If we can’t save, then there is little chance for us to be wealthy and financially independent. It is important that we monitor our daily expenses. It is easy to spend our cash because it’s fun to shop. I know some people who like to shop because it relieves stress. But we can’t keep on spending. One day, we will grow old and will not be able to work anymore.
Last week, I rode a jeep going to Pedro Gil. I couldn’t help but notice the driver. He looked like he was in his late 70s. His face was sagging. He had no teeth and had a hard time seeing the road. He seemed too old to drive. During the trip, one passenger shouted, “Para!” Instead of stopping, he extended his right arm as if to reach for someone’s fare. Coming to his senses, he said in a low voice, “Kala ko may magbabayad.” I felt sorry for the old man, but I couldn’t blame him for working in spite of his old age.
We don’t have to be like the old driver working until our old age. We can choose our future. If we work to be financially independent while we are young, we can have the life that we want when we grow old. Peter Drucker says that the best way to predict the future is to create it. As a Financial Literacy Advocate, I always teach to people to have a mindset geared towards financial independence. It should be intentional; otherwise, people will never reach their financial goals.
Last July, I had a talk in a university in Metro Manila. There were about 1,000 attendees. Holding up a 100-peso bill, I asked the audience, “Who wants Php100?” Majority raised their hands. I asked them again, “Who wants Php100.00?” I asked two more times until one student boldly went up on stage to get the 100-peso bill from me. Everyone wanted Php100.00, but only one student came up to get it. This is the same with being financial independent. No one will give it to us. We have to work for it.
The first thing to do is to build a habit of saving. Every time we get our salary, we should set aside 20% for savings. Even if you have debts, pay it little by little until you get out of it. This sounds easy, but it is quite difficult. Discipline is important. Ideally, if a person earns Php10,000 per month, he should set aside Php2,000 for savings. Saving should be prioritized over expenses. If you can save more that would be better.
After building your savings, the second thing to do is to invest. You have to learn how money can work for you. There are many financial instruments that can make your money grow. You just have to choose based on your risk appetite. Can you handle high risk investments? Or are you averse to risk? You decide what fits your financial goals. The key to investing is to diversify. Never put all your eggs in one basket. Spread it to minimize the risks of losing your hard-earned money.
Living within our means is one of the best ways to reach financial independence. We have to learn how to stick to our daily budget for us to achieve our financial goals in the future. We can observe that a lot of financially successful people live simply or live below their means.
Being intentional in achieving our financial goals will give us direction and drive us to save more, invest more and spend less. Doing this can help us be part of the Filipinos who are enjoying financial independence. Most people wish for a better life but smart people learn, plan, and take action to get a better life.
To learn more about Financial Planning you may reach me.
Archie M. Yuki
Associate Unit Manager
The Insular Life Assurance Ltd. Co.