(STAR) BULL MARKET, BULL SHEET By Wilson Lee Flores (From www.informedbuying.net Anything that we can do to raise personal savings is very much in the interest of this country. — Alan Greenspan)

(The amount of money you have has got nothing to do with what you earn … People earning a million dollars a year can have no money and people earning $35,000 a year can be quite well off. It’s not what you earn; it’s what you spend. — Paul Clitheroe)

(The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of nonessentials. — Lin Yutang)

This column has been receiving numerous e-mails and letters that this writer always answers, because when I was a student and wrote the late columnist and multi-awarded writer Alfredo Navarro Salanga, he not only replied but he even sent me a book as a gift!

Through the years, not a few Philippine STAR readers have asked, “Where would an aspiring young entrepreneur start if she or he had small capital or had access to loans of not more than P1 million?”

I once asked rags-to-riches billionaire and pioneer industrialist John Gokongwei Jr. of JG Summit Holdings, Cebu Pacific Air and Sun Cellular this question. The founder of Robinsons malls candidly told me he would bring that P1 million to 168 shopping mall in Divisoria, in downtown Manila’s Chinatown district, lease a stall there and be a retailer of consumer goods.

In recent months, when I kept writing that blue-chip Philippine stocks like BDO, Metrobank, SM, PLDT, Ayala and BPI are now incredible bargains due to the global economic turmoil, lots of young people and professionals e-mailed for stock market advice. I referred them to top governors of the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) such as Citisecurities founder Edward Lee (no relation to this writer).

Now, among the top questions young people, entrepreneurs and professionals ask is how and where to save their money, which is not yet in the millions of pesos. This writer sought out Jesus Alfonso G. Hofilena, executive vice president and head of the Sales and Marketing Group of the country’s largest Filipino life insurer, Insular Life. Thanks to him for sharing his advice with the following young people and their queries:

Q: I am a 27-year old manager, single, and earning a pretty decent income. So far, my salary goes to buying the latest gadgets and gimmicks. But lately I realize that I should start saving for something whose value will grow over the years. I have around P200,000 that I can use to invest on something. What’s the best investment I can make with it?

JESUS ALFONSO HOFILEñA: The “best investment” you can make with your excess funds will have to be based on your specific goals. What do you want to achieve most when it comes to financial security? The fact that you are still young is a great advantage as well as opportunity for you to really have a financially sound future.

For example, you may not be thinking yet about your eventual retirement from work, but it is never too early to start preparing for your retirement security, knowing that it will be so much costlier by the time you reach that milestone. If you agree, then make certain your P200,000 is kept saved by putting it away through a long-term savings or investment-oriented life insurance policy such as Insular Life’s I-Assure Max, which pays cash benefits every other year for your entire lifetime.

Life insurance can be a more effective way to preserve your cash now and make it grow to a substantial amount because it is designed not to be easily or readily withdrawn like a savings account with ATM access.

Q: My Mom’s friend is a life insurance agent who has been trying to sell me a life insurance policy. I am only 25 years old and single. I feel that at my age, I do not need life insurance yet. But she told me its better buy now while my premiums are still low. When is the best time to buy a life insurance policy? And what kind of policy should I buy at my age?

A: Your mother’s friend is correct in saying that insurance premiums increase with age; hence, the younger a person is when he or she insures, the more affordable the premiums are.

In general, it is always a good time to consider beginning your life insurance estate while you are young and can afford to get started. If so, your main purpose is to be able to waste no time in building up your financial estate. All of us want to acquire wealth during our lifetime. Certain types of wealth like real estate and other tangible assets require a greater cash outlay to purchase, and so they are not readily acquired while young. But life insurance is a form of wealth that is within your reach even now.

If you begin your insurance estate now, you would be maximizing your time to build your entire estate. In five to 10 years you may be able to start buying properties, cars or other tangible possessions. Hence you will only be wealthier, and you would not have wasted your time. It is recommended that you consider Insular Life’s I-Assure among your first purchases because it is a limited-pay insurance product that provides lifetime protection. By owning an I-Assure policy, you are able to own an insurance estate, which may amount to millions at a fraction of the cost.

For more inquiries, call Insular Life’s Brand Marketing Department at 771-1818 loc. 1310 and 1311 or e-mail brand@mx.insular.com.ph or visit the website at www.insularlife.com.ph.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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