Your Health Is Your Greatest Wealth

One of the biggest expenses you can have in this life is when you or your loved one’s health fails. 

I remember when my son was born and he had a heart complication. He was about to be operated on and while talking to the doctor, my father-in-law asked him how much it would cost for them to operate on my baby. The doctor estimated it to cost around Php700,000, and that was not even guaranteed to work 100%. The doctor was honest enough to say it had a 70-30 chance of success. When you’re in that kind of situation where you are asked to take a chance, the obvious answer is always to say ‘Yes’. Because no amount of money can compare to a precious life.

Thank God a miracle happened, and my baby didn’t have to undergo heart operation anymore. He still had to stay in the NICU for a few days, and go through observation and medication for a month. But other than that, everything went well.

In all this time, I was thanking God not only for my son’s life and restoring his heart health, but also for the finances and time he has provided me and my family. 

As the famous TV commercial says, “bawal magkasakit.” Sometimes, people are afraid to go to the hospital not only for the sickness they might discover, but more for the amount of money they would have to shell out to pay for the hospitalization. 

That’s the sad reality for some people. 

Apart from going into a credit card debt, getting a HUGE hospital bill is one of the worst things you would suffer financially. That huge financial setback might even cause some people to further go into debt, which could take a lifetime to payoff. 

It’s not enough that you are the only one who is healthy because when someone in the family gets sick, everyone would help out, not only financially, but also physically and emotionally. When you only want to be healthy, it feels like all other worries you have become secondary. 

Did you know that in the bible, wealth comes from the Hebrew word ‘Chayil’ meaning strength? That’s why just being healthy is already being wealthy in itself. 

Over the years, I’ve tried to keep myself healthy. I played all kinds of sports when I was a kid: baseball, table tennis, basketball, and more. When I got older, I added badminton and tennis. 

But when I started working, I’ve had struggles keeping myself fit for many reasons. One is the stress of work. Another is eating a lot of junk food, to keep myself emotionally comforted from the stress. A lot of times, it was easier to just sit and do nothing at home, just mindlessly scrolling over my phone than to do some exercise or a physical activity.

When I was in high school, I could play basketball non-stop even in the middle of scorching sun, in my school uniform complete with leather shoes, slacks and polo shirt. 

Now that I am in my forties, I admit that my strength is not where it used to be. The last time I played competitive basketball, my knee hurt so bad I could not even run down the court, grimacing in pain. It was probably because of my heavy weight it was carrying all day and all night long. 

That’s the main reason why I wanted to lose some weight.

Back in 2011, I tried USANA’s RESET program which focused on eating low-glycemic meals like their Nutrimeal where I was able to achieve my best weight around those times. I felt better and I was able to maintain it for a few years, but as time goes by my weight soon ballooned once again. 

I’ve already tried intermittent fasting a couple of years before, and I did lose some weight, about 10 pounds, but it would get stuck there, and then I would eat whatever I want, and then I would soon all regain back the weight that I lost. 

So this time, I had a plan. Now, I wanted to try to control my eating. 

I planned to do a low-carb meal. For the first 5 days, I ate USANA’s Nutrimeal for my breakfast, lunch and dinner. But soon after, I shifted to eating lettuce, eggs, meat, fish, chicken, etc. 

After the first 5 days, I was encouraged by the result. The following week, I added intermittent fasting to the mix, basically skipping breakfast, but still eating low-carb meals. 

Eventually I also added minimal exercise, just some walking and stretching during my fasting period. I make sure to take my vitamins in order to prevent nutrient deficiencies. 

Now, I have settled into a routine and I am happy to reach a much better weight, losing 20 pounds after 4 weeks. 

I am still far away from my goal weight but I am feeling much better. 

Over the past 4 weeks, I’ve tried taking a better hold of my health. I’m doing this for personal reasons, but the most important of which is to have the best of health and strength to keep up with my two boys. 

They grow up fast. As boys, they enjoy physically demanding activities. Running around, playing basketball, and playing with other kids is something they look forward to. 

I simply want to keep up. I want to be able to play basketball with them. I want my body to allow me to engage in physically demanding activities with them. I want to cherish these moments a little bit longer. 

Because soon, they will have other interests that they want to pursue. Soon, they will be a little bit older and moments like these would be harder to come by. 

But for now, I’d like to enjoy it while I still can and have the opportunity to do so. But the first thing for that to happen is for me to be in the best health of my life.

How about you? How have you been taking care of your health lately?


How to overcome debt

Yesterday while walking on the treadmill, I was listening to Dodong Cacanando’s youtube video explaining how people are having a hard time financially because of debt or “utang” in Filipino.

It reminded me of some of the most painful experiences I’ve had in my life. Back in the early 2000’s when I first got a job, I used my new credit card to purchase a lot of things, not realizing that it is a trap. To cut the long story short, I got into credit card debt. It came to a point where I would do cash advance so that I would have the cash to pay for our apartment rental. It was then that I made a personal decision to change my ways. I enrolled in our company’s automatic savings plan where they deduct 2%-20% (depending on your choice) every month from your salary. It happens automatically. You won’t see it in your bank account anymore, until the day you withdraw from the savings account. That helped me build the habit of saving money.

Fast forward a year after, my sister got into an accident. I had to bring her to the hospital. When we arrived at the emergency room, the doctor gave me a list of medicines I need to buy. Immediately, I went to the ATM and withdrew money to pay for the medicines. Thank God, I was able to buy the medicines, and my sister eventually recovered from the accident. I felt relieved, but at the same time, it gave me a profound appreciation to the decision I made a year ago to save up money. I can’t imagine how difficult it would have been had I not made that decision which could have limited my options in helping buy my sister’s medicines. Thank God for second chances.

The habit of saving helped me set aside money for emergencies. I continued that habit and even increased my savings contribution from 2$ to 5%, and then to 10% a year after. When I got promoted, I increased that even further to the maximum percentage which is 20%. Eventually, when I decided to withdraw the amount to use it for my wedding expenses, it has already reached 6 figures. Imagine how much a measly 2% would grow to become a few years after.

When my wife and I went abroad, that habit of saving helped us as well. Eventually when we came back home, we had some savings that helped us transition our life back to the Philippines. We started our investing journey, for which this blog became a platform for me to share my stories and lessons I learned along the way.

I wish learning a habit would be that easy and that life would go on smoothly as we wish it to be. But it’s hardly the case.

A few years after coming back to the Philippines, my wife had a difficult pregnancy for both of our 2 sons. She had emergency Caesarian operation and was admitted to the hospital for close monitoring. Our first son, had to battle through right after he was born, and that’s when the greatest miracle in our lives happened. Recently, my son celebrated his 12th birthday. Everyday I thank God for giving us a chance to be a parent of our miracle child. A year after, my second son was born, also via Caesarian operation. My wife had to go through a lot of sacrifices giving birth to our sons and taking care of them. She resigned from her job, and became a full-time mom to our kids. She momentarily paused her career and focused on raising our boys.

During those days, I had a lot of realizations towards money. For one, truly you won’t understand how blessed you are until you receive something that money cannot buy. But for those things that money can buy, money is still very important. It was also during those early years becoming a parent that I was also starting and struggling to take my business off the ground. The stress of watching our savings slowly getting depleted. The challenge of providing financially for a young family. The self-doubt, the sleepless nights, and crying on your own at the corner begging God to help you overcome the challenges, those are the things that make you stronger in the long run. It is also for those reasons that you are blessed beyond measure, for you have a God that provides for everything that you need, and so much more.

During those times, I also contemplated on getting a job and going back to corporate. It was around 2 years of struggling in the business when I felt like giving up my business. I asked myself whether it was only personal pride that was preventing me to go back? Would pride help me provide for my son’s needs? If I ever need to choose between my pride vs my son’s, I would definitely choose to swallow my pride any time of the day. I did try to go back, but my heart was not into it. Eventually, I decided not to go back. And since I wasn’t going back anyway, I might as well make my business work. So I worked hard and prayed hard. Eventually, my efforts bore fruit and our business started growing. With the income from the business, I was able to sustain our young family’s needs. Eventually, my wife and I even won some awards in the process.

That went on for some time, until I had to take on another challenge.

Our business could not sustain the growth that it had. Eventually, my business stagnated, and I could not figure it out. There were a lot of challenges financially. In my role as one of the leaders of the team, a lot of people consulted me with their financial situations and how to handle them. It was easy for me to advise and give suggestions on how they could overcome it. I realized years after when I faced similar situations that it is not so easy when you’re the one’s facing the problem.

To cut the long story short, I got into a huge credit card debt. Way way bigger than I anticipated. Our business income dropped like a hot potato. But our expenses ballooned even more. The banks were calling me everyday, demanding me to pay it back. I could not sleep thinking about how I can solve my problem. I was paralyzed in fear. I could not think straight. I could not move.

All I could do was pray that one day my problem will go away. Eventually, around 1 year ago, I finally paid off ALL of my credit card debts. It was a huge relief that was lifted from my shoulders. I thank God everyday for helping me go through it all. Looking back, I can’t even credit myself for creating the solutions on how to solve my problem. It was just a decision I had to make in my life to pay for it no matter how long it would take. But I can’t thank God enough for helping me and giving me people like my wife who supported me every step of the way. If you are in a similar situation here are some things that have helped me:

  1. If you’re getting buried in debt, the first thing you need to do is to stop digging.

I had to get my head above water so to speak. I had to get hold of my cashflow. I had to stop and evaluate how much money was coming in and how much money was going out. My first goal was to get to a positive cashflow. Since the money coming in was cut into half, I had to find a way to cut my expenses into half. That means selling my Ford mustang, so that it would help lower my monthly expenses. With the help of my wife, we eventually were able to find a buyer. Thank God for these angels that helped us when we needed it most. I also called up the bank to restructure my credit card debt. I explained the situation to them and we came up with a pay plan that helped reduce our monthly payments. Eventually, after lowering our expenses even further, we managed to finally break even and get into positive cashflow. That helped us greatly mentally and emotionally. We felt like we could finally take a breather after a long long time.

2. Increase your income

This was also the main reason why I decided to go back to corporate after almost a decade of being out. It was a hard decision. There was an opportunity for me to go overseas but after discussing it with my wife, I decided to look for an opportunity in the country instead so that I get to spend my time with my family. I could not bear to be away from my family especially when the world has just gone through the worst of covid and the travel restrictions have yet to be lifted fully. Eventually my former employer gave me a chance to go back to corporate and start again. I am thankful for that chance, and I will always be grateful to my employer who first gave me my first stint in the corporate 20+ years ago and also gave me a chance to transition when I came back from abroad. With the salary I was getting, it helped me payoff my last credit card debt sooner, and also helped me start saving once again.

3. Build better money habits moving forward

Promise to never get yourself in huge credit card debt ever again.This is something I really decided to promise myself personally. Getting into credit card debt is no fun. I’ve had it twice already. In both times, I was able to survive it and managed to fully pay them off. However, I would not wish for anyone to go through it. It takes a lot of mental, emotional, psychological energy just to keep your sanity. Of course, you need a lot of prayers and spiritual support to overcome them for good. This is the main reason why I advocate building better money habits in your life. Building better habits is life being married to your wife. It takes a lot of effort. You have to nurture it. Everyday. If you don’t protect it, you can lose it. But the good news is that if you realize you’re financially struggling, it only takes a simple decision to stop, evaluate and start building better money habits (even how small you think it is – I started with 2%). Eventually, you’ll be surprised how far that simple decision to build that habit would take you. The good news is that once you’re able to pay off your debts, you can take the same habit and begin saving for your peace of mind. It gets even better because you no longer pay interest; the bank is now the one paying you that instead of the other way around. Cheers and let’s live life free from the bondage of debts!


Modern day slavery

The world of money is like a modern day slavery.

Did slavery end after the Exodus from Egypt? Or did it end when Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation declaring “all persons held as slaves…shall be free”?

How is it that Filipinos are still having a hard time working their assess off but barely make a living. 

Are we really free? Or are we just catering to the system that has enslaved many people for many generations. All your life, you’ve been sucked into a system where your sweat, blood and tears are paying for everything.

Investing in a house, for example, will tie you up for the next 25 to 30 years.

If you are already in your forties, by the time your loan ends, you’ll be in your 70’s.  Who wants to be paying for a loan in their 70’s? Shouldn’t you be just enjoying life since you are already retired by then?

Don’t get me wrong. I am not advocating not working or getting something for nothing. It just feels like that there’s something seriously wrong on how the world is set up.

The more I experience the world of money, the more I realize a lot of things — that a man is buried into worrying about money all his life. You worry about how to earn more. Then once you are able to earn money, you next worry about how to keep what you earned. After that, you worry about how to make it grow. Once the money grows, you worry about passing it to your children, and how to train them to grow it even more. The worrying never stops. Most people do not even get to that. They get stuck worrying how to pay off their debts. Some even can only go so far as worry for their next meal. 

How is it that well-meaning people, who just wants to live simply cannot even get beyond worrying about money? Is it really a case of not working hard enough? Or is the system simply skewed towards making life harder for the “modern day slaves.”

It made me realize that some business models are aimed to leverage (or exploit) the severe inequality of this world. The competitive advantage of the outsourcing industry, for example, is based on the difference in exchange rate in between countries from developed nations vs those in the developing nations. One of the reasons we are able to price our offerings competitively is because our currency in the Philippines is 50x lower than those in the western world. When this balance tips over to other side, the business model will not make sense anymore. 

Why should our money be only 50x of other countries? Who made the rules? 

When I went to the U.S. for a 6-month stint, I saw that we were no different from the people I was working with. They are no better than us. I feel like we are even better in some sense, since we are more willing to work hard. But looking at the lifestyle that they lead, you start to wonder how is it that you are living completely different lives when you are doing the same work? You wish you had similar or at least a comparable lifestyle commensurate to the work you are putting in. But that’s not the reality we are living in.

Is it unfair? Yes. Am I saying we should not be doing outsourcing anymore? Of course not. I am not naive. I think we should take advantage of the opportunity to the best that we can. Learn from them. Learn the technologies. Learn the discipline. Learn everything we can. 

While doing that we should also be working on creating more value. Create more Filipino brands who server the whole world. Our country needs to transform from a consumer-centric nation to a world-class producer of great value. We have already proven that we can compete with the best. We have great singers, boxers, nurses, OFWs and so much more. We should dream to get to that point until the world can no longer ignore us. Until the balance of power tips over and we no longer have to rely on the currency exchange to save us. 

We should learn to stand on our own two feet. Imagine a world where we are one of the superpowers, bringing so much value to the world, in different industries, across the globe, even when our Philippine peso already is at par with the other powerful nations. I dream for that to happen in my lifetime, when the currency exchange reaches that of 1PHP = 1USD or whoever is the most powerful currency in the future. Imagine a day when Filipinos no longer have to go abroad and be discriminated against. Imagine us having the freedom to travel and go to places, not forced to do something and sacrifice being away from our families only because that’s the only option we have due to the inequality being brought by the unfairness of currency exchange. 

When that happens, I wish for the world to also experience what is it like to be a Filipino — to be a little bit kinder, a little bit more accommodating, a little bit more human. A world where all the good things that make the Filipino race something we can be proud of is in full display: friendly and welcoming, smiling in spite of disasters, enduring in all of life’s calamities, thriving and making the world a better place, a place not ruled by worrying about money but the spirit of abundance that lives in us all. A world where we can say we’re finally free. Imagine a day that becomes true.


I went back to Corporate after 10 years and here’s what I discovered

After more than a decade outside the corporate world, I went back. As for the reason why I went back, I’ll share it with you next time, but for now I’d like to share with you why I resigned again…2 years since going back. There are 3 reasons: Health, Family and Freedom.


Now that I am in my 40’s, I feel that my health is not where it was before. It takes me longer to recover from a strenuous activity, like playing in a competitive sports like basketball and badminton. When I was younger, there was no such thing as recovery time. After a bit of rest, I’m ready to go. Now, it takes me days to recover at least before I can compete again. I can’t keep up with younger players anymore.

I have already resigned from the fact that I no longer compete for the prizes, but only to enjoy the time to play and get myself play something that I love. I am happy that I can play these sports that I love.

Not sure if the pandemic had anything to do with it, but being inside the room for a long period of time has encouraged me to take more activities than I can probably handle now that I am a little bit older. 

It’s like revenge travel, but instead it’s revenge playing outside the house.

There were also instances where it took a little bit longer for me to recover from my coughs and colds. Maybe I am just getting a little bit older.

When I went back to work 2 years ago, the first thing I noticed was the adjustment I had to make in terms of the physical demands of work. Even though I was working at home, I now had to wake up a little bit earlier than I used to. I had to adjust my waking hours. It took a few weeks but eventually I settled into a routine that helped me.

The first weeks were brutal. It’s been a while to be in the corporate so the adjustment was expected but one of the things that really got to me was time spent doing nothing. As you know when you’re new to a company there’s normally a period where you are on bench while they are preparing to onboard you to your next project. But I wasn’t used to doing nothing the whole day. I spent the whole time going through training that I wouldn’t even know if I am ever going to use, or if they will be relevant. 

I took trainings and got my certifications. It’s like going back to school again. Fortunately, I managed to pass all of them and got exposed to new technologies. For that I am grateful. 

But mentally, the moments where you are staring at the clock and just waiting for the end of your shift to end is soul sucking. It’s like you’re wasting away your life to an unknown force. Every minute feels like a month that’s taken from your life…bringing you closer to your death.

My mental health was really challenged. I feel like, I can give more. I don’t want to be wasting the years I have left. You never know until when you are here on this earth. I don’t want to be wasting it just staring at a clock every day.


One of the things that I value most is my time with my family, especially my wife and 2 boys. I had to adjust to the idea that my time with them will have to be shared with my work. Since I am in a company that is rendering 45-hour workweek. That’s 9 hours per day + 1 hour lunch, total of 10 hours per day. There was also a time when I had to endure an hour traffic going to the office and another hour back home. So that’s already 12 hours total. This does not include overtime hours whether paid or unpaid. I realized I am already spending more than half of my day working, without building anything that can have a residual income or a capital gain in the future. Perhaps the only thing that I am building is a reputation that I can deliver, which only my manager and perhaps his/her boss knows. I don’t feel like I am building anything in terms of developing a reputation across the industry I am working on.

One of the things that made me really re-think whether this kind of setup is the one for me is when my son attended a recognition program, for which he received an award. I was able to go there, but had to miss the medal ceremony because I had to attend a meeting at work. It pained me to see that because of work, I had to miss one of the important events in my son’s young life. I was there, but I could not even watch him receive the award. My son is very understanding when I explained it to him. But then again, that was a big deal for me personally.

The reason that’s a big deal for me was because my father missed a lot of important milestones in my life because of work. Money was always hard to come by. I remember that my dad was always doing so many stuffs just to earn money. I felt like it’s important for me to not let earning money be the reason why I can’t attend an important event in my son’s life. 

This year, our company started mandating return to office, and that started a huge adjustment in my part. The little flexibility that was available before, is no longer at my disposal. The last 3 months before I resigned, I was working 5-days a week return to office. In short, I was already working 10-hour days every day. I had to endure the commute to work and back home. I had to pay for things that I didn’t have to before, like parking, lunch, dinner. When I did my analysis, I was losing money compared to when I was working at home. The thing was, there are 3 resources that are important to me that is suffering: Money, Time and Energy. Obviously, with the additional expenses, I am losing money. With the drive to work and back home, I am spending a lot of time in traffic. Doing this every day took a toll on my energy and health. I had less time to recover. In the weekends, I can’t simply sleep at home because my family would want to go somewhere, because they too would want to get refreshed. That means additional expenses, the 2 days a week would become even shorter compared to the 5-day workweek. More importantly, my health was suffering because I had very little time to recover from the gruelling week. 

The type of work nowadays requires a lot of mental effort, not a no-brainer task like those in a factory setup. A lot of the things that consume my energy is in solving complicated problems and understanding different systems. More often than not, you have to learn a new system quickly and be ready to get up to speed immediately. Some are technical in nature and time is not always on your side.  Often times, you don’t even have an idea whether something will work or not. You just keep the faith and do the best you can. But everything has a price. And most of the time, the price to pay is in degradation in health physically, mentally, psychologically. The more complex the project you are working on, the more stakeholders you have to work with. The technical problems are the easy part. The hard part is in dealing and communicating with people. Different personalities. Different priorities. Different ways of looking at the problem and how to approach it. Again, these kinds of problems take a toll on your health.

That’s why recovering my health was important for me. Physical health, mental health, psychological health. There were moments where I was feeling really sad and it made me decide to take a break from all these things.

My health is important to me and at this time of my life I am choosing myself.


Perhaps I am not really cut out to be an employee. My spirit is too stubborn, and I feel my whole being is screaming for freedom.

Growing up, I have always been someone who does not enjoy getting orders from someone else. Something deep inside of me makes my blood boil. Perhaps it’s ego. Perhaps it’s something else. Perhaps I’m just stubborn. I don’t know.

Don’t get me wrong. I am willing to work. I also deliver results. I am recognized consistently in all my works and they compensate me both in awards and bonuses. More importantly, I can work with anyone. I am mature enough to know when something is important. It means I have to swallow my pride and not sweat over small stuffs. Most of the time, just letting it go to save your peace of mind is the better path. Life is short to be getting worked up about things at work that you wish to be better.

If there’s a lesson I learned during the Covid years, it is the realization that there are only few things in this life that is worth your trouble. I also learned that you can live life without a lot of the other stuffs. Life doesn’t have to be complicated.

The pursuit of material things? Recognition? Pleasing other people? Never ending hustle for money? I have since learned to let them go and seek freedom instead of carrying unnecessary burdens all your life.

Perhaps, this is just part of getting older. After all, we were born into this world with nothing. It is but fitting that when we finally go back to the one who created us, we will also take back nothing. To live with freedom, one must be willing to let go and learn to live lighter.


How to prepare yourself for the upcoming financial crisis

In 2008, I was in Malaysia working for one of the biggest banks in Asia. It was also the year the world of finance crumbled. Lehman Brothers closed. The real-estate market turned upside down. The stock market plummeted. The world was in chaos.

Suddenly, the BIG banks are going bankrupt left and right. The companies we thought would never fail, suddenly looked like a beggar begging for bailouts.

The impact to employees was direct. Companies closed down. People are retrenched.

Security from employment ended.

I remember vividly when one by one my workmates were being told that they are being let go effective immediately. I remember my friends worrying about going back to the Philippines, or staying in a foreign land without a source of income. It was a devastating blow for a lot of people.

That day I was fortunate enough to weather the storm.

Fast forward 14 years after, the prospects of financial security is again getting a beating. High inflation is one. Gas prices are skyrocketing. Food prices are going up. Transportation costs are getting higher.

The only thing not going up is your salary.

The big companies have been down since the start of the year. S&P 500 is down 13%. NASDAQ is down 23%. Apple is down 17%. Facebook is down 42%. Netflix is down 67%. Amazon is down 32%. Google is down 23%. Tesla is down 37%. Bitcoin is down 38%. The US has posted a negative growth rate in the first quarter, another negative growth this second quarter which ends June 30 will put them into recession.

The prospects for this year is not looking good. You may think, well that’s the U.S., but realize that the same is happening to many countries around the world. In the Philippines, gas prices have skyrocketed. Inflation is now at 5.4%. The exchange rate has breached P55 to 1 US dollar.

Be prepared. Things may change from bad to worse in an instant. I’ve seen it happen in 2008. The coming months and years will be a time of significant change. For those who are prepared, those who had financial discipline and positioned themselves well, it could be the best of times. Opportunities will present themselves, but only to those who can see them. Opportunities are not seen by the naked eye, but through the discipline of the mind and the wisdom of learning from your own experience and of those who have come before you.

That’s why it’s important to LEARN, so you will see the opportunities. So what can you do today to help you prepare? Here are 5 things you can do:

1. Keep cash. Cash is king. Save as much as you can. This will help you in case your source of income whether that’s from employment or a business suddenly gets shut down, or becomes unstable.

2. Stay away from BIG purchases that require long-term commitment like real-estate loans or car loans. When central banks raise interest rates, the cost of borrowing goes up and the interest rates for loans goes up as well. It will be harder to take out a loan and the interest will be higher. Also note that loan interest rates sometimes get repriced.

3. Keep your job. Now is not the time to quit. I know there’s a great resignation happening. But I also know, some of the companies have stopped hiring, and the contract of those newly hired got rescinded. Others have even let go some of their employees.

4. Start a side hustle. You know that your salary from your job is fixed. You can wait for the raise but it’s hardly going to put a dent on your bills, or even catch up with the rising prices of goods. Where do you start? Learn to sell. Sell anything. Start with what you have. Take inventory of what you have in your life, what you are good at and where you are, and look for opportunities to create another source of income in your part-time. I managed to do it in 2011, and that source of income is still providing me income up until today 11 years after.

5. Keep on learning. Information is readily available today for FREE. Youtube and google are your new library. There’s no excuse not to learn about money when it impacts all the things important in your life.


Here’s a better way to achieve your new year’s resolutions/goals

In 2011 while still working full-time on my job, I wrote down my goal to create 3 income streams earning at least $100/month. One of those is by selling an e-book I wrote, which earned $100 in a week on the side. My real-estate investment partnership gave me $300/month passive income. My other business, which included building a sales team and earning US dollar commissions from the sales of me and my team, earned for me $600 in a week that led me to finally quitting my job in that same year.

Before I continue, here is a disclaimer. I wish I could say it was easy peasy. You just set your goals, and everything’s going to come to you. Of course, nothing works unless you do. You have to be prepared to work hard, go through sleepless nights, emotional roller coaster of rejections after rejections followed by small triumphs. You ask yourself whether it is even worth it and whether you’re insane for going through all this. But you push through and finally have some semblance of success manifests for you. Only to go through the same roller coaster again the next day, and the next day, and the next day. And you wonder whether it is ever going to end. In the end, you console yourself by saying to yourself — “That’s what makes life so exciting! You never know what comes next! Haha! :)”

Over the past 11 years, I’ve been creating my financial goals for the year. Most of the time, I don’t hit it within the timeframe that I’ve said I would. But after a couple of months or years, the goal is eventually achieved.

For most of us, new year brings in a brand new chance to start over and make new year’s resolution. You want to lose weight, so you sign up to the gym, or promise yourself that it will be the last time you’re eating “that” cake during the New Year’s day celebrations. With much motivation, the first day of the year comes. You hit the ground running. But often after a week or two, that motivation fades away. And you are left waiting for another new year to make another new year’s resolution.

So while making new year’s resolution is great for motivation, it is hard to keep it up. It is hard to make a change. Whether it be in dieting or budgeting, wishing and making it happen are totally different things. You know all the right answers and you have all the “you shoulds” You should…stick to your plan; make sacrifices; have disciple. You blame yourself for not having all those things. You get depressed and don’t know what to do.

But what if I tell you, you can turn things around. And use your body’s natural ways to finally create something more lasting.

Have you read the book, Atomic Habits by James Clear? It’s a good book. My business mentor lent me the book a couple of years ago. The book tells about the power of having atomic (as in tiny or small) habits. In my years dealing with money, I realized one fundamental truth and that is our habits dictate the money that we have, whether we will keep it or not, and for how many generations it will grow. That’s the reason why I titled my blog, Rich Money Habits, because I know building those habits is the key to the lifelong financial wealth that we all desire.

One quote from the book says, “You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.” So while creating goals is an important step, the more important step you should ask yourself is whether you have systems in place that will help you achieve those goals.

In the case of personal goals like losing weight, paying off debts, saving for an emergency fund, or growing your business or side hustle, what’s important to ask is your own personal habits. Do you have systems in place so you will know right away what to do with your salary or profits when you receive them? Do you have a system for preparing your food, exercise and sleep? Do you have a system to pay off your debts? Do you have a system to grow your business?

When the systems are in place, the results are almost guaranteed. It is just a matter of time. So while a couple of weeks have already passed since the start of the year and Omicron has sabotaged all our best laid plans, perhaps you can use this time to revisit and create your own systems, so you can finally achieve your goals this year 2022.

What system can you start creating today?

Business Money Mindset

Dodong Cacanando’s Entrepreneur’s Journey To Fruitfulness

Last month, I had the chance to attend sir Dodong Cacanando’s seminar titled Entrepreneur’s Journey to Fruitfulness. It was a 5-week seminar conducted through Zoom online meetings every Saturday night.

Prior to this, I already bought and read all the 3 books of sir Dodong Cacando and watched over the many videos on his Youtube channel.

Sir Dodong is also an Engineer just like me. We think in similar ways. We analyze things in detail to find out how they work.

If you’re not familiar with the story of sir Dodong Cacanando, he is a former IT corporate guy who uprooted himself and his whole family to move to Bukidnon after “hearing a voice” tell him to go. In 20+ years, he built his farm called Moriah Farms from a barren land to now contain a thriving forest, a huge plantation of high-value crops like lettuce as well as a growing livestock of pigs, goats, sheep and more.

His core teachings is based on the belief that the bible can be used as a guide to doing business. His work as a farmer allowed him to study the ways of the plant, and how the same principles that help a plant become fruitful can also be applied to building a profitable business.

Today, I’d like to share with you a few of the things I learned from his seminar.

Right definition will result to correct actions

One of the things that sir Dodong emphasized was the importance of really understanding what entrepreneurship is.

Today, some of those who teach entrepreneurship do not even have a single business in their name. They have been trained in theories. They lack real-world experience. How can you teach something you have not done so yourself? Unfortunately, most of the great entrepreneurs don’t have time to teach you. They are too busy running their own businesses.

A lot of people are confused nowadays. They think entrepreneurship is all about taking a huge financial risk for a potential profit. That’s what most books say. This idea is incomplete. According to sir Dodong, the word “Entrepreneur” comes from the French word “Entreprende,” meaning “to undertake, to manage or to take care of.” To take care of what exactly? To take care of what you have already.

This is one of the foundational pieces that I learned from sir Dodong’s seminar.

Often, we look for “greener” pasteurs. We think our job sucks so we look for other jobs to apply to. We think our business is too stressful, so we look for other opportunities that are “easier.”

The reality of business, is that there’s no “easier” business. All businesses require hard work and dedication. Nothing can replace that.

This reminds me of the saying, “the grass is greener, where you water it.”

It is not wrong to aspire for greater things, but you have to start somewhere. And that somewhere is where you are right now. Start with what you have, what you know, what you can do of the things in front of you.

Business can only grow with a problem

If you’re like me, I hate dealing with problems, especially when it comes to people. I’d rather stay in my corner and mind my own business. Unfortunately, when you are in business, you will always have to deal with other people whether you like it or not. They are your customers, suppliers, employees, fans, bashers, and more.

The good news is that every problem brings with it an opportunity. Dealing with the problem yourself gives you the chance to convert the knowledge and experience you gained on how you solved it into an ability. Your ability, may it be in a form of a new skill or a new improved character, is like unlocking a new superpower!

Opportunities come to those who are ready.

This is one of the things that struck me. I used to think that we should look for opportunities. You don’t like your job? Go and apply somewhere else. You don’t like your boss? Go and find another boss. Your business is not working? Find another business. Perhaps, your new job, or new boss or your new business will finally work.

The sad truth is that it will not solve your problem. As the saying goes, “things don’t work unless you do.” The thing in common is you. The things you look at will only change, when you change how you look at those things. Perhaps, you thought you were scolded by your boss because he hates you. But, maybe he sees potential in you and training you to become his successor. Isn’t the same job you prayed for fervently some time ago, the same job you hate right now? What changed?

In the past few weeks, the situation in our country has improved and the economy is slowly trying to get back up. Most of the restrictions are now being relaxed. A lot of people are now going out. Even traffic on EDSA is back! I’d take the problem of traffic any day instead of dealing with the COVID pandemic.

Businesses are hopeful that they too will be able to recover. More and more are allowed to operate. I’m hoping it continues to improve. I am praying your situation continues improve. We all need the good news that we can get. Cheers!

Business Life Lessons Life Updates Passive Income Story

10 years after I quit my job. Here’s what I learned.

Today, I am celebrating my 10th year out of the corporate world. It’s been 10 years since I left my job. There were many questions in my mind at that time. Can I make it? Can I really live without a job? Who are you to think you can do it?

So many emotions; mixed emotions. Happy to venture into a new world; but somehow anxious whether I had what it takes to really make it.

I remember when I filed my resignation, I was asked by my manager why I wanted to resign. After all, I had a relatively successful IT career so far. My work as a contractor for one of the biggest U.S. credit card companies in the world has been great. The pay was good. The people are great. What more can I ask for?

Have you ever found yourself asking “is this all there is to life?” After making money, then what? Are you supposed to live life in quiet desperation? Are you supposed to drown yourself in misery? Just taking all the stress in, day in and day out and say to yourself, “it’s part of the job.” 

There were also moments when I felt, I was being bullied (“figuratively”) into working so hard to the detriment of my life outside of work. You have to work on weekends, or early morning shift to support the project. You sacrifice time with your family, even getting calls in the middle of a gathering just to get on the call and resolve a high priority issue. I console myself saying, it is going to be just this one time that I have to do this. But when one project is completed, another one comes along to replace it immediately. The reality sinks in. This is never going to end.

Don’t get me wrong. I loved my job. I loved working on tech problems. They are like puzzles that tickles my brain. It is like watching a mystery or thriller movie where you are the detective who solves the mystery.

It started when I read the book Rich Dad Poor Dad. It’s as if a new world opened up in front of me; an exciting world full of possibilities. I was excited to find out what it was like out there. The book opened up my eyes with lots of possibilities. Is passive income true? Can you really earn while not working? Can you really become an entrepreneur?

Whenever I think about “why” I quit my job, I go back to the restlessness I felt asking those questions. While still working, I have already dipped my hands on several opportunities. I was delighted to see that some of those opportunities are already growing.

So when my manager asked me, why did I resign? I answered, “because I have a business on the side that is growing. At this point in time, I can no longer perform both of my tasks as an employee and as a business owner at the same time. If I fail to give time and effort to my business, it will die. If I focus all of my time and energy on my business, it would not be fair for me to give a mediocre effort on my job. My choice is to give myself a chance to see how far my business can grow.”

I have nothing but gratefulness for my time in the corporate world. It taught me a lot about working on a big team. It taught me about processes and structures and making things happen. As a team leader, I’ve learned to work with people. I also learned to manage a small team of developers, and help them fulfill their potential. It also gave me the confidence to venture out into the world of the unknown, for once upon a time, this world of working in a big corporation, was also unknown to me.  

So on this day 10 years ago, I left the corporate world. 

Is it possible for an employee to shift to become an entrepreneur?

Yes, it’s possible. I am a living proof that it can be done. Well, at least I can say, it’s possible to survive 10 years without having a job. Of course, there are also many people who were not able to make it to 10 years…and that’s ok. Nobody says you have to make it. We each have our own journey to take and live with the choices we make. 

I’ve seen people who went back to their jobs after some time. That’s perfectly ok. There was a time when I thought about (and tried to) go back to work again in a job. I think it was 2 years after I quit when my savings was getting depleted, and my second son was born. I thought about whether it was just pride why I didn’t want to go back to a job. And if it was, I thought is my pride bigger than my willingness to provide for my kids as a father? Obviously, I was willing to do anything to provide for my family. 

But when I tried to go back, there were things that happened that made me realize I have been doing my business half-heartedly up until that time. I knew deep in my heart that I wasn’t giving 100% of my effort (at least not like the effort I’ve put in when I was still working in a job.) So I told myself, “if I am not going back anyway, I might as well make this work.”

So starting that day, I took the business seriously and put in 100% of my efforts into it. I wished I could say it was smooth sailing ever since then, but it was not. There were moments when I would give my best, but still would not be able to reach my goals. There were moments when I got so exhausted from everything, with only a few hours of sleep day in and day out. But I didn’t complain. As they say, “success requires no explanation, failure permits no alibis.” Eventually my efforts paid off and my business started to grow.

Be careful who you listen to.

Until someone is paying your bills for you, then their opinion doesn’t matter.  Many times people have opinions about how you should live your life. You will get them from well meaning parents, to officemates, to friends and others.

Just remember to live your own life. Make your own choices and live with the consequences. After all, we only have one life to live. Nobody is entitled to live your life in your behalf. 

I think this is one of the biggest things you need to overcome if you really want to shift your career to entrepreneurship. Words are cheap. It’s easy to have an opinion. It is harder to do something, and execute it. 

Sometimes, the negativities can come from your own thinking. Your mind play tricks on you by your fears. It can come from subtle thoughts like “who am I to do this? what will other people say? what if I fail? will people laugh at me and say to my face, I told you so?”
I feel more people are hindered by their own thoughts than any other obstacle. When you are able to win the battle within, the battle outside takes care of itself.

Financial literacy is important.

One of the biggest reasons people fail when they try to shift to entrepreneurship is the lack of financial literacy. Financial literacy is actually less of the “know how” and more of the “discipline and delaying gratification.” We are emotional beings. More often than not, we already know what to do. But we lack the discipline to handle our emotions. We give in to the short term rewards that are in front of us.

This is so important that I feel you shouldn’t go into entrepreneurship if you lack the discipline to handle your own money.

The basics are simple. Pay yourself first. A part of what you earn is yours to keep. You should be able to set aside a part of your earnings and live on the rest. This is called savings. As much as possible, don’t get into consumer debt. These are debts that are taking away money from you in the form of interests and they don’t give you any kind of earnings. Growing your money can only happen if you master the first two. It is not the amount that matters, but the habit and discipline that is important. 

Again, I repeat. Don’t go into business, when you can’t handle your own money yet. Practice on your own finances first. Increase your income. Lower your expenses. Save and grow your money. The reason I say this is crucial is because if you are able to manage your own money, you will be able to manage the money of the business as well. They are founded on the same principle. 

The reality of having a business is that it takes time for it to grow, especially if you build it for long term. In get-rich-quick schemes, you may earn a lot of money upfront, but you are actually paying it with something bigger – that is your reputation and character. People will stay away from you. They will no longer trust you. You sometimes even lose confidence in yourself. That’s too big a price to pay for a short term gain.

You want to get into entrepreneurship precisely because you want to earn more money, pay off your debt, etc. Unfortunately, more money will not solve your problem. It will only magnify what you already lacked – that is you lack of financial discipline. It is like putting gas into a fire. After a sudden influx of cash, you go and splurge on shopping for unnecessary things. You live the life of luxury in one day. You live like a one-day millionaire. That’s the reason why you sometimes see lotto winners ending up broke and having more debt a few years after winning the lotto than before they won.

Keep your day-time job. Start side hustles. The more the merrier. The reason is that you never know which one will pan out. After some time, evaluate which can give you the best return for your investment in time, money and energy. Then go all in. Focus and put your 100% effort into it.

God is powerful.

In shifting my career, there were countless challenges along the way. It is a lot like riding a roller coaster. One minute you are so happy because you were able to setup a meeting with a client, then the next moment you get depressed because he changed his mind at the last minute when you are already at the meeting place. You console yourself and move on to the next. Somehow you manage to remain upbeat, only to get depressed again because you lost your phone on your way home. These are the moments nobody speak about. It seems all glamorous and easy. It is not. But these are also the moments when keeping on earns for you the rewards of tomorrow.

So how do you keep on when everything is tough? 

One of the things that helped me get through hard times was remembering that God is powerful. I am saying this not as a religious fanatic, but as a practical man who has experienced the grace of God in my life.

When my eldest son was born, his heart was supposed to be operated on right away. We were supposed to bring him to the Philippine Heart Center the following day, But by the grace and mercy of God, his condition improved overnight and there was no need for the operation anymore. A miracle happened. After a month, we were able to go home. Now, he is 9 years old. Who would have thought? Only God knows His plans for you and me. God is indeed great! All praise and glory to Him.

That experience made me realize that nothing is impossible with God. Today, when I encounter problems, I would console myself by saying, “if God was able to deliver us from that “impossible” challenge back then, how much more will He be able to deliver us in this moment. This is nothing compared to that. God is powerful.” 

My prayer is for you to hold on to that promise in your life. God is with you in all your sorrows and fears. Lift them up to him and watch Him make miracles in your life.

The hardest part of having a business is dealing with people. 

One of the things I love about working in IT is that most of the time you are only working with computers. They are only systems with definite and known outcomes. You know what to expect. You know when it is not working. You know that once you figure it out, you will be able to solve it and it will definitely work. 

People, on the other hand, are one of the most complicated beings in the face of the planet. One moment you thought you knew how to deal with them; the next moment you are dumbfounded, for you did not expect that reaction from them. How many times have you uttered the words, “I did not expect that he will do something like that”?

You cannot put them into a box. They are people. They are unpredictable. Just like you…and me. We are all imperfect; and that’s what make us beautiful. You never know what surprise you are going to get.

If only I could master working with people, my life would be great. But unfortunately, most of my business “failures”were due to me not being able to handle people the right way. There were times I lost my temper, and that led to a major misunderstanding…a misunderstanding that because of my pride, I failed to resolve in a timely manner…and eventually led to falling out. The business suffered as a result. 

Of course, it is easier to see now looking back, but when it is happening it is harder to see. You make the best decision you know based on what you know and how you feel. Sometimes though, how you feel at that moment (i.e. “pride and frustration”) can derail any kind of “knowledge” you thought you learned. These things you can’t read in books. You can only experience it to know how to handle it the right way when it comes.

The people around you will define you.

Be careful who you surround yourself with. As the saying goes, “birds of a feather, flock together.” I remember asking myself, why is it that most people in my team are IT professionals. Then I realized, I attract the people that I am. When I had 2 kids, the people who joined my team were also parents with 2 kids. It’s spooky!

People around you can lift you up, or bring you down. That’s why you need to be careful who you spend your most time with. There’s this exercise I ask whenever I give personal finance seminars. You list the names of the 5 people you spend your most time with. For example, if you’re working, who do you hangout with in the office? Your boss. Your peers. Your friends. Your enemies. Then try to average out their earnings. Most likely the number you will get is around the same number as your own salary.

What’s the point? People like to hang out with people who are similar to them. You rarely see a big boss or CEO hanging out with the new hires, mid-level managers, etc. Who does he hang out with? Other CEOs or his VPs or other friends. 

So if you want to upgrade your income, you need to learn to spend your time with people who have higher income than you. I am not telling you be a “sipsip” or be close to them for the sake of being friends with them. I am just telling you, allow yourself to be around people who are better than you. I am telling you it is going to be uncomfortable. I think that’s why there’s a thing called imposter syndrome. That feeling you get whenever you feel “unqualified” or overachieving something, is going to manifest its ugly face when you start something new. Just keep on. Soon, when you are able to adjust into your new reality, it will be gone.

Enjoy the journey. 

Tomorrow is not promised. I think that’s also the same thing that the Pandemic has taught us. While you are here, spend time with your loved ones. Tell them how much you love them. Use those plates that are gathering dusts in your cabinet. 

The 10 years has passed by quickly. When I was in the middle of it, I thought it was going to last forever…or at least for a very long time. But I think the life of something is not up to us. We can push, we can crawl, we can fight all we want. But when life teaches us, the best thing to do is embrace it and enjoy. For that’s what we are here for. To learn and enjoy. To live life and love it. Never forgetting the fact, that some of our best laid plans pales in comparison to the plans of the God up above who is looking out for us. 

I think somewhere in the bible says “look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” They don’t have to worry about what to eat. How much more precious are you than them? 

Even imperfect you are as a father, you know how to give bread instead of a stone. How much more is your father in heaven going to give you something when you ask for it in prayer. 

You may be going through a lot these days. Pray and take heart for God is with you. This too shall pass.

Share your stories.

We are more alike than we think we are. We all want to earn enough income to provide a comfortable living for our family. We want to spend time with our family. We want to payoff our debts to remove the stress of calling creditors.

That’s why I think, sharing our stories is important. By sharing my stories, my hope is that you will know that you are not alone. And if good things happened to me, then it can also happen to you. 

When you look back to all the things you’ve gone through, you will remember fondly the good times. One of the funniest moments I’ve had in the last 10 years was when me and my friends went through the “walking dead theme park” together…even though you’re scared to death, you go along with your friends. Only to find out they are scared too just like you. You end up shouting and pushing the zombies out of your way, scrambling your way straight out to the exit bursting with laughter. You know the saying “HAGALPAK na tawa”? I wish you experience something like that in your life. We all need that. Especially during these times.

You will remember the days when you thought it was impossible, but through working together, days and nights of hard work and sleepless nights, finally success was achieved.

But the sweetest success I’ve had are the victories I’ve shared with other people. When people say celebrate with you and shout “Gold na kami!” That is one of the best feelings in the world. To have people with you celebrating the victory like it is their own. I must admit, I like that better than just me enjoying by myself, because, nothing is done alone. There are countless selfless souls working with you, cheering you on, and helping you one way or another in the road to victory.

There is more to life than earning money, having a job, or building a business. 

At the end of the day, we are more than our jobs. We are more than our businesses. We are more than how we earn money. We are fathers. We are brothers. We are sisters. We are friends, foes, family. 

The minute you realize that you brought nothing into this world and you will bring nothing of it when you die, it makes you wonder, what is all the point? Why put money in a pedestal at the expense of losing your family, or friends? Why get so frustrated by the outcome of a lost business or a job? 

Life goes through cycles. Up and down and up again. and down again. and up. Sometimes, you seem to have a midas touch, every thing you touch becomes successful with little effort. Other times, it seems like you are going against the flowing river. All your hardwork and efforts are going nowhere. 

In my life, I have encountered both. I have experienced having plenty, or at least enough to provide and have a little more to enjoy. I have also experienced financial struggles and being in debt where banks keep on calling me to pay them up. But through it all God has been merciful and gracious that He has delivered me time and time again.

My encouragement to you is that, if you are going through rough times, know that it will end. Good times will come. And if you are having a great time right now, enjoy the moment and always remember to be kind to the people who may need help. Know that challenges will also come and now is the perfect time to prepare. Challenges and calamities expose our weaknesses and areas for improvement. It is not meant to defeat us, but to sculpt our character to what God wants us to be. So take heart. Everything happens for you, not against you. 

Look into the future with hope. The past 10 years has passed for all of us. They say you should save time. The reality is that time will pass anyway whether you decide to spend it or not. The only choice you have is how you will spend it.

Will you spend it regretting about the past? Or being grateful for the lessons you learned along the way.

Will you focus on the negativity and despair? Or will you spend it on getting better?

The choice is up to you.

As for me, I choose to see the brighter side of life. I want to enjoy each moment. In the future, I wish to do more travelling. I wish to have more colorful experiences; stories to tell; adventures to go to.

How about you? What’s your choice? What are you most excited about for the next 10 years of your life? 

Life Lessons

20 Lessons I Learned in 2020

Today is December 31, 2020. It’s almost midnight. This year 2020 is about to come to an end.

This has been a roller coaster ride kind-of-a-year. The COVID19 Pandemic happened. Lockdown started in March. It got extended. Again. and again. Now the year is ending and we are still on General Community Quarantine in the Philippines.

Many people lost their jobs. Many people struggled financially. Many people lost their loved ones. Many people have suffered and continue to suffer.

Of course, there are also blessings to be thankful for. The phrase “health is wealth” holds a deeper meaning these days. Being able to celebrate New Year’s eve with your loved ones is a blessing in itself. It means you survived the challenges of 2020.

This year gave me a lot of lessons to remember. I want to share them with you.

Lesson #1 – Cashflow is very important.

Having an emergency fund is great. But what’s even better than emergency fund? It’s having a cashflow that puts money into your pocket. That means having income that is greater than your expenses.

What happens when you suddenly lose your job? Your income stops. Your cashflow suddenly turns to negative.

In 2018, I learned this the hard way. I had a lot of liabilities that was eating up the profits from my business. So when the business suddenly turned sour, the income from the business was no longer enough to sustain the outflow of cash needed to pay for these liabilities.

I had to turn to credit cards. The problem turned worse. Not until I gave up some of the liabilities I had at that time that I was able to breathe. It was a painful decision. But I knew it was the right thing to do.

The only thing getting in the way was my PRIDE. I was afraid of what other people will say. I cared too much about what other people think. When I let it all go, it was as if a HUGE burden was suddenly got lifted from my life. I was able to breathe again. I was still not yet ouf of the woods, but what helped me was the thought that at least we are on a positive cashflow territory. Even if I was till in debt, even if the business still has not picked up, one day all these challenges will come to an end.

If cash is king in a crisis. I think cashflow is queen. You don’t get extra cash unless you control where the cash is flowing. Whether cash flows out of your pocket or into your pocket dictates whether you will survive the crisis or not.

Lesson #2 – You don’t need a lot to survive.

When the lockdown started, it was hard to get out of the house. You are only permitted to shop for essential items. You stayed in the house. You minimized socializing with other people.

That also meant forgoing a lot of things that you were accustomed to spending on before.

No more eating out. No more going to the movies. No more coffee with friends at Starbucks or Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. No more entertaining yourselves in Timezone or videoke.

At first, I thought it will be hard. But I realized I can actually live even without all these things. A lot of things in my life were actually just clutter. When push comes to shove, you can actually forego all of them.

Lesson #3 – Fix the broken instead of buying a new one.



The crisis forced me to think in survival mode. That means having a mindset of fixing instead of buying. If something gets broken, you fix it. Don’t buy a new one.

Because I had a lot of time in my hands, I was mostly staying at home with the boys. I focused on fixing a lot of things that were broken. I fixed the kitchen. I fixed the cabinet. For other things that I could not do, I asked the maintenance guy to fix it for me. I just paid him accordingly.

Of course, it’s not always practical to fix stuffs. For example when our washing machine broke down for the 2nd time, I decided to just buy a new one. When our air conditioning broke down, I also bought a new one. Why? It’s because it is more expensive to have it repaired than buying a new one.

Lesson #4 – You can do it yourself.

When our house helper resigned in the middle of the year, I decided to do the house chores. I was surprised, I could actually enjoy washing dishes. I liked creating a system to make it more efficient. I also got to enjoy cooking new recipes by watching youtube videos. It’s been fun.

When school started and most people were forced into online schooling, my wife and I decided to homeschool our 2 boys. It is a challenging but also very rewarding experience.

You can do a lot of things yourself. You will be surprised how much you can do when you are forced to do it to survive.

Lesson #5 – You don’t need a lot of clothes.

At the start of the pandemic, I was trying to clean up the house. I even went Marie-Kondo style of folding clothes. In the end, after going through all the clothes I have, I realized one thing. I was only using maybe 3% of my clothes the whole time. Most days, I was just wearing shorts and shirt.

Occassionally, when I get out of the house to do some errands, I would wear my rubber shoes and put on some pants. But that only happens once a week.

Where’s my coat? Long sleeves? Neck tie? Formal shoes? There in the closet, gathering dusts. I haven’t worn them for almost a year.

Of course, that may not always be the case for most people. But if you’re always staying in the house, you don’t need much clothing.

One of the things that I realized is that it might be even more economical to buy the same shirt or wardrobe. Same size. Same style. Same color. Wear that everyday. I think that’s why Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg are doing that. It’s to get over the decision fatigue. But also it saves you a lot of time, money and energy.

Lesson #6 – You don’t need a car when you are mostly staying at home.

During the lockdown, the price of gasoline went down. I wanted to get out. Go somewhere. But the inconvenience of needing to request for travel permits and all was enough hassle to prevent me from going out at all.

I was using the car only once or twice a month. Only for short distances.
What’s the use of having inexpensive gasoline when you can’t even use your car to drive?

Lesson #7 – Focus on the important things.

When you are in survival mode, you are forced to retain only the essential things in your life.

This was huge for me.

What’s more important? Get out of the house and possibly get infected? Or just stay at home with your family. There’s no amount of additional income that can justify the risk you put your family into.

Of course, this was during the first few months of the lockdown when there’s not much we know about the virus.

I realized what are the most important things for me. Family. My kids. My wife. My parents. My in-laws.
Finances. A way to have the cash flowing into my life and sustain my family’s needs. Your relationship with God.

Lesson # 8 – You have everything that you need.

When you focus on what’s missing, you tend to miss the important blessings that are right in front of your eyes.

When I was going through financial difficulties, one of the things that helped me get through was the thought that I am still blessed because I have my kids and wife with me. They bring me joy. Their mere presence is a delight to my eyes. Even though financially I was struggling, I still had everything else working in my life. When you are going through difficulty, there’s a tendency to focus on what’s missing. When in reality, that may only be 5% of your life. The rest of the 95% are all blessings.

Lesson #9 – Nothing is permanent. Even crisis.

One of the things I learned over the years is that nothing is permanent. Everything comes and goes. That goes for friendships, money and life in general. Some people you are meant to meet for only awhile. Some stay with you for a long time. But their memories stay with you forever.

That’s true also for business. It goes through cycles of ups and downs. One moment you are on top of the world. The next moment, you are at the bottom and struggling. And then surprisingly, problems get resolved and once again business is booming.

If you’re struggling right now, know that it will not be forever. One day, your struggles will end. Your business goes up. You’ll finally get the rewards you’ve been looking for all this time.

If business is great, then know also that it will not last. Challenges will come. That’s guaranteed. What you do with your blessings today will determine whether you will survive when challenges come again.

I was fortunate to have experienced financial struggles way before the pandemic. Because of that, I had to let go of things in order to survive. Surprisingly, when the pandemic hit this year, even without my active involvement, problems seemed to resolve by themselves. I could only attribute that to the grace of God. It is indeed a blessing from up above that when the pandemic happened, my business did not only survive but thrived. Thank You Lord!

Lesson #10 – When crisis hit, it reveals your weaknesses

One of the things that I learned when I was financially struggling a few years ago was that it revealed a lot of my weaknesses. When everything is great, it is often hard to identify areas where you can improve. But when everything is going wrong, there’s a lot of blame to go around. You blame other people. You blame the circumstances. You blame yourself for the wrong decisions.

When I had the chance to step back and see everything for what they are, it revealed a lot of things that I am not proud of. Weak leadership skills. Pride. Ego. Selfishness. I felt like a headless chicken running around, not knowing what to do. When this happens, you forget what you were doing, and why you were doing things in the first place. The harder part is sometimes, you are so hard on youself it takes time for you to forgive youself. But eventually, by the grace of God, pick up the pieces and lift everything to God. You learn the lesson and move on.

Lesson #11 – Rediscover the joy within you

When you hit rock bottom, it is sometimes hard to motivate yourself to do anything. It’s like being exhausted from a long long travel. You don’t have the energy to even be angry at yourself or anyone else.

One of my mentors often say, you take it one day at a time. Take the first step. Do things you enjoy. If you’re not sure if you enjoy it, do it anyway. Go back to your childhood. When you were a kid, what did you like to do? Play computer games. Permit yourself to be young again. Be excited not because you need to sell something, but be truly excited like a child who just got his favorite toy on Christmas day.

You can’t fake it. You either feel joy or you don’t feel anything at all. If that’ the case, do the next thing that comes to your mind. If you’re bored playing that game. Stop. Play another game. Or do something else. Go outside. Take a walk. Yes, you can. You don’t have to take on the responsibility of being the mature one for everyone around you. You can be happy. You deserve to be happy. You deserve to feel joy.

Lesson #12 – Money is just a tool, just like your gadgets.

One of the things I am grateful for this year was that I was able to focus on myself and my family. My business was able to support us throughout the year.

When I started this journey, I dreamed of a day where money is still coming in whether I am working or not. For at least a year, I can say that dream has come true for me. That’s only been made possible by the grace of God. Of course, it required hardwork and help from a lot of people to set it up. I am grateful for all of them.

It’s been more than 9 years since I last held a job. I remember the day when I finally had nothing to do. I was so happy. But I felt so exhausted as well. I got sick for 2 weeks. It’s as if all the sleepless nights and exhaustion for 9 years of working in the corporate world finally caught up with me.

After that I felt really great. I enjoyed every minute of not having to go to work. But eventually, I got tired of not having to do anything. It’s a huge problem. I realize now why a lot of successful people would consider using illegal drugs, or do harmful stuffs and hurt themselves. Not that I condone it. I don’t. I am simply saying, when you get to a point where you are no longer working for money, you have to dig deeper to discover your reason to work.

Work is good for you. Believe it or not, boredom is worse. Not having to do anything is like a curse. Yes, you are provided financially. But your mind, body and spirit long for something greater where you can express your truest self.

The good news is that when you no longer have to work just to survive, you have the chance to do things for a BIGGER reason. You start to wonder your purpose in life. You start to find the real reasons you are here. And that is an exciting journey of discovery in itself.

Lesson #13 – Be in the moment.

One of the greatest blessings I received this year is that I was able to spend a lot of time teaching my two kids. Because of the pandemic, my wife and I decided to homeschool my 2 boys. Because my wife was working, I was the one teaching them most of the time.

At the start, it was a mixture of excitement and fear. Will I be able to teach them well. Can I really do it? Now, we’re almost done with the 3rd quarter and everything is going smoothly. There were moments when they cried because I got angry when they could not understand what I am teaching. It made me feel really guilty and ashamed afterwards. I wasn’t able to control myself. While they are learning to be homeschooled, I also needed to learn to become not only a parent but a teacher who is patient and loving.

Eventually I learned to take things in stride. I focused instead on enjoying these moments with them. You see my boys are now 8 and 7 years old. I am blessed to have seen all their firsts since the day they were born. I remember the moment I saw them when they came out of their mother’s womb in the operating room. I remember their first walk, their first words, their first time riding a bike, and many many more.

Often times, when I see the “on this day” memories on Facebook and show them a picture or two when they were 2 or 3 years old I’d ask them whether they remember it or not. They say they don’t remember. That’s why I am thankful I got to take those pictures. I want to treasure all those moments with them.

I realize I will not be always by their side all their lives. Now, I am blessed to help them build the foundation for their future. Not only financially, but more to build their character up so they will be able to go through life according to God’s will. That’s a great blessing I will always treasure forever.

Lesson #14 – Don’t take yourself and life too seriously.

There’s this activity in my Psych 101 class back in College. First, me and my classmates formed a circle. next, each of us wrote his name on a paper. We passed around the papers clockwise. Every time a new paper gets to you, you have to write down the first impression you have on that person.

Serious. Intelligent. Silent. Those are the words that they wrote for me. I agree with them. I am like that indeed.

Perhaps growing up independent trained me to take life seriously. I don’t know if it’s because I was the eldest in the family. Or perhaps that’s just the way I learned to live life growing up. You learn that every thing takes hard work.

But over time it takes a toll on you. Being serious is hard. Being able to laugh at yourself. That’s a virtue in itself. I feel like it’s a gift you should give yourself. If you can’t laugh at yourself, you can’t laugh at other people’s jokes.

Expect that life will not always go your way. You go through a roller coaster ride of ups and downs. Your emotions swing form one end to another. So if you take life too seriously, you rob yourself of the joy of living. Life is meant to be enjoyed. Nobody gets out alive anyway. We will all going to die. Might as well enjoy every minute of it while you’re still alive.

Lesson #15 – Eat healthy

During the pandemic, I tried doing intermittent fasting. I was able to lose a few pounds. Initially I thought I could not go without food for 16 hours. But eventually my body adjusted. I would eat my first meal during lunch. Then eat my dinner before 8pm. I felt better physically.

But eventually I got discouraged by the stagnant weight after months of doing intermittent fasting. One meal missed. Then two. Eventually I lost track. and my weight went back up again.

In the middle of December I underwent a 5-day RESET program. I ate 3 meals of Nutrimeal with fruits and veggies as snacks. I lost 8 pounds in 5 days. Now, I am in the middle of the phase 2 of the weight loss program called TRANSFORM phase. But the following days, my weight again stagnated. But I am hopeful because I feel better physically. I am eating more vergetables and fruits and limiting my intake of rice and carbohydrates.

Will I be able to keep it up? I don’t know but so far so good. What’s important is that I am making a decision to eat healthy. How about you? Is this part of your new year’s resolution too?

Lesson #16 – Be patient

This year, I had to discipline myself mentally. Often times, I feel like I am wasting time. I felt miserable doing nothing. I craved doing something with my hands. That’s why I did DIY projects at home. I fixed the kitchen cabinet. I fixed the fan. I re-arranged the funitures, not once but twice. I did Konmarie method with my clothes. I learned to cook by watching youtube videos. It was fun.

Sometimes I catch myself focusing on what’s missing. What I don’t have. What I cannot do. It gets frustrating. Mentally it was a struggle. I have to remind myself constantly to enjoy every moment. Focus on what you have.

Be patient. Stay still. When it’s time to move, you will know.

Lesson #17 – During crisis, cash is king

During crisis, cash is king. That’s why people who suddenly lose their jobs are caught in a dillemma, especially if they have no savings. Cashflow stops. Suddenly they cannot make ends meet. They resort to loans. They use up their credit cards. They get deeper into debts.

If on the other hand, you saved up when times were good, now you have extra cash to tide you over. It’s like having not only an emergency fund, but a calamity fund. One of the trainers told me he calls this as “peace of mind fund,” because it gives you peace of mind.

That’s why I always remind myself to be prudent with my cash. Not to be wasteful.

The good news is, you don’t need a lot to survive. Food to eat. Shelter. Clothers. Water. You can let go of a lot of things.

That’s why people try to sell of their material belongings.

But I feel this is only half of the equation. Selling stuffs can only do so much. You still have to find a way to earn. Starting a side hustle. Making stuffs and selling them online. Build a business. Opportunities are everywhere if you are ready.

We are all dealt with opportunities. But what prevents some people to take advantage of them is that they don’t have the cash to avail of the opportunity in front of them. But not having money is the easiest thing to solve for someone who is resourceful. More failures are due to lack of initiative rather than lack of money.

Lesson #18 – Start with what you have.

One of the ways to survive a pandemic is to start with what you have. List down all the things you see in your house that you are not using. List down all the skills you know how to do. List down all the people you know. You have everything you have to get moving in the right direction. It might not directly give you what you desire right away, but it will bring you a step closer to where you want to be, financially secure and a comfortable life for you and your family. So take that first step. You have everything you need.

Lesson #19 – Crisis is a wakeup call

They say you will encounter 2 crisis in your lifetime. I feel like I have reached my quota. The crisis of 2008 was a wake up call for me. When the bank I was working for was letting go of their employees one by one, I realized that there’s no such things as job security.

That’s why I decided to build a business on the side. That’s the reason why I felt the need to take control of my own financial life. Fortunately, that seemingly simple decision more than 10 years ago paved the way for me to survive this crisis of 2020. I will be forever thankful for that decision.

But that’s all in the past. It’s time to prepare for the upcoming economic boom. Will it happen in 2021? I don’t know. All I know is that it will come. Because nothing is permanent. Even crisis. Eventually, things will get better. Now, I’m preparing for that…as well as the next crisis by learning from the lessons of this year.

Lesson #20 – Be grateful

This year I learned that I am only a steward of the blessings I have in my life. I am blessed that the God up above gave me a chance to experience all the things that happened in 2020. I am grateful for the experience to be a father and spend time with my 2 boys not only as their teacher but also their playmate.

There were a lot of things to be thankful for. I was able to spend a lot of time with my family. My wife worked from home. My kids were home schooled. I got to cook for them and take care of them. We are all healthy. We have everything we need. We have a God who provides and protects. So this year 2020, I want to lift all the good and bad, the blessings and challenges to God almighty.

Thank you for reading this far. I hope this simple list will help you in one way or another. Perhaps to remind you that there is hope at the end of the tunnel. My only wish for you and your family is for God to be with you in 2021 and beyond. Happy New Year!


Podcast Ep 001: Paano Maka-Survive Sa Financial Crisis Na Dulot Ng Covid19

7.3 Million Filipinos out of a job due to Covid 19. That’s about 17% of the Philippine population.

Paano nga ba maka-survive sa financial crisis na dulot ng Covid19? Pakinggan ang unang episode ng aking podcast. Click mo lang ang play button sa taas. Dito ko ikukuwento ang experience ko dati sa Malaysia noong 2008 sa kalagitnaan ng financial crisis. Paano yun nakatulong para mas maging handa ako sa mga susunod pang crisis ng buhay. At kung ikaw naman ay dumadaan sa isang crisis ngayon, pakinggan mo ang tip ko para makabangon ka kaagad sa iyong sitwasyon.