How are you?
I’m so excited to share with you an excerpt from my latest book Money & Me: 9 Steps to Turn Around Your Finances and Live the Life You Want.
If you wish to have your autographed copy of the book delivered to your doorstep, click http://authorsha.com/money/
Makati City, Philippines
My friends and I were having a profound discussion over chocolate hot fudge sundae while waiting for a taxi ride home. We were talking about our dreams and plans.
One of my friends, a call center supervisor said, “Sha, one of my staff told me she’s been working for more than five years already, yet she doesn’t have any savings. She can’t figure out where her money went.”
Then my friend looked me in the eye and asked, “Sha, where did her money go?!”
I wanted to laugh and answer, Malay ko, di naman kami magkakilala. (I don’t really know since your friend and I don’t know each other.) Of course I didn’t say that.
“Hmmm …” I began. I opened my mouth to answer but then a taxi had pulled over, so we decided to call it a night and talk again soon.
On another occasion, a friend of a friend chatted with me online and said, “Sha, I’m so tired of working hard all day every day, six days a week just to earn additional income. I have so many debts to pay. I’m so stressed! What should I do?”
My friend’s staff and my friend’s friend had very interesting concerns. I can relate with them. I was also happy they began to wonder about their finances.
Their financial concerns are not isolated cases. Many young professionals, employees and even entrepreneurs are also bugged by these concerns.
But you might be wondering why these people were asking me these questions.
I’m not a financial guru. I’m not a financial advisor either. I’m just a simple yuppie who was once drowned in credit card debts. Back then, it felt as if no matter how hard I worked, the debts seemed to grow bigger and bigger. No matter how much my salary increased every year, money was never enough. Back then, I also wanted to ask, where did my money go?! It would take me years to find answers to that question.
A couple of years ago, I graduated from college with a Bachelor of Science in Business Economics from University of the Philippines-Diliman. Immediately after graduation, I worked for a multinational bank in Makati City.
When I got my first salary, I was so amazed because it was three times my college allowance! I felt rich! I started to overspend and raise my lifestyle.
I also got overwhelmed with credit cards. In just one year, I maxed out the credit limit of my two cards.
I was always working overtime. Yet, money was never enough. I worried more and more over the apparent lack of financial resources. Things like where to get money to pay for my credit card debts began to consume my thoughts.
At that time also, I was so bored and sick and tired of my job. I wanted to resign but I couldn’t because of two reasons:
One, I got buried in credit card debts. Since the credit cards were issued by my employer (a bank), I had to pay off my credit card debts first before I could leave the company. But how could I? I had no savings at all.
Two, I asked myself. If I resign, what will I do? Where will I go? I didn’t know the answer. I was in a crossroad and I didn’t know which road to take. I felt like a lost sheep.
My Buendia Experience
One day, I discovered that I only had Php50 in my wallet and my salary will arrive in three days. I had no money in my payroll ATM account either.
It was almost lunch time.
I was hungry, but I didn’t have enough money to buy me lunch. I was ashamed to borrow from my colleagues. I took out my cell phone and called up my Papa who’s based in the province, some 12 hours away from Manila.
“Pa, can I borrow Php1,000?”
In less than an hour, my father sent me the money via LBC. He wanted to increase the amount but I assured him that Php1,000 would be fine.
From my office in Ayala Avenue, I walked all the way to Buendia with my pencil-cut skirt, a nice top, and high heels. I was a well-dressed yuppie working for one of the largest multi-national banks in the country, holding an office in a posh building at the heart of Makati City. I may have looked rich yet I was broke.
I had to traverse the stretch of Buendia to locate LBC and get my Php1,000. I had no umbrella and the heat of the sun melted my make-up. I felt like a foolish clown who was on the verge of crying. Had there been cameras around, the scene would have been perfect for a funny, melodramatic music video.
My Papa — wise and loving — knew how to give support and a powerful lesson at the same time. His words hit me. “Sha, at the rate you’re spending, you’ll go bankrupt in no time. You should have a conscious effort to manage your money.”
Papa very rarely gives me unsolicited advice. He has always been vocal about how pleased he is having me as his daughter. When he said those words, he must have been serious! And so I took his words seriously.
My Buendia experience brought me to my senses. My physical hunger and my aching feet were nothing compared to what I felt inside. I felt stripped off my dignity, walking kilometers on a hungry stomach just to get my Php1,000 — and it’s all because I didn’t know how to manage my money!
My Road to Financial Education
My Buendia experience, my messy finances, my discontent at work, and my Papa’s advice literally got me started to invest in my financial education.
One fine Saturday night in the year 2005, I attended the birthday party of my friend’s cousin. I chatted with one of the visitors and she mentioned something about a very good book she had read – Rich Dad, Poor Dad. She said the author made a lot of sense.
I was not into reading financial books then, but something about the excitement in that acquaintance’s face made me decide to buy the book the next day.
I read the book and indeed, it showed me where I was heading. What Robert Kiyosaki said was like a painful slap on my face. I felt he was really talking to me. The book made me realize how foolish I was. It helped me understand what I was doing wrong with my finances. It made me hunger for financial education.
I started to read financial management books, attend seminars, and talk to financially successful individuals. I learned a lot! And like a diligent student, I applied the knowledge I gained.
A lot of things have changed!
Years later, I was able to zero out my credit card debts and turnaround my finances!
Along the way, I also discovered my purpose in life.
After nine years of being an employee, I finally took off my employee hat so I could pursue my passions full time.
Today, I write books and blogs. I give talks. I organize seminars.
I also write for Bo Sanchez’s Truly Rich Club Wealth Strategies and Entrepreneurs’ Circle newsletters wherein I feature my interviews with successful self-employed individuals and entrepreneurs.
I’ve always wanted to be part of my former employer’s Training Department but that didn’t come true. Today, I’m a co-owner of a training and consultancy company.
I am much happier today because I have the freedom to use my time the best way I know of.
I am free to chart my own schedule. For instance, I allotted Mondays as my rest and recreation days.
During Mondays, I read my favorite books. I watch a movie. I sing on youtube. My Monday laidback schedule gives me time to nurse my fantasy to become a professional singer someday. (I’m half kidding.)J
On a given day, I can choose to do my grocery, watch a movie, or hang out in a coffee shop during office hours when there’s no traffic.
Having well-managed finances sure made a lot of difference.
I still have a long way to go and this is the reason why I keep investing in my financial education. It’s a continuing education with no graduation.
Why I Wrote this Book
Did you ever experience eating your pride and borrowing money from a friend or colleague?
Are you at work but you are restless because you are worrying over your credit card debts?
Have you been working so hard for years, yet, you don’t have any decent savings yet?
Do you want to overcome your debts, save and invest, but you don’t know where to start?
Do you want to pursue your real passion but you can’t leave your job because it’s your bread and butter?
Do you want to retire early but you can’t — because your retirement pay is not even enough to pay off your debts?
What must be the solution?
Increase in salary? I don’t think so. Without proper financial education, an increase in salary may just result to an increase in expenses, and may leave you with more debts than before.
Winning the lotto? Nope.
Borrowing? As Proverbs 22:7 says, “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.”
Earning more money doesn’t guarantee financial success.
The difference maker – the ultimate solution —is education, specifically, financial education. This is exactly what you are currently doing as you are reading this book. J
Money was never really taught in school. Thus, we have a lot of catching up to do. It’s okay. Today is always the best time to learn; not tomorrow, not yesterday.
I realized how important financial education is especially among yuppies. Knowing what I know now, I feel responsible for sharing this message to you. I felt the message is so important I would commit the sin of omission if I kept the message to myself. This is the reason why I wrote this book.
If you are experiencing financial problems today, it’s okay. I understand where you’re coming from. I’ve been there.
What this Book Offers
In a nutshell, this book is a guide on how you can turn around your finances and live the life you want.
It aims to equip you with the right mindset and habits that you can apply right away in order to develop a happy and healthy relationship with money.
It aims to help you eliminate unnecessary financial worries so you could focus your energy and resources on the more important aspects of life.
It aims to inspire you to take charge of your finances as early as now so that someday, you could pursue your passions full time, live your dreams, and help a lot of people!
The lessons and principles I shared in this book were the lessons I learned the hard way through years of making mistakes, learning from my mistakes, and learning from books, mentors, and seminars.
I am going to share with you everything I know of about money that helped me go from being an overworked, unhappy, and broke employee to being happily blessed.
While this book was written for yuppies or young professionals (young employees, entrepreneurs, self-employed, freelancers), the 9 steps I narrated in the book is applicable to everyone who yearns to learn – the young ones and the young once.
Remember, it’s never too late to learn. The best time to invest in yourself is today.
I’m excited for you! Enjoy the stories I shared in this book. Savor the lessons. Apply the action steps.
I wish you success and happiness!
P.S. Have you read the book Money & Me yet? What did you like about the book? Please share in the comments.
P.P.S. Thank you to all those who purchased a copy (or copies) of Money & Me. You may order your own copy at http://authorsha.com/money/order/ and the book will be delivered to your doorstep.
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