What a golden moment for Olympian Hidilyn Diaz and for the Philippines when she satisfied our decades-old thirst for gold in the Olympics. We all rejoiced left and right, and welcomed the news of support from the government, companies and individuals who pledged rewards for Diaz, everything from cash to two brand new homes to a roomy van plus lifetime free flights from two airlines.
As more pledges came in, I could not help but wonder how much of this will actually end up with Diaz. I’m not just talking about the tax that will be levied by the government on all these prizes, but also whether any of them come with strings that may make it difficult for Diaz to collect.
Melvin Esteban, CEO of WeLEAD Financial Advisory, generously offered some golden advice for Diaz to ensure she comes out from this not just an Olympic gold medalist but with a secure financial future. I have also added some of mine to Esteban’s, and so we have a mix of advice full of prudence and healthy human suspicion.
#1 Time to collect pledges, and try for more.
Most of the pledges were made public before Diaz returned to Manila. The first thing she needs to do is write to these companies and individuals, thank them for their support and arrange meetings. Ideally, these meetings will serve as venues for the prizes to be turned over to Diaz. These sponsors can snap as many photos as they want and squeeze all the marketing opportunities they hope to gain so long as Diaz goes home with their offered prize. Better if they also absorb the tax cost so that’s one less worry for our national sports heroine.
#2 No harm in trying for more.
Diaz should not stop at collecting, but try to aim for more. Apart from getting married, she has announced plans of joining more competitions in the future so while collecting the prizes, she can put on the table her need for sponsors in these upcoming sports meets. Maybe some will bite, and bite enough that it will ease the financial burden of training and conditioning to ensure she is in top form.
#3 Don’t let COVID-19 keep you from finding more sponsors.
Whether it’s ECQ, MECQ or GCQ, we have all learned to cope with life in quarantine. Diaz needs a crash course on building her profile from her laptop through Vlogs, YouTube, FB Live and Zoom meetings. As companies try to reach out to their clients and prospects via online platforms, Diaz would be quite a draw. Before saying yes to any invitation, assess the potential of a partnership. Can the company sign up to become a future sponsor, or offer you more than just a thank you for joining their event? If you need someone to haggle better terms for you, I’m just an email away for a free strategy session.
#4 Learn how to say no.
Esteban predicts that Diaz will find herself surrounded by people offering well-meaning advice, business proposals, loan requests, or simply asking for goodwill or ‘balato’. “It’s okay to help but you may fall into the trap that if you accommodate one, you have to say yes to another, then another. Pretty soon, very little may be left for you.” So Esteban’s advice to Diaz is to learn to say no. “You can say no, or if that’s tough, maybe delay and say you are busy at the moment and will get back to them. Best to get your money priorities in order before giving any away, and saying yes to any money requests,” explained Esteban.
#5 Start with what you know and go from there.
All the financial rewards coming to Diaz are hard-earned, even the sponsorship money. If she did not discipline herself and train to Gold medal-worthy performance, none of these rewards will be coming her way. According to Esteban, to make her money work harder for Diaz, she needs to invest but invest in something she understands. “You will get financial advice from all directions, but if you are not a seasoned investor, you may end up losing money. You need to make informed decisions and understand exactly where you will put your money into,” he cautioned Diaz.
#6 Seek professional help.
The natural place to start saving and investing is a bank, and that’s fine, but do not stop there, said Esteban. “Check out insurance companies and investment houses, wealth management firms too. Compare their advice and get as many options as you can. In the end, it’s always advantageous for you to get a full picture and the more choices the better,” he added. Be wary of vested interest and be careful who you choose to trust and follow.
#7 Watch out for scams.
If it’s too good to be true, it likely is so don’t fall into the trap of quick and easy gains. Let me share a conversation between two multi-billionaires: Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and renowned investor Warren Buffet. Bezos asked Buffet why very few people follow his formula for getting rich. Buffet said it’s because people like them like to do things fast and easy. Buffet built his fortune in a slow but sure manner and has proven that a steady hand through unprecedented global crises will help you navigate market volatility best.
Here’s hoping for more gold medals and golden wins in your future. Mabuhay ka Hidilyn!
Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.