Hannaherika’s Weblog

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Hacking Time August 21, 2008

Filed under: career,Humor,wall of the wierd — hannaherika @ 2:45 am

Time is definitely not on my side right now. Just like how I study some stuff to hack (whoopsies… now you know), I’m also learning how to hack my Time!

Click more if you want to see me doing something CRAZY!

Just right now, do you want to know what I’m really doing at this exact moment? Yes! Time-hacking! While waiting for my Lotus notes to find the email I’m looking for in my archive, I take advantage of this time to make a blog entry!

Time management has been critical for me now. I just want to do so many things but time and my own energy is running out too. Most of you know that I hate sleeping! Yessssss!!! (with 5 Ss!) I mean we just sleep because it’s necessary right… But, sleeping takes 6-8 hours of my precious time… This is the reason why sometimes I want to try sleeping in the Comfort Room.

disclaimer: boss S, if you are reading this this is only “acting”… for blogging purposes only

Now that my Lotus notes is ok, then I must go back to work… That’s the skill of hacking time ladies and gentlemen. 🙂

Until next time!

Time Hacker


Optimist’s Creed June 28, 2008

Filed under: career,friends,life — hannaherika @ 11:33 am
photo taken from diversityjobs.com
The Optimist’s Creed
by C.D. Larson

Talk health, happiness, and prosperity to every person you meet.

To make all your friends feel that there is something in them.
To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.
To think only of the best, and expect only the best.
To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.
To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.
To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile.
To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others.
To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.
Got this from a my dear dear friend who has Lupus. We were always wondering why she’s always sick. Only this year did she know she had Lupus. Despite her fragile condition she remains radiant and optimistic.
I often get hugely affected by small problems. This friend of mine reminded me of what should be. Her smile and optimism got through me. So they say… “Smiling is Contagious.” The same is true with Optimism.

“Lupus: A chronic inflammatory condition caused by an autoimmune disease. An autoimmune disease occurs when the body’s tissues are attacked by its own immune system. Patients with lupus have unusual antibodies in their blood that are targeted against their own body tissues.”

– medterms.com

Gas / Oil’s rapid price increase June 17, 2008

Filed under: career,economy,finance,philippines — hannaherika @ 3:48 pm
It’s been a while since I have driven a car. I gave up my car to live in a condominium which is nearer my workplace. Having said that, I really don’t stop by at the gas stations to check the prices that often. When the shuttle I was riding in stopped by at the gas station, I was surprised to see how expensive the oil is now!

The last time I paid attention to the gas prices was about 3 months ago. This was the time when I was driving my things from my house to the rented condo. By then the gas prices were about the price of PHP43. But the gas station now says gas per litter is PHP58! And to make matters worst, this rate will go higher and higher every friday night. It will increase PHP 1 every week. So to all you drivers and car owners out there you better Fuel up and have a Full tank before friday night. Do this especially if you’re planning a trip on a weekend.

I recently attended a training held by my generous company. It’s all about “Understanding Financial Markets and Services.” The training’s timing is just right because I could link my lesson into the World economy now.

We talked about the sub-prime woes in the training. If you don’t know about this then you may view my previous post.

Sup-prime really had a multiplier effect working on things. One of them is the price of gas. Why so? How is it related? You see in this complex world of business and finance, people trade money, currencies, commodities (e.g. coal, oil), stocks and bonds. These are just the common ones. If you really go hard-core investment banking and finance, you would hear about trades in interest rates, futures and forwards, accounts and loans receivables, pledges, hedges, derivatives, exotic options and swaps, repos and many other more. The craziest ones I’ve heard are exchanges involving environmental derivatives (i.e., environmental licenses). I will research more about this.

Before the sub-prime, the trading market is blooming. Trades are being made here and there to almost anything you could imagine. Exotic derivatives and new products are appealing as these are new concepts in finance. Now after the sub-prime, investors have gotten afraid to put their money in these exotic derivatives. So, where does the investor’s money go now?

Investors go back to the basics. They put their money in old-school, well-founded, almost-safe, not-so-risky investments like stocks, bonds, and more importantly into commodities. And as I have mentioned earlier commodities include petroleum and oil. So these rich folks put their money to invest in oil companies.

Now, still unclear about the connection between the sub-prime and oil price increase? It’s just a matter of applying the basics of what you have learned in economics – the demand and supply. I’m no good economist really, but I also took 6 units of micro and macro economics in college. But thanks also to my training I found an explanation to this.

Imagine if all investors would want to invest in oil, and the oil company doesn’t have that much to offer to all, what does the oil company do? They increase their prices.

This is just one explanation about other reasons why the gas prices are high. For some other obvious reason, natural resources are really getting expensive and you don’t need a brain of an economist. You just need common sense on this.

That is why, from what I see and hear every day about the problems of the world, I do feel responsible for this crisis. I hope I could reach many and let people realize that we need to be more responsible for our natural resources.


Sub-prime for Dummies

Filed under: career,economy,finance — hannaherika @ 2:12 pm
I just think that I should share what I understand about the sub-prime crisis. To many who are curious like me, but don’t understand the explanations that the World Wide Web gives about questions on sub-prime, then you’re lucky to read this entry for I will explain in basic and general terms what really happened.

Since October, when the sub-prime topic was starting to hit the newspapers, I didn’t know it’s implications to the community until I attended our company’s “Understanding Financial Markets and Services” training.

The scenario:

Imagine a financing company accepting loans from people like me and you. Before they accept your loan, they would first have to confirm that you are “credit-worthy.” They have to make sure that you could pay them with the added interest because that is how they earn. In plain common sense, why would they loan out cash to people whom they know can’t pay them? They know if we are able to pay by asking for our proof of income, asking other finance companies or banks about your behavior in the finance world and also asking for you Income Tax Return and salary advices.

In my simplest terms now, this distinguishes the “prime” customers from a “sub-prime” one. Prime being those who are credit worthy and Sub-prime being the opposite.

Now, for some financing companies now, they accept loan applications from people like me and you but with a much more attractive bargain for us. Some of them don’t look into the person’s ability-to-pay anymore. Have you ever received spam emails saying “Your credit has been approved, click here to claim $xxx,xxx.xx.” Also, you might see ads like “0% interest on the first year” but if you read the fine print, it says that you’d have to pay larger interest in the succeeding years. The people who are attracted to these ads are normally the customers classified as “sub-prime.” Many individuals now are happy that they could loan without presenting “proof of income.” For purposes of my discussion, I would focus more in these sub-prime loans.

Now these loans can actually be traded or sold to other finance companies and banks. So now, we could consider individual’s loans as a “product.” Just like any other product like clothes, perfume and food, you need to sell or market it. Now the loans will be more attractive if they have collaterals. Collaterals are assets pledged by a borrower to a lender that in case they could not pay the loan back in cash, the finance company would have the right to the asset pledged. The most common collateral for these time in the US (and anywhere actually) is real estate (house and/or lot).

Now that the loans are attractive, they group and pool them all together. So all in all, it could sell these loans made by 30 individuals to banks. Banks usually don’t buy only a single loan, they buy usually in groups. Now the bank, thinking that the loans being sold are attractive and has even collateral, they buy it. So technically now, the bank has the right to collect the payments that the individual borrowed from these finance/mortgage companies. Along with this right comes the risk that these individuals could not pay.

Then here comes reality. The individual borrowers get more and more exhausted in paying for the money that they borrowed from the mortgagers. The 0% interest is a light burden in the first year. But in reality, you’d have to pay more interest in the succeeding years. With this, the individuals have to divide their humble income into two: (1) payment for debt; and (2) money for their daily expenses.

As time goes by, these individuals default from their payments since in the first place, in strict common sense, they could not afford it.
Now the banks affected didn’t know that these loans are sub-prime. They are just assured that they are collateralized with real estate. Now, the reality happening everywhere among many banks is that they “write-off” these sub-prime loans as a loss. Meaning, they could not recognize profit from these loans anymore. Their money outflow from buying these loans could not be returned by a money inflow anymore.

Since these loans are collateralized, the banks have the right to the real estates pledged on the mortgage. But these are already hard to sell and are liquid.

Before I really understood the sub-prime and new just bits about it, I asked a colleague who happened to be an economist. “The economy technically is at crunch but isn’t it just valid to think also that the economy is still at balance? I mean, if the banks lost a lot, someone must gain a lot? Right? It doesn’t sound right to think that the economy turned bad because banks lost money. Shouldn’t we consider the gainers?

He probably didn’t get my question because I couldn’t explain it very well to him. So he just kept on saying that “the economy is down right now – period.”

Well, after the training, I found the answer to my own question. First, who are the gainers? It’s those smart mortgage companies. They are the ones who earned and took advantage of this. Why? They already sold their claims. They already converted those loans into cash. Now for my weird question about economic balance: yes, the economy lost “material money” in one point-of-view and it gained in another. The term that I used to is “material money.” I know it sounds redundant. But, we forget to consider the “intangible money.” And, my personal definition of “intangible money” is future money and future income. All this is lost because these two important “intangibles” are compromised: Goodwill and Trust from the bank’s stakeholders.


Happy Anniversary DKS Batch 4 June 14, 2008

Filed under: career,friends — hannaherika @ 8:21 am

It’s been a year since we all have taken a brave step into the world of Finance. It’s been a year now and I know we have grown into more mature people. Happy anniversary DKS Batch 4!


Audit Leave May 30, 2008

Filed under: career,personal — hannaherika @ 3:09 am

I just had a really tiring week. I don’t know why I’m getting so tired all of the time lately even if I’m really not doing much work like I used to. Then I thought, maybe I don’t like what I’m doing anymore. Maybe that’s why I’ve been so tired, discouraged, and demotivated.

I’m still searching for what my soul desired but up until now, I’m still clueless of myself. That’s why I wanted to take a break. It’s friday right now and I’m nowhere near the office. I need a vacation.

I filed an audit leave (5 consecutive work days of no work) and I just want to think things through. Much drama has been happening in the office and I don’t want to be a part of it now. I’m not affected by the drama and that is my problem. While others look forward to a resolution, I stay in my seat and wait. I’d either be happy for them or not. While for me, I’m still the same.


wanting to go back to school May 22, 2008

Filed under: career,personal — hannaherika @ 1:58 pm

I admit, I hated going to school everyday when I was in school. But now, it’s the other way around. I want to go back to the days where I get to use my brain to its full capacity.

I took a company quiz the other day and scored high on it that I even received a priceless prize for it! I just felt so proud of myself and of what I can do. I’ve never felt so challenged and excited at the same time! While I was taking the quiz, I just had my pen and paper busy. And me, I get the kind of healthy nervousness that I used to get during my school days.

I just realized that I want to go back to school. You know my dilemma right now. That is, to remain in the career that I “fairly” love; or, to dish out all my work and start applying for med school. Choosing the latter would mean I could fulfill my childhood dream and leave my “meaningful” life. But, chosing it would entail a lot of financial risk, emotional risk and basically it would just give a lot of uncertainty.

If there’s anyone out there reading this, please comment me and give me an advice. This girl’s desperate and confused. Thank you so much!