How To Invest Your Money for the First Time
“Izza, I really want to start investing my money but I don’t know how and where to start”
Over the years, I have received emails from colleagues and readers asking how they can invest their money for the first time.
Investing is a big financial move.
And it can be pretty scary especially for first timers.
The day I decided to make my first investment, I wasn’t really sure what I was doing.
I had my fears and reservations too.
But, what led me to consider investing my money came through constant reading and researching.
The more I got exposed in the basics of personal finance, the more I learn the principle of investing. And how it is more of a need rather than a want.
This post is meant as a resource guide so it would be longer than other regular posts.
At the end of this post you will:
1. Learn the power of now when it comes to investing
2. Explore the different investment vehicles you can choose from
3. Get started with your first investment in 6 steps
Let’s admit it, “INVESTING” is such a foreign word for Pinoys.
A lot of Filipinos are afraid of the word “investment” thinking its a scam, networking or tactic to lure people and lose their money.
But investing doesn’t have to be complicated. It’s just a necessary move that every Pinoy ought to learn and take.
Here are some common reasons why people invests:
1. To build wealth
2. To reach financial goals and milestones
3. To reach financial independence and retire early.
Invest your money “NOW”
According to Philip Taylor of PTMoney,
“Time in the market is better than timing the market. Just start saving/investing now. Automate it. Pay yourself first. Your future self will thank you for it.”
What does this mean for you and me?
If you invested your money 10 years ago, you have already won. There’s no need to be greedy at all. Whatever happens to the market in the next 6 months to 1 year is not your battle anymore. Focus on the long-term possibility instead.
Over the years these three things remain the wisest advice I’ve ever read when it comes to the stock market.
Invest now, Invest regularly and Invest for the long-term.
10 Different Types of Investments, and How They Work
Here’s the thing:
There are too many investment vehicles to choose from today.
Mutual Funds, stocks, bonds, online farming, real estate and more. With the list seemingly endless.
I know how confusing this could be especially for those who are first timers. And this actually is one factor why fewer people invest.
So, here’s a quick rundown of each:
1. Savings Account
This is the safest and most common investing vehicle we all know. All you need to do is to park your money on your desired bank. It costs minimal opening fee, no risk at all but will also earn you little interest or growth.
Everyone should have invest on a savings account. But, instead of hoping for capital growth, you can instead use this for your emergency fund. This is way safer than keeping your money on a piggy bank or alkansiya.
How savings account work?
When you put your money into a savings account, it earns interest. The bank uses your money to loan out to borrowers at a higher interest rate, and share that profit with you.
How to open a savings account in the Philippines?
Step 1. Choose your bank
When it comes in choosing where to park your money I suggest checking the following facts – number of years in the service, recommendation from others and the presence of the bank to your place.
Top 10 Banks in the Philippines:
1. Banco de Oro Universal Bank (BDO Unibank)
2. Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company(Metrobank)
3. Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI)
4. Land Bank of the Philippines (Landbank; LBP, main government bank)
5. Philippine National Bank(PNB)
6. Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP, secondary government bank)
7. China Banking Corporation (Chinabank)
8. Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC)
9. Security Bank Corporation (Security Bank)
10. UnionBank of the Philippines (Unionbank; UBP)
Step 2. Prepare the necessary requirements
Here are the common things you will need to open a bank account in the Philippines:
Account Opening Fee. The lowest opening fee for a bank account ranges from 250pesos to 500pesos with utmost maintaining balance that should be kept in order for the account to stay active or else your account will have a deduction.
Identification Documents. You will surely be asked to present a valid identification card such as your Social Security ID, TIN ID and or Voters ID. For a complete list of valid identification documents you can click here. You might be asked also to give an ID Picture so make sure that you have copies prepared.
Filled-out Forms for Personal Information. To be able to fully enroll for a bank account or any financial product offered by a bank, one must fill up certain forms first and give personal information such as contact number, email address and residential address. There are also banks who only purposely offer an account opening if you are 18 years old and older though there are financial products intended for the kids that should include the consent of the parents or legal guardian.
Step 3. Visit the branch and apply
It is mandatory to go to the branch of your chosen bank to apply an account. This is part of the Know-Your-Client policy in the banking and investment sector.
Make sure to select a branch that is near to where you are living (or working) since your selected branch will become a point of reference if something happens to your card, e.g. loss it, forgot your password, needs updating, etc.
2. Time Deposits
Aside from savings account, Time Deposits are the most common investment option of Pinoys.
How Time Deposits work?
The money you invested will be kept by the bank for a fixed period of time. The duration is usually 30 days and can be extended to 60 days or 90 days and more.
Your money will earn an interest higher than the usual savings account. Remember though that your money must stay on the back within the given period you choose for if not it may cost you a fee.
How to open a time deposit account in the Philippines?
When it comes to time deposits, it is a prerequisite that you have an active savings account first with your chosen bank. Once you secured this, there is no need to submit other requirements.
You can simply ask the teller or bank manager of your desire to open a time deposit account and you will be assisted accordingly. Proceed with depositing money to your time deposit account and the waiting period for your money to earn interest begins.
Top 3 Time Deposit Accounts in the Philippines
For this list I will be naming the time deposit accounts of the top three banks in the country – BPI, BDO and Metrobank. You can still opt to research other bank provider if their interest rates are better.
3. Mutual Fund
A mutual fund is a pool of money managed by a professional fund manager and invested in a specific type of securities to answer an investor’s financial goal in life.
How mutual funds work?
There are two important terms you need to remember when it comes to mutual fund.
First, the Fund Manager. This is a licensed trader unknown to you who acts as your own fund expert. He handles every step of your investment guided by strict regulations. He monitors the value of your investments and see to it that the earning potential of the fund is maximized. He invests the fund’s capital to produce gains and income on your behalf.
Second, the Portfolio. Your mutual fund portfolio is the very composition of the fund you invested. It is structured and maintained to match the investment objectives stated in the prospectus of your chosen mutual fund. Each portfolio differs depending on the type of mutual fund.
Types of Mutual Funds in the Philippines
An Equity Fund, also known as stock fund, invests in selected stocks and equity securities. A typical portfolio mix involves shares on properties, holding companies, transportation, telecommunication and power.
Bond Fund invests in government and corporate debts. A typical portfolio mix includes treasury bills, preferred stocks and corporate bonds.
Money Market Funds
Money Market Fund invests in short-term securities. A typical portfolio mix are composed of high-quality liquid debt and monetary instruments, short-term treasury securities, certificate of deposits and the like.
Balanced Fund invests in a mixture of debt instruments and equity securities. A typical portfolio mix contains stocks, bonds and deposits.
How to open a mutual fund account in the Philippines?
Step 1. Visit the website of your chosen mutual fund asset management company.
Step 2. On their website you can easily find the page for Mutual Fund and/or Investment Products.
Step 3. Read the differences of each mutual fund offerings. Select your fund based on your personal investment objectives, investment horizon and your risk profile.
Related read: Reader Question | Where Should I Invest My Money?
Step 4. Download the needed forms. This will depend on your chosen mutual fund asset management company.
Prospectus which is required and filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. This document provides details about an investment offering as well as facts that an investor need to make an investment decision.
Account Opening Form which is required to be filled up for your information and other personal reference.
Investment Risk Profiling Questionnaire which will know your investment risk profiles and match you with the right companies to invest with.
Step 5. Prepare your IDs.
Step 6. Have you initial investment ready. Initial investment for a Mutual Fund account ranges from 5,000pesos to 10,000pesos. Additional investment is minimum of 1,000pesos
Step 7. Submit all your requirements. You may need to go to the nearest office or send through mail. Sun Life for example introduces an online facility that allows you to add, transfer and redeem shares anytime, anywhere. In FAMI, I opened my account by submitting all the forms and requirements via courier.
Step 8. Wait for your proof of purchase and/or statement of account to arrive.
Step 9. Fund your account.
Read Next : 7 Advantages of Mutual Fund
4. Unit Investment Trust Fund
Unit Investment Trust Fund or UITF for short is a collective investment thing that banks offer. Think of it as a mutual fund but instead of a trusted private financial group, known commercial banks provide this investment option to the public.
How UITFs work?
Money from various investors are pooled together into one fund to accomplish an investment objective.
How to open an UITF account in the Philippines?
Step 1. Prepare your requirements
Here are the common things you will need to open an UITF account in the Philippines:
- At least two (2) valid IDs
- Duly-filled Account Opening Forms which contains almost the same forms and statements as opening a mutual fund account.
- Minimum money to invest (depends on your chosen UITF product)
Step 2. Go to the nearest branch and apply
For this investment vehicle, you will also need to visit the branch and submit your prepared requirements. The Trust Manager will check and confirm if you have supplied all the needed documents to successfully open an account.
Step 3. Review your Certificate of Participation (CoP)
Once you have successfully opened an account and made your first UITF investment, you will be receive a Certificate of Participation (CoP). Depending on the bank you will choose, opening an account is as low as 10,000pesos. You can top up this with as low as 1,000pesos a month.
5. Stock Market
Investing in stocks means owning shares of ownership in a corporation.
How investing in stock market works?
A company will need money to support and maintain its overall operation. Thus, it may opt to open its company to the public. You, as an individual, can now invest in the company by buying its available stocks.
There are two ways you make money in the stock market:
First, Capital appreciation
An increase in the value of your investments due to increase in the potential value and demand of shares in the company you invested.
Let’s say in 2013 you bought 100 shares of Jollibee (JFC) at Php 107/share. The total value of your investment is Php 10,700.
At present 2017 Jollibee stocks is at whopping Php 189/share. Meaning you make Php 18,900 out the 100 shares you own.
That is Php 8200 earned within 4 years of passive investing. Without you actively participating or working for it.
A payout issued by some profitable companies to its shareholders/investors that reflects the company’s respective earning. This can be by additional cash to the shareholder’s accounts and
Given the example above let’s say Jollibee also gave a Php 1/share dividends to its shareholders every three months from 2013 to 2017.
This means above from the Php 8,200 you earned from the capital appreciation of the money you invested, you also gained a dividend of Php 1600.
How to invest in stock market in the Philippines?
Step 1. Choose your stock broker
Here in the Philippines you can only buy stocks through a broker.
Accredited Philippine Stock Exchange brokers are paid to trade stocks on your behalf. Brokers provide you with a platform where you fund your account and start investing or trading. This same platform is used to manage your investments.
Every time you buy a stock as well as every buying or selling you do your broker gets a commission.
Now there are plenty of brokers you can choose from depending on your budget and confidence. COL Financial is one of the leading and recommended brokerage firm in the country. BPI Trade is BPI’s own broker platform. If you are already a BPI user then this could be a better option for you. They have easier application for BPI card holders. 2TradeAsia is another platform available for those who want to invest in the stock market. And of course First Metro Securities, which is Metrobank’s investment firm.
Step 2. Next you need to open a trading account.
Just follow the account opening instruction, answer important investor surveys and submit the needed requirements. You will receive an email confirmation once your account application is successful.
Step 3. Fund your account and start investing.
Decide on how much you will invest to the stock market. You can buy your first stocks via the platform provided by your broker.
My Tips when in comes to stock market
With what’s happening in the stock market, here are some winning strategies I want you to apply to mitigate the risks.
1. Invest only in stocks that you know
Choosing which stock to purchase can be very confusing. So I personally suggest you only invest in stocks familiar to you. What commodities do you always use? What fast food giants do you often visit and dine-in? What services do you frequently avail?
2. Invest in giants
Make your stock portfolio more stable by investing in giants. Although the return is not as high, you be assured that there is a return for your investment!
Giants such as any of the companies in PSEi will make your investment portfolio strong. They may be expensive but they are most likely worth it to own.
3. Invest in yourself
You know the drill in personal finance – the more you know, the better. If there is a chance for free seminars on stock analysis, join them! Your broker mostly host seminars on a weekly/monthly basis which will enable you to make sound decision on your stock moves.
4. Invest in accordance to your goals
In every investment you do define your why. And make sure that you follow your why. This is important so you avoid getting easily swayed by your emotions in case the market goes down or you see most of your investments hitting rock bottom.
Your objectives will also clearly define who you are as an investor. Whether you are conservative – can’t withstand risk, balanced – can moderately withstand risk or dynamic – can withstand risk no matter how high it can be.
Because you know who you are as an investor it is easier for you to determine which investment vehicle is right for you.
5. Invest with your spare money
Before you even begin investing in the stock market, I plead you to do two things:
Pay your debt, if any
Secure your emergency fund
It is important to only invest with your spare money because investing in stocks comes with certain risks. If you invest your emergency fund or your savings and your investment became negative you will be forced to sell at a loss.
6. Exchange Traded Fund (ETF)
Exchange Traded Funds or ETFs is just like a normal mutual fund. You are investing in a bucket of stocks BUT, it can be bought and sold like a common stock in the Philippine stock market.
How ETFs work?
ETF works in a rather simple way. Like mutual fund, when you own a share of ETF, you are owning a rather diversified investment portfolio.
What makes ETF different is that it can be bought and sold like a regular stock.
ETF has its own stock code (FMETF) and unlike mutual fund, you can see ETF in the list of stocks in the Philippine Stock Market.
Another major difference is that an ETF tracks a specific index not necessarily created to match your goal unlike mutual funds.
Example of ETF:
First Metro Exchange Trade Fund, the first and only ETF in the Philippines to date.
How to invest in ETF in the Philippines?
There are two ways you can invest in ETF in the Philippines, (1) Through opening a brokerage account and (2) Through account creation.
Through Brokerage Account
Step 1. Open a brokerage account
Step 2. Buy your first shares of ETF
Step 3. Keep adding to your ETF investment
Through Account Creation or Bulk Order
Account Creation or Bulk Order is recommended for those who are enough money to buy at least 10,000 ETF shares. To proceed with this option, please see below steps:
Step 1. Visit to http://www.firstmetroetf.com.ph
Step 2. Download and Fill-out the Order Form
Why ETFs are considered good investment?
Unlike mutual fund which is actively managed by a fund manager, investing in ETFs offer passive investment.
What do you mean by passive, Izza?
FMETF is created to mimic or track the market aka PSEi which consists the 30 “biggest” publicly listed companies in the Philippines based on PSE’s standard.
The movement of PSEi is closely monitored by investors, fund managers, economists and everyone who are into investing in stocks because it indicates how good the Philippine economy is.
If PSEi is up then it is a good indicator that the general economy of the country is doing well. Thus, it is the best time to invest.
The components of PSEi are already the top of the top, companies that best represent how good the Philippine economy is. If you invest in FMETF you are simply following the wave.
No fund manager is involved to make decisions which securities to buy or sell. It simply tries to replicate or get as close as possible to the index.
7. Index Fund
Investing in index fund can be confusing at first because it seems similar to mutual fund and ETF.
How investing in Index Fund works?
Your money is passively managed and run by a program to match the performance of a given index.
Now that sounds like an ETF, Izza!!!
But unlike Exchange Traded Funds, Index Funds are not traded like a stock.
Index Funds are simply mutual funds that mirrors a given market, commonly the PSEi.
Examples of Index Funds:
How to invest in Index Fund in the Philippines?
Index Funds are sold by top asset management firms in the country. Opening an account is the same as opening a mutual fund.
Depending on the financial company you will entrust your investments with, you will may need to do/to present the requirements as mentioned in the mutual fund account opening procedure.
What does this mean for you and your retirement fund?
As long as your chosen market is green, your index fund is green too.
Something I realized now that I’m investing in direct stock market is that I have a tendency to be emotionally attached.
As the market move up and down, I am easily consumed by fear and greed. This feeling force me to make sudden financial decisions here and there.
With Index Fund, there is a lesser chance that you get affected by your emotion. Index Fund has a simple job – track the market!
8. Personal Equity Retirement Account (P.E.R.A.)
Personal Equity Retirement Account or PERA is the most recent retirement account made available in the Philippines.
It is a personal and voluntary retirement savings plan where you can contribute as long as you have a TIN Number.
PERA is created to encourage Filipinos to invest for their retirement. It took 8 long years for PERA to be implemented in the country.
How P.E.R.A. works?
To understand how Personal Equity Retirement Account works, you need to imagine SSS or other government-mandated contributions.
In SSS the contributions you make are used to fund government projects. In return to your investments, SSS provides you with financial benefits like:
Paid Maternity Leave for Women
The amount of pension you’ll get with your SSS or GSIS contributions is only 4,000 pesos at most.
With PERA, your contributions are invested in, wait for it,
A MUTUAL FUND.
By the time you reach your retirement age (55) the money earned through the said investments will be given to you as a retirement benefit free of tax.
You get to avail your retirement benefit in lump-sum or single payment, regular pensions like SSS or a combination of both.
How to open a P.E.R.A. account in the Philippines?
Requirements and procedures will differ depending on your chosen administrator but just like any other investment account opening you will need to prepare the following:
Step 1. Accomplish the Application Form
You can visit your chosen administrator’s website to download the account opening form.
Client Sustainability Assessment (CSA) – This is to identify your investment objectives and risk tolerance.
Risk Disclosure Statement – This contains provisions on the general risks associated with your PERA investment.
Step 2. Attach your valid government ID
You can refer to the List of Acceptable IDs to bring supporting documents to prove your identity.
Step 3. Make sure you have your TIN ID
You can also use a copy of your Income Tax Return or any other valid document that can support your TIN.
Step 4. Pay the initial money you will invest.
Crowdfunding rose to fame last year as an alternative investment vehicle. Famous crowdfunding startups in the Philippines include Cropital, PhilCrowd and Farmon in which the proceeds are used to fund local farmers.
How crowdfunding works?
Your investment will be pooled together with the others and be used as capital for local farmers. After the harvest and selling of produced goods, you’ll get your share of profits.
Crowdfunding Features and Benefits
Alternative Investment Vehicle
Crowdfunding rose to fame just last year, 2017 and it is already considered as an alternative investment vehicle. It is ideal for those who would like to maximize their money and reinvest it to something new.
Perfect for short-term investment
Since all of the known crowdfunding startups in the country invests in agriculture the expected return of investment is around 6 to 8 months only. It means if you invest in January you can expect an ROI by July or August.
How to start investing in crowdfunding?
Step 1. Sign up and Register for an Account
Here you need to visit the website of your chosen crowdfunding company and create your own account by filling out your details.
Step 2. Pay for Membership Fee/Fund Your Wallet/Choose Your Farm to Invest
The next step varies depending on your chosen crowdfunding startup. Philcrowd has a membership fee you need to pay before you can even invest.
Cropital on the other hand lets you fund your Cropital Wallet first before you can choose a farm to invest. The minimum investment is 5000php (with minimum increments of 5000php; i.e. 10000php, 15000php up to 50000php.
For FarmOn, you can start choosing the farm you want to invest with and just pay the amount that sums up the number of plots you wish to invest.
Step 3. Process your payments
All three crowdfunding startups have different payment options available from bank deposit, cash payment or Paypal.
Step 4. Wait for your ROI to reflect
After 6 to 8 months depending on the crop you invested you will see your return reflect on your account.
Here’s my crowdfunding experience with Farmon for more information.
10. Real Estate
Real Estate has been part of investment ideas ever since. This vehicle requires a higher starting capital but it guarantees an instant ticket to financial freedom.
How investing in real estate works
There are different ways you can start investing in real estate. You can either buy foreclosed properties, improve it and rent it to others.
Another is investing in condo with prime location and turning them into Airbnb rooms.
You can also do commercial spaces, boarding house for location near university and/or “sanla” especially if you know properties within your neighborhood.
How to Invest in Real Estate Properties in the Philippines
Buying properties in the Philippines can be a daunting task for there are a ton of paper works you need to accomplish.
If you are 100% decided to invest in real estate properties here are the brief things you need to do.
Step 1. Research, research and research
This is a critical step you must do before shelling out any money for a real estate property.
Consider all your option from location, price to payment choices, etc. You also might want to engage with a licensed broker to help you in every step of the property investment process.
Step 2. Verify the title of the property and/or transfer certificate and other necessary documents
Always check that the title of the property you are buying is authentic. Also make sure that the land described on the title presented to you is the actual property you are buying.
This also applies whether you are buying a condominium, commercial space and/or previously owned property.
Step 3. Apply for a housing loan
Property can be a big financial move. Unless you can buy one on spot cash, you will need to apply for a housing loan to finance your mortgage.
Here you have the option to apply on your preferred bank. The tip here is to contact as many bank as possible and get to know their offer.
Step 4. Prepare necessary documents
Just like any other buying-selling transaction you will be asked to fill up different forms, sign contracts, present valid IDs and more.
As always, read everything before signing. Contracts are meant to be read and studied thoroughly so you won’t suffer from problems later.
How To Invest Your Money For The First Time
Now we’ve come to the climax of this post – learning how to invest your money for the first time.
If you’ve been putting aside investing because you don’t how and where to start then below is a primer for you:
1. Get on Track with Your Finances
Before you try to invest for the first time you should first sort things out financially. You should know your current income and whether it could supply to your needs in addition to the investment you’ll be making. Yes initial investment is not that high but the actual money you’ll be putting as a top up matters. READ: Why You Must Know Your Financial Net Worth Now
Step 2. Assess What Kind of Investor You Are
Next step is to know what type of investor you are. This will guide accordingly on the right kind of investment to make that will maximize your potential income.
There are Three Types of Investors
1. Conservatives or those who have low risk tolerance. They lean more on a portfolio that offers steady growth with low risk. They are easily swayed by negative news on surrounding the market and will need further explanation before making a financial decision.
2. Dynamics are people who have the highest risk appetite as an investor. They want capital growth through long-term investing. They do not get easily scared if they loss money for they remain positive that as long as they continue to invest things will change.
3. Balanced are investors who are a mixture of the two. Their risk tolerance is on a medium level. They love capital appreciation through investing in a long period of time but will still get fearsome in case things don’t go along their way.
Now there are three deciding factors that could determine what kind of investor you are namely age, years you want to invest and risk you are okay to take. In a normal situation, the younger you are the more time you have to grow your money and the more risk you are able to take.
As you grow older you have more needs and responsibilities in life that can lead to shorter waiting period for your investment to grow and lower risk you can take.
3. Choose Your Investment Vehicle
Once you have determined what kind of investor you are then it will be easier for you to choose your first investment vehicle. Conservative investors often go for time deposits, special savings accounts and government securities because they are a very sure type of investments.
Balanced investors love Mutual Fund and Unit Investment Trust Fund on Equities and Bonds. They may also choose investing on direct stock market but on very selected and established companies that already have proven track record.
Dynamic investors on the other hand are willing to trade on stock market or try non-traditional investment vehicle as a way of diversification.
4. Learn Your Investment Strategy or Style
Once you have chosen your investment you are ready to start investing. You will learn a lot along your investor journey from the right strategy to apply. I, for example have been a big fan of the peso-cost averaging method on my first mutual fund investments.
5. Assess and Review
Make sure that you always check how your investments are going. Review whether your portfolio still satisfies you as an investor. Withdraw your money in case something unwanted is happening or if you feel like the market is literally closing down on your set of portfolios.
The final step is to diversify your investments. Diversification is a financial technique that reduce the risk factor of investing by allocating your investments under other investment vehicles, other industries, and/or under other varied categories. In my Top 10 Most Important Lessons to Learn in Personal Finance Day 4 I mentioned the importance of diversifying your investments.
You can diversify among different financial vehicles, assets such as bonds and stocks and market values. Do not just put your money on a time deposit account but aim high to have your other money on mutual funds, stock market or even a real-estate property.
Final Notes from SavingsPinay
I hope this post helps you pursue your goal to invest. If you haven’t done this financial move ever, now is the time to do so.
Use your bonus or part of your savings and open an account today. Make your money work for you and not against you.
Also I am encouraging you to join my 2018 Reader Survey! You can fill-out the form here → https://goo.gl/forms/JyOVC0FprV9YaKS93
Please go over my other blog to read all about the events and happenings that took place in my personal life.
What questions do you have when it comes to how to invest your money for the first time?
Izza of SavingsPinay helps Filipinos bridge the financial literacy gap one content at a time by providing insights and tips on budgeting, saving, investing, side hustle and growing your net worth. Aside from this blog she also writes at www.izzaglinofull.com, a beauty and lifestyle blog for frugal Pinays and manages, www.izzagevents.com, a wedding and event business since 2011. For inquiries, topic suggestions or future collaborations email her at firstname.lastname@example.org