What I Learned about Finances, Tax Planning and Myself

All about tracking, tax planning, effort and perseverance!

I am so motivated to fix my finances this 2021. I’ve learned so much from diligently tracking both my personal and business income and expenses. So for today, I’d love to share with you what I have learned and hopefully, these learnings can help you, too.

You can’t do away with LEARNING Finance Topics if you want to be Financially Independent

I have friends who turn a blind eye and a deaf ear when you start talking about finances, investment, taxes, accounting, etc. To be honest with you, years ago, I was like that, too. And when I was young, I abhorred Math. I never really understood why we were studying it.

I started enjoying finances when I worked for a bank, and I love it even more now that I’m running a startup. I started seeing why we need to learn how to compute (even just for the basic stuff) and why we need to “read and understand” numbers. The thing about these topics is that you can’t really do away with these if you plan to be financially independent later on.

Last 2020, I tried to learn as much as I can about all of these, and I got to learn more on how “money” can work for you. One of the things that I learned is that you need to look at each Peso or Dollar as something or someone who works for you. Is their task to pay a bill or pay for a particular expense, or is their task to grow themselves?

For most of us, it may take a while before you can send some of your funds to grow themselves. Most of your money will really be spent on paying bills, etc. but take your time and enjoy the process. That’s another thing that I learned.

Know what your Constraints are

I learned to make more informed decisions last year, and this stemmed from the fact that I learned to know and realize what my constraints are. I know myself really well and one of my personal challenges is saying NO to things that don’t really matter. The PROs of this weakness is that there are a lot of opportunities that come to me and I get to widen my circle, but the CONs are I have less time for myself and less time for the things that really should matter.

So last year, I made a conscious decision to prioritize. The pandemic really slowed down Manila Workshops’ business, but what I realized is that handling Manila Workshops, Taxumo and Blogging / Vlogging really is a lot to handle. Although the purpose of Manila Workshops is great, I realized that I can also fulfill that purpose when I do the other things on my plate (like grow our startup and enjoy vlogging and blogging).

As for blogging, vlogging and streaming, I plan to work on understanding and learning more this year. People also think that Blogging and Vlogging is easy. You just create content and people will come. Well, that’s not the case really. You need to treat it like a business, so you will need a little bit of capital and lots of effort and learning. Nowadays, the learning curve for being a content creator is steep IF you really want to earn from it. It’s easy to learn tools that simplify content creation, but there are a lot of things to learn if you plan to earn from it.

This year, I am also officially announcing that I will keep the Manila Workshops brand, but we will be keeping it as a community instead. I won’t be monetizing it again yet. I’ll still look at a more scalable business model. Oh, that’s another thing, too. Growing Taxumo has made me realize a lot of things about how I handled Manila Workshops, which was actually pretty cool. I think I have grown more when it came to handling a business.

Learn how to Track literally EVERYTHING and do Tax Planning

People, I have realized that the first step to financial success is really knowing where you stand. You need to know your numbers — your personal income and expenses, your household income and expenses and your business revenue and expenses. Making decisions base on gut feeling (at least for me) isn’t the way to go.

Hard decisions are “hard” to make (like getting married, shifting careers, starting a business, etc.) because you obviously haven’t been to the FUTURE. Any path you take will be hard, unless you intentionally decide to take a one year break from making any life decisions, and just “Eat. Pray. Love.” your way through life that one year. In any case, you need money to sustain you that whole year.

So if you want to get on track to fixing your finances, start the habit of tracking it. You will realize that this simple habit will help you discover things that you haven’t discovered before about yourself, your spending, your behaviours, etc.

This is how I track my personal finances

For business, it’s really the same thing. I remember having this conversation with Nicole Alba, a young finance vlogger, and I mentioned that in order for people to run sustainable businesses and freelancing careers, they also need to know how to handle their personal finances.

For my business, I use Taxumo to track both my revenue and expenses.

It super easy and not at all complicated to learn how to use the system. Taxumo has FREE onboarding sessions here just in case you want to learn how to use it: http://txmo.co/onboarding.

What I have learned also by consistently tracking my business revenue and expenses, I can do tax planning. I can easily identify how much I should set aside for taxes early on. I have all of my information in Taxumo, so it makes it easier for me to know the amount of taxes that I need to pay. I also get a feel of what I have spent on significantly on the previous month.

As a self-employed individual, tax planning for me begins with just tracking really. How can you plan if you have no idea on where your funds are going or how much are you earning.

As for the tax rate that you can choose at the start of every year, before your first filing for the year, Taxumo has this notification bell that recommends what tax rate is best for you based on your cashflow entries.

Tax planning recommendation tool in Taxumo!
Machine learning tax planning tool of Taxumo
Sample of what is seen in the recommendations tab

You can check this out after inputting cash flow entries.

I have so many things going on in my life right now, but what I can say really is that I know where I am heading this 2021. It’s clear to me where I want to go and I am happy with the things that are happening to me and my loved ones.

I wish you all the same feeling. I wish that you find enough motivation and will power. I wish you find clarity. I hope that the path to being financially free will be clearer and I hope that you find your life’s purpose.

Cheers to a great 2021!

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