5 key money lessons I learned from my mom
Chairman Mao Zedong once said, “Women hold half the sky.”
Well, with mothers? I guess they hold much more than half of it.
As we celebrate Women’s Month, let me share with you the financial lessons I learned from the greatest woman I have ever known – my Mom.
Of all the women I learned from throughout my life, nothing could trump the lessons she had imparted to me.
My Mom personified “sipag at tiyaga (hard work and perseverance)."
She had humble beginnings. Of her 11 siblings, she was the only one who decided not to pursue a college degree. Instead, she started working as a pre-school teacher immediately after graduating from high school.
She never regretted that decision, for all the right reasons. She accumulated a sizeable wealth that could let her enjoy tons of luxuries today.
Long before financial gurus started preaching about the value of financial planning, my Mom has already been practicing it, albeit informally. Frugal spending and constant saving were her guidelines throughout the decades, but she balanced it well by providing us everything we needed.
Things were not rosy when she started out. They had a failed business. But she and my father managed to hang on and painstakingly built a strong financial foundation.
With her hard-earned money, she invested wisely. Her investments were simple and boring, but they did their job. As a result, her wealth grew and grew.
Best of all, despite earning much more than what my father did, she never once bragged nor boasted about it. She submitted to my father and never made him feel insecure or intimidated. As a result, they rarely fought.
As such, the 5 money lessons I learned from my mother were:
1. Start saving when you are young.
We can never be too young to start saving for our future. Mom started when she was 18. Two things can happen when we start early: we can have a bigger retirement fund or we can retire earlier. Both are definitely advantageous. Whenever possible, I always tell the youth to start saving and investing as early as possible.
2. Invest wisely.
Mom’s portfolio consisted of real and liquid assets. She bought two properties in the late 90s and flipped them a decade later, earning her substantial profits. She invested in two pension plans from a defunct pre-need company and received the maturity benefit only months before the company ceased operation.
She was able to take advantage of the high interest rates being offered during the 90s and has had several double-your-money-placements. She was able to ride the bull run of this century and went off-shore to take advantage of the global growth.
Knowing that illnesses may eat into her savings, she bought a health care plan and several life insurance policies. She managed to maintain a balanced portfolio at any given time.
3. Be frugal at all times.
I learned frugality by example. She not only stressed it, she lived it! She does not jot everything down but she knew when to cut down on unnecessary costs – to the extreme.
When I was still a grade school student, she never bought school pants for me. All the pants I wore were hand me downs from sons of her friends. Back then, I naturally resented it. But later on, I came to appreciate the frugality she practiced on us.
She once told me that she never regretted being very frugal throughout her life. She practiced delayed gratification, and this practice made her appreciate and enjoy her wealth now.
4. Get a health insurance.
Mom got herself and my dad health insurance early on. Thus, they were able to maximize the benefit limits when the needs presented themselves – ovarian cyst, stroke, and kidney stones. It also included all the blood tests and medical examinations that can reach several tens of thousands a year. Not having one would surely have put a big dent in her savings.
5. Delay purchasing a home.
When Mom finally found her dream home (after looking at more than 50 houses), she paid cash for it. She could have taken out a loan, as banks would be more than willing to lend her; but she knew interest payments could eat up her monthly cash flow. She would not let the banks earn from her.
It has been the other way around ever since. So instead, the savings she got from the discount was used to purchase new furniture and appliances.
Overall, my mother never considered herself an entrepreneur. But she thinks and acts like one.
Does she consider herself rich? Not really.
However, she had this much because she saved every peso she possibly could. She reached financial freedom through a long and boring way; and never neglecting mother duties.
Now that’s a woman! – Rappler.com
Kendrick Chua is a registered financial planner of RFP Philippines. He writes regularly about personal finance. He is also a Chinese language instructor, TV host, free runner, and violinist. To learn more about RFP, you may email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saving young concept image via Shutterstock