Some people think buying a book is expensive.
I also give financial seminars and people think the price we charge is too high.
If you think financial wisdom is expensive, then try ignorance.
You’ll realize it’s a million times more expensive. For example, in the past 10 years, I’ve lost a lot of money.
Simply because I was stupid about money.
After getting married, I was able to scrape a decent amount of savings into our bank account every month.
And with some very generous gifts from our ninangs (godmothers) during our wedding, after a few years, my savings reached P200,000 plus. (Sssshh. Don’t laugh too hard.) That was when a friend asked me if I would like to put my money in the investment company she was working for.
“You’ll earn two percent a month,” she said, “and you’ll help me earn a commission from your investment!”
And instantly, I invested our P200,000. After all, two percent a month came down to 24 percent a year—so much higher than the banks’ interest.
That was also the time when my wife finally got pregnant. The thought of becoming a father was an incredible feeling.
But together with my excitement was the stark realization that the baby would now be totally dependent on my finances for the next 20 years of his life.
Sheesh. That thought sent chills down my spine.
We borrowed a wooden crib from a cousin and prepared P20,000 for our baby. We were ready, or so I thought.
During the delivery, my wife suffered heart palpitations reaching 200 beats per minute and the doctor ordered an emergency Caesarian operation.
Yes, I almost lost my wife and baby. That emergency operation saved their lives. After three days of confinement, I received the bill from the hospital: P56,000.
Have you ever received a solid punch straight to your solar plexus? That was how I felt at that moment.
So I called my friend and asked if I could get my investment back.
Perhaps just P40,000 of my P200,000 to pay the hospital bill.
She said, “I’ll try…” “Try? Why try? Isn’t that my money?” I asked, “I need to pay the hospital.” “It isn’t that simple,” she explained.
“Your money is being used.”
“What do they use it for? Who owns this company anyway? How long have they been in business?” (Do you see how wise I was? I was asking these questions after I invested my money.)
“We’re a small firm that lends money to tricycle drivers.” “Wha…” Have you ever seen a cat staring at the headlights of an oncoming truck?
That’s how I looked. “And collection hasn’t been very good,” my friend’s mutter was barely audible.
“So that means…” “Uh, that means we’ll have to wait for new investors to come in before we can return a part of your money.”
In other words, I waited for three years for nothing.
After that the company closed, folded up, crashed, disintegrated, imploded, sunk to the depths of the earth, and vanished into thin air.
With my P200,000 with them.
Don’t you see?
I was financially dumb.
Let me give you my credentials: My I.Q. is 132, I have above-average social skills, I finished Philosophy in college, I took post-graduate courses in Theology, I founded four organizations, and I’m a more-or-less over-all wholesome guy.
But all these don’t take away the fact that I was a financial nincompoop.
I was 100 percent financially illiterate!
Here’s what I found out…
You could be a doctor with three PhDs behind your name.
You could be an engineer building huge bridges in your spare time.
You could be a very holy person, praying three hours a day.
You could be a scientist inventing the first car that runs on spit.
You could be 97 years old. You could be an extremely loving saint.
You could be a diva with the voice of Celine Dion. But you could also be financially illiterate.
A world-renowned surgeon doesn’t open up a busted TV set and say, “I operate on people, I guess operating on machines would be a breeze.” No, it won’t be.
It’s a totally different world. So it is with money.
Knowing how money works is a totally different field of expertise.
Financial ignorance is expensive.
The number one problem in today’s generation and economy is the lack of financial literacy. — Alan Greenspan
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.
P.S. 1. This article is an excerpt from the book “8 Secrets of the Truly Rich” by Bro. Bo Sanchez (Used with permission). To get a copy of the book and other books by Bro. Bo, you may check out http://www.kerygmabooks.com/.