Filipinos are some of the most hardworking and competent workers in the world. We take our time and money to invest in good education that helps us land a good and decent job, believing that this will help us get into a better situation in life. Unfortunately, there are some financial “cultural habits” that we’ve adopted that we still do until today. As a result, we get stuck. And, the worst part is, it hinders us from reaching our goals.
Listed below are some of the worst financial habits that stop us from flourishing financially. Read and see if you’re also guilty of doing these habits.
1. For the sake of ‘Pakikisama’
‘Pakikisama’ or our inclination to coexist with others peacefully is a big part of the Filipino culture. Filipinos are known to be very hospitable. It’s second nature for us to accommodate everyone even if we don’t have much money or extra money to spend. A common gesture is to spend lavishly during celebrations. It has been a tradition to treat friends, family or co-workers as a way of sharing the blessings, something that’s also commonly known as ‘palibre’.
Sadly, these also put social pressure on us, as we tend to focus on saving face and prioritizing other people’s happiness to make ourselves look good. This habit is very common among Filipinos, which can ruin our financial endeavors since we find it hard to say no to our relatives or friends.
Sometimes, you need to do a reality check and see if your savings can handle the extra expenses or if it will put your financial goals and emergency savings at risk. You can always be honest with your family and friends, and let them know that you won’t be able to treat them because you’re
investing or saving up for emergencies. It’s just a matter of explaining to them your situation. You never know if they are also struggling with finances and are in the same situation as you are.
2. The Mañana Habit
Mañana is a Spanish word that means “tomorrow”, which incidentally sounds like the Filipino expression “mamaya na” or later. This habit of stalling is ubiquitous to Filipinos, particularly in our financial endeavors. Filipinos love to live in the moment, and delay getting insured or creating a savings account, thinking that they can start later when they are more financially stable. According to a survey conducted by the regional insurance giant AIA, 96% of all Filipinos are concerned with the increasing medical costs but only 16% are actually prepared for it. The sad thing is when Filipinos realize the importance of saving up and getting insured, or when they think they are ready for it, the premiums are already too high or they badly need more money due to medical emergencies and other situations. Remember that there is a greater risk involved in postponement than in making a wrong decision.
3. “My children are my investment”
It has been ingrained in our social culture that it is the children’s responsibility to help their seniors in diverse aspects of life. Unfortunately, this mentality creates a vicious cycle wherein the parents would consider their children as their retirement plan or their investment. They forget the fact that their children will have their own share of bills and taxes to pay, and future families to support and take care of. It is quite difficult to juggle supporting one’s family and his/her parents at the same time. We have to remember that preparing for our retirement is not our child’s obligation but ours. Children are not an investment, they’re a responsibility.
To add oneself as a dependent for our children to support will result in more financial strain to them and their goals. It pays to start preparing for our own retirement plan as early as during our 20’s, with insurance and life plans that can help us be financially independent when our retirement comes.
Filipinos have this habit of treating themselves or their family to go to the mall to shop or eat out, most especially during or after payday. They do this with the idea that they deserve a bit of distressing or rewarding themselves for working hard the past couple of weeks. This idea of rewarding is good if done sparingly, but if it is done often (like every payday), then you risk missing opportunities to save up and be financially independent.
Another habit residing in this category is the way that some Filipinos spend beyond their means when it comes to celebrations like fiestas, debuts, and even weddings. They resort to the lures of the 5-6 (five-six) loan or giving up their prized possessions to use as collateral when pawning, just to have an extravagant party that they can show and offer to their friends and family. This translates to waste of resources because the interest that accumulates with these loans could have been used in investments or saved up in one’s emergency fund. One should use these quick
cash loans in times of actual need or emergencies, and not in trivial things. If the cost of being able to celebrate such occasions is drowning you in debt, it shouldn’t be done at all.
5. Bahala na si Batman
Pinoys have this characteristic of being easygoing or having a come-what-may attitude. But to use this attitude to keep one’s peace of mind when they’re unsure of their choices, or are in a hopeless situation is detrimental in the long haul, especially to one’s financial goals. You can’t rely on Batman or Superman or whoever superhero to save you once the consequences of your reckless spending habits (e.g. spending on things you don’t need at the mall just because they’re 70% off) creep up on you.
The bottom line is that we Filipinos are well endowed with good traits, as we always think positive and are indeed hardworking. With how our economy is blossoming, we are armed with a lot of great opportunities to make us financially independent. All it takes is a little research, a lot of discipline to start breaking these habits mentioned above, and investing and putting our heart and soul into our goal of being financially independent.
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