A New Year offers a fresh start, and one area where that is most welcome is in our personal finances. After all the losses suffered in 2020, wouldn’t it be nice to recover, or even come out ahead in 2021?
Here’s what our Math experts have to say about their planned money moves in 2021.
Melvin Esteban, CFP, FLMI, AFSI, RFP, RFC, CWA, CFC
Esteban is a Fellow of the Life Management Institute (FLMI) with Distinction, an Associate with Financial Services Institute, a Registered Financial Planner with the Registered Financial Planning Institute, Ohio, and a Certified Financial Consultant by the Institute of Financial Consultants, Canada, with High Distinction. To explain all the letters that come after his name will take up most of the article so we only shared the highlights.
He earned a BS degree in Mathematics with minors in operations research, actuarial sciences, C programming and physics from the University of the Philippines, and completed his post-graduate studies at the College of Financial Planning in Colorado, USA. He also completed Managing Family Corporations for Succession Planning at the Asian Institute of Management, and most recently, earned his post baccalaureate at the De La Salle University on Workplace Learning & Development with Distinction.
After 22 years of working with local and international financial companies, Esteban launched his own company, weLEAD Advisory, offering training to wealth managers and financial planning services to consumers.
When asked for his money resolutions in 2021, Esteban explained that this is not a practice for him. “The truth is I don’t have any and I never set resolutions. I just live by very simple rules in life when it comes to money: prudence, hard work and make sure your money is working for you and not the other way around.”
With his clients and ‘students’, Esteban actively promotes developing a passive income stream, that is income you make from investments and not from working or services rendered. This way, you can say your money is the one working hard for you, and not you working hard to make money.
When asked for money advice, Esteban always warns clients, family and friends about one thing. “Emotion is the number 1 obstacle when it come in investing. If you decide to invest for the long-term, then do not stress over the market volatility in the short-term. I find it ironic that when one’s investment goes up, they immediately want to sell to realize the gains. Don’t be greedy. Remember you are in it for the long-term.”
Janice Lao, Environmental Scientist and Development Economist
When she was 30, Janice Lao developed the initial mathematical and economic modeling that was the basis for international aviation’s carbon-neutral growth strategy. That, plus all the awards she has won for championing sustainability, makes it hard for people to believe that as a child she actually ‘feared’ Math.
As an environmental scientist and economist, Janice has become passionate about promoting Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) to encourage creative and critical thinking among kids.
Looking forward in 2021, Lao intends to remain prudent in her spending as she was in 2020, and even in the years before that.
This New Year, I tell family and friends to “spend money on experiences, and not on things. When I buy, I'd rather they mean something to me, whether it’s a statement about supporting a social enterprise or just buying things I actually need!”
When asked about money regrets she had in 2020, Lao confessed: “If I only knew that I didn't need so much work clothes, work shoes, makeup and jewelry I could have saved all that money instead.”
And when she had to do some shopping, she made a conscious decision to buy from a small business or a social enterprise. “I wanted my purchases to show the kind of world I want to live in.”
She adds: “It takes a lot of discipline and also not wanting to keep up with the people around you. My advice is to remember what matters to you.”
Diwa Guinigundo, former Deputy Governor of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas
Diwa Guinigundo graduated valedictorian of his AB Economics class at the University of the Philippines. He also earned a masters in Economics from the London School of Economics. We can also add to that an illustrious 41-year long career as a central banker during which he handled monetary policy, treasury operations, loans and credit, asset management, currency management, regional operations and international operations.
While retired from government service, he currently serves as a member of the Advisory Panel of the Institute for Financial Economics of Singapore Management University, a member of the Board of Advisers of the non-government International Care Ministries, and senior pastor of the Fullness of Christ International Ministries.
Guinigundo managed to ride the volatility of 2020 with sound money decisions made over several years, and has no plans to modify his money moves for 2021.
“Some recalibration would be necessary because contrary to what many suggest, we expect a relatively modest and long economic recovery. The equities market could be more sensitive to fresh news. Bonds could also be weak given the sustained monetary accommodation and low interest rates. Business in arts could also be slow but that would yield more opportunities for accumulation,” he shares.
He boldly predicts that “2021 would be a year of waiting and deciding. We are trying to bounce back from the deepest recession in 2020 and every economic scar we sustained. It’s more than challenging. It will be a year on money matters for deciding to go deeper into more cash or acquiring more assets while everything is unfolding. Be opportunistic, I will advise. Continue to be skewed to cash but if there are excellent opportunities—whether equities, bonds, properties or even works of art—go for them. For those seniors like me, I have one advice. Don’t hesitate to enjoy the fruits of your labor.”
Guinigundo also has one realization he wants to share: “Money can indeed be a tool for achieving public good.”
“I have completed over 4 decades of public service and more than 30 years in the Lord’s ministry. I have done time as a political detainee, I had cheated death during a motor accident nearly 20 years ago. I believe I have grown in years to realize that money can be a solution to many problems, including on a national scale. Quite clearly, I realize every day that as I use money to help others, I contribute positively to society,” he advocates. Now that’s one advice we hope many will take this year, secure your future, make the money you need, but don’t forget to give back and give generously.
Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.