Last Monday I spoke at the launch of Sun Life’s Sinag Awards Year 2, which also coincided with the launch of their Brighter Life Institute.
Late last year Janice Villanueva of MommyMundo sent me a message that said, “Rose, you should join this contest. If you need someone to nominate you, I will be more than willing to.” So I checked out the link she sent and found out that it was a few days before the deadline. I submitted a few of my (and my readers’) favorite articles and the first Sinag Award for Financial Literacy Digital Journalism Award turned out to be an early Christmas gift for me!
As their first Sinag awardee, I was asked to speak to a group of bloggers to talk about the importance of their influence and to encourage them to join the Sinag awards. I wish to extend the same invitation to all of you out there, whether you’re a Finance Blogger or not.
Below is my message to the bloggers and to you who’s reading this piece right now:
Childhood Dreams and Ambitions
When you were a child, did you already dream of becoming a writer? What was your childhood dream? If you belong to my generation, chances are you also went through the stage of, “When I grow up I want to be a doctor!” Then later on when I was memorizing the names of inventors like Alexander Graham Bell (inventor of telephone), Thomas Edison (inventor of light bulb, phonograph, among others), Wright Brothers (inventors of airplane), etc., I said, “When I grow up I want to be a scientist who will invent something so that the people will remember me for my great invention that improved their life.” Later on I also went through a stage of, “When I grow up I want to be a lawyer.” especially when I would hear my mom say, “May pagka-pilosopo ka anak!”
Before I entered college, I didn’t want to be a doctor, scientist or lawyer. In fact, I was clueless when I wrote down my course in my application form for college: A.B. Economics. I just thought my whom I looked up to academically studied that, so I should too.Manang
The thing about childhood dreams and ambitions and what we eventually turn out to be is that, it’s not a straight line.
In college, I just decided to be the best AB Economics student I could be while still having fun in school. For one, I knew that I wanted to graduate with honors so I could give those reserved seats to my parents come graduation day. There’s a sweet glow in your parents’ smile with a tinge of yabang when they take those reserved seats!
Luckily, come graduation day, my parents had reserved seats. :) Luckily again, at that time, the job market was already recovering from the slump it experienced due to the assassination of Ninoy Aquino in August 1983. In fact, I was immediately hired through the Ateneo placement office. My hiring date was May 1 Labor Day in 1985. From credit analysis to investment banking to motherhood. That’s my career story, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
My Career Journey
I was a young wife and mom enjoying a fulfilling career as an Assistant Vice President in one of the top investment houses back in the 90s, the time of Pres. Ramos when the Philippines was touted as Asia’s next tiger economy. Bonuses were great, I was contributing half of the family income and we were building our dream house at that time when I felt a disturbance.
We didn’t hire a contractor to save on cost but we were not prepared for the amount of work it involved. The lack of time spent with my young ones was exacerbated. And I guess, the pockets of angst inside me became more obvious, the feeling of discontent heightened, forcing me to reflect on my parenting and career.
Despite needing all the extra cash we could have during the construction, I (we) did what may be perceived as a crazy thing to do back then. I resigned from my job in order to devote my focused and undivided attention to my little boys.
At first, it was a huge sigh of relief! At last, I could do the groceries on a weekday! I can now catch my sons’ stories fresh from school! It was not always a bed of roses. No matter how much we romanticize and glorify the role of a stay at home mom, there really are mundane stuff that could make you nuts! If you’re not careful you could get lost in the everyday grind of things and may end up forgetting who you really are. It was a good thing that by then I more or less knew who I really was, even without my calling card that said Assistant Vice President for Corporate Finance. I continued to read about the things that interested me. I would read books on Warren Buffet, even geeky stuff like The Intelligent Investor then discuss some of the points in easy to understand language with my toddlers over dinner. I attended talks and workshops. I also took up painting and photography classes, and even won in a few contests. I remember winning the grand prize in portrait photography! This was before digital photography so I experienced developing my own film in a dark room.
During my full time mommy days, I found solace in writing. I wrote down my thoughts and experiences. Writing and storytelling to myself helped me process my emotions and most of my journals would end up like a dialogue with God, just like meaningful prayers.
Little did I know that these journals would become the seeds of my SECOND WIND.
My precious little ones grew up pretty quickly and I thought they turned out to be pretty cool guys – confident, who also gave my husband & me our reserved seats during graduation days, enthusiastic individuals who all love to perform and not so afraid to fail. It crossed my mind that my husband and I must have done something right.
This coincided with me entering that interesting stage called midlife then I started asking myself, “What am I supposed to do now that the boys are all grown up?” And I found the answer in the words of a philosopher theologian named Frederick Beuchner, he said, “God calls us to a place where our deep gladness meets the world’s deep hunger.” This plus the journals I’ve written all these years turned into my first book Raising Pinoy Boys.
What turned out to be the common favorite chapter was Money Matters, probably because the readers found it both amusing and weird that my sons were already preparing their own Balance Sheets while still in grade school. It is in this chapter that I coined the term FQ (Financial Intelligence Quotient).
One thing led to another so now I have a weekly column in PhilStar.com entitled Raising Children with High FQ. And of course, my websites RaisingPinoyBoys.com and FQMom.com.
It became my battle cry to urge parents to raise their children to have high FQ, because doing so is arming them with Economic Self Defense. This would, in turn, give the parents confidence to allow their children to follow their passion and succeed in life.
This became my inspiration in writing my second book The Retelling of The Richest Man in Babylon and its Filipino version Ang Muling Pagsasalaysay ng Ang Pinakamayamang Tao sa Babilonya.
What’s the story of your journey?
I know all of you have your own interesting journey on how you were led to this world of blogging. Our respective backgrounds, our respective compelling reasons why we decide to devote hours in blogging may be as diverse as can be but I guess they all boil down to one fundamental reason: WE WANT TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
The best gift of writing is inspiring others, making a difference in someone’s life. It’s both a thrill and fuel for me to receive feedback from my readers, workshop participants, or even those who just heard me talk on tv, you tube or wherever to share with me how something I wrote or said affected him or her in his own journey in parenting or journey towards financial freedom.
It’s similar to my childhood dream of becoming a scientist. It’s just that I don’t have to invent anything but just share my personal discoveries about parenting, marriage, finance, womanhood and even Behavioral Economics.
Making a difference in someone’s life. Isn’t that a powerful tool? And with it comes responsibilities, especially for some of you who already have a tribe of followers. Human beings, in all their proclaimed passion for freedom and liberty to choose, want to be led, to be told what to do! I’m sure you notice that in the blogs that you write, your readers tend to share titles like What to do if you encounter…, Top 10 …, How to …, etc.
They follow what you say, what you wear, where you eat, where you go for a vacation that they see you post on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc. Even without a reality tv show and no matter what privacy settings you use, they have a front row view of what’s happening in your life. Because of this, you must realize that YOU ARE THE MESSAGE!
So it’s a call for all of us to be mindful of the message we are sending to our followers and to the universe in general. Among the messages that we send out to the cyber world has to do with MONEY, either directly or indirectly.
No one’s exempt from money matters. Everybody has to deal with money in all stages of life. This is why I invite you all, whether you’re a finance blogger or not, to write something about how you deal with money, even in your not-so-finance savvy way as this is going to be helpful to your followers.
Dreams unfulfilled & relationships broken
There are so many dreams unfulfilled and relationships that are broken just because of money problems. My family’s advocacy is to make money talks part of family dinner conversations, and to make it fun!
I wish to share with you the feedback from a mom who attended our May 9 workshop together with her family, “It was perfect timing for my son who went out with his friends a few days after the workshop, he said to me, ‘Ma, my high school friend confided in me that his parents abandoned him and his siblings because they had to run away from their huge debts! My friend was crying because it has been a year since then. And he never mentioned to us until now!’ This experience cemented in my son’s mind the importance of FQ!”
Finance is indeed everybody’s business. Investing should be for everyone! And to make this interesting and accessible to everyone, Finance should not be boring or intimidating but capital F-U-N! I invite you all to share in this advocacy.
Write something interesting in your own language, in your own voice. And who knows you may just be the next Sun Life Sinag Financial Literacy Digital Journalism Awardee! For your first step, click this link: Sinag Awards 2015. Good luck!
- You may be interested to join any of the events in celebration of Financial Literacy Month. Check the schedule.
- I will speak at the #FitToLiveFree on June 20, 2015 at the SMX MOA Function Room 4. Event starts at 9am, and my talk is at 11:20am. If you want to register for free click this link.
Rose Fres Fausto is the author of bestselling books Raising Pinoy Boys and The Retelling of The Richest Man in Babylon. Her new book is the Filipino version of the latter entitled Ang Muling Pagsasalaysay ng Ang Pinakamayamang Tao sa Babilonya. Click this link to read samples of the books. Books of FQ Mom Rose Fres Fausto. She is also the grand prize winner of the first Sinag Financial Literacy Digital Journalism Awards.
Photo Attribution: Photos from Sun Life, Kris De Guzman put together by the author to help deliver the message of the article.
This article is also published in PhilStar.com and RaisingPinoyBoys.com.