasons.

  1. My parents took care of their parents because their parents didn't have a retirement plan. My parents also don't have their own retirement plan. If they get sick during old age, Philippine pension from their jobs wouldn't be nearly enough to cover the expenses. They will rely on me to pay for medical bills and other living costs.
  2. I want to build my own family and that requires a lot of money, in this day and age. Recent studies show that raising one child until they are 17 years old will cost up to $310,000. This number is bound to go up every year, with how inflation rates are going wild in the past years.
  3. I want to be financially independent to the point where if I want to quit my corporate job, I can still support myself. Being free from money worries has a significant mental health correlation. 

Significant W's

Earlier this year, I created three different personal finance goals that I want to reach before January 1, 2023 and I'm happy to say that I reached them a full 2 months ahead of schedule.

Goal 1: Net Worth

This was something I always knew I had to hit so I can get real traction towards my FI goal. 

If I'm going to be honest, I would have reached this goal so so much faster if I did things differently, like shared housing with a roommate, not living in Manhattan, not paying for the many hobby classes I'm taking--basically not having a life would have gotten me to save so much more of my takehome pay. That said, I'm in a city that every kid has dreamed of living in, including myself. 

The cost of living here is arguably an investment in itself. I get to walk to work, to my every hobby and interest, to see friends--all without needing more than 30 minutes of my travel time. My yoga, pole, improv, dance, indoor cycling, gym classes are all below 10-min walking distance.

I will not change a thing because by being where I am located, I'm also exposed to the type of mindset that I need to have to continue fuelling my drive. New York City is truly as intoxicating and as frenetic as they say, in a good way.

Goal 2: Dividend Income

Back in December 2021, I opened a separate brokerage account in Schwab with an intention of making it a portfolio with only one objective--to create a passive income stream by the way of ETF dividends. No individual stocks, no growth stocks, no tech stocks--strictly ETF only that pays out dividends. 

I was so cute back then setting a goal of $100/year of dividends earned for the Next 12 Months. I quickly learned that it wasn't that difficult to get to $100. 

So in Q2, I upped my goal to a more ambitious $1,000/year of dividend income. That's about $83 of income earned every month without me lifting a finger.

Not only did I hit this goal 2 months from my deadline, I also take pride that I hit this goal during a period where the stock market is down. So this means whatever amount I have right now, it is bound to go up even higher when the market eventually recovers, like it usually does after a bear cycle. Oh, and also it's currently at $91/month or $1,100 in a year.

The rationale for having a goal for Next 12 Months instead of using Received dividends as a metric is so by my supposed deadline on Jan 1, I'm set to have $1,000 for the entire year. 

Because of this progress, I'm setting a new $$$ goal starting in the New Year, and I'm looking forward to hitting that too!

Goal 3: Start a Company

I have many ideas that I started but failed to fully see through because of my full-time work. So in a way, I 'cheated' to reach this goal. I recently acquired a French SaaS company called Coment, which I aim to relaunch by next year. 

It's an opportunity that I came upon by chance and I found it hard to pass this chance to really get my hands dirty at a project that can scale, unlike the personal coding projects I developed for myself in my spare time. (Some people baked bread during the Covid lockdowns, I picked up Python!)

This is obviously a big Work-In-Progress and I feel like for a long time, it will be taking up a lot of my weekends and evenings. I have plans to hire people to run the business once I get enough customers to cover operating expenses. 

2023 will be stupid-crazy and I am here for it.

And that's it! That's my life update. 

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