Taking charge of my retirement

That is really, really sad. A disgruntled police officer holding tourists hostage and eventually killing 8 of them. The reason: his being dismissed from service and not being eligible for his retirement benefits. He was demanding to be reinstated and his benefits assured.

I am no employee, neither a government or private one and certainly no police officer. I cannot relate to retirement benefits aside from what I probably would get from contributing to SSS and Pag-IBIG because I am self employed. But even if I were an employee, I would have made steps to ensure a source of income for my retirement years and not just rely on a pension. It's difficult to be dependent on some other entity to take care of you in the time that you would probably not be able to earn actively.

That's why I'm also trying to educate myself on the various investment instruments. I think that it's a great idea to buy gold bullion and maybe sell them later if the need arises. As we all know, gold prices generally go up in the long term. If I buy now when I have the capacity to earn a little extra for my investments, chances are prices would likely increase by the time I retire, which is a good twenty years from now. I admit I'm a newbie at this, so anybody could correct me if my statement is wrong.

One thing I'm sure of is this: We should take responsibility for our own future. Not depend on something or someone else. Not even our own kids, who will have their own problems and responsibilities in the future. Things change and the only people we can really count upon is ourselves.

Holiday confusion

My son's school calendar states that September 9 is a holiday. However, I have yet to hear the official announcement from Malacanang.

While this may not seem like such a big deal, to me it is. We have a team building activity on the eighth and ninth of September, and it's supposed to be an overnight thingy. I do not know if we can bring the kids (I hope so). And even if we can't, there's the problem of bringing my eldest to school. We'll have problems doing that if we're away at the team building affair.

Another problem is that we'll have to cancel other clinic schedules in order to accommodate the team building activity. A holiday would mean that we don't really have to cancel too many clinic skeds since some of our other clinics are closed anyway.

Such are the dilemmas of working parents.

I hope P Noy decides soon. He's been really slow in making decisions. I hope it's because he's still not used to his job, and he's still in the adjustment period, and that this is not reflective on how things are going to be for the rest of his term.

Gold

My family has great belief in the intrinsic value of gold. In accordance with Chinese custom, my father's family gave my mother gold jewelry during their engagement ceremony. My mother's family, in turn gave my father a gold watch.

Tradition aside, gold is really a good investment. It's a finite material, but it does not easily break down or lose its value. There is no special care needed to store gold, unlike, say, paintings. It is not destroyed by Ondoy-like floods (you could lose them though, if you haven't kept them carefully).

That is why I am strongly considering investing in certified gold coins. While jewelry does contain gold, I have no idea how much of the compound is gold and, heaven forbid, if I get a less-than-honest vendor, I might be fooled into getting something useless. Which is a waste of my money.

There was a time when it was difficult to look for such coins. I still don't know if there's a source right here in the Philippines, but at least now there are online sites where you can make a purchase. Do check out usgoldbureau.com if you're going to make an investment in gold. It looks like a reliable site.

Pagbabago

It was barely a month after my wedding when the news came.

My uncle and his family were enjoying their Christmas vacation in Thailand when the deadly tsunami struck. This disaster claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of lives, including those of my uncle and my 2 young cousins (they were only aged 44, 13 and 10 at the time) plus 2 other members of their party.

My brother went to Phuket to take care of things while we all waited for any updates. At the time, the youngest daughter (my cousin) was still struggling for her life in an ICU. She eventually succumbed after almost 3 weeks, a few days after her 10th birthday.

Imagine. We were still at the height of the euphoric honeymoon cloud that we were riding in when we were rudely brought back to reality. My mother was very depressed that her youngest brother and the 2 young children were so abruptly taken away from us.

With all that was happening, I initially did not realize that there were already changes occurring in my body. I started to get food aversions. I thought that I just did not have an appetite given the extreme situation that we were in at that time. There were only a few things that I could tolerate, and the Goldilocks mamon that my mom's friends brought over was one of them.

Then we began to suspect that my lack of appetite and food aversions were due to something else.

2 pink lines. A new life. Hope.

We told my mother the news that she is going to be a grandmother. I believe that this was the point when she started to slowly get out of her depression.

9 months after we lost our loved ones to the fury of Mother Nature, we welcomed another life into the family. My husband and I were so excited that we excitedly shared the news to family and friends. A lot of them came over to visit. We served them goodies from Goldilocks like ensaymada and mamon and tetra packed juice.

I realized later that my son came at just the right time. He is my mother's first apo, and while she may not be a totally indulgent lola (she can actually be strict at times), she loves him very, very much. We now celebrate life, after death claimed our loved ones.

Life has again changed.

In about 2 week's time, it will be his fifth birthday. We're having a simple celebration at home. No party this year, just a simple family salo-salo, but for sure there will be a cake (from Goldilocks!) and misua. It's been a roller coaster ride the past 5 years, but life goes on, through all the ups and downs, through all the challenges, through all the PAGBABAGO (changes).