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Eyes on the Road

Survival tips on the road to financial freedom

Efren L. Cruz

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BUMPER TO BUMPER. Investing as you travel on the road to financial freedom is also hampered by heavy traffic.

EDSA has been a daily nightmare for people living and working in Metro Manila. A typical commute from Quezon City to Makati, for example, can take up to two hours in the morning and a bit longer in the evening.  

Investing as you travel on the road to financial freedom is also hampered by heavy traffic. And just like EDSA, there is a survival guide to bearing with the slow traffic until you get to your destination point. 

Similarly, the road to financial freedom will have many risks. It is best to be protected, just like vehicles are.

Tip #1: Ignore the speed of the other cars.

Driving on EDSA is not a race. Some will get there ahead of you. More importantly, others’ destination points may differ with yours. In driving on EDSA, I found that staying in your lane, being cool and not fretting that the cars once beside you are now way ahead of you beats frustration. 

Switching lanes increases your gas consumption and can lead to accidents, not to mention earning the ire and blaring horns of the other drivers whose lanes you swerved into.

Traveling down the road to financial freedom is also not a competition. Differing goals and risk preferences will necessitate different investing styles. Always remember that wealth is a function of 1) returns you target; 2) period of investment; 3) starting funds, if any; and 4) potential periodic additional investments.  And the common denominator for all these is the risk you are willing to take.

Tip #2: Perils are everywhere. 

Traffic on EDSA can be caused by anything from stalled vehicles, construction, potholes and accidents. I for one was stuck in traffic, once in C5 and the other on EDSA. In both cases, as my car was not even moving, my car got hit by other vehicles.  No matter how careful you are, accidents can and will happen.

Similarly, the road to financial freedom will have many risks. It is best to be protected, just like vehicles are. You do not need to overly insure. Just consider the amount that you will need to leave behind for your family to survive a few years, without your usual income, should you be called early from this life. Such life insurance will cover your loved ones against the perils of death (including by accident), and your disability and dismemberment. Health insurance and health maintenance organization (HMO) coverage are also worth considering.

Tip #3: DIY or riding with the crowd.

There are many modes of transportation on EDSA. But you can basically break it down to just two, driving yourself and riding the public transportation system. Taking your own vehicle on EDSA is more convenient, comfortable, and private.

However, driving your own vehicle requires that you have the Size of funds to buy it, the Expertise (and experience) to drive it, and the Time to stay awake and focus on driving. You need to be all SET. If any one of those three factors is missing, you would be better off taking public transportation.

You likewise need to be all SET to invest on your own. If you do not possess Sizeable funds, and/or do not have the Expertise (and experience) to invest, and/or do not have the Time to focus on investing, you would be better off having your money managed through pooled funds, if you are still a retail investor, or through investment management accounts if you are already a high net worth investor. A high net worth investor is one with funds of at least Php5 million in cash.

You need to be on that road to financial freedom where traffic is heavy and full of hazards. But you can easily manage the inconveniences with the foregoing 3 survival tips.


About the Author

EFREN L. CRUZ is a Registered Financial Planner of RFP Philippines, personal finance coach, seasoned investment manager, financial planning trainer & consultant, newspaper columnist and bestselling author of four books.

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