11 right decisions I made about money

"Working abroad will make us rich"  - It's a myth. Whether you work in Dubai, US or Philippines, your road to being wealthy is defined by your attitude towards money.

As a family man, I put premium on things that matter most - and they are not things. For me, there's only one standard - family. My "why" always leads me to the question, 'What would be best for my family?'

If you have that mindset, it is easier not to be controlled by money. We've had a fair share of failures and successes about money. Let me share with you some of the best financial decisions me and my wife have done over the years:

1. Invest early 

Who would put their first income in an investment? We did.

On our first year of marriage, we bought a huge foreclosed lot back home. Big part of our income went to pay for it inside 2 years. We lived in a stiffed controlled lifestyle in order to pay AED4,000 for the land, in addition to other monthly expenses.

Years later, the developer bought a very small part of the land. The value has gone beyond 100% per square meter already. They paid more than double of what we bought it for. We didn't keep all the money. We put some in mutual funds and bought 2 pre-selling condos in Manila. Then we put the rest in our emergency fund.

Whenever I move to another company, we put the gratuity pay in an investment. Just recently we bought our 4th property already.

We don't keep huge amount of money in the savings. We'd rather invest it to grow it.

2. Life insurance

While we are young and healthy, we are highly insurable. While my kids are, well, kids, we already secured their future in case something happens to us. Not doing so is one of the greatest negligence we would do as parents.

We get a VUL life insurance. It's an insurance with investment. If nothing happens to us, great; We could always withdraw the money naman.

3. Start a business

My wife and I started a small business while I'm still in the corporate world. Like a typical startup, it's still a long shot. Slowly, we see the business moving towards maturity. This is what's gonna sustain us in the future, and probably will allow me to retire young.

In addition to the business, I also earn passive income in many streams online (check my other online store) and some writing gigs. It's a great feeling that in my spare time, instead of always spending for entertainment and leisure, I earn money.

4. Put the kid(s) in an affordable school 

Tuition fees in Dubai are crazy. Even for kindergartens, the best preschools in town can cost up to AED80,000 per year. There are still few schools that are more affordable though.

At preschool, I think it is smarter not to spend much on tuition fees. Expensive schools doesn’t guarantee good results. During these formative years of children, parenting matters more than academe. We, parents are urged to have more time and give them good training on values and skills at home. If you establish that good authority with your kids, an expensive preschool won't be necessary.

5. No credit card 

It's my personal principle not to use money I don't own. I never had a credit card in my life. These days, there are e-wallets which offers the same perks of a credit card, and sometimes much more benefits. Worry-free.

6. Continuous education

It's easier for me to spend on education than on material things.

Life is a continuous learning process. I wouldn't be writing these things if I did not invest time and money in programs such as Leadership and Social Entrepreneurship, or attended financial literacy events like Money Talks, or enrolled in a few online courses among others.

You cannot grow if you won't plant seeds. Sadly, many wants earns extra income, but refuses to learn extra wisdom.

7. Not hyper health-conscious

There are a lot of programs and products that promote ultra-healthy lifestyle lately. Many of these comes with unbelievable price tags.

Somebody offered us a high-end vacuum cleaner that can clean down the deepest parts of the carpet, couch, curtains, everything. It even comes with a massager :-) . The demo was very impressive. The problem is, we don't only stay at home. Virus spread more outdoors than inside the house. What's the point of being meticulous at home, wherein outside you'll be exposed to dirt, you'll touch a door knob, sit on a public transpo, be with someone sneezing, hold a shopping cart, touch money, and so on?

Same thing with a salad maker, while it is a good product, it is not sustainable.

Some people tend to be extra health-conscious physically they forget that living a completely healthy lifestyle also involves nurturing the other aspects of our lives such as emotional, mental, financial, relational, and spiritual health.

8. Non-branded mentality

We love quality brands. In fact, I'm loyal to a few of them because of their reputation that meet my needs. But I remain not driven by high-end brands. I always go for quality than names. Even my wife and my daughter are not brand-conscious.

Looking neat will never go out of trend.

9. Rent in an affordable area

Rents in Dubai are out of this world, you can already buy a property back home with the same money. I chose to control the situation rather than the situation control me. There are still areas in the Dubai outskirts that are really affordable. We chose to rent a space we can conveniently pay for, without sacrificing convenience, peace and happiness. After all, it is about what's inside the house that makes a home.

10. Basic car

After paying the 5-year car loan, I chose to stick with my basic fuel-efficient reliable car that still conveniently does its purpose, and is stress-free. It's such a great feeling to be free from a monthly loan.

I will probably change car, perhaps a bigger one, but only when the need arises.

11. Delayed gratification

By this time you may be wondering, "Am I enjoying my life?" YES! We never compromise happiness and recreation in the family. It is always part of the budget - a priority actually. We set small bucket list. We give ourselves little rewards - more on experiences, and less on things - because our contentment is not anchored on things. Just the thought of non-stop laughter, running around the playground, competitive board games (and hide and seek), bringing home a slice of cake, and even cooking together, warms my heart. That's how we enjoy life NOW, and we are always grateful.

How you spend your time is more important than how you spend your money.

Like everyone else, we do have dreams and desires. But we chose to delay plan these bigger rewards accordingly.

Why am I telling these to you?

Because these are all practical - anybody can do.

It is comforting that we live a lifestyle that cost lower than our income - a lifestyle that never change in spite of positive financial breakthroughs that comes along the way. I'm also blessed to have a life partner, a wife who look at things at the same perspective as I do.

Spending less, saving some, and investing more. Why am I doing these? Because I value the people that matters most to me. When it is for the family, it is sustainable.

I'll end this by sharing one of the powerful bible verse that has been and will always be my guiding principle, from Book of Romans, "Do not conform to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

To God be the glory!

Post a Comment