WHERE’S MY MONEY?| Suze Orman to Pinoys: Be true to yourself, just say ‘No’

Published by rudy Date posted on May 16, 2013

MANILA – Personal finance guru Suze Orman last year told OFW families to think about where their money comes from so that they would have an idea how to manage their funds.

This time, Suze Orman is telling the Filipino workers to “stand in your truth”, which meant they should be true to themselves before the can get their finances in order.

No savings

During a briefing hosted by the Bank of the Philippine Islands on Thursday, Orman said the Philippines has finally caught the attention of the world with its economic progress, secured an investment grade rating and at the same time it now has an improving local capital market.

But when she asked some Filipinos she met if they have any savings, the reply is “No ma’am. We don’t have money.”

“There is something radically wrong with that,” Orman said.

She said she went back to the Philippines, giving her services for free, to be able to connect again with her Filipino audience and perhaps work out something with the government in creating educational materials that would be available to all.

“I’m hoping ten years from now or five years from now we can look at each other and say, ‘Oh my God, we did it! Everybody has a savings account,” she said.

“Because I know P5,000 or P10,000 doesn’t sound like a lot but it’s a lot when you absolutely have no money,” Orman added.

Keeping savings a secret

Orman is no stranger to OFWs as she has a number of them in her household. Last year, she said her Filipino employees do not have enough money of their own since they send their entire paychecks back home to their families.

Then a couple of years ago, her Filipino employees stopped having their annual trips to the Philippines to save their plane fares and to open their own bank accounts.

Asked about their progress, Orman revealed that one of them, Nelly, was able to save around US$170,000.

“‘Nelly, I thought you said you had no money?’ Then Nelly replied, ‘Oh ma’am that’s what I want my family to think.'”

Orman said some of her employees are nearing retirement age and for years Nelly had been working seven days a week, holding three jobs at the same time to be able to send money back home.

But because Nelly had been keeping her savings a secret, she made bad investing decisions, which Orman found about a little too late.

The personal finance educator said the recurring theme of the questions that were asked of her during interviews with Filipinos is how to save money for one’s self when the entire paycheck goes to the family.

“The predominant question was ‘I work, work and I work and all my money goes to my family. What can I do?’ That was the question everybody asked me over and over again. It’s something that we have to start dealing with,” Orman said.

This is not to say that Filipinos should turn back on their families. On the contrary, Orman said taking care of one’s parents is a duty that everybody has to fulfill.

Say ‘no’

It is different, however, when some able-bodied, completely employable family members keep on relying on the breadwinner for daily expenses and luxuries.

“When is hurting helping and when is helping hurting? Sometimes we help those that we love and we prevent them from realizing how really powerful they are in their own rights,” Orman said.

“They become dependent upon us and they really never feel good about their lives. And sometimes hurting, ‘No, you can do this’ looks like it’s hurting them to begin with, but possibly it helps them in the long run,” she added.

She then asked the Filipinos she talked with whether their siblings that they are supporting have better lifestyle than they did.

“They said, ‘yes ma’am, they go out to eat. They go on vacation. They buy more clothes than I buy.’ And I told them, ‘What are you doing?’,” Orman said.

“It’s one thing if your relative is sick or needs help from an addiction, or whatever else that may have happened. But it’s another thing if you’re doing it because it is expected of you and your brothers and sisters are capable of working, of getting up and going out and doing it. If you can do it, they can do it,” the American finance coach said.

Stand in your truth

Orman said one of the principles that people should live by is “standing in your truth”, which simply meant being proud of who you are, regardless of what you have.

She said this meant staying away from credit card debt and buying things that one cannot afford.

Standing in your truth also meant telling the truth to children that they would not be able to receive gifts because their parents don’t have money to buy them.

Orman said it is also saying “no” to a sister who constantly asks for money that she doesn’t pay back, who goes on vacation while the creditor does not even have enough money to pay his or her own bills.

“You stand in your truth when you say ‘no’ to people who borrow money from you because you don’t have the money or you don’t want to. You don’t do things because you’re supposed to do it but you do things because you want do it. And it’s the truth for you that you want to help,” she said.

“You don’t do it because they want you to help when the truth is you don’t want to. Because that diminshes you,” Orman said.

Here is a series of tweets about the rest of Orman’s talk with the local media. –Likha Cuevas-Miel, InterAksyon.com

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