Money tips from RJ Ledesma


Posted at Mar 28 2015 12:11 PM | Updated as of Mar 28 2015 08:11 PM

MANILA – RJ Ledesma is many things, but he admits that being a financial expert is not one of them.

Growing up, Ledesma was raised learning about being an entrepreneur through his father.

“My dad is an entrepreneur, so I lived through an entrepreneurial lifestyle together with him, through the ups and downs of businesses,” he told ANC’s “On The Money.”

Ledesma’s family is in the business of real estate, but he took a different path, venturing into hosting and writing.

He also co-founded food market Mercato Centrale, which he envisions as a “food entrepreneurship incubator.”

Ledesma said he wasn’t much of a saver when he was a living the life as a bachelor, but this changed when he got married and had children.

“Before getting married, it’s like income less expenses is savings. Mali pala ‘yan, it’s income less savings equals expenses. Sometimes, these are forced savings that you don’t make when you are younger,” he said.

To manage their expenses and investments, Ledesma said he and his wife consulted financial advisers to help them.

These are some of the lessons they learned on personal finances:

• Maintain a joint account with your spouse so nothing is hidden

• Make sure the person handling the money is the more “kuripot”

• Ensure you have sufficient life insurance coverage

• Have a vision for your future income streams, either corporate or entrepreneurial or a hybrid of sorts

• Instill a forced savings habit, the formula should be income less savings equals expenses

• Invest money where passive income can be generated

Ledesma said he and his wife have set aside at least three months’ worth of income for an emergency fund, and allocated funds for short-term investments which roll over every 30 days.

They also have long-term investments in mutual funds and blue chip stocks.

Because Ledesma sees himself as someone who excels in cooking up new ideas and entering into new ventures, he said they have also set aside a fund for entrepreneurship ventures.

“I’ve realized now that the entrepreneurial skillset is different from a manager’s skillset. Entrepreneurs are good at putting things together but not necessarily managing things, and some people are good at managing things but they can’t set things up. Although I have a management background, I’m much better at entrepreneurship than I am at brand management,” he said.

Aside from being a host and a writer, Ledesma is also involved in editorial work for a men’s magazine and diplomacy work as the honorary vice consul to Monaco. How does he juggle all these?

Ledesma said he is able to manage his time efficiently by setting one agenda per day, which he said is one of the perks of being able to control your own time.

He said he would allocate a day for his hosting gigs, while some days are spent to send emails and other tasks. He also manages to sneak in work to make use of his downtime productively.

“I don’t really have that much of a downtime meaning I don’t get to watch a lot of TV shows nowadays, I don’t get to play a lot of video games, which I don’t really do. I don’t get to do casual reading because the one time that I’m not doing another job, I am up doing something else,” he said, adding that he also has a secretary to manage his schedule.