All Articles With Author : Carlo Miguel Castañeda

The latest and the best financial news, tips and tricks.

Pera 101, Episode 1: Saving Habits – The Good, The Bad, and the Pinoy

Saving is a habit, almost every financial expert will say this. It’s a habit that’s built up over time, and being a repetitive action, there are factors that can influence it – some good, some bad. There are also some saving habits that are very Pinoy, and are endemic to our other cousins in the region. In the first episode of Pera 101, hosted by Aya Laraya, he shares some insights on why saving habits are what they are, and how you can improve yours.

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Which Mobile Data Plan in the Philippines Should You Get?

It’s always a huge issue whenever you need mobile data. There are going to be times when the network coverage isn’t great, or your data allocation runs out. The truth of “unlimited” internet being that it has a maximum data allocation, you might be wondering what data plan works for you. If you don’t feel like tying yourself to a postpaid plan for long, there are a number of prepaid plans that work out well enough for shorter periods of time. If you’re looking for subscriptions that are both robust and inexpensive, here are the mobile data plans you can currently get in the Philippines. Data Plans from Smart Smart has a variety of plans available that range from purely focusing on mobile data to plans that include consumable add-ons. Their Postpaid Plans come with a clear layout of the consumable data allocation, and freebies that come with it. Smart Signature Sim-Only Data Plans Smart Signature Plan S PHP 999 per month 10GB Monthly Data 100 Minutes All Net Calls Unli On-Net Calls Unli All Net Texts Smart Signature Plan M PHP 1,499 per month 20GB Monthly Data 200 Minutes All Net Calls Unli On-Net Calls Unli All Net Texts Smart Signature Plan L PHP 1,999 per month 30GB Monthly Data 300 Minutes All Net Calls Unli On-Net Calls Unli All Net Texts Smart Signature Plan L PHP 2,999 per month 60GB Monthly Data 600 Minutes All Net Calls Unli On-Net Calls Unli All Net Texts Smart Signature Device Data Plans All plans offer you the chance to add a…

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Holiday Money Mistakes You Should Avoid

The holiday season always starts early for Filipinos. You will start hearing Christmas songs as soon as September, with a brief pause on Halloween. Christmas is a large part of the country’s culture, owing to being predominantly Christian or Catholic. The start of the holiday season also marks several other things. Traffic gets worse because malls are open longer, and there are sales almost every week. Shopping becomes a near-weekly part of life as people try to keep up with the presents they feel they need to give to friends and family. As spending ramps up, you might find yourself in debt by the end of the season. In spite of being careful with your paycheck and bonuses, there is just something about the holidays that makes you more prone to money mistakes. Here are some examples. Racking up a huge credit card bill Credit card deals and promos are more expansive during the holidays. One such massive consumer outpouring is Black Friday in the US, which marks the beginning of holiday shopping throughout the country. It has also been adapted throughout the world to mark the start of larger shopping crowds, longer mall hours, and near-unbearable traffic jams. Credit card debt escalates during the holidays for several reasons. One reason is that you can take advantage of points and pay via installments. Because you are chasing deals and discounts, you will take on more purchases than you normally do. This includes items that were not on your list to begin with, all because there happened to be a deal on it…

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3 Reasons Why Walang Pasok Is Bad For All of Us

Walang pasok na naman. A five-day weekend will happen mid-November due to the ASEAN Summit. Christmas is fast approaching. Already 18 holidays have been declared for 2018. Many will use this time to take a break and detoxify from the daily grind. While most of us rejoice having sudden no-work days, in reality, they do not have a net positive impact on the country’s economy. An article penned by Tony Renkin raised points that public holidays have a mixed impact business owners. They lead to increase in customers for some, while some lose on productive work hours. Here are a few ways no-work days are bad for all of us – 1.It slows down the economy During public holidays, much of the country shuts down. For those trading in stocks, they will be unable to see any changes in their investments, nor will they be able to do any buying or selling. Public holidays – or bank holidays – also mean that banks are not open. Gerardo P. Sicat, an economist, and columnist for The Manila Times mentioned the disruptive effects of excessive holidays in one column[1]. The country’s banks handle transactions that largely affect the economy. The transactions made by everyday individuals, locally and globally are all handled by the Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas. Specifically, a system called PhilPass. Transactions made every day are run through this system and distributed accordingly. Because PhilPass is run as any government office would, it shares the same office hours and holiday periods. Because this system is closed on holidays, large transactions are forced…

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These Three Philippine Traffic Laws Will Leave You Confused

In the Philippines, traffic laws can sometimes be more troublesome[1] than helpful. Though meant to solve traffic issues and improve road safety, some can be confusing when they vary across the city. There are many strange traffic laws around the world, but here are three weird ones from the Philippines. 1. The ‘Coding’ Traffic Laws The Unified Vehicular Volume Reduction Program is also known as color/number coding or simply ‘coding’. Under these traffic laws, certain number plates are barred from entering Metro Manila from 7 am to 8 pm. First implemented in Metro Manila in 1995 and now also enforced in Metro Baguio, Dagupan, and Cabanatuan.  What makes it odd it varies from city to city. For example, Pasig, provide a “window hour” for barred vehicles to travel, except on the C-5 access road.  The scheme is not implemented within Taguig but is enforced on the national roads that border it. Motorcycles are completely exempt from the program. The law was supposed to ease congestion in the capital, but it does not seem to have had much impact. 2. The ‘Anti-Helmet’ Traffic Laws The Land Transportation Office’s National Helmet Law requires everyone riding a motorcycle to wear a helmet. But the Dagupan ‘Anti-Helmet’ law[2] prohibits anyone driving a motorcycle at 15 kilometers per hour or less from wearing a helmet.  These traffic laws were implemented to prevent criminals from concealing their identities. Those wearing helmets have to remove them at checkpoints.  Fines for violations are – Php 200 for the first offense and Php 300 for the second. The third offense means Php 500 fine and imprisonment. 3. The ‘No…

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The Secret to Saving Money on Uber and Grab Rides

The struggle to get anywhere feels very real these days. Traffic woes in the metro are reportedly costing the country’s economy at least Php 2.4 billion a day[1]. The study conducted by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has estimated that this loss could rise to as much as Php 6 billion in the next decade if left unchecked. With unreliable public transport forcing people to look for other ways to get around the metro, Uber and Grab have become popular alternatives. There are ways to get cheap Uber and Grab rides and three such ways are shared in this article. Schedule trips in advance Uber can schedule trips in advance of your travel dates. You can set pick-up points, drop-off points, and your pick-up window. However, the service is limited to UberX, UberXL, and Uber Black. You will also be shown an estimated fare for your scheduled trip. Here is how much it costs to travel from Makati to Quezon City at around 3 pm using the normal booking process: However, if you book in advance, the scheduled trip on the same route would cost much less: At the time of writing, Grab’s[2] trip scheduling function is disabled, which is unfortunate. But you can book a point-to-point carpool online via Move With Grab. This carpool initiative involves two schedules: Morning Rush (6 am to 8 am) and Evening Rush (6 pm to 8 pm), Mondays to Fridays. Morning Rush trips go from SM North in Quezon City to Paseo Center in Makati, SM Megamall in Ortigas. There are also drop-off points for…

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McDonald’s vs. Jollibee: Which Makes The Best Pasalubong?

“Kunin ko yung toy!” – every parent has heard this at least once while ordering the kids’ meal at a fast food chain. The little ones are obviously referring to the collectible plastic goodies that come with the kids’ meals. So let’s explore – McDonald’s vs. Jollibee: who offers a better kids’ meal? McDonald’s and Jollibee are the two top rivals in pitting toys from upcoming movies or cartoons against each other. The former currently offers Adventure Time-themed mini-game keychains. The latter boasts impressive collectible music box paperweights that feature Jollibee’s mascots. Here’s how they stack up in a battle to determine which makes the best pasalubong. Round 1: Food and Toy Variety McDonald’s Happy Meals® come in the Breakfast and All-Day variants. The Breakfast variants are typically available from 5 AM to 11 AM, while the All-Day variants are served throughout the day. They offer 9 different combinations of favorites such as the Pancakes, Orange Juice, and Hash Browns Breakfast Happy Meal®. A Happy Meal® and includes one variant of the Adventure Time mini-game keychain, of which there are eight designs. You can play tic-tac-toe with Jake or escape a maze with Finn. The Jolly Kiddie Meals® have three choices: the Yum Burger, Spaghetti, or Chickenjoy®. All come with pineapple juice and one of five music box toys, each depicting a different mascot and playing a different instrument. Jollibee is the lead vocalist in the five-person band, of course. Winner: McDonald’s The variety of food available (particularly in the early morning), as well as the ability to pick and…

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5 Car Games That You Can Download for the iOS and Android

If you are a car racing enthusiast, then going to live games can be expensive. The next best thing for you could be a huge number of car games available.  Download them on your smartphone and feel that rush whenever and wherever you are. Thumb Drift Developer: SMG Studios Available On: iOS[1] Price: Free (with microtransactions) Released in April this year, Thumb Drift is one of the top-rated one-touch drift games available for smartphones. SMG Studios is known for developing games that involve just the thumb to play the game, and this one is no exception. It boasts a large selection of themed cars, along with cars modeled-off actual ones in the real world. The tracks are challenging, and the game isn’t even a year old. Drift junkies will see more tracks and more cars as the game continues development. Need for Speed: No Limits Developer: Firemonkeys Studios Available on: Android[2] and iOS[3] Price: Free (with microtransactions) If you have ever played Need for Speed’s older iterations, you may already know that many of the old games were ported to mobile by EA. However, in 2015, Need for Speed: No Limits became the first original mobile title in the franchise. It launched sporting a new coat of paint and a graphics upgrade worthy of the smaller screens. Like previous entries in the franchise, players race through the streets, earning money for vehicle customization. Events allow players to enter a race to win new cars.  Sadly, the unique cars – such as the recently added Porsche 918 Spyder – cannot be…

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The New Apple iPhone 8 And iPhone X Are Expensive, But Gorgeous

The unveiling of Apple’s latest offerings took place at the Steve Jobs Theater in Apple Park, California. The crowd of thousands joined everyone watching across the world as the tech giant’s new flagship phones graced the stage: The Apple iPhone 8 and iPhone X. It has been rumored that these phones would represent the latest and greatest of Apple’s engineering ability, so let’s take a look at how beefy they are: The Specs When it comes to specs, there is not much of a difference between the iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and the X. They all have Apple’s proprietary chipset – the A11 Bionic Chip – wireless charging, and the same storage options at 64GB and 256 GB. Here’s a full specs list for the iPhone X: 5.8-inch all-screen OLED display @ 2436 x 1125px, 458ppi HDR TrueTone, 3D Touch, Oleophobic coating Apple A11 Bionic Chip 64GB, 256GB internal storage 12MP f/1.8 wide-angle + 12MP f/2.4 telephoto rear cameras: Dual OIS, Quad LED Flash 7MP TrueDepth Camera w/ Face ID 4G LTE Single SIM (Nano) WiFi Bluetooth GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, Galileo NFC (Apple Pay) IP67 Water and Dust Resistance Stereo Speaker Qi Wireless Charging Apple iOS 11 No battery info (up to 2 hours longer than iPhone 7) 143.6 x 70.9 x 7.7mm 174g Colors: Space Gray, Silver Note that the X, with the fingerprint scanner moving to the back of the phone. The major differences being screen sizes for the iPhone X and 8: the X has a larger screen, but is actually smaller than the iPhone 8 Plus…

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How To Make The Most Out Of Book Fairs

This coming Wednesday marks the return of the Manila International Book Fair to the halls of the SM Convention Center. If you’ve never been to a book fair, but love books, then here’s your chance to check it out. Book fairs usually contain more than just great deals to compare on books, there are also lectures and talks usually aimed at budding writers, or people who want to expand their view on the creative process behind writing books. So how do can you make most out of book fairs? This is what we aim to answer in this article. Check out the events The 38th Manila International Book Fair is a five-day event, meaning that between the books being exhibited, there are going to be events that cater to just about everybody there. Talks run the gamut from developing the reading culture to a seminar on battling anxiety and depression. Take the time to review the fair’s schedule, so that you can scope out which lectures or exhibits pique your interest. If you’re a writer, many of the lectures – such as Speculative Fiction with Czech author, Julie Novakova might interest you. Mingle! Given the broad nature of books and pop culture, you might just end up making new friends that are interested in the same genre of books as you. If you’re part of groups that cater to popular fandom, you might want to check if there are local versions who might be present at a book fair. Book fairs also mean that writers, publishers, and representatives of publishing…

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Top Filipino Rags to Riches Stories

The rags to riches trope is something that gets explored often in fiction. The thing is, as much as life can imitate art, there are some things that just do not happen without putting effort, time, and dedication into the endeavor. Filipino rags to riches stories can sometimes have a different effect than is intended. Some people who read them might fail to take away the key lesson of these stories, and focus on the worst aspects. It’s important to remember that these stories are supposed to be something to fuel one’s drive to succeed, no matter how stacked the odds might be, just like these three did. Mariano Que Founder – Mercury Drug Corp. At his funeral in April, many people had a lot to share about the late founder of the country’s largest player in the pharmaceutical retail game – all of it positive. Among these stories is how Mariano Que started the multi-billion Peso company with Php 100, used to purchase a bottle of sulfathiazole pills, which he then sold off piece by piece. The single bottle funded a small round of various medicines that grew to be sold out of a pushcart, then eventually the very first branch of Mercury Drug in Bambang, Metro Manila. Named after the Roman messenger god, Mercury Drug is a household name throughout the country, known for selling medication per piece, and delivering medicine straight to one’s doorstep. His is the lesson of perseverance, kindness, and giving back to the community. Under his leadership, Mercury Drug weathered a flu pandemic and…

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No Uber and Grab? Discover MiCab

In the wake of the sanctions being levied on ride-sharing apps – the most recent of which involved Uber’s suspension for a month – people are looking for alternatives that allow them to travel the metro in relative safety and security. The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB)[1] has proposed that the majority instead rely on already available methods of transportation, such as the LRT/MRT, PUVs, and Taxis to get around. Taxi operators and the Philippine National Taxi Operators Association (PNTOA) have been at the forefront of the argument to prevent Transport Network Companies (TNCs) like Grab and Uber from taking away their business. Apps for taxis Uber may have been suspended, but Grab continues to operate in the country, though trying to get one at the moment can be twice as difficult, and twice as pricey. Apps to call a taxi cab have been made available before – such as Easy Taxi, and MGE’s own app. Both were met with limited success – the former has since pulled operations in the country, the latter was eventually phased out in favor of the company’s call-a-cab hotline MiCab[2], on the other hand, is a mobile app that works similarly to ride-sharing apps like Uber and Grab, but for Taxis. Its founder, Eddie Ybanez, started the app in Cebu in 2013 and since then expanded to Iloilo before formally signing an operations agreement with the Philippine National Taxi Operators Association (PNTOA) and the Association of Taxi Operators in Metro Manila (ATOMM). The differences MiCab’s senior adviser David Varcher has touted that…

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Life and Money Lessons from Game of Thrones

There’s something to be said about the way that the hit HBO series Game of Thrones has influenced the way stories are told and the way people think about things. From a certain perspective, there are lessons that can be picked up from it. In its seven (of nine) seasons, people have taken to adapting characters or plotlines from Game of Thrones and applying what they’ve learned from the show into their daily lives. There are even entire academic courses on breaking down the series of life and money lessons. One such course is conducted by Donald Riggs, an English and philosophy professor at Drexel University in Philadelphia. Here are some of the life and money lessons from Game of Thrones that you can apply to your life. The Success of Daenerys Targaryen Dany – played marvelously by Emilia Clarke – is someone who’s gone from fugitive to the queen. While some may argue that she’s developed something of an ego throughout her ascent, but that’s not exactly without merit. Sure, she started out as her brother Viserys’ bargaining chip (more on him later), and nothing but her name, but she turned all that around with her dragons and building up an army. It’s no small feat because it took six seasons for her to build an army and resources to take her fight to Westeros. The lesson here is that a good, stable career and source of income won’t be handed to you on a Valyrian Steel platter. Patience, hard work, and good financial decisions are going to be…

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Grab and Uber Toll Fees: Should I Pay?

At some point, you might be inclined to book a ride via ride-sharing apps like Uber and Grab that take you further north or south. In cases of trips like these, you might encounter toll gates and wonder who has to pay for it. There’s some confusion in this area if you read user accounts. Some accounts of Uber riders say that the fee is computed in their fare – others have said that they had to pay. In the case of Grab, there appears to be no indication that the fare comes calculated with the toll. Who pays the toll fees? Between Grab and Uber, there are very different ways that they determine who pays toll fees should the rider’s trip take them through a toll gate. Rider accounts online have stated that they weren’t asked to pay during one ride, and asked to pay for it during another ride. Uber’s policy is stated on its website: Uber’s policy is that riders shouldn’t have to pay toll fees because it’s supposedly included in the fare that riders get on punching in their pick-up and drop-off points. On the other hand, Grab’s policy is as follows, also stated on its website: Note: To make sure GrabPeers can accommodate all GrabCar riders, they implement Rush Hour Rates temporarily. The rates may go up at certain times of the day. Toll charges are not included in the fare estimate. In this case, it may be up to riders to pay for any toll fees incurred. It may also be possible to settle…

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How Credit Card Companies Make Money

You might’ve wondered how credit card companies make money off of you if you’ve never had to delay payments, or left an outstanding balance on your credit card. Part of the curiosity could stem from the fact that you get all these benefits and points that you can use for just about anything. There’s a catch to those: it’s one of the ways the companies make money off you. Creditors will profit from your shopping and from the places you shop at. Here’s how credit card companies make money, and how they affect your usage. 1. Interest The first, and arguably most obvious way that credit card companies profit off their consumers is interest. The revenue is pretty handsome, especially when it comes to missed or late payments. This is where the majority of credit card companies’ revenue comes from, but their systems aren’t designed to trick cardholders – in fact, issuers would prefer that their cardholders don’t spiral into debt by providing options to set up automatic payments and send out reminders way ahead of due dates. [click here] to see credit cards with lowest interest rate. Let’s say that you’ve got a balance of Php 63,887 and an interest rate of 3.5% per month, the table below shows how much interest is tacked onto your transaction each month: Read More: Credit Cards with Low-interest Rate in the Philippines 2. Merchant fees When cardholders pay for something with their credit card, a portion of this purchase is split by credit card interchange fees, meaning that the retailer gets a part…

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Convenient Alternatives for Uber and Grab

The dust hasn’t quite settled on the issues between the LTFRB and ride-sharing apps Uber and Grab[1], but at the very least, both services and the agency have come to a compromise on how both companies can continue to operate and comply with LTFRB’s mandate. But between further cooperation between any ride-sharing or ride-hailing companies that want to operate in the country are the commuters. They are the ones most affected whenever any mode of transport is jeopardized. Having viable, convenient alternatives for Uber and Grab is one of the things that the LTFRB is looking into, but in the meantime, here are a few other apps flying under your radar that could be a lifesaver if you get stranded. Angkas There used to be a feature in Grab’s system that allowed people to book a motorcycle to get around, but it was eventually shut down. In its place rose Angkas[2], which functions purely as an on-demand motorcycle taxi service. Getting a ride functions the same way as it does for Grab and Uber – one simply has to download the app, key in their pickup and drop off points, and the fare is immediately calculated and displayed on their smartphone. Base fare is Php 50 for the first 2 kilometers and a further Php 10 for every succeeding kilometer. Unlike the others, payment for Angkas rides are purely cash-based, and they are still expanding their service areas. Current service areas include Taguig, Makati, Manila, Pasay, and Pasig. Wunder Wunder is a European –based carpooling app that’s made the rounds recently,…

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How to Improve Your Credit Score and Secure a Loan

There are a lot of factors that influence bank approvals and credit score is one of the biggest factors. But what is a credit score and credit history? What’s the difference? A credit score is a statistical number that depicts a person’s creditworthiness. Banks and money-lending institutions use a credit score to evaluate the probability that a person repays their debts. Think of it like your GPA back in school, but instead of displaying your academic competence, it displays your creditworthiness. On the other hand, a credit history is a record of a person’s ability to repay debts and demonstrated responsibility in repaying debts. A person’s credit history consists of information such as; number and types of credit accounts, how long each account has been open, amounts owed. These are two items that factor into whether or not lenders will grant you a loan. In order to improve your credit score, there are steps that you will need to take. Avoid late payments While it sounds easy enough to pay your bills on or before the due date, there are going to be times when you won’t be able to – life isn’t cut black and white, and sometimes things will happen that force your financial focus elsewhere for a while. It’s ideal to avoid late payments as much as you can, if only for the simple reason that you prevent any amount of debt from gaining interest. Late payments on debts owed are considered one of the things that can affect your credit score negatively. If you do fall off the wagon…

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Handling Your Love-Hate Relationship With Credit Cards

Think about a credit card’s perks and how it connects to you. Credit cards with low interest rates allow you to minimize the risk of falling in debt, while rewards cards let you get extra perks and freebies when you spend. Criteria like payment terms, annual fees, and reward systems will let you root out the cards that won’t work for you and lead you to the credit card that best suits you. Here are three tips to help you improve your relationship with credit cards. Tip #1: Choose wisely Making the right choice on a credit card isn’t life or death, but it can be the decision that separates you from building a good or bad credit rating. It isn’t so much about being able to read the fine print on every credit card gimmick that’s shot your way as it is determining the functions that you want. Travelers will want to stick to air miles credit cards, for example. People who tend to do most of their shopping will want a credit card that gives perks and exclusives because they’re co-branded with the store in question. Hate paying credit card annual fees? Look for cards that waive annual fees for the first year or for life. You’ll save around Php 3,000 each year. Don’t have much time to do your research? Speed up your search for the best credit card for your needs with the help of a free online credit card comparison tool. Tip #2: Check your spending On its own, a credit card doesn’t do anything…

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How Fast Cash Loans Work

There are quick loans that work for the times when you need cash quickly, and the best possible way at times is to get a fast cash loan. This is a type of loan that you can get from banks or from accredited lending institutions. Loans like these are short-term and can sometimes have a higher rate of interest than personal loans. Last year, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported a 40.6% growth in salary-based consumer loans, which may be due to the fact that a lot of banks have cut down processing times and lowered interest rates. How do fast cash loans work? Fast cash loans like salary loans or quick loans mean that you can get approvals on a loan in as fast as ten minutes of applying to within a few days, which is the convenient part. A number of banks offer salary loans at a caveat: the company you work for must be accredited with the bank in order to process a salary loan request. The requirements are less stringent than other consumer loans, owing to the fact that they require accreditation before being able to service clients. There are also lending institutions in the country that provide the same service, but unlike banks, some of these institutions will require more documentation prior to approval. What are the requirements for a fast cash loan? Because these loans are on the micro-scale, they don’t require as much in terms of documents as a general personal loan would, but the following are the general requirements: Filipino Citizen 20 –…

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How Self-Driving Vehicles Change The Game

There are a few ways by which self-driving vehicles can change the way people get around. One is the fact that you won’t have to deal with drivers, then there’s also the fact that you’ll never have to get lost – the onboard software does all the driving for you. It’s a race, plain and simple, for some of the biggest tech companies and car companies in the world to develop the right balance of technology and mobility to go into their cars. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s the tech companies who’ve made greater strides in the race. The full impact won’t really do much to the general public for a while, at least according to a report by Goldman Sachs. But here are some things that could be impacted by the rise of self-driving cars. Jobs In a society where cars will basically drive themselves, there won’t be a need for people behind the wheel. Self-driving vehicles are set to displace about 300,000 drivers a year in the United States alone when autonomous vehicles begin to saturate the general market. The Goldman Sachs Economics Research report reads that the bulk of the losses will be from the long haul truck driving market, amounting to 2 percent of the total employment population. With that, the report estimates that semi- and fully autonomous vehicles will be among 20 percent of car sales beginning 2025 to 2030. Locally, there are an estimated 10,000 buses operating within Metro Manila, and close to 500,000 taxis. If self-driving vehicles are integrated into public transport, it could also…

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