Talking about financial freedom during this pandemic may seem counter intuitive. Many people have lost their jobs and more are just trying to survive on a daily basis. But as the most successful businessmen would say, it is precisely during crises when golden opportunities arise that can turn one’s fortune around.
Financial freedom may appear to be a lofty goal reserved only for the well-off but it is actually an achievable dream even for those who may be swimming in debt right now or living in a hand-to-mouth existence. Here are five simple and practical steps to empower you to take control of your finances and let go of money worries:
This is your starting point. Take stock of where you are right now – your sources of income, owned assets, monthly expenses, outstanding debt, and many others that impact on your financial situation.
Then make a realistic target of where you want to go. It can be wiping out your debt or building your dream house or sending your son to a prestigious university. Seal it with your desired deadline.
It may be disheartening to see your expenses and debt payments to be much more than your income sources and assets. But no matter how deep in the red you might be, there’s always a way to go back to black.
The simplest but may not always be the easiest way is to cut expenses. It can be from just cooking at home than having food delivery or bringing down electricity charges by turning off your air conditioners or electric fans during cold, rainy nights.
Next is reducing debt. Most people will advise you to pay off those with the highest interest rates first. But to help build up your confidence, it may be helpful to settle the low amounts first so that you’re encouraged to push ahead when you see these small victories.
As a final measure, you can let go of unnecessary stuff and turn them into cash. It can be things that are just gathering dust at home like old books or hardly used clothes and shoes.
Having a 9 to 5 job may not be enough for you to achieve your goals within your set time frame. Thus, you need to look for additional sources of income. During this pandemic, business opportunities are boundless from re-selling anything to home-cooked food deliveries or growing and selling succulents for your neighborhood plantitos and plantitas. The work from home set-up can also open doors for you to take side jobs that match your knowledge and skills set.
The point to all these is for you to live a happy life, right? So, go ahead and invest in things that make you happy whether they’re experiences or material stuff. We use the word invest here, and not splurge, because these “investments” should bring you some kind of a return. They should uplift you and not bury you deeper into debt and desperation.
The last but definitely not the least important step to financial freedom is to save. Save for rainy days. Save for emergencies, like this pandemic. Save for your dreams. Save for your retirement.
And saving has been made easier by leading Philippine financial institution Cebuana Lhuillier Rural Bank with its Micro Savings Product that allows anyone to open a savings account with just one valid ID and P50 initial deposit through its 2,500 branches nationwide.
In the spirit of World Savings Day on October 31, Cebuana Lhuillier invites everyone – especially the millions of unbanked Filipinos – to take this journey with them towards financial freedom.