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As I approach the last quarter of the year, I can’t help but wonder why 2013 wasn’t so good to me.
Sometimes, life deals us a trick card, and hoboy, what a big joker I picked!
My dad got hospitalized, was in the Intensive Care Unit for ten days, my two kids,Nicole and Adrian, got hospitalized for dengue fever , mydad eventually passed away, and two weeks after his funeral, Adrian got amoebiasis.
Aside from the emotional stress and trauma I suffered, my family and I had no choice but to pay all the bills (considering the time my dad spent in the ICU, it was quite a big amount).
Fortunately, my dad was great with his finances.
He has built his retirement pension (practically doubling his lump sum pension by investing it at PNB when they were offering the double –your – money –in five years program) and likewise built properties for rent which became a source of his passive income.
My brother, who is typically “Like Father, Like Son” , has big savings as well.
Which, unfortunately, you can’t say about me.
Although I should know how to manage my finances given that I am a CPA, I ended up wasting my money on
expensive gadgets, toys, branded clothes, coffee (!), Ponzischemes.
So, there I was, with loads of moral support to offer (conveniently escaping the financial – my bro and my dad’s
money took care of that), fiercely vowing that I am going to build up my savings to avoid hard times.
(Besides, wala nang “Pa, pahiram ng P5,000.00. I will give it back to you bukas” meaning I will give it back to him after a month)
I have been educating myself on how to build my savings.
I have been reading books on Suze Orman and Robert Kiyosaki (interestingly, they have opposing views, but you can learn from both of them), I am a member of BoSanchez’ Truly Rich Club, and I have been watching shows on financial education as well (ANC’s On The Money is my favorite) .
I have slowly built my emergency fund. I have invested in the stock market as well.
Looking back at how my dad handled his finances, I am so slowly trying to do what he did (even the stock
market part – yup, I found stock certificates in his files as well).
Life does give you major surprises.
Here is how you can deal with them:
Lesson 1: Have a separate savings account for your
I have an ATM card for my day-to-day expenses and I have a separate bank account for my emergency fund.
Ideally, your bank account where you will be putting your emergency fund should not have an ATM card so that you will not be tempted to use your savings for non-emergency needs, like that “OMG, they have that bag I have been lemming for since last year on sale!” moment.
Oh, yeah, as a recovering shopaholic, I get moments like that.
A lot of moments.
My solution: Avoid the mall. (If dati, I make time-in sa mall everyday – gusto ko na ngang humingi ng time card ko sa guard eh!, now twice a week na lang. )
Lesson 2: Save before spending.
Financial gurus can never emphasize this enough.
Pay yourself first!
As soon as you get a salary, set aside at least ten to twenty percent and deposit it to your emergency
Lesson 3: Budget, budget, budget.
Record all your expenses and make a budget.
This is a lesson I still have to master.
Mahirap sa akin ito because I hate writing things down.
Case in point,
I go to the grocery unplanned, without a shopping list, and I go crazy picking up all those buy one take one stuff near the check-out lines.
I tend to go overboard when I go grocery shopping, usually spending (and buying) double what I planned.
Hubby does a better job because he makes a list and buys only the things we need.
Problem is he detests going to the grocery.
Lesson 4: Are you buying a need or a want?
Sometimes, we have a hard time recognizing what we need or want.
If it is something you can live without (like that bag you “need” to have because it is on sale), put off buying it.
Talk yourself out of buying it.
Believe me, you will have sleepless nights over it, but once you find out that thing you “need” is not on the display window anymore, once you get over the “Sayang. I can almost see myself using it”, you will feel nothing but
Lesson 5: Invest.
Savings account offer such a meager interest – usually just around 1% or even lower plus you have to deal
with a 20% final withholding tax on your savings, which means your money is not growing!
Try investing your money so that it can earn more in time deposits, pooled funds like UITFs and Mutual Funds, or try the stock market or the real estate market.
If Bo Sanchez’ maids invest in the stock market (and probably have investments more than you have), you can too!
I am struggling to be clear about my money objectives and have the discipline to set aside funds regularly, not only when I feel like it. I believe my attitude regarding my finances have changed tremendously. It is still a pain for me not to stalk my favorite shops in the mall, but hey, I can live without a new pair of those “shoes I absolutely need to have”. Heck, I am on my way to financial security! (My dad must be proud of me up there!)