In the previous two blogs, we talked about how risk can throw off your expected returns and how standard deviation can be used to measure risk.
In this blog we will talk about measuring the riskiness of bonds.
The natural question is that how can bonds be risky when they promise a fixed interest periodically and the repayment of the principal upon the maturity date of the bond? Apart from the possibility that the bond issuer may default on its payments, bonds take on risk because their value before maturity date may go up or down.
It is like a see-saw. When interest rates move up, bond prices move down. When interest rates move down, bond prices move up. So if you bought a bond with the intention of possibly selling it before maturity date, you took on market risk.
As mentioned, bonds react to movements in interest rates. And financial experts have come up with a measure to determine how much a bond’s value will move with changes in interest rates. In particular, this measure is called modified duration.
The formula for modified duration is already built into MS Excel so we will not bother with it. Suffice it to say that modified duration gives the approximate percentage change in a bond’s price per +/-100 basis point change in interest rates, assuming that the bond’s expected cash flows remain fixed (as some bonds have variable cash flow).
So if a bond has a modified duration of say 5 (i.e. the technical convention is in years), it means that this bond’s value will go down by 5% for a 100 basis point rise in interest rates (i.e. 1% x 5). And for a fall in interest rates of 100 basis points, this bond’s value will go up by 5% (i.e. 1% x 5). Remember that bond prices move in the opposite direction of interest rates.
Modified duration can also be used for a portfolio of bonds like a bond fund. And the same rules apply: the higher the portfolio’s modified duration, the wider will be the band within which the portfolio’s value will move with the change in interest rates.
At the end of the day, the higher or shall we say the longer the modified duration, the wider the band of price movement and therefore the riskier the bond or bond portfolio is. So next time you are buying a bond or a bond fund, find out what the modified duration is to see if the risk level of that bond is aligned with yours.
The only way you can get rid of the band of bond price movement is if you buy bonds with the intention of holding them up to maturity. Just make sure you are already contented with the interest you will be receiving.
Article Originally written by: Efren L. Cruz, RFP at www.savingtips.com.ph
In the previous blog, we talked about the importance of risk. Risk is the fault line.
Finance experts have long applied a measure for risk. But to understand this measurement better, imagine a ship sailing through the ocean. Under calm weather, the ship will cruise at sea level. In stormy weather, the ship will bob up and down normal sea level. The greater the distance the ship bobs over and under normal sea level the more risky it would be to travel.
Ships are not the same size and shape. Due to their weight, the larger ones like oil tankers will bob less than the smaller one-man fishing boat. But all ships are nevertheless still at the mercy of the sea.
In a way, investment assets are like ships sailing the seas. Over a fairly long period of time, the returns on an asset are expected to fall within its intrinsic average. Therefore, the riskiness of an investment is how far actual returns fluctuate around that long-term average return. In finance this is called volatility and is measured in terms of standard deviation.
Forget the formula because spreadsheets can readily churn standard deviations. You can even get standard deviations from research firms and securities brokers. What is important to note is what standard deviation means.
The historical average annual return of the PSEi from 1988 to 2014 is 15.0% p.a. with a standard deviation of 41.6. This means that 68% of the time, the annual return of the PSEi fell within +56.6% p.a. and -26.6% p.a. (i.e. technically 68% of the time).
Now let’s compare these figures with those of the 364-day Treasury bill rates during the same years. For the given period, the one-year T-bills produced a historical interest of 10.9% p.a. and a standard deviation of +/-6.8. This means that the one-year T-bills was within +17.7% p.a. and +4.1%.
It can readily be seen from the figures that investing in stocks with its standard deviation of 41.6 is much riskier than investing in 364-day T-bills with its standard deviation of only 6.8. Moreover, returns of stocks could swing to the negative column while those of 364-day Treasury bills remained positive even on the downside.
Now we have the numbers to back up the statement that stocks are riskier than Treasury bills. Does an investment with a lower risk measurement mean that it is superior? Remember that investments are mere tools and that they were made for man (not the other way around). Inevitably, it will be a person’s return objectives as tempered by his risk preference that will say whether an investment is good for a particular individual.
There is never a single best investment. There is only an investment that is suited for an individual.
Next up, we will measure the risk in bonds.
(Originally written by Efren Ll. Cruz, RFP at http://www.savingstips.com.ph)
I always say in my training programs that people are worth more than what they think. In fact, the average able-bodied person is a multi-millionaire.
The acronym SAL-N (statement of assets, liabilities and net worth) was only recently thrust in to the limelight even though government employees have long been required to submit their SAL-N on an annual basis. The SAL-N is a great tool for effectively determining the financial starting point of any person, whether he is a government or private sector employee.
Not surprisingly, the SAL-N is applicable even to newborn babies. How? Babies’ net worth would be equivalent to the only assets they have: namely their body, mind and soul. Babies would not and could not have debt. To grow assets, parents just infuse capital into the net worth of their kids to correspondingly grow the latter’s assets.
Though the SAL-N will be a bit more complex for an able-bodied working adult, the basic formula remains: assets = debts + net worth.
In constructing the SAL-N, I ask my training participants to list down and total the market value of their assets and the prepayment values of their debts. The difference between the two is simply their net worth. Sometimes, however, my participants get discouraged when they see that their net worth is not all that large. In fact, with some, their net worth is negative.
But you see, a person’s worth can never be negative, both philosophically and financially. Why? The traditional method for constructing net worth is to consider physical and financial assets. One type of asset, however, is commonly left out. And that is human capital.
My definition of human capital is the present worth of an individual’s future earnings. The formula that I use is as follows: (Warning: the following image may cause nausea!)
Please note that the formula above will not work if r and g are equal to each other. But there is a way around this if you really think your income will just grow by the rate of inflation. Since we are dealing with mere approximations, just add a very small number to either r or g (e.g. 0.00001%) and the formula should still work. Now if you want a more precise calculation, you can lay out the computations on a spreadsheet.
So let’s assume a person who is 40 years old with another 20 productive years left in him, an annual income of Php500,000 growing at 5% p.a. and an inflation rate of 4% p.a. The present value of this person’s human capital would roughly be Php10.5 million. He would be a multi-millionaire just by human capital alone.
(Originally written by Efren Ll. Cruz, RFP at http://www.savingstips.com.ph)
Just recently, me and my fellow top financial advisors from Insular Life went to Paris for a vacation (to reward ourselves of the hard work we did last year). It was just an 8 day vacation, just enough for us to explore and enjoy Paris. We also had a chance to go to Belgium for one whole day to taste the world's famous beer, Belgian chocolates and Belgian waffles!
Here are some of my tips for first timers:
1. Maximize the use of trains and subways
In Paris, the train system is quite efficient. In fact, you can go to several of the famous tourist spots in Paris through the trains.
Further if you are travelling light you can use the train from the airport to your hotel!
2. There is power in numbers
As the old saying goes, there is power in numbers which is true even when travelling. Most of the tickets when bought for groups of ten or more give you significant discounts. I can remember when we went to the Palace of Versailles we had to ride a train to go around the large garden of King Louis XIV and if we buy the train tickets for groups of ten it was only 5 euros versus 7 euros! So what we did we befriended some of the tourists to get groups of 10!
Also in Paris the food servings are large. Use this to your advantage. Applying the power of numbers we normally do food sharing which reduces our food bill. There are restaurants that are not too expensive in areas outside popular streets so you may want to take a one quick stroll around the place you are staying.
3. Use maps and technology to your advantage
Maps are free in Paris you can get them at any metro train station. Be sure to carry a map with you always and ask for the large map with the key tourist destinations.
In Paris there are normally free wifis in Malls and Restaurants. If I need to walk around I usually use google maps and find a wifi connection to search the location. Once I have found the location I can now walk outside with just my GPS even if there is no wifi. This way I get to walk around and save on travel expenses!
Another technology you may want to consider is AirBnB. We personally saved on lodging costs because we used AirBnB. AirBnB is an application (find it in iOS app store or android google play) that allows you to rent an appartment at a cheaper cost than most hotels. The apartment we got had a kitchen and had several extra linens!
4. Pinoy Power
When you go around Paris you seldom see Filipinos. But, that doesn't mean that the Filipino community is not present. In fact, our driver is a Filipino referred to us by another Filipino tourist friend.
Sometimes it could be more beneficial if you will hire a van from Paris airport to your place of stay especially if you are travelling as a group and if you are carrying large luggages to and on your way back to the Philippines. This way you can share the cost of the ride and have no problems carrying your luggage.
Aside from touring us around Paris we also hired the van to give as a lift to Belgium and back to Paris. Belgium for me is a beautiful place especially when you love authentic belgian chocolates, belgian waffles and belgian beer. Should you need a van and a driver, I especially recommend Ronald. You may ask for a quote of his price by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org or viber him at (+33) 0643707208.
5. Prepare For Your Meals
Food is quite expensive in Paris so you may want to cook food if your place of stay permits you. For us, we cooked our breakfast since the apartment we got through AirBnb had a complete set of kitchen items. All we need to do is buy grocery at night and store it in the fridge for use the next day!
Also, you may want to find a conveniece store which sells cheap bottled water. Drinks in Paris including water if bought in a restaurant would cost around 3 Euros convenience stores sell it at 1 Euros.
6. Tax Refunds
If you are a shoppaholic just like my friends, you may want to consider tax refunds on your purchases. To avail of a tax refund the total goods purchased in one store should at least total 175 Euros and must be purchased on the same day. Simply go to the tax refund section of the store and ask for a tax refund form by showing your receipts. These tax refund forms will be collected at the airport after you have checked in and will be exchanged for cash.
It is important that you make sure that you ask for the tax refund form on the day of purchase. When I was shopping at Zara I didn't know that you should avail of the tax refund on the day of purchase. We went back to Zara two days after for the tax refund and we were denied. Don't let this happen to you.
7. Use Time To Your Advantage
Most of the tourist spots in Paris must be scheduled in advance through an online booking. My suggestion is that you book in advance to insure you have a reservation and to avoid long lines through Skip The Line. We had a bad experience because we did not do an online booking. We were supposed to have dinner at the Eiffel Tower but unfortunately you need to have a booking 2 days in advance. So we just decided to line up in the Eiffel tower and just avail of the tour to the top without dinner. What a sad story.
Having an advanced online booking will also allow you to avail of discounts. If you wish to travel to countries outside France, there is a train that you can take for a discount if you book in advance. Think of it as booking a plane, the earlier you book the cheaper.
Souvenirs are normally expensive when you buy it in areas near tourist spots. My suggestion is that you go around the area near La Fayette Mall. There are cheap souvenirs that you can avail there.
9. Fake Money and Scams
Be extra careful when dealing with street vendors. A friend of mine bought a souvenir at some street vendor (at that time we didnt know where to buy cheap souvenirs) and was given fake money as change. We only knew about it when we were already at the airport. So make sure you buy at stores not at street peddlers so just in case you are given fake money you can go back to them.
You should also remember that there are many pickpockets and scammers along the streets. The first incident was when a friend travelling with us went roaming around the city. She was approached by a girl carrying a pen and paper asking for a signature for donations. The girl was asking for money and my friend glady gave 10 Euros. However the scammer refused the 10 Euros saying that the minimum donation was 20 Euros. She refused but a host of guys circled around her and asking for 20 Euros she had no choice but to give the 20 Euros.
The second instance was when my friends were lining up in the subway when a group of girls tried to pickpocket one of my friend.
So my suggestion is that when you go around shopping and when you are buying branded goods, make sure that you carry another big bag to place the branded goods that you bought. These scammers have an eye for people who are carrying branded goods.
10. Bonus: Practical Tips
A. Sun normally sets at 9pm and shops normally close around 7pm.
B. Branded items can be bought at La Fayette and Champs Elysses
C. Food service charge is not billed automatically and tips are not customary in Paris but if your server is doing great you may want to leave some tip
D. Bring change especially when you will be using the subway. Subway station tickets are bought through machines and some machines do not accept bills.
E. When travelling in Paris you will most likely do a lot of walking so wear comfortable walking shoes.
F. Paris is a very beautiful place. Make sure you bring a powerbank because your phone will most likeky be drained by the beautiful sceneries.
G. A universal adapter will come in handly since their sockets are not the same as ours
H. Convenience stores cannot be easily found and shops normally open at around 9am so you may want to think about how you will get your breakfast the next day.
I. Doctors are expensive and most medications that we can buy over the counter in the Philippines must have a medication in Paris. My friend needed amoxicilin but she was told she needed a prescription from the doctor.
J. Vouchers normally need to be printed. I had an online booking for the Paris River Cruise and I was not able to print the voucher. They asked me for the print out but I pleaded that if it be possible I just email the voucher to them and they print it. I had to go look for wifi and email it to them. All the hassle had I just printed it.
Bonus: Mark's Favourite Tourist Places in Paris:
This is just my opinion but for me here are the best places in Paris:
1. Palace of Versailles
2. Eiffel Tower
3. Louvre Museum
4. Luxemburg Garden
5. Sacred Heart Church (Montmarte)
6. Notre Dame Cathedral
7. Bridge Just at the Back of Notre Dame Cathedral where lovers write their names on the lock and put the lock in the bridge and throw away the keys
8. Arc de Triumph
9. Palais de Chaillot
10. Champs Elysees
by Nico Serrano:
Everyday we work towards our ultimate goal, for runners the goal is to finish each race with a better time, beating their previous best at all cost. These individuals put in hard work to get better and get stronger. Behind the grandeur of all the medals and accomplishments is where they build their foundation, what people don’t see are the hundreds if not thousands of kilometers these athletes go through every training day so that they could be better.
What these individuals have is the understanding of the bigger picture, building habits that lead to becoming a more well rounded athlete and individual. They understand that a 100% commitment to whatever you invest your time into is something important and should be taken seriously.
The idea of creating habits and laying the foundation for the future is something that can be taken and borrowed from these runners. The dedication to better oneself and their vision is a trait that should be paralleled, however most people often neglect it. The habits and the ability see the bigger picture can be adapted to financial planning.
It is so easy to buy an investment, especially with the advent of online Internet facilities. But it is in selling and selling at a profit that people will find most difficult.
It is so enticing to hear people talk about how they made money in financial securities and how easy it was done. In doing so, however, they gloss over one aspect that is inherent in all investing activities and that is the risk that they took.
Risk may be invisible, but it is still there. It is akin to the East and West Valley fault lines in our country. We don’t actually see them; yet they are clear and present danger to those near them.
So how does risk figure into investing? Risk simply represents the chance that an investor may not earn his target return. Risk can also represent the chance of losing part or all of an investor’s capital.
There are two types of risk: unsystematic and systematic. Unsystematic risk refers to that type of risk whose impact can be minimized. For example, credit default risk refers to the likelihood that a bond issuer will not be able to repay the interest and principal on its debt. The question is why anyone will want to hold on to a bond with a significant credit risk. The answer is that high risk also means potential high return. A bond with a significant credit risk will also be paying out a relatively high interest rate.
To minimize the credit risk, an investor may want to mix bonds with low credit risk into his portfolio. To keep credit risk to as low a level as possible, an investor may alternatively just limit his bond investments to bonds with the highest credit ratings. Ratings of bonds issued by Philippine corporations may be secured from the Philippine Rating Services Corporation or Philratings (www.philratings.com).
Systematic risk, on the other hand, refers to risk that cannot be minimized or done away with. For example, when interest rates shoot up, most businesses are affected. Companies will find it expensive to service their borrowings. As a result, banks will have a higher percentage of their borrowers delaying payments or even defaulting on their loans. Bond holders will see a drop in the price of their investments (i.e. when interest rates go up, the value of bonds go down and vice versa).
An investor should try to minimize the unsystematic risk in his portfolio so that what is left is the systematic risk. And the best way to do this is through what is called diversification. Diversification can be had by simply following the proverbial rule of not putting all of one’s eggs in one basket.
In practical terms, an investor can spread his investments among different asset sectors within an industry, different industries, different asset classes (e.g. stock, bonds, money market), several currencies, and even among several countries.
Whatever the strategy, the investor should always remember that risk is a clear and present danger that goes with returns. Ignoring it will be as foolish as building a house on a fault line.
Next up, we will try to measure risk.
(Originally written by Efren Ll. Cruz, RFP at http://www.savingstips.com.ph)
by Nico Serrano:
As a young professional, the first paycheck that we earn is very special to us. It opens up a new world, the world of spending. We often see the money that we earn as asset that we could just spend, the ability to finally buy things for ourselves. It often leads us to becoming careless on our spending. Why do we have this mentality? Because in school we were thought to think in terms of science, history, ethics, math, don’t get me wrong, all these thing are great and important in honing us as individuals, but do these subjects actually prepare us for the real world? Does it prepare us for taxes? Does it teach us to budget, save and prioritize?
This is where financial literacy comes in. It is a way to rewire our minds and understand that our first paycheck isn’t just a paycheck but our first building block for a great future. The youth of today, like myself, we follow trends. This drives us to be like everyone else but with our own unique and individual twist, we try to be the trendsetters yet we follow trend. We as the youth have one hobby that links us all and that is social media.
Ever wanted to get a health insurance that covers you until age 70 but allows you to earn money should you not be hospitalized.
Starting at an annual premium of P30,000.00, this package allows you to save at a relatively small amount over a period of time for guaranteed health benefits that will augment lost income due to sickness and cover treatment of serious illnesses.
Consider the following benefits of Wealth Secure Health:
Supplemental Health Coverage until Age 99
You are provided with coverage when no other HMO* plan benefit is available no other coverage options would.
Replacement of lost income
The daily allowance is given upon hospitalization due to sickness or injury serves as replacement. Use this to partially cover your room and board expenses.
Funding for Dread Disease treatment
You also receive a lump sum amount should you be diagnosed with any of the covered dread diseases, allowing you to be worry-free so you can focus on your recovery.
Withdrawable Health Fund
Free yourself from the burden of illness-related costs. Your health fund continues to grow each year which you can withdraw partially or fully after completing the paying period. After 15 years your withdrawable health fund would be around twice your investment and still continues to increase year after year if not withdrawn.
Identify your hospitalization and dread disease coverage, subject to allowable maximums. You can also add to your investment anytime you want, to further grow your health fund.
Peace of Mind
You are assured that should anything happen to you, your family will be well provided for so they can continue living the kind of life you’ve provided them.
Should you want to know more about this product kindly visit www.financePH.com/invest.html
My love affair with shoes started after college graduation and I was trying to look professional for my job interviews; finding a “business” shoe was part of the agenda. I kept on hearing from other people how shoes (or bag, or clothes) are considered as investments because they give you the confidence to carry yourself. So…I “invested”…… a lot. How much was “a lot”? Well, let’s just say that a couple of years ago, while I was doing my general cleaning, I found out that I have more shoes that I can wear once every two months, plus five or so unopened boxes of pairs that are still waiting for the “right occasion.” I checked the condition of the shoes, some are still in tip- top shape, some shabby, some fit, some don’t (well, not that my feet got bigger, I just remember buying some shoes even if they were not my size just because I felt I had to have them). I had to get rid of the tattered ones, those that don’t fit, and those that I don’t imagine wearing in the next three months. The result? I just got rid, correction, I just wasted a couple of thousand pesos. So, what was the “investment” there?
The year after that, I challenged myself not to buy any shoe for six months. Did you know what happened at that time? I was able to pay off my credit card bills all in full because I stopped compulsive shoe shopping; I have funds to pay off my debts (which, in the first place, accumulated because of shopping); and more importantly, I was able to channel my shoe funds to a real investment. I save every month and when I saved enough, I invest it on a Variable Unit-Linked insurance policy. Now, whenever I receive my policy’s updates, I’m glad I went on a “shoe diet” and invested my money on real investments.
Do I feel deprived now that I don’t get to shoe shop anymore?
Here are some tips to still feel Imeldific without breaking the bank:
Buy shoes with colors that you can match with any dress e.g., black, brown, beige. If you find these colors boring, go and buy colors that you are most comfortable with. Red shoes are both sexy and powerful and can actually match any dress color (thank goodness that color blocking has been invented!).Buy brands that are known for style and comfort, they may be a little pricey than other brands but you will surely walk more miles on these shoes than their cheaper alternatives which may be uncomfortable or will easily wear out. Clean your shoes regularly. Use the right shoe cleaning materials. Oftentimes, shoes are just a wipe away from looking like new again. Buy classic designs so you do not have to worry about getting outdated and have the impulse to buy every time there is a new fad. Take photos of your shoes, that way, you will have an inventory of your shoe collection. Before buying a pair, check your album if you already have a similar pair, or a similar color, you might not need that new pair after all. What if you really, really, really want that pair of shoes? Tie it to a goal, challenge yourself to hit a target before you splurge. For example, I challenge myself to finish a course or lose some weight. Shoe shopping will motivate me to accomplish my goal and it gives me time to contemplate on a decision to splurge. Sometimes, when enough time has passed, I would have already changed my mind about buying the shoes so I end up accomplishing the goal and with extra savings. And oh, don’t buy shoes online unless you know your size for a particular brand and shoe design. Shoes should be tried on. I’ve wasted three or so pairs because the shoes I bought online did not feel well or it looked good on the picture but not on my feet.
How are my investments now? Let’ just say it has grown enough to take me to the shoe-shaped country, Italy. Growing investments, and not buying every pair of shoes, can change your life.
(Originally written by Abi Magtibay at http://www.savingstips.com.ph)
I like playing the guitar. In fact, I had been playing that musical instrument since I was a teenager. After all, it was a natural thing for my generation to be fond of rock bands in teenage life; what more if you could play one of their beloved musical instruments. And believe it or not, in my teens, I was able to buy an amplified Gibson guitar through the fruits of stock market investing.
As I grew older, I mellowed down and focused on the genre I loved the most, jazz and pop. But guitar playing also went into hibernation until I was in my mid-40’s when I asked permission from the commander-in-chief (CIC) of my household if I could rekindle my passion with the purchase of a Php3,000 guitar.
The CIC supported me and even encouraged me to take guitar lessons, which I did. And it was through my awesome guitar teacher that I was introduced to the right way of buying guitars.
At first, I ignored my teacher’s advice and just bought one guitar after another that looked and sounded “good enough”. But he taught me that the older and branded the guitar, the better. Such guitars would have been made by companies that have withstood the test of time and would have perfected their craft. Needless to say, such guitars appreciate in value over time. And true enough, when I bought so-so guitars and had to get rid of them to buy the better ones, the resale values were so low.
Finally I was able to buy an electric guitar for a hefty sum of Php43,000. But it was the easiest and best sounding guitar I had ever played. Plus, it was branded and a bit rare. Recently, my guitar teacher called me to say that the same guitar, just two years later, was selling at Php65,000 and asked if I wanted to sell it. That’s a 23% p.a. compounded return over the two years. The only question is will I get too attached to the guitar to let go.
Buying and selling guitars is just like investing. You have to study well what you will be buying. When I am in the dark with guitars, I give my teacher a call. The same is true with investing. If you don’t exactly know what you are getting yourself into, ask a professional.
You also have to have a target return so that you will know at what price to sell. With guitars, if it happens that the price did not appreciate and you are forced to sell at cost, at least you would have enjoyed years of playing sweet music. Similarly with investing, if your stock pays good dividends or your bonds meet your minimum interest payment requirement, you would not mind selling your stock at cost or just holding your bond to maturity to receive the principal you invested.
I hope you will enjoy investing like I enjoy playing the guitar.
(Originally written by Efren Ll. Cruz, RFP at http://www.savingstips.com.ph)
Once in your lifetime you may have come across with life insurance agents or financial advisors. Some appreciate them and some do not.
The last week of May 2015 was not good for the Philippine Stock Market. Prices of several stocks went down which affected the PSE index. Here is the reason that National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) gave:
Ladies and gentlemen, members of the media, our colleagues in government, good morning.
The 5.2-percent GDP growth in the first quarter of 2015 reported by the Philippine Statistics Authority is lower than what the government and the market expected for the period. While growth in the private sector remains robust, the slower-than-programmed pace of public spending, particularly the decline in public construction, has slowed down the overall growth of the economy. Apart from the normal first quarter delays in government spending, the recent uptick in disbursements from the Department of Budget and Management has not yet been reflected in the national income accounts. Still, the 4.8 percent growth in government consumption is much faster than in the first quarter of 2014, driven by the 19.2-percent increase in disbursements for maintenance and other operating expenses primarily on social protection programs, bottom-up budgeting projects, and the country’s hosting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meetings.
Despite this lower-than-expected growth, it is reasonable to believe that the economy will grow at a faster rate in the remaining quarters. Private sector economic activity remains vibrant, with private construction registering a double-digit rise of 14.2 percent for the quarter and private investments in durable equipment rising by 14.3 percent. The latest business confidence index from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas shows that next quarter confidence index climbed to 58.2 percent from 43.1 percent in the previous survey. Likewise, growth in household consumption remains steady at 5.4 percent. Based on the first quarter 2015 Consumer Expectation Survey, consumer sentiment improved in the quarter due to expectations of stable price of commodities, decline in oil prices, availability of more jobs, higher number of employed family members, and fewer calamities during the period, among others. These clearly indicate that business and consumer confidence on the economy is still very high and is supportive of our optimism in hitting our growth targets for 2015.
But the missed opportunity to have a higher growth for the period is not totally foregone as we still expect public spending to pick up for the rest of the year. According to the latest report of the Department of Budget and Management, the disbursement performance for the first three months of 2015 shows a trend towards faster government spending. If this disbursement trajectory is sustained and reflected in all government agencies, the higher government spending will fuel even more activities in the private sector, and thus push economic growth in the next quarters of the year.
The growth performance in this quarter tells us that there are still issues that the government needs to confront in order to maintain the high level of confidence that the business sector is showing and entrusting the country. Therefore, we are keeping a careful watch over the spending performance of the agencies to ensure that implementation bottlenecks are being addressed and the execution of programs and projects will not be further delayed.
Amid the challenges that government continues to face, we must keep in mind that the economic performance in the first five years of this administration remains the highest five-year growth average recorded by the country since the mid-1970s – a testament to the private sector support for the governance and economic reforms that we have been implementing. This is what should drive us all to continue to work to make both the government and the private sector move at the same pace of growth for our economy to reach its highest potential. As we have always reiterated, the country needs to continuously take on the high growth path alongside of ensuring that it is sustainable and inclusive. We are also hopeful that through the effective facilitation of programs and projects on poverty reduction and employment generation, we will be able to reach the targets that we have set until the end of this administration.
Salamat at mabuhay tayong lahat!
I was scanning some of my facebook newsfeed today and I came across a good friend from Tacloban, Ms. Grace Berino. She posted in her facebook how she started saving at when her son was only 1 year old. Fast forward today her son is now 17 years old and she just received her maturity benefit from the company where she invested - Insular Life.