Monday, March 04, 2013

Truly Rich Club: Are You Lola Penny or Lola Pilar?

Here is the sad truth.

I hate to admit it.

I am a Certified Public Accountant, but I am financially stupid.


I have been working my butt off, but I have nothing. 

Except maybe tattered shopping bags and crumpled cash register receipts which are grim reminders of how I behave like a mad woman when I am set free at the mall, without hubby bothering me that he needs to go home.

Until, a mentor, an angel (in the guise of an old office mate) opened my eyes to positivity and making my money work for me.

Do you know the story of Lola Penny and Lola Pilar?

It is an inspirational piece by Bo Sanchez about planning your future and investing.

And I am taking this story to heart.  I will strive to be a Lola Pilar!
Truly Rich

The Story of Lola Penny 
by Bo Sanchez

I have a friend who retired 7 years ago. 

Let’s call her Lola Penny. 

Actually, her real name was Lola Penang. She took a vacation in America, when she came back, she was now called Lola Penny. 

Lola Penny is a widow with 4 children and 6 grandkids. 

For 38 years, Penny worked as an accountant, crunching the numbers for her company. Because she was such a good accountant, she was promoted many times and became the manager of the entire department. 

And she was earning very well. 

But Penny told me that even if she was earning very well, she was living from paycheck to paycheck. 

Which brings me to a very important principle:Income does not equal Wealth. It’s not how much you earn that makes you wealthy. It’s how much you invest from what you earn that makes you wealthy. 

Yes, she saved some money. But like most Filipinos, she saved only for the big expenses: She saved to buy a house. She saved to pay for the schooling of the kids. She even saved for the wedding of the kids. But she failed to save for the biggest expense of all: Retirement

Like many, she totally depended on the retirement package from her company. 

When she retired 7 years ago, Penny got P3 million. 

For the first year, it was heaven on earth. Every Sunday, she brought her grandchildren to the mall to buy them toys. 

And when her children needed money, they’d run to her. 

“Mommy, can we borrow money to repair our car?” 
“Mommy, we lack P20,000 for Junior’s tuition fee. Can you help?” 
“Mommy, your apo (grandson) will compete in a swimming competition in Singapore. Can you pay for his plane fare?” 

But very quickly, her money ran out. 

After 7 years in retirement, Lola Penny was penniless. 

This Isn’t Just A Story; 
This Is Harsh Reality 

Today, Lola Penny totally depends on her 4 children to give her money. But she knows that they have financial problems of their own. 

One time, she overheard her daughter arguing with her Kuya (older brother) on the phone. What she heard tore her heart. 

With anger in her voice, her daughter said, “Kuya, it’s your turn to give money to Mommy! I’m the one who takes care of her at home! I’m the one spending for her food everyday! And I’m the one buying her medicines. Last week, I spent P3000 for her meds! My husband is already complaining why we always don’t have money!” 

When Lola Penny heard her daughter complaining, she began to cry. 

The painful words she heard that day were like many knives stabbing her chest. 

Lola Penny felt she was just a burden to her children. 

And she wanted to die right there. 

Here’s the irony: All her life, as an accountant, Penny was very good at managing the money of her company—but she never managed her own money.  

This is not just a story. 

This is harsh reality: According to surveys, 98% of people aged 65 and above are just like Lola Penny. 

They depend on their kids, or they depend on their tiny pension, or they depend on charitable institutions, or they have to keep working—or they have nothing to eat.

Only 2% of people aged 65 and above are financially free. 

Like Lola Pilar. 

The Story Of Lola Pilar 

You can retire in two ways. 

You can retire like Lola Penny or you can retire like Lola Pilar. 

Penny is a pseudonym. That’s not her real name. 

But Lola Pilar is no pseudonym. 

Pilar is my mother. 

She is 85-years old. 

Today, I give my mother a nice monthly allowance. 

I do it not because she needs it, but because I need it. I need to show my love to her. 

But in reality, my mother doesn’t need my money. 

Let me tell you why. 

Many moons ago, my mother worked in a small music store as a Cashier. Her salary was P120 a month. After working for 19 long years, she received a separation pay: A whopping P2000! 

She invested that P2000 in the Stock Market. 

The year was 1966. 

And whenever she had extra money, she’d invest in very well known companies. My parents bought the stocks of giant companies of their time: San Miguel. Ayala. Etcetera. 

My father retired at the age of 65. He passed away at 88. For those 23 years, my parents sold a portion of their stocks–little by little—for their big expenses. 

After Dad passed away, Mom announced, “I’m selling all my stocks.” I was surprised that she still had P1 Million from that last sale—even if they were already withdrawing their cash from there little by little. 

I asked her, “Did you sell everything?” 

Mom said, “Yes, I did. Well, I left the crumbs…” 


“What crumbs?” I asked. 

She explained, “Oh, I left the very little investments scattered in various companies. They’re very tiny. Nothing much.” 

That conversation took place three years ago. 

Just two months ago, I told her, “Mom, you’re 85. You better sell whatever you have left in the Stock Market. Yes, I know they’re crumbs. But just collect them anyway.” 

She agreed. She called up her stockbroker and said, “Can you sell all the tiny stocks I have left?” 

She was expecting P10,000. At most, P20,000. 

But she got the shock of her life. The stockbroker told her, “Mrs. Sanchez, your stocks are worth P1.2 Million.” 

Mom turned to me and said, “Bo, I’m rich!” 

I told her, “Mom, you’ve always been rich. You just think you’re poor.” 

Forty-five years ago, my mother planted P2000 in the Stock Market. And through the years, she planted little seeds of P50, P100, and P200 in giant companies. 

Because she planted in the spring, today, she isn’t begging in the fall. 

In her whole life, my mother never received a huge amount of money. She never inherited money. She never won the Lotto. She only built her wealth slowly. 

Remember this truth I heard from David Bach:Wealth is not built in days; Wealth is built in decades. 

There are two ways of retiring in life: Are you going to be a Lola Penny or a Lola Pilar? 

God places the two roads before you. 

Penny Poverty or Pilar Prosperity? 

You choose. 

For the totally clueless (like I am), you can download your free copy of Bo Sanchez' My Maid Invests in the Stock Market...And Why You Should Too.  

How to invest in the stock market
Download the Brief Free E-book here!

I am full of regrets...

Because I learned about this so late...

But I am full of hope too...

That I would eventually be financially free!

To our dreams!


  1. What a beautiful story. I'm glad I go to read it. Thank you so much...

    1. I was glad to read it too, eliz! I realized I have been wasting years working and not preparing for my future!

  2. This is such an enlightening post Marie. Thanks for sharing it with us.

    1. Sarah, the story enlightened me, too.

  3. Nice and inspiring story. Pinoys should all learn from this I guess

  4. I read a lot of stories similar Lola Penny. One day millionaires. It is sad.

  5. great stories. i hope i dont end up like lola penny. :(

  6. Great stories. I already read about the maids and we are planning to invest int he stock market too. Hopefully it will be great.

  7. Sis, thank you for sharing this. This reminds me to really invest now. Actually, my mother got retired and parang ganun nangyayari sa kanya kay Lola Penny. My siblings kept on borrowing money from her. So I keep some of her money since she's staying with us. I saved it and I told her I will invest part of it. Alam mo what makes me sad about the story of Lola Penny, un part na pine-presyuhan na ng mga anak niya un food, medicine at pati pag-aalaga sa kanya. I will never ever do that with my mother. I hope Matt will not do that to us too.

    Mommy Maye

  8. A really scary thought. Sometimes I think it's too late to start investing for my old age but it's better than nothing. I never gave a thought to investing when I was young. Now I'm panicking like it's too late!

  9. thanks for sharing the story sis, its enlighten it inspired me to do better on my dream of being financially stable when I get old..Rosemarie/Gven-Rose

  10. Well - I am going to figure out how we can start investing right away! Thanks!

  11. nice story...
    but in reality, majority of Filipinos families lives in kain-tuka, other families are able to eat once or twice a day, i'm only talking about food, paano pa ang ibang would you talk "financial stablity" if the system of the government is callous to majority of Filipinos?

    1. "Stop Blaming the Government for Your Poverty

      Ninety-nine percent of all failures come from people who have a habit of making excuses.
      — George Washington Carver

      "This chapter is specifically written for my fellow Pinoys.Because this has become our national pastime. We like blaming our personal financial misery on our government.

      One day, I was talking to a friend of mine. Over a cup of coffee, he blurted out in exasperation to me, “Brother Bo, do you know why I’m poor?” He didn’t wait for my answer. He said, “It’s our (blip) government!
      From the (blip) policeman on the street to the (blip) President of the Philippines, they’re all (blip) corrupt. This (blip) country is going to the dogs because we’re being run by a bunch of (blip) thieves!”
      If he’d stopped cursing, we’d have shortened our conversation by half.But I needed to correct a graver mistake.
      I said, “Is that the reason why you’re poor?”
      “Of course!” his nostrils flared, “I hate those (blip) politicians!”
      “Then can you explain to me why your next-door neighbor Henry
      is getting richer no matter who sits in MalacaƱang? In the past three presidencies, your neighbor built one small business after another. Did he have a different set of presidents, a different set of senators and
      congressmen than you had?”
      My friend was caught off-guard. For a moment he just stared at me, not knowing what hit him.
      He was probably used to people agreeing with him all the time, even joining him in talking about the muck and grime of our politicians.
      Well, I think that’s a total waste of my energy.
      Personally, I’d rather go to work, build businesses, create jobs and
      bless the world—than sit around cursing the government. Anyone can curse the dark. But it takes a special person to light a small candle in that darkness.
      Don’t blame the government for your poverty.
      When you blame them, you’ll constantly wait for your salvation from the government. But friend, the government won’t save you.
      Don’t wait for prosperity from any politician or any form of government.
      If you want prosperity, you’ve got to go and create it yourself.
      Only you—and God working in you—can create the wealth you
      Stop blaming the government for your poverty"

      Eight Secrets of the Truly Rich

    2. I heard this story from Bo Sanchez too, I think in youtube :) hihihi

  12. I guess this story hits right at the core, specially for accountants lol! Seriously, I've been a TRC member some time ago, I just stopped kasi am not yet applying all the principles but I've read enough to put some sense in me hehehe. One thing I never forget is the tithes envelope.

  13. I watched him when he told this story on tv. It's amazing but I wish I could do that from here in the province. Join his truly rich club.

  14. Are you a member already, Marie? I really (really, really) want to join and start investing already, pero not until next month (it's my baby's 1st birthday kasi this month). I'm also deeply into Christian financial books right now. I also want to be a Lola Pilar no! Are you into investing na din? Sorry, so many questions! :D

  15. I should be Lola Pilar! hehehe Actually, I started investing and I hope I can continue it until I am old and then, one day I did not realize I am richer.. hehehe Thank you for sharing this story! As of now, I am finding more ways to save up and invest. I hope it will be a success! :)

  16. I want to invest to stocks also. But I don't know how to start. haha.. Bo's writings were really inspirational.. :)

  17. These are great life lessons as well as financial ones. Thanks for sharing! We are also looking to invest not just in banks.

  18. This one is really one of the practical and motivational stories from Bo Sanchez. Great money matters lesson.

    More Success and Happy Investing,
    Red @ Truly Rich Club Review