How good are Filipinos about money?

Dear Editor,

Still, in some sectors today, talking about money is taboo. Some people are uncomfortable talking about it as they don’t want to be branded as greedy or “mukhang pera” in Tagalog. For them, money is the root of all evil. But should it really be the case? Should we really be ashamed to talk about money? Is money or the wrong use of it the root of all evil? Is it possible that because many are uncomfortable talking about money they are missing the opportunity to have and grow it?

The younger generations are showing a different pattern when it comes to money talk. They surely want to learn about it, do something about it, and have control over it. This can be the biggest factor why many youngsters today are more financially capable compared to when we were their age. But sooner, they will learn that just having money is not enough. Part of their adulting is knowing they have to put their finances in order. They must be good at managing them so that one day soon, their money will start working for them.

They have a clear financial goal. Whether it’s to build your dream house, buy a brand new car, attend graduate school, take that grand family vacation, or prepare for comfortable retirement life, the number one sign that you are good with your money is having a clear financial goal that you are focused on achieving.

They have steady and multiple streams of income. The young generation, which makes up more than 50 percent of our workforce today, is not content with just having a single income source. Aside from having their main source of livelihood, either as employees or entrepreneurs, they are also into different side hustles. They are online sellers, social media content developers, and influencers, consultants, coaches, etc. While some do it out of necessity, others are doing it because they want to have their own money without needing to depend on their parents.

They have a budget. Having a budget and sticking with it is a key factor to financial success. It is important and necessary to know how much money we make and where it is spent and allocated monthly. Allocation for both short-term essentials and long-term essentials. Keeping tab of what’s coming in and going out of your savings account is a discipline that can help you avoid dipping into your long-term funds for your short-term and everyday expenses. That’s why knowing our needs/essentials is vital so we can prioritize them over our wants.

They can pay their monthly bills. Sticking to the monthly budget is needed so one is able to pay their monthly bills and obligations, without needing to borrow/loan from your savings account or from lending institutions. No matter how “lite” installments on credit cards may sound, they are not lite on the pocket, considering the compounding interests applied to your principal loan amount. Charge to your card only the amount you are capable of paying in full.

They are saving money. A portion of your regular income should go into savings for the so called-rainy days. No matter how much planning and preparation we do, there will always be unexpected and unforeseen expenses. The Covid-19 pandemic is an example of the unforeseen force that taught us the importance of having enough savings. With the sudden and prolonged lockdowns, many were caught financially unprepared, with not enough savings to draw from.

They are investing to grow their money. They are aware that savings funds are meant to cushion us from the impact of unexpected or emergency expenses. This is not the way to grow money. They invest for the purpose of growing their money. They invest in their own business, real properties, stocks, mutual funds, and investment link insurance products, etc. They start small and early with a growth mindset.

We are blessed and lucky that we now have the opportunity and access to the different financial programs that can guide and assist us with our savings and investment objectives. There should be no reason why we cannot be good with our money. As one quote says, “If we never save money or invest, we will always be poor, no matter how much we earn.” Now, who wants to be poor?

Jay Ledesma

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