By Jay Ledesma

STILL in some sectors today, talking about money is taboo. Some people are uncomfortable talking about it as they don’t want to be branded as greedy or “mukhang pera” in Tagalog. For them, money is the root of all evil. But should it really be the case? Should we really be ashamed to talk about money? Is money or the wrong use of it the root of all evil? Is it possible that because many are uncomfortable talking about money they are missing the opportunity to have and grow it?  

The younger generations are showing a different pattern when it comes to money talk. They surely want to learn about it, do something about it, and have control over it. This can be the biggest factor why many of the youngsters today are more financially capable compared to when we were their age. But sooner, they will learn that just having money is not enough. Part of their adulting is knowing they have to put their finances in order. They must be good at managing them so that one day soon, their money will start working for them. How can they know that they are doing good with the money they have and ensure that at the right time, it will serve their purpose? 

They have a clear financial goal. Whether it’s to build your dream house, buy a brand new car, attend a graduate school, take that grand family vacation, or prepare for comfortable retirement life, the number one sign that you are good with your money is having a clear financial goal that you are focused on achieving. I know a friend who set up separate funds for each of his financial goals. This way, he is able to allocate and save for each, without compromising one over the other. He admits, though, that the budget allocation varies based on how much and when it is needed.  Having our savings and investment in Northstar gives us the excitement and the discipline to keep on track.          

They have a steady and multiple streams of income. The young generation, which makes up more than 50% of our workforce today, is not content with just having a single income source. Aside from having their main source of livelihood, either as employees or entrepreneurs, they are also into different side hustles. They are online sellers, social media content developers, influencers, consultants, coaches, etc. Even students are now earning on their own. While some do it out of necessity, others are doing it because they want to have their own money without needing to depend on their parents. They also believe that by having multiple income streams, they can achieve their financial goals much faster. My son, Paolo, who is an employee, also has 3-4 side hustles and is into stocks. This allowed him to meet his first financial goal sooner than he has initially planned.            

They have a budget. Having a budget and sticking with it is a key factor to financial success. It is important and necessary to know how much money we make and where it is spent and allocated monthly. Allocation for both short-term essentials and long-term essentials. Keeping a tab of what’s coming in and going out of your savings account is a discipline that can help you avoid dipping into your long-term funds for your short-term and everyday expenses. Having a monthly budget will also allow you to identify areas where unnecessary spending can be cut. That’s why knowing our needs/essentials is vital so we can prioritize them over our wants. Never spend more than what you earn. During my younger days, I would only buy a “want" when I am sure that I have a separate income that would cover it. I never touched our monthly budget to pay for my “wants”. 

They can pay their monthly bills. Sticking to the monthly budget is needed so one is able to pay their monthly bills and obligations, without needing to borrow/loan from your savings account or from lending institutions. Responsible adulting involves creating a good credit standing by keeping track of when your bills are due and paying them on time and in full. No matter how “lite” installments on credit cards may sound, they are not lite on the pocket, considering the compounding interests applied on your principal loan amount. Charge to your card only the amount you are capable of paying in full. I admire my daughter Abbie, who is so disciplined in paying her monthly bills as soon as her salary comes in. She even maintains a separate bank account for this purpose. 

They are saving money. A portion of your regular income should go into savings for the so called-rainy days. No matter how much planning and preparation we do, there will always be unexpected and unforeseen expenses.  We can avoid the stress of borrowing from friends and relatives or dealing with the interest-bearing credit institutions, by making sure that we have emergency funds that we can tap in such instances. The covid pandemic is an example of the unforeseen force that taught us the importance of having enough savings. With the sudden and prolonged lockdowns, many were caught financially unprepared, with not enough savings to draw from.  As financial experts would advise, one should have at least 3-6 months of salaries available in savings.  This will give one ample time to source for replacement or additional income.  I saw the difference in the impact of pandemic on our friends and relatives who had savings and those who did not. It was a painful and humbling lesson for the latter.  

They are investing to grow their money. They are aware that savings funds are meant to cushion us from the impact of unexpected or emergency expenses.  This is not the way to grow money. They invest for the purpose of growing their money. They invest in their own business, real properties, stocks, mutual funds, and investment link insurance products, etc. They start small and early with a growth mindset. And because they study and research, they learn and follow sound investment principles. While many of their parents and grandparents keep their money in banks earning low-interest rates, these young generations are investing and enjoying good yields. This is one of the reasons why many youngsters are now joining the financial services industry. They have realized the importance of being financially secured and have experienced the benefits for themselves and their clients.  

We are blessed and lucky that we now have the opportunity and the access to the different financial programs that can guide and assist us in our savings and investment objectives. We should be open and be comfortable talking about our money… how to earn, grow and take control of it. There should be no reason why we cannot be good with our money. As one quote says “If we never save money or invest, we will always be poor, no matter how much we earn". Now, who wants to be poor?

About the Columnist

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Ms. Jay Ledesma writes about local tourism and business bits that delve on investments and insurance.