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A guide to borrowing money this Year of the Pig

To set you off to a good start, here are a few tips for first-time loan applicants that can help you build and establish financial success and stability.

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For many years, the country has observed Chinese New Year as a manifestation of solidarity between both Chinese-Filipinos and Filipinos in celebrating prosperity and good life.

The Chinese are identified as frugal because they always look at the value of commodity instead of spending impulsively. In Chinese tradition, during the Chinese New Year, children are given red envelopes, or “ampao,” to teach them on responsible money management at an early age. Chinese people perceived this as a best way for their children to receive a gift that teaches a lesson.

That the new year is a great time to have a fresh start, meanwhile, is a concept instilled in many Filipinos. We see it as a great time to hope for a better financial stability. However, in a survey question conducted by Statistics Weather Station (SWS), “Is it with hopes or with fears that you enter the coming year?” only 92 percent of Filipinos are hopeful to enter the year 2019, which is a four-point decline from 96% hopefuls last year.

How can the hope of many Filipinos can be translated to financial success this Year of the Earth Pig?

There are plenty of ways one can pursue financial success. You can start a small business or invest your money to get favorable returns. If you’re short on cash, you can take out a loan.

In the Philippines, applying for a loan has a negative notion because it correlates to debt. But consumer loans actually support people to build and establish a credit history that virtually all banking and finance companies are looking for.

This Chinese New Year is the best time to debunk the notion on applying for a loan. Now is the time to understand that loans are serving a number of purposes.

Loans come in handy for purchase of big=ticket items, or a means to buy your dream house or car, or simply as a buffer for emergency cash needs. However, applying for a loan for the first time can cause confusion, to say the least, and can come with serious financial consequences.

To set you off to a good start, here are a few tips for first-time loan applicants that can help you build and establish financial success and stability.

eComparemo.com, the country’s largest online financial supermarket, helps you choose the right loan with this guide.

Types of loans

Personal Loan

Personal loans are usually unsecured loans, which means it’s based purely on your credit score and does not require any collateral unlike secured loans. The interest rates may range from 1.2% to 8%, depending on the financial institution, and payment terms are typically shorter, from 6 to 60 months.

Car Loan

Car loans are for people who don’t have enough cash to shoulder the full purchase of a vehicle. It has flexible payment terms of three to five years. It’s easy to apply for a car loan–just submit valid IDs and proof of income to get pre-approved. It may require you to have the down payment for the car to get approved.

Home Loan

Housing loan interest rates are decided between you and the financial institution, with payment terms ranging from 5 to 30 years. The lender maintains property rights as collateral, and an appraisal fee typically applies.

OFW Loan

OFW loans work similarly as personal loans, but are specifically targeted at overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) with valid contracts. A co-borrower or immediate relative based in the Philippines is required. It usually has flexible payment terms to accommodate the specific needs of OFWs and their families.

Credit Cards or Cash Advances

Cash advances are short-term loans with higher interest rates and is typically paid for the following month. Some credit card companies offer longer terms from 3 to 12 months. The amount you can borrow depends on your credit limit.

Business Loan

Business loans can be used for a new business or the expansion of an existing one. Examples are line credit, equipment loan, and conventional business loan. Submit your business registration and tax documents to apply. Terms depend on the nature of your business and the agreement between you and your lender.

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Spotlight

Seeing your doctor during the pandemic

Also, see if your health care team offers telehealth appointments as an alternative. Virtual visits put you face-to-face with your doctor from the comfort and safety of your own home.

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If you’ve been putting off a visit to your doctor during COVID-19, you’re not alone.

Most adults (57%) agree the pandemic has changed how they feel about going to a health care provider’s office, according to a survey of 1,000 adults in October 2020 from an alliance of health care experts working to stop medical distancing, which was commissioned and sponsored by AbbVie.

The survey showed that in adults with chronic diseases, cancellations of their visits to the doctor amounted to 61%. Of those that had canceled appointments, 18% did not reschedule them. Some of the reasons included concerns about contracting COVID-19, not wanting to go into the hospital if not necessary and believing they can hold off on care until the end of the pandemic.

Keeping up with regular appointments is an important part of effective ongoing health care, especially for those managing chronic conditions. Continuous, clear and open communication with your health care providers is essential to getting the care you need.

See Your Doctor

Most important to know during this time are the measures your health care providers are taking, such as wearing personal protective equipment, practicing physical distancing and increasing cleaning and sanitization procedures. Find out what precautions health care providers are taking in your area.

Also, see if your health care team offers telehealth appointments as an alternative. Virtual visits put you face-to-face with your doctor from the comfort and safety of your own home.

“It’s generally wise to limit in-person interactions to safeguard against contracting COVID-19, but forgoing care for an ongoing health condition, especially a chronic illness, may put patients at unnecessary risk,” said Dr. Oren Cohen, chief medical officer, Labcorp Drug Development. “Our goal in health care is to keep patients safe and healthy. Health care providers have established robust protocols to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission. Calling ahead to understand the process for an office visit or test is a good idea. In some circumstances, telehealth visits may be a good option as well.”

Keep Up with Your Medicines

In addition to seeing your doctor, it’s also important to take your medications as prescribed. Stay in touch with your pharmacy and health care provider team to ensure prescriptions stay current. Also avoid waiting until the last minute to request a refill so you don’t encounter delays or potentially miss doses.

Seeing your doctor and taking your medications are very important to your ongoing care. It’s also a time to talk with your health care provider for more advice on how to get the care you need during the pandemic and beyond.

Take Control of Your Health Care During COVID-19

Health care providers are taking extra precautions and implementing additional protocols to conduct in-person visits in the safest way possible. Here’s what you can do to take care of your health:

  • Make and keep your appointments.
  • Reschedule any canceled appointments.
  • If you decide to see the doctor in-person, be sure to call your doctor and ask what health precautions are being taken.
  • Consider a telehealth visit as an alternative to going to an in-person visit.
  • Take your medications as prescribed.
  • Check the expirations of your medications and ask for refills with plenty of time to have them filled.
  • Ask your health care provider for additional ways to protect your health during this pandemic.
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NewsMakers

It’s time to rethink heart health

On average, someone dies from cardiovascular disease (CVD) every 36 seconds, approximately 2,380 deaths each day, according to the American Heart Association. Each day, 405 deaths occur as the result of strokes, an average of one death every 3:33.

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On average, someone dies from cardiovascular disease (CVD) every 36 seconds, approximately 2,380 deaths each day, according to the American Heart Association. Each day, 405 deaths occur as the result of strokes, an average of one death every 3:33. More people die annually from CVD than from any other cause including cancer, COPD, diabetes, lung infections and the flu, according to the American Heart Association (AHA) 2021 Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics.

Consider these steps to #RethinkCVRisk to change the course of the disease and your life.

Understand Your Risk

COVID-19 has shown that those with underlying CVD face an especially high risk of serious COVID-19-related illness or even death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Regardless of whether you’ve received your COVID-19 vaccination, now is a good time to discuss your risk for heart disease with your doctor.

How Cardiovascular Disease Develops

Risk factors for CVD include high cholesterol, high triglycerides, diabetes and high blood pressure. Other factors that contribute to risk are family history, prior cardiovascular (CV) events, smoking, being overweight or obese and unhealthy diet and exercise habits. Over time, these risk factors can lead to injury of the blood vessel lining, causing inflammation, which can then trigger plaque growth. Plaque grows at different rates and in different arteries in the body for everyone and is often a slow, gradual process without symptoms.

As plaque buildup continues, the risk of suffering a CV event – such as heart attack or stroke – increases. If plaque ruptures, the body will try to repair the injury, potentially causing a blockage to form, and when an artery becomes fully blocked, blood flow is restricted. Blocked blood flow to the heart causes a heart attack while blocked blood flow to the brain causes a stroke.

Managing Risk Factors

The most effective way to prevent CVD is to understand and address risk factors. Triglycerides play an important role in heart health. Triglycerides store unused calories to give your body energy and are the most common type of fat in the body. They come from foods you eat such as butter, oils and other fats, as well as carbohydrates, sugars and alcohol. Your diet, lack of exercise, medical conditions, certain drugs and genetics can all cause high triglycerides.

In the past, medicines used to lower triglycerides, like fenofibrates and niacin, were commonly prescribed to help manage CV risk along with statins. However, clinical studies failed to show benefits and both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and American Diabetes Association discourage combining niacin and fenofibrates with statins.

Some turn to dietary supplement fish oil to help manage CV risk. However, supplements contain only 30% of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) with the majority of the product consisting of non-omega-3 ingredients, including saturated fats. Some data suggests certain ingredients in dietary supplement fish oils, such as DHA and saturated fats, may raise bad cholesterol.

While high triglycerides are an indicator of CV risk, lowering them won’t necessarily reduce your risk. However, addressing the underlying causes of high triglycerides can help, according to the AHA.

Treatment Options

With ongoing research, new standards-of-care are emerging. High cholesterol is a key CV risk factor with statins currently the first-line therapy for lowering cholesterol. Statins, diet and exercise can lower your CV risk by about 25-35%, but, for many people, controlled cholesterol doesn’t eliminate CV risk. This residual risk, or “persistent CV risk,” puts millions of patients at risk and has been the focus of therapeutic development for many years.

Talk with your doctor about FDA-approved options that can help further reduce your heart risk if you already take statins.

Truths and Falsehoods About Heart Disease Risk

1. Statins reduce your chance of experiencing a CV event by up to 90%.

False. Statins, diet and exercise can lower your risk by about 25-35%, but for many patients, controlled cholesterol doesn’t eliminate CV risk. This residual risk, or “persistent CV risk,” puts millions of patients at risk and has been the focus of therapeutic development for many years.

2. Managing high triglycerides along with taking statins is enough to reduce your risk.

False. High triglycerides are a CV risk factor but lowering them won’t necessarily reduce your risk. For example, earlier generation medicines prescribed to lower triglycerides, like fenofibrates and niacin, failed to show clinical benefit when used with statins to reduce CV risk. In fact, the FDA withdrew approval for fenofibrates and niacin in combination with statins because they add potential risk with no proven benefit to heart health.

3. Fish oil supplements are a proven way to get protection from a CV event.

False. Fish oil supplements are not FDA-approved medicines intended to treat or prevent a medical condition. Despite multiple clinical studies, these products have not been proven, to reduce CV risk on top of current medical therapies including statins.

4. Having a first CV event, such as a heart attack or stroke, puts you at greater risk to suffer another.

True. Having a CV event makes you more likely to suffer another. That’s why it’s important to protect against a first CV event or future events. To closely monitor your heart health, stay in close contact with your doctor and reduce your risk by keeping up with your medications, exercising and sticking to a healthy diet.

For more information about CVD and what you can do, look for #RethinkCVRisk on social media or visit truetoyourheart.com.

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Nutrition

6 Things to know about GMOs

Although GMO foods are widely available to consumers, there is sometimes confusion around what GMOs are and how they are used in the food supply.

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You may have heard of “GMO” foods before, but what you may not know is the science and purpose behind them.

“GMO” is a common term used to describe foods that have been created through genetic engineering. A GMO (genetically modified organism) is a plant, animal or microorganism that has had its genetic material (DNA) changed using technology that generally involves the transfer of specific DNA from one organism to another.

Although GMO foods are widely available to consumers, there is sometimes confusion around what GMOs are and how they are used in the food supply. As part of the Feed Your Mind education initiative, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) provides science-based information to help consumers better understand GMOs:

1.  Only a few types of GMO foods are sold. 

Soybeans, cotton, corn, alfalfa, apples, canola, papaya, potatoes, summer squash, sugar beets, pineapple and AquAdvantage salmon complete the list of GMO foods currently sold in many locations. Only a few of these are available in the produce sections of grocery stores. Most are instead used to make ingredients that are then used in other food products like cereals and snack chips.

2.  GMOs can help farmers grow crops that are resistant to diseases and insects. 

Humans have used traditional ways to modify crops and animals to suit their needs and tastes for more than 10,000 years. Genetic engineering lets scientists take a beneficial gene, like insect resistance, and transfer it into a plant. Results can include higher crop yields, less crop loss, longer storage life, better appearance, better nutrition or some combination of these traits.

3.  GMO foods are as safe to eat as their non-GMO counterparts. 

The FDA, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Agriculture work together to make sure GMOs are safe for human, plant and animal health. GMO foods are carefully studied before being sold to the public to make sure they are safe. Some GMO plants have even been modified to improve their nutritional value. For example, some GMO soybeans contain healthier oils, which can replace oils containing trans fat.

4.  GMO foods are no more likely to cause allergies than non-GMOs. 

You will not be allergic to a GMO food unless you’re allergic to the non-GMO version of that food. For example, if you’re not allergic to foods made with non-GMO soy, you won’t be allergic to foods made with GMO soy. When developing GMOs, scientists run tests to make sure allergens aren’t transferred from one food to another.

5.  GMOs can reduce farmers’ use of pesticides. 

Some GMO plants contain plant-incorporated protectants to make them resistant to insects. This lowers farmers’ need for and use of spray pesticides.

6.  A “bioengineered” disclosure will be on some of the foods you eat. 

The National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard requires bioengineered foods to be labeled by 2022 with text on the packages that reads “bioengineered food,” the bioengineered food symbol or directions for using your phone to find the disclosure. Sometimes the terms “bioengineered,” “GMO” and “genetic engineering” are used interchangeably, but labels required under the Standard use the term “bioengineered.”

Find more answers to your questions about GMOs at fda.gov/feedyourmind.

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