Strike the Balance

Your life goals and financial goals must be in sync for investment ventures

Estrella Torres

veteran business journalist and professor

THINK BIG, START SMALL If you’re new to investing, you should be guided by a long term vision and be open to taking and managing risks.

“I will spend less and save more.” Sounds familiar? Every beginning of the year we always promise ourselves to be more financially mature. Although saving money is a good start, true adulting is all about planning ahead and securing long term financial goals.

The start of the year is the best time to map out your financial plans. This early, if you’ve saved extra cash from your yearend bonuses (good for you!), you should be pondering on how to keep and grow your money through investments. 

Set your goals. Put them in writing. Plan them on your calendar. Ask your partner, a relative, or a friend to remind you of your goals. Give them the power to slap you on the wrist if necessary. Having something tangible keeps you on track.

Basic 'must-haves'

 According to financial advisor Salvador Oblena of Young Investors Club, “Starters (or newbie investors) need to think big, but start small.” He said investments should be guided by a long term vision to learn to manage risks.

The best financial advice would be to invest in yourself. 

But before investing, Oblena emphasized that starters should be fully aware of the “must-haves” before going full speed on investments. Put these items on a checklist to keep track of your finances:

Emergency Fund

For those with extra earnings, it is important to set aside money. It's ideal that your backup money is worth three to six times of your monthly income. You can do this by setting aside that extra money and holding off on your “want to buy” list. 

Wipe off bad debt

Bad debts are skeletons in the closet you have to deal with. Iron these out first and try to pay them off as soon as you can. You don't want that credit card interest to balloon out of control.

Life Insurance

One of the must-haves is to consider buying a term life insurance for minimum cost and maximum coverage. But remember, pick something that suits your lifestyle and financial capability.


Starters need to consider exploring a healthcare plan that works best for their needs. A good HMO can save you money during emergencies.

Equip yourself

Starters can invest in stocks either by direct stock trading or through professionally managed funds such as Unit Investment Trust Fund (UITF) and Mutual Funds.

Investing is also about taking risks in less popular ventures. Oblena said starters can explore real estate properties such as memorial lots and/or parking lots.

“But the best financial advice would be to invest in yourself,” he added.

He cited an important quote from former US President Benjamin Franklin that, “an investment in knowledge, pays the best interest.”

Young professionals and those about to retire can still explore secure investments by attending financial literacy seminars to increase their financial IQ. This is how you can equip yourself with the right information. If you know whatever there is to learn, then financial freedom is a step closer.

There will always be an endless list for investment ventures but starters need to bear in mind measures to manage risks.

One of the best risk management step is to enroll in a financial literacy class to understand the money market. Once enrolled in a class, Oblena said a young investor will find the right environment by joining investor circles.

Allocate accordingly

“Every young investor should build a strong financial foundation to reap investments,” he said.

Oblena concluded that starters need to think of ways to further increase savings after choosing the right investments.

For those who are still single and not breadwinners, it works to spend half of the total earnings and save and invest the remaining 40 per cent.

Young professionals also need to learn the value of paying it forward by donating to charity the remaining 10 percent of the salary.

At the same time, those who are married and breadwinners can spend up to 70 per cent of their income while the remaining 20 per cent must be allotted for savings.

Despite the large expenses, family breadwinners can still spare up to 10 percent of their income to pay it forward by donating to charity.




About the Author

ESTRELLA TORRES is a senior journalist who covered foreign affairs, trade, budget and management as well as the courts. She has worked for Business Mirror, Philippine Daily Inquirer and GMA News Online. She contributes stories on decent work for Brussels-based, an online news and feature website. Star as known to her friends holds a Master's Degree in Broadcast Communication from the University of the Philippines in Diliman. In 2014, she began teaching Journalism subjects in San Beda College, Alabang.

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