Money Bliss · Project: Full Life

Dear Self at Twenty-One

As part of tidying-up my blog this year, I plan to set aside Wednesdays for #MoneyBliss stories which include money matters, personal and family finances, and other work-related topics. As a parent, one of my goals is to teach my kids early in life how to live or survive – literally – afford themselves the basic necessities, i.e. food, clothing, and shelter. I used to fear being jobless and homeless and that fear multiplied when I started having children.

Needless to say, if I only knew I’d have three children, I would have done things differently financial-wise. This is not to say, however, that I was irresponsible when I was in my twenties. But, I sure could have handled my money much better. Here are few of the things I wish I did or done differently for a brighter yesterday’s future – today!


I should have saved a regular amount of money every paycheck. I started working in the year 2006 but I only started saving regularly in the year 2012, and that is when I first became pregnant. Six years. If I saved P1,000.00 a month for six years, that would be P72,000.00 in the sixth year. If I invested my P1,000.00 monthly savings and earned four percent interest, it would have compounded to roughly P82,000.00 by the end of the sixth year. Money, time and consistency is the secret combination. It isn’t how much you earn or save. To this day, I regret spending my first Christmas Bonus of P18,000.00 on PDA (Personal Digital Assistant) which I didn’t really need at that time. Plus, smartphones took over since.

I should have clearly thought of the future. It’s not like I didn’t think of my future, but I was not able to think clearly about it. I should have decided early on whether I’d want my own home or rent for a long time. I always knew I wanted a permanent home. Do I want to live in the city or in the suburban? Do I want a house and lot, or I’d be more comfortable living in a condominium? I always knew that my life is in the city, being a Manila-born girl. And, I always knew I was claustrophobic and paranoid with next-door neighbors. If I knew this much, why didn’t I invest in a house and lot early on?

I should have not delayed things because delaying things is as good as ignoring opportunities. Always answer with YES when the universe calls. It took me two to three years dilly-dallying buying my first stocks. In the year 2006, looking out the window in my office on the 26th floor, I thought of buying vacant lots as I foresee that parking spaces would be a problem in the future. Fast forward to today, parking spaces are being rent-out left and right, not only in business districts and commercial zones but even in residential areas. I wanted to further my studies, but procrastination ate me up. There are many things I wanted to do which I did not act upon. As the saying goes, a dream without action is just a wish.

I should have traveled more. And, nope, not because now that I’m a mother of three children, travel has become impossible. Well, it’s one of the reasons but it ain’t the main one. I should have traveled more simply because out of all the many expenses I made in the span of my working life pre-children, it’s travel expenses and wedding expenses that I don’t regret spending my money on. Aside from what I’ve given to others including my family and the church, travel worth my money, definitely, because the joy it gave me then is still the same joy I feel whenever I remember them. Looking at my money diary years ago, I could have clearly gone to any country or continent I wanted.

Here’s a simple exercise for you and me tonight! I’m in my thirties, and tonight, I’d pretend I’m forty and think about what I would want to tell my thirty-year-old self. You can do that too, right? Just add ten years to your current age. By doing this, I hope we will be enlightened of what we should be doing today.

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