by Jenette N. Vizcocho
I have never really been a big believer of money. Sure, when I started earning my own money over ten years ago I would put some in the bank but would throw most of it away on new things, new shoes, new jeans, a new gadget because everyone else at work had it. New things and then even more newer things when the novelty wore off. A transition happened about three or four years ago, when I realized that I had so much stuff and so little value for it. And I still feel that way, now. Somehow, even after getting rid of my things, more of them just magically appear.
Now that priorities have changed, the desire for less but more meaningful possessions and experiences is my goal. Funnily enough, less purchases don’t come cheap either. Several pairs of shoes become one pricier pair, trading trendy, cheap items for one good white shirt I can see myself wearing over and over again, taking less trips for one, big meaningful one will still cost you. Even the pursuit of higher education, of personal growth, or a better position at work requires money. Having recently concluded my Masters in Creative Writing, I found myself wanting to put out a book, wanting to give more time to Murphy Report. That meant giving less time to my actual day job as a speech therapist, which meant less income.
At present the set-up does work for me. I earn. Most of the money gets transferred to pay for bills. A small chunk gets funded into the pursuit of yoga, seminars and workshops, retreats, and trips. The pitiful rest gets passed onto a small stock fund I set up just because my boss told me it made more money than having it just sit at a savings account. Added bonus that it was not easily withdrawn. But I had no idea what I was doing, I was just doing what I felt I should. And somehow I knew it wouldn’t work any longer when the safe cushion of mom and dad give way to bigger things such as having my own family, raising children, or preparing myself for retirement, things that I do want in the near future. Money and savings just seemed so over my head, especially after I learned the concept of living at the present moment. Since the future was so uncertain and far away, I surmised there will always be time later to worry about it.
Monica Eleazar-Manzano invited me to her talk on “How to Pursue Your Passion Without Going Broke” for Security Bank’s September 8, 2016 program, and although I was hesitant as it meant I had to take some time off work, it seemed like something worth hearing and thinking about. Her insight along with Christine Dychiao spoke to me in terms of what pursuits are worth investing time, money, and energy to. I felt that my life was cluttered with so many things and the stories they told resonated with the current change I was going through: too many Facebook friends, too much time spent online, too many clothes I never wear, too many old papers and memorabilia taking up space, too many times I say yes when I wanted to say no. I come to realize that by saying yes to all these excesses, I shortchanged myself from the things that actually will matter in the future: family, mind and body wellness, art, social work, education, property.
Passions change from person to person, it can be anything from art to business, it can be in the thick of the city or lost in a little bubble of your own creation. But both Monica and Christine are right, passion is not enough. How do we ensure that the burning desire for our dreams don’t die down at the slightest hint of uncertainty? I loved their idea of investing on creating a better version of oneself, of earning to feed one’s dreams. That made more sense to me than simply being told to save, save, save! Save for what?
Security Bank talked about Unit Investment Trust Funds, and I realize now that they exist as an option for ones like myself who has her head in the clouds when it comes to finances, to make investing and managing money easier. After the program, the idea of putting money aside for the future, of investing wisely and right NOW, did not seem like an uphill battle against the dragons of inflation and consumerism. Money is and will always be essential because it is an inevitable part of our lives. There will be many things we won’t stop paying for, but we assert our right to choose when we decide to pay ourselves back for all the hard work we have done, not just for now, but for the future we want to create.