7 Money Habits That Are Making Filipinos Broke

Are these bad money habits making you broke? Bad habits have a way of forming in sneaky ways. In our case as Filipinos, we have some financial “cultural habits” that we have adopted until today. As a result, many get stuck with it and have just chosen to accept them. The worst part is, it hinders us from reaching our goals.

Being aware of these bad habits is the first step you can take to form good ones. Are any of these 7 bad habits costing you money?

#1 Many are ‘shy’ when it comes to money talk.

Money is still a taboo topic to talk and Filipinos sheepishly shy away from it. We are hard-wired to avoid talking openly about wealth or the desire for it. Why don’t we talk about it? Money is a complex topic and has a lot of emotional associations to it. For some people, it’s a source of hurt, pride, embarrassment or ridicule. Many are afraid to ask questions because they may be perceived as overly intrusive or prying. With that, many would rather talk about family, love, drugs, music, and violence, instead of money.

Don’t be afraid to talk to your friends about money. To make wise money decisions, the best step is to share your financial goals with someone who can give sound, practical advice. Talk about your goals and how you will accomplish them. Talk about your fears and struggles. Share ideas on how to increase your income. Talking about money doesn’t have to be scary—and it could help you more than you know. Don’t ignore the importance of financial education. (If you are still ‘shy’ to talk about money but are interested to know more, I recommend reading a good personal finance book, bookmarking your favorite financial blogs, staying up-to-date on the latest things going on in personal finance, and more.)

#2 Many spend for the sake of Pakikisama and Libre.

Filipinos are known to be very hospitable. We have this nature of accommodating everyone even if we cannot afford it or extra money to spend. One common gesture is to spend lavishly during celebrations – birthdays, fiestas, promotions, anniversaries, christenings. It has been a tradition to treat friends, family or co-workers as a way of sharing the blessings, something that’s also commonly known as ‘palibre’. Although it’s NOT wrong to spend on these celebrations, this can get totally wrong when you have to spend beyond your means and to borrow money to spend for these celebrations.

Sometimes, you need to do a reality check and see if your savings can handle the extra expenses or if it will put your financial goals and emergency savings at risk. Spend only what you can afford, and don’t get into the habit of borrowing money for such lavish celebrations. Be honest with your family and friends, and let them know that you won’t be able to treat them because you’re struggling with finances. It’s just a matter of explaining to them your situation. Learning to say no confidently comes is hard at first, but it does get easier.

#3 Many keep procrastinating.

Many Filipinos have this common trait of putting off things for tomorrow which one can do today – the mañana habit. More often than not, today gets moved to tomorrow then the next day until it’s never done at all. Financially, it’s perfect to describe lack of preparation for the future. Many Filipinos put off getting insured or creating a savings account, thinking that they can start later when they are more financially stable. We can observe this during payday when one has to save or invest. When they realize the importance of saving up and getting insured, or when they think they are ready for it, it’s too late – the premiums are too high or they’re sick and need the money badly.

Do plan ahead. Don’t let yourself be a procrastinator or a person who fails to see into the future. Realize that each of us will experience the unexpected. Unless you make saving and investing a PRIORITY, you will never get started. When it comes to accumulating wealth, the best step is to start early. Don’t put off for tomorrow what you can do today.

#4 Many parents consider their children as a retirement plan.

Our social culture dictates that it is the children’s responsibility to help take care of their parents especially during their retirement years. Many parents forget the fact that their children will have their own living costs to pay for and future families to support and take care of. To add oneself as a dependent for our children to support will cause financial strain to them and their goals.

Retirement should be part of your financial planning. Start preparing for your retirement as early as during our 20ss so that you become financially independent when your retirement comes. Avail of long-term health care insurance and save and invest for your senior living costs savings.

#5 Many spend more money for their wants, not their needs.

Many Filipinos spend their money just to buy the latest version of gadgets or upgrade their lifestyles even if they don’t really need it. The problem with this is that it can make you broke. They tend to enter into salary loan or use their credit card so they can be “in” in the society and in social media to (in a pretend world) “afford” things.

Discipline is one of the the top characteristics in building financial freedom. You must make a financial plan and stick to it. Know the difference between a need and a want. It is hard to delay that instant gratification at first, but it is absolutely necessary.

#6 Many become One-Day-Millionaires after their payday – and a few days later become poor.

Filipinos have a habit of treating themselves or their family during or just after payday – dining in the best restaurant, going shopping, buying new gadgets, treating friends and barkadas, etc. They say to themselves that they deserve a reward or bit of distressing for working hard the past couple of weeks. Basically, they spend money impulsively for a day or a few days and end up with nothing by the end. They become complacent since they know that they would be receiving another salary in the next pay, they feel it is ok to spend it right away. This idea of rewarding is good if done sparingly, but if it is done often (like every payday), then you risk missing opportunities to save up and be financially independent.

Make sure you save first before you squander. Don’t get stuck in the ‘Goodbye Money Cycle.’ Realize that you cannot work all through your life. Don’t end up not having any savings or investments even if you are employed for how many years. Identify a great goal to motivate you to save. From there, let it be your motivation to save up. Start that habit of savings and be responsible with your spending. Just think, the Millionaire sound better than the One-Day-Millionaire right?

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#7 Many Filipinos are obsessed with get-rich-quick schemes and solutions

Quick-money is very appealing to Filipinos because of the “Instant Mentality” of getting rich in a short span of time. When they are short in cash, many still spend and try their luck in quick-rich-solutions by going into the lottery, bingo, gambling, or betting. This habit that might not be as bad when done in moderation (or at least mindfully), but when done carelessly, you could easily end up broke. Some also invest their hard-earned money in ‘questionable’ MLM (Multi-Level Marketing) businesses that supposedly gurantees high returns. The news about pyramid scams never grows old, but many Filipinos never learn, especially OFWs. Their need for additional money makes them attracted to investment opportunities that could supplement their income even if they don’t have enough knowledge and understanding of them. On top of that, the schemes are framed in such a simple manner that entices many people to join – through referrals, or when one of their friends, acquaintances, or family members invited them to join.

On gambling, don’t stick with the intent to spend everything in the hopes of winning something. You need to know your limits and be able to hold yourself accountable, otherwise you’re just going to end up in a worse position than you were before. On illegal marketing schemes, do your homework. Do research on the company. Call or visit government agencies to check if the company have been reported as illegal or if the authorities have received complaints against the company.

What bad money habits are making you broke?

4 thoughts on “7 Money Habits That Are Making Filipinos Broke

  1. You nailed it! I can really relate with most of the items above, especially this one: “Many become One-Day-Millionaires after their payday – and a few days later become poor.”

    I am working in a software company. The job brings out so much stress. So, here comes the thought of spending more during paydays just to treat and reward myself. This becomes a habit, and made me feel broke a week after the payday.

    Well, thanks for your post, I will be wiser enough to manage my finances.

  2. Some good points, but others left me really scratching my head. Filipinos have a taboo talking about money? Really? I have a Filipino friend and money is all she wants to talk about. Literally. Money she wants, money she doesn’t have, money I have (that she wish she had), debt, etc. And she makes a lot (family income probably over 100K a year) but it’s never enough for her. She gives me monetary advice I don’t want and didn’t ask for (to the point where I refused to talk about it anymore). Then there’s that documentary (Daughter from Danang) where the daughter visited her birth family in the Phillipines and couldn’t take all the demands for money anymore, so left for good and didn’t stay in touch

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