As you enter your thirties, thoughts on what you should with your money take precedence: it’s not just about saving anymore, but about what to do to make it grow and sustainable. After all, you need to be ready for anything life throws at you, and on the lighter side of things, you just really want to enjoy the fruits of your labor.
If you’re still confused about the basics and still don’t know where to invest your finances, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve recently consulted with Karlo Mortel, Chartered Trust and Estate Planner and Agency Manager for Philam Life, and his wife Anna, a Certified Investment Solicitor and member of the Million Dollar Round Table, regarding the common questions that you may have about your finances.
FemaleNetwork.com: What is the difference between “investment” and “insurance,” and why is it important for women to consider them in their 30s?
Karlo and Anna: Investment is money that you set aside today with expectations of positive returns for future use. It talks of interest income or tubo for every peso that you set aside.
Insurance is about protecting oneself and family against the three basic “income robbers” of life which are, dying too soon (income for young family), living too long (retirement funding) and getting sick (medical fund).
The best part about most financial instruments nowadays is that they have packaged both investment and insurance in one instrument. Investors now can place their hard-earned money in instruments that will gain substantial investment returns as well as give ample insurance protection for them and their families.
FN: What are the common misconceptions regarding insurance and investments?
K & A: People often feel that one has to die to get any benefit from their insurance policies but insurance nowadays has evolved to focus on allowing investors to make the most out of their lives by creating wealth for the glorious years of retirement, ensuring children are able to pursue their dreams through the education that they desire and creating a medical fund so people who fall ill can focus on getting better rather than worrying about hospital bills.
People tend to shy away from investments because of it being "risky" and that they MIGHT lose money in the process. We have to realize that inflation, or the natural increase of prices of things that we buy, makes us lose money even if it is intact in our savings account. The purchasing power of our money decreases every day if we simply keep it in our “piggy bank” that gains no interest or any account that earns less than the average 4-5% annual inflation.
FN: How will you convince someone to put their money in these plans especially when they already need to spend so much on utilities and the like?
K & A: It takes a lot of honesty. If we really look at our finances, more often than not, a lot of our expenses are simply fluff that we can do away with. How many times have we whispered to ourselves that "I will start investing after my next salary increase" and once we get a promotion we tell ourselves, "next time na lang." And the cycle goes on and on.
We have to be conscious of our purchases. I always tell my friends that the goal is “to be rich and not look rich.” If we are able to segregate consciously our needs versus our wants then we will realize that there is always surplus. That surplus should be set aside for the future. John Maxwell says it best, Play now and Pay later or Pay now and Play Later. Where do you want to stand? In a consumer-driven world, we need to be learn the value of delayed gratification.
FN: Can you give us financial tips that women can benefit from?
K & A:
(1) You can be young without money but you cannot grow old without it. The young person you are today is the best person who can take care of you in the future. Proper financial planning is about fulfilling the demands of today but also making provisions for the future when we are no longer as healthy and as strong.
(2) WE are the biggest risk to our money and not the drops in our investment funds. I can invest P5,000 now in a fund that is invested in the Philippine Stock Exchange and lose 20% because of its cyclical movements but I still have 4,000 pesos at the end of the day.
If my 5,000 pesos is left on my ATM account and I walk in a mall and see the pair of shoes that I have always wanted marked down from 10,000 to 5,000 pesos, that money will fly out of my pocket even if I know I still have two more brand spanking new shoes in my closet.
The equity fund will recover and gain as they always do whereas my new favorite pair of shoes will give me happiness for a month until my next new favorite pair goes on sale.
Don’t you notice that the mall-wide 3 day sales happen every payday?
(3) Save before you spend. Allocate a minimum of 10% of your income to savings even before you spend anything. Never believe yourself when you say “I will invest what is left.” There will always be nothing left.
(4) In the dawn of fast fashion, it is easy to purchase a nice dress for less than 1,000, even 500 but this tends to be outdated after 2 to 3 uses and it will sit at the back of your closet for years. Even if it is a bit more expensive, lean towards more classic styles with good fabric that will remain in fashion for longer. We tend to make sulit the more expensive pieces. The small fast fashion purchases add up and it can surprise you how those small purchases rack up to that month end credit card bill.
FN: Many women are interested in getting insurance, but don’t know where to start. Who do they talk to, and where to they go from there?
K & A: They can always talk to [us], but seriously, I hope more people would be comfortable seeking advise from professional financial advisers from the strong and reliable insurance companies. Professional advisers will try to help you secure the most appropriate financial solution for your current life stage. Most major insurance companies will have a website where you can check out the different investment and insurance products available to you. Start there and ask your friends who have insurance policies and ask for a meeting from their financial advisers. Financial Advisers will be more than happy to help out.