Financial literacy is a topic that is very dear to my heart. As someone who didn’t know anything about savings and investing, I struggled early in life financially – not because I was wanting but because I was irresponsible.
When I was younger, I was one of the “one day millionaire” kids who go through hard-earned salary in a matter of days, spending it on shopping, food and my many juvenile hobbies that I always end up in the red days before the next payday.
I spent my twenties subsisting paycheck-to-paycheck, not because I do not have enough in life, but because I was too irresponsible to fix my own finances. The sad thing is I am not alone. A recent study by Standard & Poor’s (S&P) showed that only 25% of Filipinos understand financial literacy.
“While the array of financial products available in Asia continues to grow rapidly, S&P’s FinLit Survey suggests that most consumers lack a general understanding of credit, compound interest and other key concepts,” the ratings firm noted. (SOURCE)
In a recent media briefing, leading Financial organization Sun Life Asset Management Company, Inc. shared the good news that the Philippine economy continues to grow strong. In a media statement, Sun Life Chief Investments Officer Michael Enriquez explained that with the increased consumer and government spending, the outlook remains fundamentally positive:“Remittances from overseas Filipino workers, the BPO industry, and the large number of Filipinos who are of working age are among the factors boosting our economy from the consumer’s end. On the other hand, the rise in government spending is bringing about more jobs and has also increased the demand for construction materials.”
Enriquez advised investors to stay the course, and even boost their investments. “With stock prices cheaper, it’s a good time to buy so they can enjoy the greater gains once the market goes up,” he said.
This is the best opportunity to invest in Mutual Funds, Enriquez advised.
One way to take advantage of this scenario is by investing in mutual funds, such as the Sun Life Prosperity Funds managed by Sun Life Asset Management Company, Inc (SLAMCI). The Sun Life Prosperity Funds have been performing strongly amid the developments in the market. The Sun Life Prosperity Philippine Equity Fund, for instance, yielded a five-year return of 39% and a 10-year return of 119%; while Sun Life Prosperity Balanced Fund marked a 28% and 89% growth in the five and ten-year return respectively; and the Sun Life Prosperity Bond Fund lodged a 12% and 44% return for the same duration. The said figures are as of December 31, 2016.
“We’re delighted that our investors are reaping the rewards of their commitment to invest for the long-term, and we hope to see more Filipinos treading the same path so they too can experience financial security,” SLAMCI President Valerie Pama said.
As a leading financial organization, Sun Life espouses the importance of financial literacy among Filipinos. This is something that the company spends time and effort as part of its advocacy, Pama shares. To do this, the company conducts active engagement of new financial advisors and even rolls out free seminars on financial literacy that are open to the public.
I can relate. After my disastrous twenties, I finally settled into a more responsible financial outlook when I started my 30s. I began a triple bank account dividing my monthly salary, savings/emergency account and travel account. I started buying insurance – maintaining accounts on two different insurance companies. Two years ago, I discovered Mutual Funds and Sun Life and began my investment with just PHP5,000. I figured that all my hard work and all that overtime work will go to waste if I don’t start investing in my future. One day, my health will fail, I will retire but will still have a fairly-comfortable lifestyle, thanks to my savings and investments.
The recent pronouncement of SLAMCI gave me courage to be more bullish on my investments. My mutual fund with Sun Life still needs a lot to be desired and are on the very conservative side. The bullish approach and the positive economic outlook as announced by the company gave me the idea to shift the fund into a more risky approach across a ten-year period. Currently, I am still crunching numbers but hopes to achieve this dream within the year.
Considering the volatility of the economy and what ever may be happening in the world, I am comforted with the fact that SLAMCI continues to look out to its many customers. Their advocacy to financial literacy is slowly chipping away the notion that “investing is complicated.” With proper knowledge and research, and with a company you can depend on like Sun Life, a brighter tomorrow is possible.