It is no doubt that we need to start saving money in order for us to become financially free. However if you look at statistics, almost 80-90 % of all Filipinos have little to no savings at all. Have you checked your bank accounts lately? Do you deposit money more often or have withdrawal records most of the time? Do you have a savings account to begin with? If you don’t have one yet, it’s alright and it’s not yet too late to start saving money. People have different reasons why they don’t have savings. Some of them are valid while some are just mere excuses and are barriers to building wealth. The first step to financial freedom is for you to know and understand why you can’t save money.
Here are 9 major obstacles to building wealth that you need to understand and overcome:
1) Lack of income. If you ask people why they don’t have savings, they normally tell you that their income is not enough or they have a low paying job. Having a low salary is not even enough to cover your needs and pay for your bills, how much more if you allot even just a little amount of money to save. But it doesn’t mean that it is the end of the road. Instead, use it as a challenge to better job or use your creativity to generate more income. Henry Sy was not born wealthy. When he was young, his family owned a small sari-sari store. But they lost it all during World War II. This is even worse than having insufficient money. His father went back to China afterwards while the young Henry Sy didn’t give up. He used this opportunity to earn more income. He went into buying and selling to earn money to survive. Afterwards, he started selling American shoes and expanded his income until it became SM. Let this be a lesson for all of us. If you really want to earn money and save for your future, you need to find ways. In this world and age, our options are not only limited to buying and selling. You can offer your services for extra income as well. There are a lot of opportunities out there to increase your income. You can go networking, blogging or internet marketing but just be careful of scams.
2) Poor spending habits. Most people are so-called “one day millionaire”. When they have money, they spend it all they want-new clothes, brand new car, dine out in restaurants and so much more. If they don’t have cash, they use their credit cards and swipe it all until they reach their credit limits. Too bad but most Filipinos have these spending habits. Worse is if you get use to this lifestyle, you can’t save any money. Most of the time, you will find yourself paying huge credit card bills and later avail loans just to sustain it which adds up more to your debts. If you have this reckless habit of spending, it’s not too late. You can start by just buying what you really need and list down all your expenses. Avoid using your credit card and pay by cash only. In this way, you won’t tempted of buying something if you know you don’t have enough money left. You can also just shop on sale and bargain items. This way you can save more money.
3) Lack of patience. Some Filipinos are short-tempered and lacks patience when it comes to saving money. You can see people who start saving in a piggy bank and later breaks it when they want to buy something. Others want to get rich quickly so they rather invest in get rich quick schemes. Some rely on fate and luck so they gamble and join reality shows or go to noontime television game shows hoping to get the jackpot prize. Getting rich is not done overnight or with a push button. It is a slow and deliberate process that requires saving just a little amount of money often, continuously and making it grow. It takes years to build it, but it could be done by anyone.
4) Procrastination. This is one trait Filipinos are known for. We have this tendency to procrastinate things. That is why we have labels like “Filipino time” known to delaying a timeline or “the mañana habit”. Sadly, even in saving money we practice this. We are living the “tomorrow is another day” principle. When we have money, instead of saving today, we rather choose to buy the things we want or avail of the travel promos and then save money later. When tomorrow comes, then we have another day and another day until we can’t save money anymore. Afterwards, we found out that we’re too old and we are close to retirement yet we saved nothing. In the end, we become poor. Always remember, time is gold and likewise money. The only right time to start saving money is now.
5) “Come what may” attitude. This is not just famous in a song but also with Filipinos. We tend to engage into something without even thinking. We just say “come what may”. This is impressive in going to battles but never for financial security. We will never know what will happen tomorrow. We can’t even trust other people or our fate. So we need to plan and set goals if we want to become rich and financially free. There is a little chance if we are not sure of what we are doing. You don’t get rich by accident. With too many competitions, chance is really low. Your financial future is your responsibility so do your part.
6) Lack of self-esteem. The reason most people can’t start saving money is because they say they really can’t. They say they might be millionaire or a billionaire someday. They believe that only few can do it but not themselves. Remember, if others can, why can’t we? Just believe in yourself and do everything you can to reach your dreams. Each one of us has the power to save money. Even kids can do it. As long as you live, you are capable of saving money.
7) Hopelessness. The average Filipino worker says that that’s the best that they can give and with their current situation, they are just born to work and will never be rich. How much more for the poor ones? They believe that once they are born poor, they will end up poor. But believe it or not, there is hope as long as you learn how to save money. There are a lot of rags-to-riches stories that can prove that this is true. From a cigarette vendor to a millionaire business man, he did it through saving 5 pesos everyday from his profits. Afterwards he put up a small store which grew to a grocery store and then later invest it in other businesses. The key to his success is passion and will to succeed. Remember, if there’s a will, there is a way.
8) Family and Peer pressure. If you are the breadwinner of your family, they rely on your support most of the time. You are giving them monthly allowance for their other needs. With this, you can’t even start to save money. What I learned from this experience is to learn when to say “no”. Being a breadwinner doesn’t mean that you need to give everything they say. Learn to say “no” at times politely. If you can’t afford to give what they need, just tell them. Getting use to this will make them dependent to you for the rest of their lives. Instead giving them money more often, teach them how to save a little and start a small business like food cart or stall. This way you can give them cash flow that is enough to cover their daily needs. At the same time, instead of giving them allowance more often, you can start saving money. As the famous saying goes, “teach them how to fish and not give them fish”. Aside from family pressure, there is also peer pressure. There are some friends who would say it’s impossible for you to become rich. If they say this and they don’t support your efforts to save money to become rich, then they are not your friends. If you can’t influence them, avoid them and find other friends who will support you. There are also set of friends who will normally ask you for a treat. It is OK if you do it occasionally, but also say “no” sometimes when you really can’t. If they don’t talk to you afterwards, then they are not your true friends.
9) Lack of financial literacy. Most people just don’t know how to start saving money. They are poor in money management and personal finance. They just don’t know what to do. The main reason it’s because we are not taught in school how to do it. If you lack financial education or literacy, not only that you can’t start saving money but even if you have money you don’t know how to make it grow. You might miss opportunities that makes large amount of money like investments. Financial literacy is also a form of investment. Attend seminars or read books on financial management and apply whatever you learn to build your wealth.
Whatever our reasons are, there is no way that we can start saving money. These barriers are windows for opportunities that will help us build our wealth. We should not let others dictate our future or allow these situations to not reach our goals in life. Remember, if there’s a will there is always a way and most are free. Take advantage of those opportunities and you could be financially free sooner than you think and retire early.