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Yuppie’s burden

12:04 AM October 14, 2014

I know I’m not the only one experiencing this. Yuppies are the ones most enticed by the latest gadgets, travel promos, branded clothes, shoes and bags, and new bars and restos. As credit card debts grow and savings begin to vanish, I stop and think about how I manage my finances. I need to isolate myself from this frenzy, realizing that all it does is vacuum my money out of my pocket.

I start my quest for financial literacy, knowing it’s a shame that my finances are in shambles. So I decide to read books that promise to teach me how to handle my money. They are all eye-openers. I get worried, even panicked! In college we are taught how to manage a business, not personal finances.

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Let me share what I’ve learned:

  • Retirement fund. I know that a senior citizen’s monthly pension from the government is just a few thousand pesos that can’t cover medication, hospital bills and everyday expenses. This is the time when the tables are turned and parents ask their children for an allowance. The younger generation will surely feel the burden but will give anyway out of love or because they have to.

A retirement fund doesn’t usually cross yuppies’ minds, but I think we should be saving for it once we get a job after college. I have realized that it shouldn’t be in a savings account because inflation will eat it up. Pooled investment, equities, bonds, stocks are recommended. I took some time to study the matter and I’ve realized that the results are good if investments are made in the long term, just enough time for the retirement years.

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  • Insurance. Accidents can happen, such as an MRT train crashing, or a bomb exploding beside you. Scared? Well, having no life insurance is scarier. I imagine myself: I have kids and I’m the one earning for the family, then suddenly St. Peter wants me by his side. I should have insured myself enough that my loved ones would get a substantial amount to cope with the monthly expenses and start over again.

Life insurance is not the only thing we should be concerned about. There are other kinds of insurance—accident, travel, car, fire, etc.—that come in affordable prices and flexible payment terms. We just have to protect ourselves adequately.

  • Inflation. When I was in first grade, the jeepney fare was P1.50. Now, when you pay P10, you get P1.50 in change. Being content with a lot of money in a savings account is not being secure at all. The value of P1 million today will not be the same after 10 years. How about our kids’ tuition? Today preschool tuition is close to P100,000; imagine how much it will balloon when they reach college.

We need to cope with inflation. Expenses go up with lightning speed, but our salary rises at a turtle’s pace. They say investing in stocks can save you from inflation. I believe so. But not all yuppies are interested. It sounded alien to me before, but I gradually understood it by hanging out with people who are stock-market-savvy.

  • Marriage. As a single woman, I also think of settling down. But I need to secure myself first because once I get married and have my own family, there will be endless expenses. I pray that I’ll be blessed with a loving, financially literate husband. Still, there are no guarantees in life, and that includes relationships. I need to be ready for those, too. I know a couple where the husband was a seafarer and earned big money. But he died in a ship accident and left his housewife a savings account, loans to pay, and kids to feed and send to school. Lesson learned? A single-income stream is not enough.
  • Business. Even if you have a high position in a company, you’re still an employee, a corporate slave who works eight hours. I dream of having the time and financial freedom. And that will happen if I have multiple-income streams and be my own boss. I’m impressed when I encounter young entrepreneurs. I wish that, like them, I’d have the resources and courage to take risks. For now the only thing I can do is build a fund, determine the venture I want to get into, and start small. I should work on it while being an employee.
  • Giving more. You cannot give what you don’t have. It feels good to buy gifts on special occasions for your loved ones and make them happy. But a deeper happiness is felt when tithing and giving to foundations and charities, knowing that it will help others who are most in need. There are times I can afford to give a generous amount, but there are times when I can’t. So I need to earn more to give more.

It all boils down to money. Yes, if used properly, it is indeed a blessing. For yuppies like me, with all these big dreams lined up, I need an overhaul of my finance management. I want to do so many things with limited time and resources. I know I can make things happen one step at a time.

Aileen Grace Alvarez, 28, is a banker.

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