We’re Back! September a Month to Remember at VM

Testing…one, two, three. Ahem!

It’s great to be back! We haven’t posted anything here in quite a while and boy have we missed you! We’re back now and happy to start our blogging relationship all over again. Stop by whenever you can so you can stay on top of all that’s happening at your Victoria Mutual.

We’ll have the big news, the not-so-big news and lots of behind-the-scenes action as our best-in-the-business Team goes to work to help our Members achieve Financial Independence.

So, we’ve made it to the end of September. What a month it has been! We started out with the storm that never came. The ‘would-be Hurricane Isaac’ threatened briefly but, thankfully, sputtered to an ignominious end before it got to us. There were a few nervous moments, however. Many bouffant hairstyles went south when the island got drenched with torrential rains in the second week of the month. Yes, Isaac’s remnants left plenty pairs of soggy socks and scores of leaking roofs in its wake. Still, we’re grateful because we know it could have been much worse. Let’s use that episode as our warning to stay prepared.

A Successful Blood Drive

Speaking of staying prepared, when was the last time you donated blood? You never know when you or someone you love will be in need of blood, so you really should stay ready. On Thursday, September 13, our VM Team hosted a blood drive at our Half-Way Tree location and got lots of support. Close to 40 persons attended and donated blood. This is a huge deal and will have real impact on many persons’ lives. We encourage you to visit a donor centre near you and give blood today. You won’t regret it.

We also want to mention the Victoria Mutual Pensions Management Limited/Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica annual Retirement Seminar that took place at the Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston on September 25. The presenters were Finance Minister Nigel Clarke; Andrew Long, Managing Director, Willis Towers Watson; Everton McFarlane, Executive Director, Financial Services Commission; Sanya Goffe, Chairman, Pensions Funds Association of Jamaica; and Jean Lowrie Chin, Founder and Executive Chairman of the Caribbean Community of Retired Persons (CCRP). The seminar was a huge success with important information shared with attendees.

Service Excellence

Now, that was a lot for one day, but we’re Victoria Mutual and we don’t settle for good. We aim for excellence. So, also on September 25, Victoria Mutual was featured in a big way at the Jamaica Customer Service Association’s (JaCSA) annual conference at the Pegasus hotel in New Kingston, with our President and CEO giving a presentation titled ‘Service Excellence: A Blueprint for Global Competitiveness.’ His presentation was a hit and gave lots of food for thought to those in attendance. Now, far be it from us to brag, but it’s well worth mentioning here that the Victoria Mutual Group is no stranger to the JaCSA. The Group copped six of seven sectional awards en route to sweeping the Large Business Category in July’s JaCSA/Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica 2018 Service Excellence Awards.

We scored the most points in leadership, training and capacity, monitoring & measurement, reward & recognition, complaints management and international benchmarks. What an honour! And how exciting it is that we’ve only just begun!

So, friends, as we wrap September and look happily towards October, remember that you can watch this space for all the latest happenings. There will be lots of exciting developments. Until next time!

Come Home in 3 Easy Steps

Introducing VM Home in 3 Steps

How much longer do you want to continue paying your landlord’s mortgage?

Never thought of it that way, right? The truth is that’s probably what you’re doing right now, month after month, while the roof leaks, your privacy is limited and you must park your car on the side of the street because your parking space got swiped by one of the landlord’s visiting relatives. Want to continue living like that, or do you want your own space? I’m gonna assume that you’re a little bit more than excited at the thought of your own home, decorated exactly the way you want, with pets allowed because you said so. But perhaps you’re not quite sure of where to begin. Well, we can help.

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5 Financial Resolutions You Can Keep

Happy New Year! It’s 2017 and with the dawn of a new year comes numerous opportunities, including overhauling your financial life for the better. An excellent place to start is by making good Financial Resolutions that can help get you closer to living the life you desire.

Victoria Mutual was established as an organisation committed to helping individuals from all walks of life realise their goals. Today, against this rich heritage, we remain committed to empowering our Members globally to acquire their own homes and achieve their financial independence. This commitment to empowering individuals to achieve their goals is not only for our Members and clients but also for YOU! There are many resources within the Group to help you buy that 3-bedroom home, pay for your children’s education, take that much-needed vacation, or achieve your specific financial resolutions this year.

Before you start making your resolutions, here are a couple of things we want you to keep in mind.

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National Leadership Prayer Breakfast Committee Hands Over Cheque to the Eira Schader Home For The Aged

KINGSTON, JAMAICA, February 23, 2016

The National Leadership Prayer Breakfast Committee (NLPBC) yesterday (February 23, 2016) handed over a cheque valued at over five hundred thousand dollars to the Eira Schader Home For The Aged in Trench Town, representing a combination of contributions collected at the National Leadership Prayer Breakfast held earlier this year along with a direct donation from the Victoria Mutual Group. Each year the NLPBC contributes the money collected at the National Leadership Prayer Breakfast, to a selected project or charity.

Speaking at the Cheque Hand Over Ceremony, Chairman of the National Leadership Prayer Breakfast Committee, Rev. Dr. Stevenson Samuels, noted that the presentation to the Eira Schader Home, the importance of kindness within the society.

“We celebrate kindness today. Without kindness, the society cannot go on. Most of the real work done in our society is not for profit, but it is done for love.”

President and CEO of the Victoria Mutual Group, Richard Powell, reiterated his organisation’s commitment to support the work of the NLPBC and emphasized the significance of the contribution being made to the Home. Citing results from the 2015 World Health Organisation’s Report on Ageing and Health, which reported that the ageing population around the world is growing, yet the resources are inadequate to meet the demands of this community, he noted that, “in Jamaica, the stark reality is that we are in need of more facilities like the Eira Schader Home for the Aged that can provide adequate care for our seniors. Many of them are homeless and without families to provide the care they need. Research in Jamaica indicates that the elderly now comprises 11.3% of the population, and this figure is projected to rise to 25% by 2050.”

Powell also announced that in addition to making a monetary donation of $50,000 towards improving the facilities, the organisation will include the Home as one of its 2016 Labour Day Projects.

The Eira Schader Home for the Aged was established by Eira Schader from Switzerland 30 years ago and provides care for senior citizens in the Trench Town Community. A volunteer from the community, Lloyd Ferguson, has been managing the home since 1991 from his limited means and other donations he may receive. Currently, the Home is in urgent need of support. This includes physical repairs to the structure, provision of supplies and assistance in meeting the health needs of the residents as well as financial support for providing their day-to-day care. Currently, the Home has six residents but has the capacity for 26. At the Cheque Hand Over Ceremony, Rev. Linford Henry, Chairman of the Trench Town

Ministers Fraternal, expressed gratitude on behalf of the Home. “This donation will go a far way in helping us to provide care to the elderly in our community. The Ministers Fraternal has made a commitment to give full assistance and support to the Home. We thank the Prayer Breakfast Committee and Victoria Mutual for your contribution that will keep this work going.”

(L-R) Rev. Dr. Stevenson Samuels, Chairman, National Leadership Prayer Breakfast Committee and Richard Powell, President and CEO of Victoria Mutual Group, present Lloyd Ferguson (3rd left), manager of the Eira Schader Home For The Aged in Trench Town, with a cheque valued at over five hundred thousand dollars,

(L-R) Rev. Dr. Stevenson Samuels, Chairman, National Leadership Prayer Breakfast Committee and Richard Powell, President and CEO of Victoria Mutual Group, present Lloyd Ferguson (3rd left), manager of the Eira Schader Home For The Aged in Trench Town, with a cheque valued at over five hundred thousand dollars, representing a combination of contributions collected at the National Leadership Prayer Breakfast held earlier this year along with a direct donation from the Victoria Mutual Group. The occasion was the National Leadership Prayer Breakfast Committee’s Cheque Hand Over Ceremony held recently at the Victoria Mutual Group’s Corporate Board Room in St. Andrew. Each year the NLPBC contributes the money collected at the National Leadership Prayer Breakfast, to a selected project or charity.

 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Clover L. Moore, Manager – Public Relations & Corporate Affairs, Victoria Mutual

Cell: (876) 383-2724, Email: clover.moore@vmbs.com

Six Tips For Your Future Self

Six Tips For Your Future Self

 

Dear Future Self,

If you’re reading this you’ve probably spent the last five or ten years working on all those plans I laid out for you, and no doubt, messing up a few of them, getting rid of some, and adding others too. But now that you’ve been through all that you have, I just want to give you some advice. Things you know you know, but ignore anyway.

  1. Retirement – Keep on contributing to our retirement plan. Seriously, don’t touch it! Not until you are ready to retire anyway. We spent a lot of time budgeting and saving for our retirement and the interest is compounding. So if you should borrow from it then we’ll end up with much less than we planned to have. Resist the temptation, and instead, keep adding to it. And as your salary increases, remember to increase the amount you contribute, even if it’s just 1% each year.

 

  1. It’s time to increase the percentage of your salary that goes into savings since your salary has increased. Our retirement contribution isn’t the only thing that needs to be increased over time. The amount required for your emergency savings is a percentage of your income, and your investments, and general savings need to increase as well. Make adjustments with life events like marriage, moving, switching jobs or having kids.

 

  1. It’s time to move all that savings from our regular bank account to a long term investment with great returns. First of all, congratulations on not using all our savings on “emergencies” and using the emergency savings for exactly what it’s meant for. Now that we have all that money saved in our bank account, it’s time to put it to work. Yes, it’s earning interest but it can do so much more. Instead, invest that money in stocks, bonds, treasury bills, or commercial paper and get even better returns. And talk to your investment advisor about collective investments like a managed or a unit trust. They can open doors to opportunities otherwise unavailable.

 

  1. You should be almost out of debt by now. Don’t dig the debt hole any deeper. By the way, are the student loans all cleared now? If you are still in debt, please take care of that as soon as possible. If not, create a realistic plan to repay all debt. Create a spending plan for when all that debt is gone to prevent it from happening again and remember there’s no need to do it alone so talk to an investment advisor.

 

  1. If you’re still good at painting, go get that extra money. I just sold one of my watercolor paintings from art class! I didn’t make much but can you imagine the extra money you could be making now if you apply yourself to it. Or maybe you’ve gotten better at baking, tutoring, or maybe there’s some new skill even. Make the most of your skills, offer them to others at a good price and earn extra income. Use this to help clear debt, add to your investments or reinvest into your side job.

 

  1. Live for today, prepare for tomorrow. Don’t forget to work for what you need and remember to have fun. It’s great to plan for the future (even better when we stick to the plan) but don’t allow that to get in the way of enjoying today. Make short term goals, treat yourself now and again, invest in yourself and take care of yourself. Staying healthy and happy means you’ll spend less time and money fixing problems caused by neglecting yourself. Feel free to edit our goals and dreams but don’t kill them. Improve on them and keep working on them.

 

Now that you’re older and wiser, why not leave some good advice for your future self.

 

Sincerely,

Your Awesome Younger Self.

 

 

How Thinking Small Can Equal Big

Imagine your financially independent life.

Now think of the feeling you get when you have an extra $300 in your pocket as a result of packing last night’s dinner leftovers as today’s lunch. How about the bubbly feeling inside when your boss commends you on work well done in the staff meeting. Or how about the pride of investing all the money from your iSave account when it matures. Budgeting and having more than enough to cover bills, savings, entertainment, and investments. Or not having to worry about whether or not this month’s salary was late.

We often set our Big Financial Independence goals and don’t see them through. We get frustrated with how difficult it seems to save 20% of our income every month, to volunteer in our community, or to start our own business. Achieving them may be time-consuming and demanding but it’s great to have really big goals. Ambition is a beautiful thing!

Too Big of a Big Picture

There is a reason why we find it so hard to see our large goals through to the end.  Imagine a flight of 50 stairs. You are at the bottom and need to get to the top of those stairs. If you stand on the first step looking up at step 50, it may seem impossible to get to the top. But if you focus on getting up the second step instead of all the way to 50 then it seems more achievable doesn’t it? That’s the trick to achieving our larger goals. Not only breaking them up into smaller, more achievable steps, but looking at the small goals that will lead you to your financial independence.

Think of a Series of Goals Not Steps.

After completing a step the next thing to do is to move on to the next. On the other hand, a Goal leaves you feeling resolved when you’ve completed it and motivates you to tackle the next one. Think of it as many small goals that will eventually lead to you achieving your larger goal.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Decide on your final goal. What does Financial Independence mean to you? Think about what you want to achieve and when. Maybe you would like to retire in the next 40 years. This will make it easier for you to create a clearly defined action plan.

 

  1. Work backwards. Figure out the smaller steps that need to be met before getting to the final goal. (And the one before that and before that one.) For example if your Big plan is to retire comfortably, calculate how much money you will need. Break it down to see how much money you’ll need to save each year, each month, and each week. Then see how you can save this amount each week. Make a list of questions you have about opening an Approved Retirement Scheme (ARS) account at Victoria Mutual Pension Management. Working backwards ensures that each small step is aimed at fulfilling the bigger picture.

 

  1. Create a goal for each small step. A goal of taking lunch to work 3 or 4 days a week. A goal of saving $2k each week for a month. Whatever your small goal may be, it will serve as an endpoint for each small step, like the end of a book in a series.

 

  1. Work to accomplish each goal on time. Set time limits for yourself to complete each small goal. Bring lunches to work 4 times a week. Did it? Done! You’ve accomplished one goal in a week. Keep doing this and you’ll notice how it helps you to remain disciplined and committed to your goal.

 

  1. Check it off. After achieving a goal, check it off, congratulate yourself, have a celebratory dance in your living room. You’re doing great! But don’t stop there. Re-assess the goals you’ve completed and tackle the next small goal on your list.

Stay focused on the big picture but don’t let it consume you. Decide on the steps needed to accomplish your BIG goals and set small goals for each step. Think small, take small steps and you’ll be surprised how easily and quickly you’ve made it to the 50th stair.

Celebrate Your Minipendence!

There is nothing as exhilarating as seeing the proof of your hard work! You’ve been having more Ramen dinners than may be deemed healthy and you’re fattening those saving and investments accounts so you can make your dream of Financial Independence a reality. It’s awesome that you’ve decided to take this huge step to making your future one you can enjoy and be proud of.

Now we know there are those moments when we miss spending money on the things we enjoy. Maybe it’s an occasional night out, or a meal at a restaurant, or the latest electronic device. Whatever it may be for you, there comes a time while saving for the long term that we just want to go out and splurge on all the things that’ll make us happy. After all, we’ve been doing such a great job of saving for the future, it’s about time we treat ourselves right?

It’s not a bad thing to splurge once in a while. In fact, it’s healthy and very beneficial to you if you have long term savings goals. This, our friends, is what we are calling our MINIPENDENCE!

Minipendence is a small reward you give yourself for working towards your Financial Independence.

It is a way for you to enjoy your life today, even if it is in a small way, while you work towards making the future rewarding and enjoyable. It keeps you motivated, it breaks your routine and gives you something fun and rewarding to look forward to in the short-term.

Why Minipendence?

  1. It has long term benefits. Rewarding yourself with that gorgeous new pair of work shoes means you’ll have some fancy and (hopefully) comfortable motivation while you work and continue to build your Financial Independence.
  2. Saving to purchase an item in the near future instead of waiting until you have achieved all your goals sometimes work against us. That’s because prices and availability change.
  3. It is a reward! That’s positive reinforcement for all the diligent saving and investing you’ve been doing.
  4. It gives you a way to plan rewards, free or otherwise, in a way that would not take away from your primary saving goal.
  5. You need a reason for a reward right? In order to claim your Minipendence, you would need to earn it. Use this as motivation to reach specific stages in your master plan. For example, you could have a reward for every $100,000 you save.

This doesn’t have to eat into your savings, in fact it sometimes can cost nothing at all.

Minipendence Ideas

  1. Splurge on one small unnecessary item and enjoy it to the max! Anybody up for some chocolate or pizza?
  2. Do something fun! Go to some fun events. (The less you spend on each event the more events your budget can take you to).
  3. Pamper yourself. Take a trip to a spa and have a manicure or pedicure, have a relaxing bubble bath, get a haircut, or have a nap.
  4. Give back. One of the best rewards you can give to yourself is by giving a gift, a helping hand, a service, or your time to someone who really needs it.
  5. Finally, reward yourself with something that means something to you.

Enjoy your Minipendence VMers! Let us know how you plan to reward yourself. Remember, it’s all about the balance.

In Celebration of You

In 1989 Alpha Financial Services was established by Victoria Mutual, and by 1994 it was listed on the Jamaica Stock Exchange, then in 2002 Alpha was renamed VM Wealth Management. Now, 21 years after our Stock Exchange listing, and four new locations later, we celebrate the brilliant team and fantastic clients who have made our investment firm what it is today.

Over the last two decades VM Wealth has helped our clients move forward in their financial lives, and demonstrated leadership in times of financial instability, with innovative advice that has made the most of opportunities. And we look forward to building on this legacy, as well as that of our parent company.

This year we commemorated our 21st anniversary with a church service, a few festivities, and some good fun at the Port Antonio International Marlin tourney in Portland. But ultimately the best part of each anniversary is our celebration of you! It’s been our privilege to help the people we serve move from just working for their money to having their money work for them. It’s been a source of pride watching you live fuller todays and brighter tomorrows.

For us, Wealth Management has always been about you. So we’ve sought out the best economists and analysts, studied the markets, sharpened our insights, and led developments in customised securities and lending solutions. We’ve connected financiers to organisations in need of funds, managed bond portfolios that now fund happy retirements, and created portfolios that give investors access to international markets. We’ve supported ideas, and helped grow businesses and industries – most recently with the IPO on Westmoreland-based Sweet River Abattoir and Agro-park.

There are some common myths about investing, and the most pernicious among them is that investments are just for old, rich folk – yes, we’ve heard you say it, so we’re talking to you straight. Investments are indeed for the mature and the affluent, AND, investments are for the young and modest, it’s also for everyone in between. Once you’ve saved for emergencies (remember your rainy-day fund ought to be 3-6 months of your income), think about how much you can afford to put away for the long term, so for example if you earn $50,000 a month, 10% of your income could go to $60,000 in investments each year. And if you earn $5,000,000 a month there’s asset management for you too. There’s an investment product or mix out there for everyone – no matter your risk tolerance or your income – and whether you’re investing for yourself or a business. What matters is that you invest with people who understand the responsibility they have to you, your family, your work and your legacy – and that’s what we’re about.

Why should our anniversary matter to you? Because it means 21 years of growth, of missions accomplished, and most importantly years of helping people from every walk of life on their journey to Financial Independence, and it means a strong foundation to help you on yours.

Who Is Your Financial Hero? Tell Us & You Could Win!

“Heroes are ordinary people who make themselves extraordinary.” ~ Gerard Way

Throughout the month of October, in the spirit of National Heritage Week, children all over Jamaica donned costumes that brought our national heroes to life. Amidst celebrations sweetened by Jamaican cuisine, little ones recited poetry and speeches about “yonder gallows” and a “mighty race” as Samuel Sharpe and Marcus Garvey enter classrooms across the country.

We salute them, and all our national heroes who played exemplary roles in shaping a proud nation. As we continue to evolve, many more heroes will chart the course of our history. Who are the heroes around you every day? More relevantly, who are the people you know who have placed great value on Financial Independence and set the bar that you aim to reach in your money matters? Who is your own financial hero?

A financial hero is easy to spot. Here are five ways to help you identify your own:

  1. A financial hero sets clear financial goals.

She makes plans about what to do with money and how it will be done.

  1. A financial hero has an emergency fund.

He saves for a rainy day. From his income, he sets aside money that will only be touched if things go wrong as they sometimes will.

  1. A financial hero insures against risk.

She takes on this “I’m not so happy to do this” part of being financially independent. She makes the important decision to get life insurance, for example, so that the very goals that are set will not be derailed if life does not go according to plan.

  1. A financial hero invests.

He sets aside a little bit of money (weekly, monthly) in an investment fund or venture to reap the rewards of long-term savings.

  1. A financial hero improves standard of living.

She changes her own life or the lives of her family or dependants by living within her means and doing some or all of the above.

There are heroes among us who manage all five, while some make miracles happen in only one area. Whatever the range, we believe that someone who has made strides by making sound financial choices that bear fruit should be applauded and celebrated as the true hero he or she is.

“On my teacher’s salary, I would never have managed to do my Bachelor’s and then my MBA without his support,” Marsha Wisdom says of her husband Paul. “He got a big promotion at work and we continued to live on his previous salary, with him driving a 10 year-old car while he saved the difference towards my schooling. I am now two years into a new job and earning very well, and we plan to start a family soon. He taught me a lot about sacrifice and saving with clear goals in mind.”

“He’s taught me well and I plan to buy him a new car soon,” she whispers conspiratorially. “Hands down, he is my financial hero!”

From the newspaper vendor who put her daughter through medical school to the pan chicken man who took care of his sister’s children when she succumbed to a terminal illness, there are many inspirational stories of financial heroes dotting the Jamaican landscape. Through their sweat, tears and sacrifice many of us have achieved what we never dreamed was possible or learnt lessons that will last for generations. We stand on the shoulders of those who have charted unprecedented financial courses in our lives.

We want to hear your story about that one person whose financial sacrifices and decisions made all the difference in your life. Who inspires you to make the most of your money in pursuit of the very best version of yourdelf.

Who is your financial hero?

Email your Financial independence Hero story to victoriamutualsocial.com for your chance to win!

Include your Hero’s name, your name, and your contact information (telephone & email). Your submission can be a video, or a written story (at least one paragraph) with a photograph.

Winners will be selected by a panel of judges who will review your submissions.

3 winners will each receive a $4,000 MegaMart gift certificate, and a few other goodies from the VM Family.

We’d love to share your stories with others, so please let us know that you’re okay to have your story published online!

Final day for submissions: Friday November 20, 2015.

Happy Writing 😀

Prime/PSOJ 8th Annual Pension Seminar

Folks,

It’s amazing how time flies, it feels like last year’s Pension Forum was just the other day! It’s the same way time whooshes by as we go about our day-to-day, so focused on surviving the now that we forget to be grateful for the time we have. We even forget how important it is to plan for tomorrow.

We make hundreds of financial decisions every day – from how much credit to put on our phones, to whether to take a taxi or bus, what to have for lunch, or where to spend happy-hour. Yet when it comes to the most important decisions – what our priorities are, how much we need to save, and how to prep for retirement – we put it off ’til tomorrow… and tomorrow and tomorrow.

Changing the Outcome: Bridging the Pension Gap

This year’s Pension Seminar, hosted by Prime Asset Management and the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ), is themed Changing the Outcome: Bridging the Pension Gap. On this, our 8th Annual Seminar, we’ll try to get to the bottom of Jamaica’s low participation in pensions and the meagre contributions to our National Insurance Scheme (NIS). We’ll look at similar challenges and successful solutions across the globe and explore how our minds might be unwittingly sabotaging our drive to save.

Click the links to Follow Along

We’ve uploaded PDFs from this year’s presentations so you can pre-read, or follow along during the seminar. They’ll also be there as a resource for you after the seminar.

Dennis Chung, CEO of PSOJ, starts off this year’s presentations with Pensions & Economic Performance, about the link between savings and pensions, and social and economic stability. As well as the role of proper governance of government pensions.

Danny Roberts, Head of the Hugh Lawson Shearer Trade Union Education Institute, presents A View From Labour  a discussion of strategies and challenges found in the effort to increase workforce participation in pension plans and the roles of unions, employers and the government.

Keynote Speaker, Kelly Peters CEO, Co-Founder and Managing Partner at BEworks, explores the theory of the Nudge! and the outcomes and challenges of behavioural-economics-based pension solutions across the globe.

Join the Conversation on Twitter @VictoriaMutual with the hashtag #PensionSeminar2015, share your comments and ask questions!