RBT: Hi Jonathan. Its nice to have you here at Richly Blessed Today Community. Can you please tell us about yourself?
Jo: I’m Jo Valerio, a husband to my lovely wife, Jenny and a father to my three adorable kids namely Pat, Trish, and Jas. I’m a Database Engineer in a multi-national financial services in Singapore that facilitates electronic fund transfer throughout the world. I also founded Mag-Invest Ka Pinoy last December 2012. The purpose of this is to educate Filipinos, especially OFWs on how they can save, invest, and plan for their retirement.
RBT: When did you start working as an IT in Singapore? Did you find it easy in the beginning as an OFW considering that you are away from your family?
Jo: I started working in Singapore in middle of 2012. Well, apparently it was not that easy for me at first as I will be away from my family.
RBT: With your career as an OFW I’m sure you have experienced challenges and opportunities?
Jo: Being an IT engineer is indeed a rewarding experience. You have a good career and a high paying job which help you provide more than enough for your family and enable you to save and investment for the future.
However, living away from my family is very difficult and this is one of the challenges for me as an OFW. This means there is no room for being homesick. Nevertheless, when I think about my goals and dreams for my family, it motivates me to strive and persevere.
RBT: How do you handle frustrations or stress and what keeps you happy and at peace?
Jo: The best way to handle frustration is to expect more from yourself and less from others. Trust me, it will lessen your frustrations and stress. I am more happy and at peace when I am at home with my family.
RBT: I understand you are investing in some investment instrument. Please tell us the interesting part of your financial journey?
Jo: Let me start with the interesting part: I was working in Sunlife Financial Philippines as a System Analyst for their Mutual Fund Application. Unfortunately, I didn’t invest as I was thinking investing is for the rich only and I should need a huge capital to maximize the return.
It was also difficult for me to start investing because I accumulated a huge debt. The reasons were over spending using my credit card and taking numerous loans to satisfy my personal wants. These were my struggles. However, I have a strong desire to get out of debt. Fortunately, I did it in just 5 years! How?
We choose to live below our means and we must follow the budget we have set consistently. In 2010, I was able to start investing directly in stock market thru CitiSecOnline, now called COL Financial Philippines. Until today, I continue to explore other investment opportunities to diversify my investment portfolio .
RBT: As a financial advocate, how do you advise people who are struggling financially?
Jo: Very simple – mindset! People are not aware that what they think attracts what they want. If you think you can’t do it, the probability is that you won’t do it. If you think it’s not for you, you really won’t get it. I learned this from Mr. Chink Positive, Chinkee Tan.
His formula is quite simple: Positive Mindset + Positive Action = Positive Result. Try it. I guarantee it will change your life.
In addition to mindset is financial literacy. I believe it should be part of the school curriculum and should be taught at the very young age. In my personal experience, it’s quite difficult to change the mindset of an older generation when it comes to personal finance. The truth is its inconvenient for them and they don’t want to go out of their comfort zone. Unlike younger generation, they have the energy to explore new things and willing to take higher risk knowing they have plenty of time to recover in case stock market collapsed.
RBT: I understand you have a blog about personal finance and investment?
Jo: Yes, my blog site is www.maginvestkapinoy.com and my mission is to encourage every Filipino to learn how to save, invest their money, and plan for their retirement.
RBT: You were featured in one of the segments of ANC On the Money by Edric Mendoza. Please tell us about this?
Jo: Memories of that invitation is still vivid. I was on my way home when I got an email notification and the subject was ABS-CBN News Channel: On The Money. I thought it was just one of my usual news alert. I simply ignored it. When I reached home, one of my habits is to immediately open my personal laptop. I was surprised to read the entire subject when I open my email. I asked myself “Is this true?” I have to admit that it is one of my dream that someday, I will also see myself on that show like those people who I admire and have influenced my financial decisions.
RBT: That’s a great experience. Is finding mentor necessary to achieve your financial goals?
Jo: Yes! You need someone who will guide and inspire you. Someone who is a complete opposite of you but the kind of person you would like to become. The guidance will definitely help you but of course, your still the driving force to make your dreams become a reality.
RBT: What were the biggest problems you have encountered? What have you learned from them?
Jo: Investing in condominium was one of my biggest challenges as I was too optimistic that everything will be OK as expected. However, I’ve learned my lesson afterwards. Before you invest in property, make sure you asked yourself with these guiding questions:
- What do I Intend to do with the property?
- Who will manage the property?
- Which developer will I choose?
- Should I have time to inspect the property?
- Do I have an extra cash for unexpected expenses?
RBT: What kind of future do you see 10 years down the road?
Jo: A better Philippines but there is an “IF”. It will only be a better Philippines if we can educate more Filipinos to be financially literate. Why? Because financial literacy is the antidote to poverty. Yes, I do believe it is not just about job or work but being financial literate. My point is very simple: if you don’t know how to manage your salary well, you will still end up poor no matter how huge your salary is. I call it as Makabagong Tambay.
RBT: Any piece of advice to OFWs and RBT Community who are currently reading this blog about financial management?
Jo: Stop comparing yourself with others and never envy of someone for their possessions. Who knows you might be in a better situation than them? Look for your own strength and improve your weaknesses. We have been given 24 hours a day so we have to make sure we use it wisely.
Lastly, instead of complaining, start fulfilling your dreams until it all becomes a reality. Always remember this: “ad astra per aspera” – A rough road leads to the stars.
RBT: Thanks Jo for sharing your financial journey with us at RBT Community.
Jo: Welcome, Jun.
P.S. 1 Please click the button below to share this article.
P.S. 2 Are you an OFW? I encourage you to join TrulyRichCub (TRC) if you want to be financially literate: Join TRC Today!