How to stop equating money with self-worth

Posted at 08/06/12 6:20 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Too often people believe that buying the latest smartphone or designer bags will boost their self-worth, but more often that not, it just leads to debt.

"Money is just money. It's important but for you to find your worth in money, that's sad," Randell Tiongson, a registered financial planner, told Edric Mendoza, host of ANC's On the Money.

To prevent one from equating money with self-worth, Tiongson said one should find a "purpose in life", which would give motivation to spend money in the right way.

"You have to determine what you want in life. Do you want a comfortable simpler life or do you want more?... Do you want to see yourself in debt? You have to make a choice," he said.

He attributed the "spending culture" in the Philippines to a "poverty mindset" and sense of entitlement.

"I think we feel that whatever money we have won't last so we might as well enjoy it. It's a poverty mindset issue... There's also the feeling of entitlement, I should enjoy my money, my bonus now," he said.

"There's a saying 'aanhin pa ang damo, pag patay na kabayo' (What good is the grass when the horse is dead). People have that thinking in their fiscal management."

But instead of spending money with abandon, Tiongson said one should ask the question: Do you want to enjoy your money now or in the future? The answer to that question defines the behavior of those who have money and those who don't have money.

"The concept of delayed gratification is foreign to us... The thing that bugs me the most is that most can't see long-term. Less than 1 out of 10 Filipinos prepare for retirement. That's crazy. Studies will show you that people don't invest or save. We have lowest insurance rates. There are only 500,000 accounts in the stock market, out of 90 million Filipinos. And only 130,000 are active," Tiongson said.

Filipino parents should start teaching their children the right way to spend money and set a good example.

"Money should be discussed in the family. Parents should manage their money properly. Children see what their parents do and get into the same problems," Tiongson said.