Auntie Weng’s 5 Reasons or Excuses Why People Don’t Become Truly Rich (Transition from Old Auntie Weng to a New Juan)
Being relatively a newbie to the financial literacy thingy, having only taken control of my finances and started debt management, taking insurance and health protection seriously and begun dabbling in investing initially in paper assets like stocks and mutual funds and later on exploring real estate for the past 3 years, I was thinking in the back of my mind why in the first place I started late and what were my hurdles or stumbling block to becoming truly rich. After a lot of self-reflection, understanding and coming to terms with myself I have come up with these 5 reasons why people don’t become truly rich based on my own personal experience.
- Me? Wealthy? Seriously?!
It never occurred to me before that I can become wealthy because I come from a middle-income family. My parents had a dream to send all their children to private school, in order for them to have a better life that is why my father worked overseas for the longest time. I thought that I will always be in a middle-income family carving a path of working as an employee until the day I retire. I never even thought about investing as I thought investing is only for the rich. Boy, was I so wrong.
- Living in the Here and Now; Fatalistic attitude of leaving it all to God (Bahala Na); God will Provide; Come What May
Living only for the present thinking that God will provide for all my needs. If I have complete faith in God then I know that He will provide for me so I shouldn’t worry about the future. This fatalistic attitude of leaving it all to God also contradicts a Filipino saying “God helps those who help themselves” (Nasa Diyos ang awa, nasa tao ang gawa). Leaving it all to God is so passé and outdated and we should work our ass off to make things happen. It is in our hands and God has given us talents that we should use.
Throwing all caution to the wind and just enjoying life partying and spending like there is no tomorrow. If I feel stressed, I party. If I feel happy, I party. In short, I just make any excuse to just party, drink with friends and go on gimiks (nights out).
- Mañana Habit and Procrastination(Mamaya Na)
Having excuses that I am still young and that I will start thinking about the future and planning for the future tomorrow. Forget about these bad things that we have learned from the Spaniards. As Nike advertises, “Just do it.”
Look at me. I keep postponing until the 11th hour. I woke up and I was already nearing 40 and I have no savings and investment to show for all the past years hard work.
- Lack of Financial Literacy
In Dec 2011, I attended a seminar at a time that I was looking for an avenue for my savings to earn more interest and I learned so many things in that 3 hours seminar. A million and one things were running in mind and to name a few, how come I never heard about different avenues to do investment, how come not one of my friends talked to me about stock market or mutual funds and how come I never heard about the proper way of handling my finances (from saving to investing).
Now, there are so many financial literacy groups and seminars and with just one click you can google all the information. The youth of today are so lucky. They should take advantage of this opportunity and start investing young. Remember, time is your greatest asset. Sadly, for me, time is what I am working against.
- No Bigger Reason or Purpose
Maybe I matured late or maybe I was too busy partying but in my youth I never really thought about putting up a foundation, helping people in a big way and giving back to the community. But now, aside from my passion for Supply Chain, writing and spreading financial literacy, I also want to HELP.
I, together with some of my friends, dream of putting up a foundation helping our less fortunate brothers and sisters and at the same time spreading financial literacy. It will take time so for now even without the foundation, we organize our own outreach programs, we support other groups’ outreach programs (like the library building project and giving away canes for the elderly) and I also support groups bringing financial literacy to teachers and to the communities, esp to the housewives.
As I end this, I envision a new Juan not like old auntie Weng:
- A new Juan who has a take charge attitude, fully in control of his future and financial life and has the freedom to choose and who will choose to do things today.
- A new Juan who is financially savvy, who will not get conned into scams and invests in paper assets, like mutual funds and stocks, and real estate.
- A new Juan who is financially successful and truly rich, who is investing and helping the Philippine economy improve and who is also assisting our less fortunate brothers and sisters.
- A new Juan who lives in the “new Philippines”, which is a developed market and not just an emerging market.