Money

When to be Financially Free?

When to be Financially Free?

Being financially free is one of the goals of most people. Who doesn't want financial freedom? But the more important question is when should we be financially free?

Let me share to you my story.  Most of the daily life of government employees (at least in my station), I hear statements like “Hay kelan kaya dadating ang biyaya” (when will employees’ benefits arrive).

Financial wellness seminar

Frequent scenario in our office is that, employees from other offices would approach their fellow employees to have their loan applications signed as guarantor. I can’t help but ask from those employees,  “ Di ba kabibigay lang ng benefits, mangungutang na naman kayo?“(How come you will loan again, isn’t it that you just received your benefits? ) Some would reply, “Kasi po pambayad nalang yung natangap naming benefits dahil naiutang na namin yun bago pa dumating“. (It is because what we received are just enough to satisfy for our due for payment loans and debts which were incurred long before we received those benefits).

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These situations I believe are not unique to government offices, but are happening also to employees in the private sector. For my entire stay in the government, I have witnessed and is still witnessing the same scenario.

Office employees

Back then, borrowing money was neither an issue for me nor does it affect me because I myself was once drowned in credit card debts. No matter how much my salary increased every year, money was never enough.

Loan application

I had my first job in the private company. However, after a few months, I transferred to the government and worked with the Judiciary. Being in the public service was a personal covenant during my college days because for me working with the government is a way of giving back to the country for the free schooling I got from the State University.

University of the Philippines

When I got my salary as a government employee, I was so amazed because it was the first time I got a big money. I felt rich! I started to overspend and raise my lifestyle. Went to parties almost daily, bought a car, rented an apartment. That was also the time when I started financing the schooling of one of my cousins. Before I know it, my credit cards were maxed out their credit limits. I was living from paycheck to paycheck and even had zero balance in my payroll ATM account days before the next pay day.

Pay

One day, before the next pay day and my money was again only enough to buy me food, a relative died whose family was very poor. Once I was informed of the sudden event, the incidental expenses soon came rushing and the bereaved family have all their fingers pointed at me to shoulder the expenses.

When it dawned on me that the amount for a simple and decent vigil and burial of my relative is not that big, but I can’t even say I will take care of it because I know I have no money to offer, that was the moment when I realized the value of money that I have been spending for not so important things and activities and all because I didn’t know how to manage my finances.

Savings

That experience made me think really hard of my spending habits but I was completely clueless on how and where to start managing my finances. God came to my rescue and He immediately sent the help I badly needed that time. I met my ex-girlfriend (now my wife) who unselfishly shared to me her financial management knowledge, skills, discipline and strategies.

My wife became my first financial management mentor. She guided me to slowly change my mindset towards handling my finances. She introduced me to time tested financial principles and practical insights. She lend me her financial management books, audio and video seminars and encouraged me to join a community focused on financial management and investment.  She never quit on me despite the hard headed and slow learner student in me. It was not easy for me at first because I felt it was way out of my comfort zone. 

Financial wellness seminar

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Not long, with all the untiring advice, patience and encouragement from my wife, I slowly got the feel of it. I started reading financial management books, attend seminars and lectures on financial planning and talked to financially successful people.  As I continue my search for more financial knowledge, it made me realize what I was doing wrong with my finances in the past. My learning will never stop and I continue to hunger for more financial knowledge. 

Financial planning

Today, I still read financial management books and attend financial management seminars. What makes it different now is I share my learnings and experiences to as many people I can reach out by sharing my story. I conduct one-on-one tutorials, coaching, free seminars and assist in managing stocks portfolio. I am not a financial planner. I don’t have formal training on financial management and I don’t consider myself an expert in the field of financial management.

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Why am I doing this? Because I want to share to my family, friends and acquaintances the importance of financial literacy and the value of managing their finances. Maybe you are in the same page with me with your finances right now or still can’t decide when to start learning about managing your finances. Or maybe the only thing that sets me apart from you is the moment when I decided to take responsibility of my finances.

You want to be successful in your financial goals? You have to realize that its only you who can make it happen. You want a success story? Then be the scriptwriter of your successful financial life story. As the renowned success mentor and author Stephen Covey said , ” The best way to predict your future is to create it”. 

When is the best time to start? TODAY!!!

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