College students learn the basics of investing
MANILA, Philippines – "When will I get to buy a house? When will I make my own family? When will I get to retire? Do I have enough money?"
These are just some of the questions young Filipinos will ask themselves as they join the workforce, and the answers to these questions would depend on how they manage their finances.
Because bank interest savings is currently low, putting all of your money in the bank may not be the best way to make it grow. If young people want to be ready for the future, they would also need to be financially prepared to afford their goals.
Investing can be a way to grow one’s money, but only if the person is financially literate. Starting young is an advantage which is why it has been the goal of the Ateneo Management Economics Organization (MEcO) to spread financial literacy to the youth. (READ: How do Filipinos rank in financial literacy?)
In their flagship project, the National Student Investors Convention (NSInC), which concluded last November 14, 2015, a thousand students from different colleges in the country gathered to discuss the Philippine economic situation and the opportunities available to the youth.
Good time to invest
Through the convention, MEcO hoped to encourage more youth to start investing.
Only a small percentage (1%) of Filipinos participate in the investment market.
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Deputy Governor Diwa Guinigundo says this is a good time to invest in the Philippines. (READ: Aquino: PH will be 'first-world' within generation if reforms continue)
From being dubbed the "Sick Man of Asia," the Philippines is now experiencing stable economic growth. The country enjoys investment-grade credit, and is now "Asia’s Rising Tiger." Its biggest advantage is its young and well-educated English-speaking workforce.
Avoiding debt should be another principle to live by. Edward Lee from COL Financial told students the story of factory workers he met in Taiwan.
The workers could not retire or leave the company because they had company loans. They borrow with a 7% interest rate every year. With each year, their debt increased with repayment very low. Lee warned students that having debt can be an obstacle to being financially free.
Lee encouraged the students to invest in stocks because, according to him, it outperforms all asset classes if they invest it for the long term (5-10 years).
Learn through a game: Stox+
However, perhaps the biggest enemy in starting to invest is fear. Some people may be scared of investing because of the risks involved, but investing is only risky if it is done without first gaining any knowledge.
“Investing is not gambling. That’s why you have to really know what companies you’re going to buy.” Miggy Santos said, a project head for Stox+.
Stox+, an annual online tournament for college students, is designed to teach players how to invest in the stock market, albeit with virtual play money.
Over a 10-week period, players pick stocks and maintain their investment portfolio.
The players were given a lecture on Technical and Fundamental Analysis to help them invest in good companies. The player, or pair, with the most profitable stock portfolio at the end of the game wins.
Young millennials who are curious about investing, but are still unsure, can use this platform to practice in preparation for real world ventures.
MEcO intends to have another round of Stox+ in January 2016 and encourages college students to register. – Rappler.com
Ana Vasquez is a Rappler intern. She graduated from De La Salle University with a degree in Psychology.