When I reached 35, I started becoming paranoid about money — more specifically, the lack of it.
I was afraid that I will reach fifty years old, with nothing to my name, stuck in a dead-end job and still existing hand-to-mouth. After witnessing first hand how people can be desperate when they have nothing no one else turn to; I vowed to be more responsible when it comes to my money. I became more appreciative of banks, of maintaining savings accounts and of eliminating debt as much as possible.
Three years on after I made my vow to be more financially-savvy, I am still a work in progress. I still don’t have the following, which was included in my three year financial stability checklist:
- Emergency savings equivalent to six times my current salary
- Stock market options
- Mutual Fund
- Freedom from debt!
But the things I managed to achieve out of these three years – I worked hard for: I am now paying advanced amortization for my own condo unit; I have a life insurance that is now money-earning and set to mature when I turn 50 and I am working hard to maintain a healthy balance to my savings account, currently stashed safely in my trusted bank.
The savings account is a painful work in progress, as I tend to withdraw money just a few days after transferring them to my savings account. Following the current spate of worrying incidents concerning banks, a good friend — who knows my current financial journey, asked — do I still trust banks?
Well, to put it bluntly, — when it comes to money — I trust banks more than I trust myself and other people.
Banking institutions spend millions of pesos to keep my money safe; and operates based on a strict code of conduct as dictated by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). They literally do business according to the watchful eye of the people, the government and the organizations they are a part of.
If I keep my money stashed away in my sock drawer, you can bet that I will manage to spend all of it as soon as H&M announces its latest Sale schedule. Burglary, threats of fire and other man-made and natural disasters are all threats to savings kept at home.
Recently, there was a big scandal when a bank employee was caught trying to siphon P17Million from a Union Bank in Pasig City, via an unauthorized cash transfer. The fact that the employee was caught says a lot on the impeccable security systems in place and the prodigious auditing and monitoring of the bank.
First, the woman was either too stupid or too brave for her own good, to even think about pulling off the caper. I mean, seriously? Come on – in this day and age where financial institutions have three-fold measures in place to fact check, audit and monitor to prevent fraud, does she actually think that 17M worth of money transferred will not raise red flags?
If my mother, who sells snacks as a side hustle, can keep a monitoring sheet to track her earnings – I am a thousand percent sure that any bank will have more than a monitoring sheet. The fact that what happened is an isolated case, one that gets caught immediately, tells about the how redundant security measures are in place.
If you ask me, there will always be threats directed towards financial institutions, considering the money they carry and manage at any given day. But, I take comfort on the fact that banks will always have has layers of redundant security, and expertise and then even insurance to protect my savings (no matter how measly they are). So yes, I’d rather have my savings money kept in the bank where I don’t have to worry about them.
As I continue on this financial journey, I’d rather focus on hitting my goals. Hopefully, by the time I reach the big 4-0, I would be more financially-fluid and more financially-savvy: a more debt-free existence, a healthy savings account kept in banks, a mutual fund for future expenses and a living in a condo bought by my hard-earned money.
They say it’s crude to think about money; and it’s bad taste to talk about your financial goals; but in my opinion — nothing is more unfortunate than growing old and still not being financially prepared.