Lessons I learned from my mother:
1.) Start saving as early as possible. We can never be too young to start saving for our future. Mom started when she was 18. I, on the other hand, started at 17. 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 pieces of property in the late 1990s and flipped them a decade later, earning her substantial profits. She invested in two pension plans from a defunct preneed company and received the maturity benefit just months before the company ceased operations.
She was able to take advantage of the high interest rates being offered during the 1990s and has had several double-your-money placements. She was able to ride the bull run of this century and went offshore 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.) Practice frugality at all times. I learned frugality by example. She not only stressed it, she lived it! She has this uncanny memory—she could remember how much we spent for household expenses. This resulted in a much-disciplined budget management. She doesn’t jot everything down but she knows when to cut down on unnecessary costs.
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.) Failure must not stop you. Mom lost her entire life savings when the business she and my dad put up failed. But she was undeterred. It wasn’t the best of times but they managed to pull through. The failure just motivated her even more to build a better future for her and her family.
5.) Get a health insurance. As I mentioned, this is one of my mom’s proudest investments. Mom got herself and my dad health insurance early. 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.
My mother is not a business-minded person. She never considered the small tutorial place she runs a business. Nothing glamorous in it but being self-employed managed to make her financially independent. I am proud of her for all her financial achievements. It does put quite a pressure on me to emulate what she has accomplished.
In time, I wish to impart money-management lessons to my children as my mom did to me. I hope to be a financial success like my mom someday; it would be the greatest repayment I can think of.