How’s Your Own Economy Looking?
Last June, Philippine Stock Exchange Index retreated to 6,900 levels after breaching 9,000 levels. June inflation rate hit reached the highest point in the last five years at 5.2 percent. The Philippine peso also continued to weaken to 53.46 versus the US dollar. All these news have been spread throughout social media and traditional media outlets and has caused a lot of people to worry about or country’s economy. Should we be worried? Well, we should at least be a little worried, but this news is not at all negative as some would see this as an opportunity depending on what industry or business you are in. This may be a case of how you see the glass, is it half-empty or half-full?
Maybe the more important question to ask is how’s your own personal economy looking? Are you in a better financial situation now than you were last year? Are you closer to your goal today than you were last year or even 2-3 months ago? Do you even have a goal?
I have met far too many people getting carried away by this news and complaining about our country’s economy, but when you ask or learn about their financial situation, many would have no adequate savings, are in deep in credit card debts and are spending more than they can afford — reasons that clearly have nothing to do with the stock market, or the inflation rate or the depreciating currency. But how do you really measure your personal economy? Here are some basic guidelines I recommend you follow:
Savings. The most basic from a personal finance standpoint would be to look at your savings. Has your savings grown and can sustain you for the next 6 months to 1 year without a job? Continually saving as much as you can while you can allows you to worry less about national or global factors because you know you have been doing due diligence in taking care of your own finances.
Debts. Are you debt free? Well, being debt-free is the ideal situation, but in case you have been in debt for years of months, at the least you should see a decline in the amount of money that you owe others. Declining debt would be a good sign that your personal economy is heading in the right direction. If in case your debt is increasing, then the stock market nor inflation is not the problem, maybe you are.
Earning assets/Passive income opportunities. How much earning assets have you accumulated? Have you worked your way to earning that passive income for your eventual retirement? Earning assets are usually a long term commitment and the challenge in long term commitment is that many don’t have the patience to wait for the fruit of their long term investment. Start accumulating higher earning long-term assets or start building different passive income opportunities. You will realize how much time, convenience and comfort you can enjoy especially when you start early.
Increasing income. Has your income increased from year to year? And have you used this additional income to save more and acquire more earning assets? It doesn’t matter if you are a working professional or a self-employed businessman. Every year you would want to see your income grow because one, it helps you get to your long-term goals faster and two, you can adapt to increasing inflation and improve your lifestyle in the short term.
There’s nothing wrong with being concerned about our country’s economic performance, in fact we should always be aware of what’s happening in our own country. Before worrying about how our country’s economy is doing, maybe it’s best to start worrying about our own personal economy and how prepared we are in facing the ever changing economic landscape.
Jeremy Jessley Tan is a registered financial planner of RFP Philippines. To learn more about personal financial planning, attend the 71st RFP program this August 2018. To inquire, email firstname.lastname@example.org or text <name><e-mail><RFP> to 0917-9689774.
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