If you are born poor, it’s not your mistake but if you die poor it’s your mistake- Bill Gates.
I was raised by a poor family. My father lost his job when I was 1st year college in UP Manila. The company where my father was working closed down in Angono, Rizal. I decided to stop studying because I did not want to burden my father and our family for my college tuition fees because my 3rd sister was still finishing her studies. My 2 eldest sisters and my brother helped our family to survive during those years because they were the ones who were working already. My father did not graduate from college and my mother was a housewife, he could not get a job anymore because he was like 55 years old that time. My father did not have any financial plan that can help our family for us to sustain the family’s expenses and my mother did not finish high school.
I realized that time that I did not want to become poor for all of my life. Mahirap maging mahirap, I felt that deeply during those years. I was 18 years old then that I stopped studying and decided to work in Robinsons Big R Supercenter, a grocery store in Robinsons Metro East near Sta. Lucia Mall in Pasig City for me to give a share to our family’s expenses and also to save money for me to finish my studies. I did not know what to do back then and it was my friend who also invited me to work there. It is now Robinsons Supermarket but before it was Big R Supercenter.
The job was as a bagger. I did variety tasks in Big R but primarily the main task was to work with a cashier to get groceries in the plastic bag or packing big boxes for the customers . Tasks were assisting the customers exiting the store, load the groceries to their cars, stocking shelves, arranging the pushcarts, assisted the complaining customers to change what they purchased,checking the right price tags and a lot more that my supervisor told me to do.
I was not complaining at that time but it challenged me to strive to do better in life. I learned that it is not enough to work hard but it is important to know how to make money work for me because it happened to my father. When my father lost his job, his income stopped but the expenses did not stop. By studying successful people, I realized that a lot of them have passive income. Even they stopped working, they can still afford to live the same lifestyle that they enjoy. I told to myself upon realizing it, I want to get out of poverty.
I worked for 6 months as a bagger and after that I worked as a waiter in Sulu Hotel in Quezon City because we transferred in Pasig City because our relative helped us to live in their apartment, it was a small room only. We did not have other options because our Auntie Ling-Ling offered a minimal rental fees at that time. I saved a small amount of money for my tuition fees and by June 2003 I managed to go back to school and transferred in UP Diliman. While studying in UP Diliman, I looked for a job still for me to sustain my expenses at school while saving my money for my tuition fees. I got a job in Video City in Kapitolyo, Pasig City as a Customer Service Representative. My main task was to assist the customers to process the rentals of VCDs and VHS in that video shop, this was the time that piracy was not that popular. In the morning until in the afternoon, I was in UP, attending the class and in the evening I worked in Video City from 6pm to 11pm. Luckily, I was hired in Video City for 1 year. It was difficult for me but I have no choice but I had to do it otherwise, I would not finish my studies.
I remember when I was in UP Diliman, I usually did not go with my classmates during lunch time because they would eat at Mcdonalds, KFC, Jollibee, or Shopping Center(SC) which my budget would not allow me. My usual lunch was fishball and brought my own bottle of water for me to save money because if I would keep up with their expenses, I would not be able to go back to school in the following days because I did not have money for transportation expenses.One time I joined my classmates’ lunch at KFC in Tandang Sora, I jokingly said that if I eat a KFC meal today I will not be able to go to school for 2 days and they were laughing but it was true, I did not go to school for two days. Most of my clothes were bought from Ukay-Ukay in Cubao. That’s how I survived in UP Diliman, I graduated without attending the graduation march in UP because I did not have money to pay for the graduation fees. I thanked my family for the support specially my Aya Cris, Atsi Shiela, and Auntie Ilex and Uncle Vic who were there for me financially while studying. I pray for more blessings to come to them.
I thank God always because of the hardships that I went through during early years in my life because it made me the person I am today. It taught me a lot of things particularly in handling money. I learn to value the money that I receive for me to be a good steward of God. I understood that it is not enough to work for money always, I learned also to make money work for me. These days by applying my knowledge in Financial Planning, I learned how to save at least 10%-16% of my income and invest some of it. I am targeting to reach 20% of savings everytime I earn. I insured also myself if in case death comes my wife will be able to live comfortably without me. My wife and I live frugally and yet we still enjoy life.I’m so thankful for my lovely and supportive wife who is there for me, I’m blessed to have her in my life. We do not have a baby yet because she is still finishing her undergraduate course in PUP Sta. Mesa. We live in an old house in Mandaluyong City but we own it, we do not have to rent or pay any mortgages. God willing, we will renovate it soon.
While continuing to study how money work, I became a shareholder of big companies in the Philippines by investing since 2013 in Insular Life’s Variable Unit Linked(VUL). Who would have thought that from a bagger before in Robinsons Grocery Store, I am now a shareholder of JG Summit Holdings by investing in their company. It is not scary to invest in Stock Market and anyone can invest in Phil. Stock Market.You just have to study it and talk to a Financial Adviser who can help you to grow your money. I started owning shares in 2013 from these top corporations in the country including JG Summit Holding where I used to work as a bagger. These companies are earning for sure and because I have shares of their companies, I also earn. Isn’t that great? Money is working for me now.
I also invested last 2015 in Select Equities Fund of Insular Life where it is invested in Top-Most liquid companies in the Philippine Stock Market.As low as saving Ph60 per day, I can make my money grow. It is not true that you have to have millions first before you can participate in Phil. Stock Market. You can start the amount that you are comfortable with. In investing in Select Equities Fund, I do not need to monitor what will happen to my money but Insular Life will give me a report every quarter. They will be the one who will manage if who are the companies will be the most liquid companies in Philippine Stock Market. I am sure that the company that they put in the Select Equities Fund will be the best companies in Phil. Stock Market whether the stock market goes up and down. These funds are tax-free when it earns and also it has a life insurance coverage if death comes to me.
I am not wealthy yet, you will not see me driving a car these days, traveling a lot, drinking expensive coffee, have the nicest clothes, have the nicest gadgets,eating at a fancy restaurant, but I know that what I am doing today will make me benefit in the future by making my money work for me by saving and investing. I focus more on building assets than building liabilities and practicing delayed gratification than instant gratification. I am working in progress to reach my goals.
We have hardships until now but our hope is with God because He had a promise in Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”. I’m so thankful that my life is better now as compared when I started as a bagger in a grocery store. I do not lose hope and I always look forward that there’s a better life ahead of me. With my experience, I believe that I can inspire Filipinos to be better also in their life, imagine me as bagger before. I have a peace of mind with the Lord and I know that if He will take me anytime my wife will live comfortably without me. It is important that you have a goal and work hard for it and do your best and God will do the rest. It’s possible!
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