“Experience is the teacher of all things.” – Julius Caesar.

 

It is indeed true that aside from history and from other people, it is really through our own personal experience that we learn a lot.

 

There might be times that we have failed but if we learn from our mistakes and failures then we could proudly say that we have successfully failed.

 

As I turn 28 years old, I want to share with you all the things I have learned along the way: from managing my money, dealing with my work, and being a happy independent single woman.

 

I hope you could learn from my sharing. Here’s the first part of my learning:

 

My Top 10 Financial Lessons

 

  1. Saving early IS an ADVANTAGE

 

When I was in college, I remember saving my meager weekly allowance given by my mother.

 

The amount that I was able to save from my allowance, I used it whenever there was something that needs to be paid in school. As what I’ve told you in my story, I love my mom so much that I didn’t want to burden her anymore for any additional school expense.

 

When I received my first incentive pay from my job, I immediately went to the bank and placed it in a time-deposit.

 

I have realized that saving early really pays off.

 

Now that I’m already 28 years old, I have already established my emergency fund (3-6mos of your salary) and have placed my money in other investment instruments.

 

If I wasn’t able to save back then, I could not be this financially stable.

 

If you are reading this, the best time to save is NOW, regardless of your age.

 

  1. Credit Cards
I still have this cut credit cards as a remembrance that I conquered my credit card dependence!

I still have this cut credit cards as a remembrance that I have conquered my credit card dependence!

 

When I first got my job, we were privileged that we got to have our own credit card without any requirements needed.

 

I was so happy because by having a credit card, you got to enjoy perks, earn rebates, book travels, and shop! Yes, you could just shop and swipe!

 

But like any person, there was a time that the use of my credit card was already out of my control. I overspent.

 

Because of this, what I did was I literally cut my credit card into “pieces,” and promised myself not to use one anymore!

 

The lesson I have realized here is that, if you cannot pay your credit card total amount due in FULL, don’t get one!

 

Now, I have 3 credit cards but I am now more disciplined and in control. I always pay in FULL and on TIME.

 

If you can’t control yourself, I advise you: SAVE YOURSELF! DO NOT GET ONE even though someone offers it to you! You know yourself better.

 

 

  1. Real Estate
I sold this already. But I don't regret it. This was a lesson I have to go through.

I sold this already. But I don’t regret it. This was a lesson I have to go through.

 

Last January 2011, I bought a condominium unit. I bought this condominium not thinking about the costs that I would later on carry as well as the dues and maintenance that were needed for its upkeep.

 

I bought it because back then, I was too proud of myself. I envied my co-worker who bought one. He told me that it is his investment. And, without studying what I was getting myself into, I bought it!

 

I told myself that I wanted to challenge myself if I can.

 

But it was a WRONG decision. Wrong decision because I bought it for the WRONG reasons.

 

After 3years of paying for the down payment, I posted an ad at olx.com.ph to sell it just because I didn’t want to have it financed in a bank and pay for an additional housing loan interest rate for 10-15-20 years.

 

I was too afraid to loan but back then, I was already approved by a bank in case no one would buy the condo.

 

I have realized that you should not buy something unless you have a CLEAR goal on why are you buying it.

 

When I bought it back then, I didn’t have any GOAL for buying it. I bought it out of envy.

 

I want you to realize that before you buy anything, MAKE sure that you have a plan and make sure to CALCULATE all the costs that are covered for that property – interior design costs, maintenance costs, condo dues, taxes, etcetera.

 

Do not buy out of impulse especially when it comes to big properties like this. Because at the end of the day, you don’t want to sell something at a loss.

 

Note: This year, I will buy a real estate property again. But now I can say that I am more than prepared because now, I have a goal and I know all the responsibilities.

 

 

  1. Making a Financial Statement “matters”

 

The best way to know where you are now when it comes to your finances is through your net worth. The numbers have stories to tell.

 

Last year, I enrolled in a certification course called RFP or Registered Financial Planning. The first part of the certification was about Financial Statements. Why? Because you won’t be able to help someone unless you know where s/he was coming from. Like a doctor, you cannot prescribe the right medicine without checking his/her history, diagnostics and all.

 

The most important thing about this is that they let us made our OWN financial statements.

 

You will be SURPRISED because it is through this exercise that you’ll know how an expensive habit like drinking a cup of coffee or watching premier nights of your favorite movie every week could affect your cash flow, which will affect the amount of money you could save and which, in turn, will affect your savings that forms part of your asset.

 

Before this year ended, I updated my Financial Statement and it is through this that I was able to assess whether I was able to do well or do worse.

 

So, I advise all of you. Start with listing down your expenses and income. It is the first step towards saving and towards financial freedom. Believe me.

 

 

  1. Only invest in stocks that you KNOW

 

Now that I have my emergency fund, insurance protection and a buffer in case of anything unfortunate, I have now started to invest in the stock market.

 

I thought that investing in the stock market was as easy as just setting up an account, having a broker, funding your account, choosing a stock, buying it and watching it work for you.

 

Tada! You’re definitely WRONG! It is not that easy. You will LEARN as you trade.

 

Because I was a beginner, I subscribed to one of the famous newsletters to help me choose to BUY stocks that will go up in value.

 

Because I was a beginner, I bought almost ALL stocks listed in the recommendation without even thinking if I know those stocks.

 

One of the stocks I bought was LRI (Lafarge Republic Inc). LRI by the way has now been de-listed from PSE.

 

During that time, I bought a significant number of shares (ownership from the company) from LRI.

 

I couldn’t sleep because after I bought LRI stocks, the stock prices suddenly spiraled downwards. It fell and fell and fell. Because I didn’t want to lose more, I bought more of it! Some people call this method averaging down but actually, this was averaging down in the wrong way.

 

The moment it went up, because of panic and fear that it would fall down again, I sold it all. However, just after I sold it, the price went up, up and away!

 

What’s the lesson here? Do not buy something you don’t know! Do not buy a stock you don’t patronize. Do not also blindly follow advice from newsletters without making your own research on that company. In short, study first!

 

At the end of the day, the one person that you could blame for a loss is YOU.

 

 

  1. Business is good if you KNOW and BELIEVE in the business you’re entering to

 

Because I was very gullible, one of my relatives, invited me to sell perfumes and watches. And because I thought that it was a good business as what he told me, I immediately gave my money, ALL the money needed for that business without thinking twice whether the products were indeed good or whether there’s a client for it.

 

After giving the money, as I went back home, I could not sleep. I was very confused. Why? Because my heart was not in the products that I BOUGHT. I don’t believe in the products. I believe in myself, by the way. But if you don’t believe in your products how could you sell it SINCERELY and GENUINELY?

 

Because of this, I called my relative if I could make a refund and just return all the products. Sad to say, there was no exchanging already.

 

What I did was just to sell them as best as I can, but for some, I just gave it away as presents.

 

Lesson? Do not put your money in a business you don’t understand and in a business that you don’t believe in. If you want to have a business, make sure that YOU LOVE WHAT YOU ARE SELLING and you are the NUMBER 1 FAN of it.

 

I really have learned from this experience. That’s why it is really hard for me to promote or sell something I don’t believe in. The moment you fool yourself, you also fool your clients. That’s where the deception comes in.

 

 

  1. Scams do EXIST. I was a victim

 

Why do scams exist? From my own experience, scams exist because first, the victims were promised for a higher return of rate at a shortened period of time by a seemingly “trusting” person.

 

That’s how I define it. I was scammed because the person who offered it to me was seemingly “trustworthy” that I didn’t make a background check if this person was indeed credible.

 

I have learned that when it comes to money, DO NOT TRUST anyone. Why? Because sad to say, many people nowadays, are just too good to be true and are great liars.

 

If someone offers you a high return for a short period of time, I advise you to double check that person first. Ask around who other people invested from him/her; take his/her picture. Ask the company s/he is working with. Double check with SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) if such company does exist as well as the legality of the company.

 

Remember that scams do not only occur in big scale but could also occur in small scale. Do not give your money to someone just because of a promise of a high return or commission, etcetera. Always have due diligence. I was very trusting I forgot to conduct a background check. Learn from me.

 

 

  1. Get a Life Insurance
I have peace of mind knowing I have insurance.

I have peace of mind knowing I have life insurance.

 

I didn’t believe in life insurance until my father died. Last 2012, my father passed away. Unfortunately, my dad didn’t have any life insurance policy with him.

 

This is not saying that I hated him because he didn’t leave any amount of money for us, but this is me saying that I don’t want my future children to suffer the same.

 

We are lucky at least because my father died when we are already working professionals. But what if it happened to your family when the breadwinner dies and your children are still young? Could you as a single parent be able to sustain their needs? If you can answer this with a big YES, then okay, you don’t need a buffer like insurance against life uncertainties.

 

But for me, I have realized that having a life insurance is a gift you give not to yourself but for the people you love.

 

It is a great way to help your family enjoy their life even though something bad might happen to you.

 

Do not wait when you’re old. Get one now until you’re young.

 

 

  1. Financial books were my EYE-Opener
Part of my book collection! Until now I am continually reading and reading to feed my mind and to make wiser decisions.

Part of my book collection! Until now I am continually honing my reading skills to feed my mind and to make sound decisions.

“An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest. -Benjamin Franklin”

 

Just last 2015, I was suddenly inclined to read books. I have realized that great writers, in-demand financial speakers, and best-selling authors have one thing in common – they are bookworms.

 

What they say, what they write, what they preach, what they share: all these things came from all the ideas, stories and lessons they have READ from many books and they subsequently package the ideas differently or reinvent with their own style to make it their own.

 

And I believe it is indeed true, we cannot teach someone to be rich if we are not yet rich and we cannot write something we don’t know about.

 

Reading gives us the wisdom to influence other people by what we have learned from it.

 

One of the books that greatly influenced me is Rich Dad Poor Dad. It was there that I have realized that being employed is very disadvantageous not just because of your boss but because of the taxes that government get from you as well as office criticism and all.

 

That book helped me to read other books that help empower me more to make wise financial decisions.

 

If you are still with me, I want you to buy one book now that could change your financial situation.

 

 

  1. You can help someone with their FINANCES
Volunteered as a speaker at Angat PH to help spread financial literacy.

Volunteered as a speaker at Angat PH to help spread financial literacy.

 

In connection with number 9, I believe we could all help each other by sharing what we know to others.

 

I believe the greatest thing that we could do is to help our immediate family members realize the importance of saving, of budgeting, of getting out of debt.

 

We could make a difference by being the difference we want others to see in us.

 

Let us share our knowledge with our friends and family members or with our community or church.

 

All of these things I have shared is my way of sharing what I have learned to you.

 

If you think this will also help them, feel free to share this article with them.

 

Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.

I would love to hear from YOU.  =)

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