Growing up, I never had any issues with money. My father was a seaman, the captain of the ship even. My mother was a housewife and I was more than pampered with the addition of the care I receive from my two single aunts. Life was a breeze and everything was a-okay. I got Barbie doll houses. We go to Duty Free Philippines to shop for heaps and heaps of chocolates for me, my cousin and our other relatives. I went to a private school in elementary. I took ballet classes and art classes and speech classes. I was happy.
However, after he died, that’s where the money problems sprouted. I was only sixteen, never cared about anything but school and my childhood crushes. I was faced with the other persona of life, the cruel, difficult, b*tchy one. Nine years later, I have plenty of financial mistakes I learned from my family. I used to think it was okay, but a financial congress and non-stop loans later, I realized that NO, IT WAS NOT OKAY.
So, let me share these money mistakes me, my family and even my extended family made. Money problems root from the family. One cannot just start with himself or herself.
Disclaimer: I loooove my family. I just feel obliged to correct the mistakes that we did and to help spread this as to make you guys aware of what not to do and what needs to be done with your finances.
1. It’s okay not to save now.
I always went with my mother when she is going to the bank. I always sit on one of those bank chairs while she fills out the withdrawal form. It was only after my dad’s death when I sort of knew what she was doing in the bank. She was always withdrawing the allotment from my dad and never let cash flow in. Of course, we didn’t have anything when my dad died.
My counter attack: Build Emergency Fund
2. It’s okay to spend on the “little things”.
Mom would always buy things that we don’t need. Jewelry. Furniture. Clothes. I even spend money on unplanned items when we’re together just because it looks so great on me. I forgot that she was my mom and everything looks great on me.
Now that I am a grown up, earning my own money, I have formed this habit of spending on the “little things”, even online. I bought books from booksales that I haven’t even read until now. I had purchased domains, the website of which I haven’t really worked on. I have always convinced myself that they were investments.
My counter attack: Budgeting, Knowing the Right Investments
3. You can always look for money.
This third mistake is the reason why my mom always believed items one and two. She was too trusting enough with a solo income stream from my dad. Seamen make lot of money and this is the very reason I deem why my mom was beginning to feel safe. She always had hundreds of thousands (I suppose) being deposited in her bank that she doesn’t need to worry where to get the next week’s food budget.
My counter attack: Create multiple income streams
We cannot live without debts.
Even though my dad was a seaman, we always have debts and when I go back thinking about it, I cannot fathom why we did. I always thought, as a child, that we were okay and all that. Even up until now, she still believes that one cannot live without asking a little (financial) help from others. I beg to disagree on that though.
My counter attack: Clean up debts and avoid them
Zero liquid investment policy is a good policy.
I would have known by now if my parents engaged in the stock market or if they had any mutual funds. But, no. Sadly, they weren’t. They should have taught me if they were engrossed with it and considered it as a life skill. I think a liquid investment should have a hug part of your investment portfolio. You could easily convert it to cash compared to other assets (real estate, precious metals).
My counter attack: Invest in Mutual Funds
Helping others is an investment.
Unfortunately, this is the one investment that my parents have considered. Not that I have something against giving, but giving away too much ain’t advisable. How could you sustain helping others when you cannot sustain and grow your own finances? If you help others, don’t expect for them to give back. Like they say, let others borrow the amount of money that you can afford losing. You’ll never have guarantee that it’ll be given back.
My counter attack: Limit financial help to others
Assets need not be protected.
Along with the death of my dad was the courage to let go of our three-story house with a rooftop. The house was almost finished when he died, but the banking loans aren’t that’s why we have to find buyers for the house and negotiate with them in order for us to stay in the house while we prepare to move out. My mom has found buyers for the house with a bad bad deal. Cheap with abusive propositions. The third floor was rented and the “new owners” already assumed the right to that mortgage even if they were just even starting to pay for the house. I really don’t know real estate laws, but I still thought it was unfair. Will update this is I found a law soon.
My counter attack: Insure non-life assets
Insurance isn’t a necessity.
Dad died during his vacation at home and his company haven’t given a single dime as per my mom. I believe we were just innocent and clueless about life insurances back then. But now that I have encountered a few insurance companies, I am convinced that my dad should have been insured in one way or another. One friend tipped me to look for any signs of insurance papers on my dad’s documents. Haven’t done that though.
Dad’s death left us with no money on hand and a house to pay for. Yes, we were broke, but we survived. Thanks to my mom’s life survival skills, she mustered up the courage to be a real estate agent. And thanks to my OWWA scholarship grant which pulled me through college.
My counter attack: Purchase insurance
Healthcare isn’t necessary either.
I have fully realized the value of healthcare when I started paying for my mom’s premium through my company’s HMO. I am paying more than 50% of it; my company sponsors only a little of its employers’ extended family’s healthcare. I was paying almost Php800 every payday for it, Php1,600 every month, a little less than Php20,000 annually. Mom never uses it. She’s already a senior citizen, but she’s healthy. So, the Php20,000 per year is like a giveaway to the healthcare company. I am losing Php20,000 every year, but I still continue in availing it because you’ll never know what tomorrow will bring. What if my mom would need some operation? What if she gets hospitalized? Where will I get the money for it knowing that I am an only child? I only depend on myself for our finances. Better be prepared than spend a bigger amount, right? To add to this, I still have my two aunts who are nearing the 60-ish age. They don’t have work and they would certainly need some old-age care. But this is another story.
My counter attack: Purchase long-term healthcare even if company shoulders short-term healthcare.
10. Planning your finances is not important.
My mom and I never had any of those financial planning talks. We talked about money in a different way. We talked about our debts and if she is running low on cash already. We used to live in the now moment and we never worry about tomorrow’s finances. Her motto is that God always provides. I believe in that one too, but I bet He would appreciate it if we plan on how we would allocate the financial blessings that He has bestowed upon us too.
My counter attack: Build a solid financial plan
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