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A new report has placed the Philippines at the top of a list of countries great to invest in for 2018. A US media agency ranked the world’s countries based on what makes them unique, using a bank of business decision makers to score each country in terms of their potential. The Philippines scored highest of all, beating the likes of Malaysia and Singapore to be crowned the Best Country to Invest in 2018.

The Asian country which is ripe for investment

Earlier this year, American media business, US News, and World Report, ranked the world’s countries in terms of their investment potential going forward. Using the opinions of global business leaders numbering more than 6,000 in total, they investigated the potential for investment in around 80 nations.

As part of the report, they looked at some key values. These were: entrepreneurship, tax environment, skilled labor, innovation, dynamism, technological expertise, and corruption. And which Asian country do you think came out the top of the list? Perhaps Malaysia, with its burgeoning technology scene and pro-business government? Or maybe it was Singapore, the westernized cousin of south-east Asia?

In actual fact, it was neither. The number one country for investment potential was in fact right here, the Philippines. Cited as being outstanding for its ‘resilient economy’, the report highlighted our ability to push ahead of others in the region, making continual improvements and aiming high.

The full list of the best countries to invest in was:

  1. Philippines
  2. Indonesia
  3. Poland
  4. Malaysia
  5. Singapore

The Philippines beat off the competition from the likes of Australia, Thailand, Vietnam and the UK to take the top spot for this year. This represents a significant change from last year when our country languished at number 13 while Malaysia and Singapore topped the list.

Top three growth performers in 2017

And it’s not just US News and World Report which thinks we’re doing something right either. According to the World Bank, the Philippines was one of the top three growth performers in Asia during 2017. Our expanding economy, which grew by 6.7 percent over the year, was only eclipsed by China and Vietnam. With China weighing in at a growth rate of 6.9 percent, it’s clear to see that our economy is rapidly catching up with the land of the Red Dragon.

So, what’s changed? Well, according to the report, it’s firstly about our dynamic and proud young people, who are committed to their education, their ambitions, and their happiness. Secondly, our economy is flooded with ‘billions of dollars’, so the report says, from overseas Filipino workers (OFW). It also noted the country’s flourishing tourism industry.

The best investments for Filipinos

If the Philippines is ready for investment, who is it we’re hoping will invest? Foreign billionaires buying up land to develop, perhaps? Or are we talking about other nations sinking bucketloads of cash into our infrastructure and development? Both of these come with high levels of risk, both for our own economy and for their investment, so ideally, we’re looking for some speculation a little closer to home.

Filipinos, and particularly OFW, are starting to become more cash-rich than ever before. Although they may be short of assets, working Filipinos are keen to hold onto their earnings, saving up for the things that matter most. However, with interest rates at rock bottom right now, leaving the money in the bank is not always the best strategy.

Whether you’re an OFW or a local with a nest egg you’d like to see grow, here are some top ideas for investment right here in the Philippines.

  1. Mutual Funds: Different types of mutual funds can offer a good method of growing your capital with a relatively low risk. Also called Unit Investment Trust Funds (UITF) and Balanced Fund, these types of investments are managed by professionals with a goal of growing your savings. Minimum deposits range from P10.000.00 upwards.
  2. Stocks: The Philippine Stock Market is no NASDAQ, but it’s still a robust vehicle for investment with a huge amount of potential. You can become a shareholder of a company from as little as P5.000.00, and if you know what you’re doing, the possibility to grow your capital is endless. However, investing in stocks needs to be seen as a long-term commitment, and requires a fair bit of hands-on management. It also has a steep learning curve and is a risky proposition if you don’t know what you’re doing.
  3. VUL Insurance: This type of insurance, known as Variable Unit-Linked Insurance (VUL) is an insurance which also works like an investment. It works by taking a proportion of your premium and investing it in a range of models, depending on your preference. You can choose to invest in stocks, bonds or a combination of both, and of course, you’ll also have valuable life insurance cover too, protecting your family in the event of the worst happening. For young professionals, OFW and breadwinners, VUL insurance is a good way to save, to invest and to get peace of mind too.
  4. Forex Trading: Trading in foreign currency might sound like a daunting prospect, but there are ways to make good money from this type of investment. The Forex market fluctuates arguably more than any other market in the world, rising and falling by significant amounts in a matter of hours, not weeks. It’s important to know what you’re doing, as it’s possible to lose a lot of money very quickly. However, for the savvy investor, it’s possible to gain a great deal too.
  5. Property investment: As the world’s spotlight shines on the Philippines, our rising economy is escalating house prices little by little. Over the next few decades, chances are the real estate market will flourish, making this a great time to invest in property. Buying foreclosed houses is a great way to maximize your investment, but you’re going to need to not only find the money to buy the building or land but also to bring it up to a saleable state before you see any return. However, the opportunity for a great return is almost certainly greater than any other method mentioned here, so if you can afford it and you’re willing to put in the time, it’s a super strategy.

There are many other opportunities for growing your nest egg here in the Philippines. Investing now, as our economy is really taking off, is a wonderful opportunity for both younger people just starting out, as well as for older workers looking to save for their retirement. Always seek advice before investing in anything and be aware that you can lose as well as make money with many of these schemes.

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