My financial journey
Let me tell you how I started investing in mutual funds and stock market.
I am an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) based in Thailand for over 10 years now and want to go back to the Philippines with savings. If you are an OFW, I bet you have the same desire too. There is no greater joy than being with your loved ones.
Kelan nga ba huli kayong nagkita ng bunso mo o ng misis mo? Tagal na rin siguro. (When was the last time you saw your youngest child or your spouse? I guess quite a long time already.)
I tried to explore possible ways where and how to invest money. Putting money in the bank is one of the options. And so I opened an account at BDO SM Calamba for our two kids right after processing our Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC). We planned to fund this account monthly.
I told myself kahit 3,000 pesos lang every month. Ang importante ay madevelop yung habit of savings. (I told myself even if it’s just P3,000 every month. The important thing is to develop the habit of saving.) In the long run, probably after five to ten years, the money will grow in the bank. Thus, we can use the fund for their college education.
Ilang months pa lang naming nahuhulugan ang account ng mga bata, hindi naman natuloy-tuloy for some reason. (We were just into it for a few months but we weren’t able to continue depositing money to the account.) Did you ever experience that? Yung ilang beses ka ng nag attempt to save money, yet hindi ka makaipon-ipon? (Where you’ve attempted to save money several times but you were never able to do so?)
When I cleaned the closet one time, I saw some passbooks which we had opened in the past. There was an account both from the Philippines and Thailand like Kasikorn Bank, Bangkok Bank, Krung Thai Bank, BPI, and BDO bank. Parang rich, di ba? But the truth is: mayaman lang sa passbook pero wala namang laman! (Sounds rich, right? But the truth is: we were only rich in passbooks but there was nothing inside!)
I realized I need to be knowledgeable in managing finances so I can prepare the future of our kids. I prayed to God to give me wisdom to wisely manage our personal finance. I know several form of investments as I did research on the subject. I’ve heard about investing in real estate, online business, and investing in paper asset like bonds, stocks, and mutual funds.
Put hard-earned money in the stock market?
Honestly, I was hesitant to put my hard-earned money in the stock market. I’ve heard how people lost their money in the stock market. I thought it’s going to be a complicated process. Until I found a mentor which is Truly Rich Club (TRC) by Bro. Bo Sanchez.
TRC has explained why an investor loses money because they are trading instead of investing. Stock market is long-term investing and letting your money grow over a period of time through capital appreciation and distribution of dividends.
Moreover, TRC sends me regularly a newsletter with stock updates of which companies I should buy or sell using strategic averaging method.
After finding TRC as my mentor, I have now the confidence to invest. Then I contacted COL Financial and I submitted the application form, scanned copy of two government IDs, and passport. After they approved the soft copy of the documents, they instructed me to send all hard copies to their office at the COL Financial Office in Ortigas, Philippines.
The initial amount to open an account with COL Financial is only P5,000 while succeeding amount is all up to the client. In addition, transaction is quite easy and accessible online. Therefore, you can buy stocks online and check your portfolio anytime as long as you have internet connection.
It’s easy to liquidate the account from COL because everything is just online.
The best time to invest is now
Last June 2015, I was able to start investing until now. And one thing more: don’t forget to set aside a portion of your income for emergency fund before investing in mutual funds or stock market. But when is the best time to invest for an OFW? If you haven’t started yet, the answer is NOW. The earlier you could invest, the better.
It’s not a get-rich-quick scheme where you could obtain a high rates of return in such a short period of time. A Chinese proverb says, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” Considering the power of compounding interest, your wealth will grow over time.
Dishonest money dwindles away, but whoever gathers money little by little makes it grow.—Proverbs 13:11, NIV
JUN AMPARO is the author of OMG! OFW’s Money is Gone: Practical Tips on How to Be Wise with Your Hard-earned Money which was featured at GMA News Online. Being an OFW for over a decade, he’s aware about the common financial challenges of many Overseas Filipino Workers.
Jun is investing in mutual funds and stock market for over three- years and conducts financial literacy seminar.