Digitize Your Way to Your Money Goals
When I attended the Entrepreneurs E-Commerce Summit early this year, it was said that the Philippines will continue to grow in terms of internet usage and internet penetration, having an estimate of already about 45% active internet users, mostly connecting through their mobile devices such as their smartphones and tablets. Another interesting fact is that 70% of internet users are below 29 years old who are the millennials.
It has been growing with the Philippine economy, which has been consistently performing well over the past years as compared to neighboring countries in Southeast Asia. We have projected record breaking GDP growth, which is very much reflected on the increasing digital lifestyle among Filipinos.
Because of the increasing digital lifestyle, more industries and companies are shifting from traditional business to digital, or at least are investing heavily in growing their digital segment. Part of the ongoing digitization is in the finance industry through the successful implementation of digital finance systems. It is said that financial inclusion is essential to economic developments of emerging countries like the Philippines. Other Asian countries such as Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Japan or Malaysia may be more advance than us, but things may change soon.
When you search on the internet, you will find thousands of apps and websites on money management. However, most of these apps and websites are applicable in the US and other countries and have not yet been fully configured to serve the Philippine market as of this writing. These are the likes of Robinhood, Wealthfront, Openfolio & SigFig.
Currently, most banks, insurance companies, asset management companies, stock brokers have already embraced digitization. Their websites are more interactive. One may even get initial projections on how much he will need to save to reach certain goals such as retirement or education. Clients may even check their insurance accounts online. Clients may even buy investment and insurance products such as stocks, mutual funds, UITFs and insurance products online or through apps. One leading insurance firm even uses an interactive point of sale when selling insurance products to clients, and the complete needs analysis and application are done using the app.
In the investment scene, more companies are also very active. Most stock brokers are now very active online through their websites and mobile apps. All clients need to do is to open an account, print, sign and submit the necessary documents, and fund their account. Then they can choose to buy and sell stocks, or do their charting, analysis and read the research provided.
Given all these developments, I collated some of the apps and websites that can still be of help to people who want to invest online. Some of these apps vary in terms of the services that they provide. These services could be into the following:
- Philippine stock market
- Global stock market
- Market and Economic Research
- Personal Finance
- Access to financial advisors and wealth managers
The following are the apps and websites that may be applicable to investors in the Philippines:
- Among different research and market update platforms, Bloomberg is a crowd favorite among investors, wealth managers and fund managers. They provide real time news, market and economic updates.
- MSN Money
- MSN Money helps investors get real time market updates and news. In addition to market research they also provide tools such as currency converter, retirement planning calculator and personal finance tips.
- Tsupetot App
- Tsupetot app helps investors and traders trade in the Philippine Stock Market. It provides real time stock market values, historical charts and indicators.
- PSE TradEx
- PSE TradEx allows investors to invest in the Philippine Stock Market through one platform. It is used by different brokers. Like other apps, they also provide research and real-time market updates.
- Fundsupermart helps Asian investors who wish to compare bonds, unit trusts, and funds worldwide. In addition to tracking tools, they also offer research and insights on portfolio management and investing.
- This site and app helps investors manage their portfolio. They provide news, research and tools to help investors. These tools include economic calendar, technical summary box, Fibonacci calculator, among others. Their services include Forex, stocks, commodities and bonds.
- This website helps investors who wish to invest in the bonds and debt instruments. This site provides good research on the different debts instruments in the ASEAN region plus China, South Korea and Japan. This site allows investors to find credit ratings, bond market movements and other relevant news.
- WealthinAsia connects clients with wealth managers such as private banks, trust and legal entities. They are catering to the affluent market in Asia
- EZ Financial calculators
- EZ Financial calculator is a multi-purpose app that anyone can use in computing investment goals, credit card payments, loans, currency, etc. This can help investors make educated guess in terms of computing investments using the time-tested principle of the Time Value of Money (TVM).
- Wealthmart.asia is the first financial solutions marketplace in the Philippines connecting investors to different advisors. It is designed to help investors become more comfortable in investing and to check out qualified financial advisors. It was recently launched at the Entrepreneurs E-commerce Summit roadshow last January 2017. It was also presented at different events in Singapore and Malaysia for expansion opportunities in the ASEAN region.
Millennials are heavy users of apps and mostly turn to the internet for advice. However, in this world of high touch, the millennials need guidance. It’s very important to take note of the following before investing
- Know Your Goals. It is a lot better to connect investing to goals. These goals act as our destination. A famous saying goes “as long as you know where you’re going, any road will take you there.” Our investment goals include having money to buy a house, a car, for travel, for retirement, for long term healthcare, etc. Once you are clear with your goal, you’ll be more determined to save up and invest for it.
- Know Your Investment Objectives. Are you after growth of your money where you just let the money compound over time? Or do you want your investment to yield you income that you can withdraw right away? Or do you want to have a combination of both? Because not all investment vehicles are created equal, and you may have to match the right products to your needs.
- Match your goals and investing with the right time horizon. Our goals work within a timeline. Some goals are meant for the short term while some are for medium term, and some are for the long term. For example, you may need to buy a car within the next 2 to 3 years, a home within the next 4 to 5 years. You may wish to have a short term strategy wherein you will save up and invest aggressively to meet these goals. On the other hand, when you are saving and investing for your retirement, you also need to invest differently and you have a longer term outlook.
- Know your level of investment expertise and increase your knowledge to manage risks. Knowing your level of expertise will help you gauge the way you invest. There are what we call active investing, passive investing and a combination of both. When you invest actively, you are the one who directly chooses your investments such as product, company, or fund. You decide and do the actual buying and selling. In this case, you must also keep yourself up to date in terms of what’s happening around you that may affect your investments and your investment decisions. On the other hand, when you are passively investing, you entrust your money with companies who offer fund management services and you let the fund managers do their work. There is also the combination of both where you manage part of your portfolio actively and another part you entrust to professionals. Also, you get to manage your investment risk when you increase your knowledge on the investment products by learning about the investment vehicles and knowing how it can help you towards your investment goal.
In this fast changing digital world, our country will soon catch up in terms of infrastructure and regulations. These regulations will soon include cryptocurrencies, crowdfunding and angel investing. These will give Filipinos more ways to invest and grow their money, while at the same time increase their financial literacy.
As investing becomes more easy, affordable and accessible, it will always be great to be guided by well-structured financial planning systems to make sure all the bases are covered and you take good control of your finances. As we move into digitization and into Do-It-Yourself (DIY) types of investing, getting advice from highly qualified advisors can help you manage your money better. Make sure you use these online tools, connect with your trusted advisors and work together in achieving your financial goals.