10 Personal Finance Truths I Learned from Playing a Mobile Game

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It’s called CASHFLOW, and I played it for the first time for 3 hours straight.

Believe me, I am not a usual advocate of computer or mobile games. I’d much rather recommend that you read at least 10 pages of a good book each day, or listen to informative podcasts, or get down on your yoga mat and plank for 5 minutes. They’re much more likely to create positive results a couple of years down the road. Time is precious, and the last thing we want to do is kill it!

But one of my finance mentors mentioned it casually and I got intrigued. Why would a busy person who’s got a packed daily planner and real life goals be interested in a mobile game? So I searched for it in the Android Play Store. Besides I needed an excuse to goof off for a few hours.

It turns out, CASHFLOW is a FUN way to learn the basics of personal finance and investing and get the ropes on what’s really important to keep on growing as an entrepreneur. Emphasis on the FUN! It’s kind of like a financial management class without the intimidating charts and the terrifying professors.

 10 PERSONAL FINANCE TRUTHS I LEARNED FROM PLAYING CASHFLOW

  1. Have a clear vision of your dream right from the very beginning. This will keep you from getting sidetracked from what you really want to achieve. It’s easy to get pulled helplessly into a frenzy of promising opportunities if you don’t figure this out at the end. And you’ll find yourself changing direction too often, maybe even end up running in circles. Having a clear vision helps you prioritize and organize your spending and investments. If you can, take a few hours over the next weekend to create a dream board.

 

  1. Your first financial goal is to eliminate unnecessary debt. Most of our credit card debt are usually inessential and do not create income. Yes, your branded shoes are expenses not investments, even if they last 10 years and make you look like a million bucks. Minimizing debt will increase your monthly cash flow and allow you to invest your money in things that create more income. Otherwise, you will get trapped in an endless cycle of living paycheck to paycheck. Hello rat race!

 

  1. It’s okay to make a loan. Given that: 1) you will use the proceeds for a business that will bring in additional cash flow; 2) the monthly income it generates is significantly more than the monthly interest you have to pay for it; 3) your total income after the loan should still be greater than your total expenses including the monthly amortization. In short, the benefit should be greater than cost. This Benefit over Cost principle is important all the time, otherwise you could go bankrupt!

 

  1. Your aim is not just to “get by” but to create passive income. In the game, you achieve your dream by first getting out of the rat race. If you want to find the freedom to live life your way, you have to trade in your safe zone as an employee. This is not always the case in real life, but it’s a theme that is repeated way too often in success stories we read about – Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Ma, Steve Jobs, (fill in the blank). You get out of the rat race by increasing your passive income to cover your total monthly expenses. That way, your regular expenses are covered.

 

  1. The income you earn is proportionate to the cost and risk you are willing to take. There’s a lot of ways to earn passive income. You can invest or trade stocks, get into real estate, invest in bonds and other financial instruments. Deals that have smaller costs also have smaller risks and smaller returns. Bigger deals have greater financial costs and entail a greater amount of risk, but also create greater returns.

 

  1. A dream becomes more expensive the longer you wait to achieve it. The longer you stay in the rate race, the harder it becomes to catch up on the costs of making your dream a reality. Soon enough, inflation rises, you get more workload and less time for starting business, you incur more debt and get trapped in the endless cycle of bills-paycheck-payment-zero balance-bills. Plus your children grow and so do their needs.

 

  1. Safe investments are fine. But… almost all the time, they never generate enough income to get you out of the rat race. At least not enough to get you out in time to build resources for your goals. In other words, you have to be willing to involve a certain level of risk if you want to successfully build your dream.

 

  1. Make the most of your resources. That’s why you see a lot of scaling-up entrepreneurs indulge too much in luxuries, even if they can afford them. Luxuries will decrease your resources that could have gone to realizing your dream. Also, invest only in “assets” or properties that add to your monthly cash flow –e.g. rare coins, gold bars, a promissory note from a friend are not the best options when you’re trying to grow cash flow as quickly as possible. If you lend to someone, consider that money gone. Do not ever expect to get it back, much less earn a premium from it. Think of it as a chance to help out and not an income earning opportunity, because oftentimes, it’s not. Not in monetary terms anyway.

 

  1. Income becomes exponentially greater once you get out of the rat race. But risks are exponentially greater as well. So you have to be ready for greater things, both as blessings and challenges.

 

  1. When you reach your dream, all the sacrifices are worth it. In addition, you will find that you have grown so much bigger and better than the person you used to be when you were started out on your journey.

 

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WHAT I LEARNED IN REAL LIFE AFTER PLAYING THE GAME

I spend more time hustling in real life than getting lost in a game. But there’s just one thing I learned. Your fiscal status is reflective of your personal growth and success, but how you spend it is reflective of your heart.

Financial freedom is a crucial part of personal development, despite being demonized by some conservative groups as materialism. What if we look at it the other way? How do you make sure your family does not go hungry? Or that nobody evicts them out of their home in the middle of the night because there wasn’t enough money to pay the rent? How do you give them good education? How could you help your friend get treatment for his kid’s cancer if you don’t have money for the treatment either? Money is a not evil really, but a blessing that we have to learn to manage as good stewards.

Having said that, being successful is not just about becoming rich.  It’s about having freedom and creating positive impact. And well-managed personal finances is your best tool to do that.

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Oh my, Chiang Mai!

DSC00250It’s the hottest time of the year – summer. And I find myself not in the old familiar beaches of Cagayan de Oro City but in a green and quaint campus in a new place called Chiang Mai. No, I’m not in China. Chiang Mai is one of the biggest cities in the northern part of Thailand. It has a lot of greeneries, peaceful and accomodating Thai’s and a throng of passerby tourists who flock the city’s popular night markets. A lot of temples, a lot of elephants (okay, I haven’t seen those yet), a lot of beautiful nooks and crannies, and a lot of peculiar everyday stuff. Sure is an interesting place, and I hope my short stay here would let me take in as much of its sights, sounds and flavors as I could contain.

Check out my Chiang Mai blog: ryzagoestochiangmai.wordpress.com

Sawasdee kah! ;D

Choice

I want to say I can’t. I give up. I’m tired, I quit. But I love life, so I have no real choice but to say I can. And no matter what happens afterwards, I know there’s Someone I will always have and there’s a regret I will never have to experience.

Because I don’t want to fall apart

It’s difficult now, but it’s gonna be alright.
Lift your head high, baby, it will be just fine
When the river’s raging and the bridge
threatens to give in
That’s okay. Just wait it out
and the storm will calm down.
When things are crazier than crazy has ever been
Hold on with your last strength,
And when you have nothing left,
Lift up your voice and sing.

“You are my strength when I am weak,
You are the treasure that I seek,
You are my all in all.
Seeking you as a precious jewel,
Lord, to give up I’d be a fool,
You are my all in all.”

“You do your work the best that you can
you put one foot in front of the other
life comes in waves and makes its demands
you hold on as well as you’re able

You’ve been here for a long long time

Hope has a way of turning its face to you
just when you least expect it
you walk in a room
you look out a window
and something there leaves you breathless
you say to yourself
it’s been a while since I felt this
but it feels like it might be hope

It’s hard to recall what blew out the flame
it’s been dark since you can remember
you talk it all through to find it a name
as days go on by without number

You’ve been here for a long long time

Hope has a way of turning its face to you
just when you least expect it
you walk in a room
you look out a window
and something there leaves you breathless
you say to yourself
it’s been a while since I felt this
but it feels like it might be hope”

“Trust, trust in the LORD
Lean not on your own understanding
In all, all of your ways acknowledge Him
He’ll make your paths straight.”

~I know You love me
If You are with me all the days of my life
then You must be around here somewhere
during the darker days.
Hold me in Your arms and let me
rest in your love.
I find peace.
peace.

Another Diary of a Troubled Kid: That Breakthrough Moment

It finally got through my innocent, slightly-gullible head,
that when you are too nice and accommodating,
people take advantage of you.
And it doesn’t do to believe the best in people
because most of the time,
you will just end up making their lives easy
while you bear the burden of others’ comfort.
And I learned that the world is not full of jerks,
but there are not too many angels around either.
And you got to be tough,
if you don’t want to be pushed around
even by the people you trust –
especially, by the people you trust.
the song resounds in my ears for the very first time
“they’ll take your soul if you let them.”
So now I want to learn how
to not let them.
Tomorrow, the day after that, maybe the week afterwards,
and the years to follow,
there’s gonna be a transformation.
A hardening of heart,
because in this world
pushovers fade away –
or learn to push back.

~do you hear their painful silence?

Under the rays of the morning sun, I ponder

I’m a passerby in this strange, lovely world
of queer, beautiful people –
Everyone with his color and shape and pettiness,
So lovely to behold – if you could behold deeply
Deeper than the scars and the masks and the fortresses
of cautiously built-up walls, and well-hidden
emotional landmines;
Every one with a story that has changed
him – emphasis on EVERY ONE.
That haughty face that cries itself to sleep,
That hand of an artist that wishes, for a change,
to hold someone else’s warm hand,
That beautiful shell that holds an equally beautiful heart
though not everybody thinks so,
That angry scowl which is really just hurting,
That decrepit soul with an intact spring of joy.
They all make a beautiful world –
not an all pretty, thorough, and understandable one,
but what a beautiful world!

This ironic life

I just find it quite ironic

to have a blog
and yet not able to post what I’m really thinking

to have facebook
that doesn’t completely show who I am

to live in a big house with so many nice people
and still not have someone to talk to

to have access to a tirade of social media
but unable to express myself.

In the end I ask myself,
is it because the world has gone shallow and cold
or because I could not meditate life deep enough
to cope with the world I live in?

“The Moon is a Harsh Mistress”

If I had the gift to do so, I would have loved to sing this song. Not so much for the moon to hear as for the coldness to disperse.

See her as she flies
Golden sails across the sky
Close enough to touch
But careful if you try
Though she looks as warm as gold
The moon’s a harsh mistress
The moon can be so cold

Once the sun did shine
And Lord it felt so fine
The moon a phantom rose
Through the mountains and the pine
And then the darkness fell
And the moon’s a harsh mistress
It’s hard to love her well

I fell out of her eyes
And I fell out of her heart
I fell down on my face, yes I did
And I tripped and I missed my star
And I fell and fell alone
And the moon’s a harsh mistress
The sky is made of stone

The moon’s a harsh mistress
She’s hard to call your own

Feeling every word and every line of Jimmy Webb’s evocative song as performed by Josh Groban. At least, today I am. I wonder how many others there are who, like me, feel like a Halcyon Green listening to his own heart being sung by a leucrota.

(a tinge of Camp half-blood lingo over there, though I am not a very big fan. It just happens to fit). Lyrics from http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/joshgroban/themoonisaharshmistress.html

Too Much Sweets Causes Diabetes

Too much of sweets can cause diabetes. Of course you know its symptoms. Right?–your wounds won’t heal quicker and everything. #MrValentine

Read that on my news feed a few minutes ago, and all I could say is “Right.” Literally and figuratively – RIGHT! 

I have a longer train of thought about that than three clauses and an exclamation point. But I’ll limit them to my journal and you can go figure your own interpretation.

By the way, there’s another quote ringing in my head at the moment  – not closely related to the first one:

(One of) the best prize(s) life can offer is the chance to work hard at a work worth doing. 

I told you it wasn’t very related, but I find it really beautiful. And yeah, the chance to give your best shot at something you really love to do is way better than chocolates and doesn’t cause diabetes. I know. I love it. 😀