Financial Independence

 

June is Financial Independence Month at SunLife Philippines! Paolo and I were invited to today’s panel discussion on how to find your perfect match (cause finding someone who understands your financial goals and limitations is like finding “the one”).

I wasn’t asked to blog about the topic but I felt it to be a disservice if I pass up the chance to take this time and share our financial journey and hopefully, help anyone find an advisor the way we were helped. And there is no shame in asking for help or admitting that we don’t know how to manage our finances as long as we have every intention to fix them.

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You see, I was raised with the mind set na “magtipid magtipid magtipid... paglaki mo at may trabaho ka na, saka mo bilhin yung mga gusto mo”. I had very humble and simple-minded parents who’s only ambition in life (from my point of view at least) was to send us, their three children to good schools. Which they did so well if I may modestly admit. It was a dream that came at a high cost, specifically one that may have been reaching beyond their means but definitely put us, their children, on a path of great opportunities and a network of brilliant people we could not have met if they did not dream those big dreams for us.   

Fast forward to our adult lives, it is only at the point when I had Mio (fresh out of college!) did I realise that I had absolutely no idea how to save money! Or that I needed to in the first place 😱💰 I had daydreams of being a thespian for life, being literally a starving artist was “the goal” so when having a child was tasked upon me, I had no idea how to to navigate the real world which obviously needed money to make it go round.

I also have this deep-seated sub-conscious idea that money is not from God. I felt that money caused people to become greedy, selfish or too arrogant. I was a Class Treasurer all of high school and I made sure that every centavo was accounted for. I sold my Mom’s delicacies in grade school to give me a little extra for recess. But never in my wildest dreams did I aspire to be mayaman. As in hindi ko sya pinangarap!

But I worked like a horse anyway, and did as I was told: I bought everything I wanted and felt I deserved when I wanted it. And every time my family had a crisis, I would break my back doing rackets and God knows what just to find a way to make more money to solve that financial problem.

My best friend even felt I was a financial case study, of the quantifiable proportions of my capacity to save vs. my non-financial rewards such as the quality time I get to spend with my children or the lessons and life experiences I acquire as I took my path to financial literacy.

Then I met Cheska working at an event. A life insurance wasn’t unheard of for me but I didn’t understand any of it! The VULs, the mutual funds, bond equities, etc. So I didn’t bother with it. I also felt it it was a company's business of holding on to my money when i can put it in higher earning investments like stocks! (And I can seriously hear my wealth manager friend snicker if she’s reading this at all because she doesn’t believe in insurance policies! 😂 if you’re after the big guns, a wealth manager from a reputable banking institution might fit your needs better) but coming from an artist’s POV, and hearing it explained to me like it was so elementary made me understand a great deal about it. I keep asking the same questions when we meet but my personal take away from all that we collaborate on with our insurance policies is that each plan has its own purpose (whether it’s for my foreseen critical illnesses, my retirement, our children’s school fund, etc) and forces me to save money that I would have otherwise spent mindlessly elsewhere.

Fast-forward to when I met Paolo. The most kuripot person I dated! We both had insurance policies of our own and both of us felt quite financially capable of raising our own children. We both felt hard-working and I was happily surprised to have met someone with so much drive and passion for so many things! I had no idea I was going to spend the rest of my life with this person. Or spend too much together either! 😂 And both of us, when we combined our lives he exponentially grown, not just our families, but also our obligations. Money too is never a comfortable topic to discuss and may cause friction in different aspects of a relationship. So having a referee, a third person point of view to help us map out our goals against our current capabilities and individual contributions was our sign that Cheska was for keeps.

So much so that in spite of the fact that we have policies from other plans and have diversified our assets (or at least those that we hope to acquire), she takes all those in consideration and never recommends her products for her own gain. It happened more than once that we have requested for a policy to which she declined, explaining to us that our funds aren’t better directed to a business we were simultaneously working on at that time and the other being too premature for one of our younger kids. It helps that Cheska herself is a dancer by profession, so she understands us as freelancers and artist alike.

We have policies from other insurance companies too and I can say that each of them have their own strengths although I cannot honestly say which has earned us more fund value to date or where’s our money is better of. But I know that our trust is with Cheska and hope that you find your Cheska too in any company you choose to invest in.

In all honesty, I resent to think that wealth is merely the possession of valuable material things or a hefty amount of money. I will consider myself wealthy when I have the assurance that 1) my children are happy; 2) my parents grow old healthy; 3) my partner is fulfilled; and 4) that I can be of service to other people especially my loved ones, as my measure of success. Only then will I know that I am living a prosperous, substantial & meaningful life. But money sure will let me realistically afford all that “wealth” I hope for.

Paolo and I have yet to achieve our financial goals but slowly, in God’s time, through our hard work (prudence if any!), diligence, Lady Luck, all the other assets we try to grow and Cheska’s guidance we really hope we become financially independent and be able to provide for all our children, help keep our parents healthy and strong and still be able to achieve our dreams! ✨ thank you for having us, SunLife! We hope everyone finds a match like we did too!