More than a year of this pandemic has made drastic changes in our individual lives—not least in our lifestyle and our relationship with money.
Some people say they started spending less early into the lockdown, because many shops and restaurants were closed. People have been traveling less to avoid the risk of contracting Covid. But others who were unfortunately thrown out of work or had to close down their businesses had to make ends meet and find other means to survive.
What should be our general attitude then towards money in these tough and uncertain times?
Philip Hagedorn, Chief Investment Officer at ATRAM Trust Corporation, a leading independent asset manager in the country, says people should remember the 4Ps: Preserve and Protect, then Plan and Pursue.
Avoid careless spending
“You have to control what you can control,” he tells ANCX. “‘Preserve cash’ should be the first order of the day. Make sure to avoid unnecessary spending.” People should also manage their cash flow—meaning to say, “cut cost where you can and stabilize your monthly spending.” It goes without saying that it’s best to stay employed, if one is lucky enough to have this option.
“Having an investment mindset is always a good idea,” says this expert on wealth management. “This mindset will help you manage your portfolio of assets in good and bad times.” Adopting this disposition allows one to anticipate events and plan ahead. “In a crisis, prices will drop and go to rock bottom. The most basic rule in investing is buy low, sell high. This is why it’s good to invest in periods of crisis,” says Hagedorn.
When investing, the key consideration is your risk appetite—meaning, the maximum amount of risk that you, as an investor, can handle. “Only do things you are comfortable doing. That’s the bottom line,” he says simply. “Some folks like to take risks, others don’t. There is no one size fits all. But don’t be afraid of some risk, just [go from] moderate to your comfort zone.”
Hagedorn says investing in funds can either mean bond funds (lower risk) or equity funds (higher risk). A balanced approach is to combine both, making the risk moderate.
According to the investment specialist, an option potential investors can explore is GInvest. “You do not have to worry about what individual stock or bond you should buy,” he says. “The products available on GInvest allow investors of all risk appetites choices of bond and equity funds that meet their needs. On top of that, gone are the days that investing globally are for a select few. Now, GInvest carries global investments for as low as P1,000.00,” he says.
GInvest is a digital investment platform—said to be the first ever of its kind—that allows Filipinos as young as 18 years old and with a valid ID, to explore investments and conveniently grow their wealth through a tap of their GCash app.
Together with ATRAM Trust Corporation, and SEEDBOX Philippines, a company which introduced digitized investing in the Philippines, GInvest provides access to expertly managed funds with industry leaders like Ayala and Globe locally, and the likes of Alibaba, Apple, and Google globally.
Users may choose to invest in five different types of funds: Money Market Fund (the more traditional way of investing, like time deposits), Philippine Total Return Bond Fund (which lets users invest in bonds in local companies and government), Philippine Smart Equity Index Fund (which lets users invest in local companies through the PSEi index, like BPI, BDO, and Ayala), Global Technology Feeder Fund (which lets users invest in tech trailblazers like Google, Apple, and Samsung), and Global Consumer Trends Fund (which lets users invest in innovative companies like Shopee, Nintendo, or Alibaba).
Hagedorn believes GInvest is the right platform at the right time as 30 percent of our population is between the ages of 15 and 30 years old. “These folks are getting into the market like no other generation we’ve seen before,” he observes. “There is no better time than today, as we recover from this pandemic, for this group of folks to begin their investment journey.”
What can he advice the new newbies? “Just get started,” says Hagedorn. “Once you start, you will always have an eye out for opportunity. Always read and research on the investment. Know what you want and look for a match.”