MANILA – Tessa Prieto-Valdes has worn many hats, both literally and figuratively, and her journey has taught her the value of investing her money.
Prieto-Valdes, who is known for her flamboyant fashion, is also an interior designer, columnist, triathlete, product endorser, and event host.
“When it comes to money, I’d say I’m an expert in spending. I also believe that if you work hard for your money, you should also save a little bit and then invest wisely,” she told ANC’s “On The Money.”
Aside from her many activities, Prieto-Valdes has also taken time to invest in properties as well as in businesses that suit her passions.
“Invest in something that eventually, if you don’t get anything out of it, you’ll still get the perks,” she said.
She said she was taught by her mother at a young age the value of making, investing and saving money.
Her mother, Marixi Prieto, is no ordinary housewife and has been able to balance work with family life. She is currently the chairperson of the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
Prieto-Valdes said it was from her mother that she learned how to account for expenses, and to put everything in writing.
She said that she does not have a system for tracking her expenses for her family, work, and personal needs, but she hired an accountant to help her manage her cash flow and taxes.
Having an accountant, she said, has helped her because she sometimes gets too passionate with her craft in interior design that she spends out of her own pocket to get her desired outcome.
For her investments, she said she chooses instruments that don’t require constant monitoring. She said she once tried her hand in investing in stocks, but it didn’t work out well for her.
“With stocks, if you’re not on top of it, even if you have a broker or an agent, if you don’t have the gut feel, why get into it, it’s too risky,” she said.
Despite her success, Prieto-Valdes admits that she has made several money mistakes, such as investing in a radio station that didn’t succeed.
“It was one of those that because it was backed up by somebody who was experienced, I thought he was just moving from one radio station to another, but the timing was wrong,” she said.
She also opened a spa that lasted for eight years, but it didn’t pan out because they couldn’t compete with home service spas that charged half the price.
Prieto-Valdes said her philosophy on money is one that involves putting it to good use because it shouldn’t be seen as the “end product.”
“Don’t live your life to make money. I believe that you need it, but don’t let it be the reason affecting the time you have with your family,” she said.
“You have to save a big chunk, anything else: spend. But spend wisely,” she added.
Prieto-Valdes has also set aside some of her earnings for several charity projects for the Red Cross and the Assumption Mission Schools.
She said she does not set a limit for the amount she gives for charity, and that she gives as much as she can.
“If it’s not money, give your time,” she said.
She added that when spending, don’t go overbudget and always set aside funds—and time—to travel with the family.