I’ve been reading The Automatic Millionaire by New York Times best-selling author David Bach for over a month now in Powerbooks. It’s about how to become a millionaire when you retire, and automatically at that. Every time I have some idle time at the mall, I go to Powerbooks and read a chapter until I get a San ka na? (“Where are you?”) text message. Then my free reading time’s up. I’ve finally finished reading the book, but I skipped three chapters talking about banking and investments that only apply to Americans. I saved around 780 pesos by not buying the book and just reading it in Powerbooks at least once a week, one chapter at a time. It didn’t make me an instant millionaire, but I had instant money for a foot spa and a diamond peel.
Since I attended a free wealth management seminar in March, I’ve become obssessed with saving and investing for the future. I’m not a future person, if you know me. I live by the day, I don’t care about tomorrow, as long as today I’m fine, I can eat Tiramisu, have a massage at TonTon’s, then still have enough money to take a cab, thank you. But when I think about giving my Mom and Dad annual vacations abroad, which they really deserve, I begin to panic and realize that with the money I have today, the farthest I can bring them to is probably just Palawan. By boat.
Bach and the seminar taught me that I have to plan my money this way: 10% for retirement, 10% for long-term savings (for me it’s a car; an A/T Suzuki Swift, they say you have to e specific), 70% for expenses, and 10% for tithing, plus I should have three months of expenses’ worth of emergency fund in a separate account (in the unfortunate event that I lose my job, etc.). So far, I’ve been successful at this, making the 10% for retirement and my car at 20% each. (I invested my retirement savings in a mutual fund, which can earn 10-40% interest per annum, which is much bigger than that of a bank. Banks pay only below 1% interest.) I was brought up to be stingy. Thank God, I’m not into shoes, clothes and shopping. The last pair of jeans I bought was when I was in 2nd year college, and I’m 26 now. Whenever I want to buy something, like that shorts in Zara worth 1,980 pesos, I visit the display at least 10 times, and when I still don’t change my mind, then it’s finally mine. I’ve been eyeing those shorts since January this year. It’s almost June; I think I’m way past my 10-visit rule. But I only have 400 pesos left in my ATM account, and I’ll be watching the APO Hiking Society’s farewell concert on Saturday, which is around 700 pesos. (Update: My former associate producer in Marimar Ate Nieva called to say she has two resereved seats for me, for free! Buboy Garovillo, 1/3 of the APO, is one her actors in GMA’s soap Diva. Yey! I also previously worked with Sir Buboy in Marimar three years ago, and I had him sign my APO shirt one taping day. It’s a size S. I’m a medium now.) Tomorrow’s payday, but Zara still has to wait another month. I’m tempted to buy just ukay-ukay again, but I think I deserve a Zara at least once in my life. Well, deservng it is one thing, affording it is another. An very expensive another.
The thing is, I can afford it actually. But I’m too caught up with saving and investing that I think I’m already depriving myself of things that I want (though might not really need, but still), like Zara shorts, or that pair of Chucks (I don’t see the style I liked in their display anymore), or that dress in Mint (it’s only 600 pesos, but I find it too expensive). My ATM account’s almost always below minimum, and I’ve kept it that way for years because it makes me think I only always have 2,000 pesos to spend. The truth is, the additional money that I can have, I already placed it in my other savings accounts (retirement and car). It’s like forcing myself not to spend 1,900 pesos to be able to buy a car next year, or to be able to retire at age 50 with more money than ever. Then I tell myself, what’s 1,900 pesos for someone who hasn’t bought a new pair of jeans in six years? But my other self’s not listening, she’s too busy daydreaming about the future.
I’m still torn. I’m 26 and I want to be at that financial stage where I can pass by a display of a pair of nice wedges, come inside, ask for a size 6, then buy it without asking how much (but still hope it’s not over 1,500). Most of my friends can do that actually, but it’s just against how I’ve always looked at buying and shopping, and now, saving and investing. I’m stressing on money and I hate it.
It’s all Zara’s fault.#