Chances are you’ve already seen the movie Crazy Rich Asians during the long weekend. If you haven’t, that’s okay as this piece is not meant to be a movie review but just a random list of lessons that we can learn from it.
- Choose the right school for your children. The lead male role Nicholas Young and Collin Khoo were friends since grade school who became life long friends. The importance of choosing the right school for your children is not only in the quality of education they will get but also in the life-long friends that they will make. So aside from checking out the school facilities, faculty, teaching method, environment, etc., check out the students! Are they the kind of kids you want your children to hang out with and the network they will make in the future? Word of caution: It might not be advisable to put your young children in a school where they will be so out of the majority’s social class. There is a part of growing up when kids just so want to belong and if your family can’t afford the usual luxuries that the other kids have, they might end up feeling kawawa, resenting either their family’s financial condition or their richer classmates. On the other hand, if you’re way too up there, your children may still feel uncomfortable or even guilty of enjoying a lot more than their peers. Wait for your children to reach college age and if you’ve formed them to be comfortable with what your family can afford, they’ll be fine mingling with the other students from different social classes. The lead female role, Rachel Chu and Peik Lin, who just met in college, still ended up as good friends. However, should there be a rare opportunity for your children to study in an expensive quality school before college that you wouldn’t want to pass up on (e.g. scholarships), go ahead but just be mindful of these things and properly guide your children to understand that different families can afford and value different things differently.
- Postpone giving luxuries to your kids. Rachel Wu had no idea that her boyfriend was like the prince of Singapore because he was not a show-off. She said something like, “Nick, you go to this cheap gym, you use my Netflix password, etc.” Although Nick’s intention was probably to conceal his “crazy-richness” so that it won’t get in the way of how people treat him, it was also his way of being financially independent from his family, as he just lived within his salary as a teacher. For children of well-to-do families, it is still best to differentiate what luxuries you can already afford as parents, and what your children who are just starting to work can afford. Remember my story in the FQ book where I narrated that even Fernando Zobel de Ayala flew economy during his school years and early working years while his parents travelled on business class? What more, not showing off your wealth has a disarming charm. Don’t we always fondly say, “Ang simple lang nya ano, hindi mo akalain ang yaman pala?”
- Appearance does matter. Despite no. 3, we should still look presentable and dress up appropriately. My favorite portrayal of character is by Awkwafina – that of Peik Lin who dressed up her college best friend when she attended the family party and met Nicks’s family for the first time, and also for the wedding of the century. Dressing up well gives you some extra pogi/beauty/approval points, so earn them! A funny part of the movie shows Peik Lin with several wardrobes in the trunk of her car so she could be appropriately dressed in any occasion.
- Wives should be aware and involved in their family’s wealth. The part where the crazy rich wives are having their prayer meeting cum gossip session doesn’t show this in the movie but is in the book. When the wives found out about an important piece of information regarding a blue chip stock, they all rushed to their phones to call their respective brokers to act on a stock tip they just heard. I’m not advocating insider trading here, but I just want to point out that wives (whether crazy rich or dirt poor) should not just be in charge of spending or budgeting but also investing family money. Also not included in the movie is that Alexandra Leong Cheng, the mother of Nick’s cousin Eddie, was the one who really propelled the expansion of the Cheng wealth due to her impeccable timing in buying properties despite staying at the background as housewife.
- You can’t put a smart woman down! The scorn of Eleanor Young to her son’s girlfriend, gracefully portrayed by Michelle Yeoh, is enough to make a regular girl a-running, but not Rachel. She’s a smart Economics professor who teaches game theory. The mahjong scene was not in the book but was masterfully added to the movie to portray how Rachel plays not just to avoid losing, but to win! Her scene with our very own Kris Aquino as Princess Intan also shows how you can’t put a smart woman down. The princess was supposed to have reserved one whole pew to herself to avoid conversations with the other guests. When Rachel saw her, she just approached and introduced herself and started talking about the paper written by the princess. Even if at the start, the royalty was dismayed with the initial attention by Rachel, the conversation with substance initiated by the latter was enough to charm the snobbish princess. Trivia: The beautiful engagement ring made of huge emerald and two diamonds belongs to Michelle Yeoh in real life.
- There will always be people richer than you. It’s human nature to see your progress by comparing yourself with others. You just have to be careful that it doesn’t turn you into a green-eyed monster, like the character portrayed by Nick’s cousin Eddie Cheng, always envying others to the point of looking so TH (Trying Hard). In your journey of accumulating wealth, focus on your own progress, and be mindful of the reasons and values behind your goal to be rich.
- Walking away from something good sometimes brings us to something better. The team of Crazy Rich Asians declined a seven figure offer from Netflix, and look where it is now? According to its author Kevin Kwan, the movie is making history and is holding up its record box office sales even on its second week. Well, I’m one of those who watched it more than once. The first time was with my husband. Then when one of our sons said he also wanted to see it, all four family members – mom, dad, two brothers who already watched it – gamely accompanied him to watch it the second time around.
- No matter what we say about gender equality, the man would still want to bring home the bacon. The marriage of Astrid Leong and Michael Teo is strained because the wife, who owns 14 apartment buildings plus a lot more, is disproportionately wealthier than the husband. It is still easier to have a set up where the husband brings home the bacon because that’s the role assignment we have gotten used to. As we empower our women to succeed in their chosen fields aside from homemaking, we should also be sensitive to the needs of men and be careful not to damage their self-esteem during this transition. I do know of men who are fine with the nontraditional set-up and it takes courage and confidence to be able to do so. It’s a two-way street and must be acknowledged by both parties so they can both work on it.
- The difficulty and drama of marrying into a family not belonging to your social class is inevitable. The entire movie unfolds tackling the challenges of lovebirds Rachel Chu and Nicholas Young belonging to different social classes. In fact, during the National Readers and Writers Festival where I gave a talk at the Raffles Hotel early this month, one attendee asked the question, “Since Crazy Rich Asians is showing soon, what can you say about pre-nuptial agreement?” My answer was, “First, the couple about to marry should check what’s in the Family Code so they both know what sort of property regime they’re getting themselves into once they utter the words, ‘I do!’” Unfortunately, most couples spend months preparing for the wedding day but don’t even bother to check this. Objectively speaking, it is good to enter into a pre-nuptial agreement, especially if the marrying parties do not have similar levels of net asset values, or if one stands to inherit considerable family wealth. What we should watch out for when discussing pre-nuptial agreement are the sensitivities involved. Since money is such an emotional issue, it will surely bring up sensitive matters that can hurt both parties if not healthily discussed. Nonetheless, it is way too important to be left undiscussed with the hope that there will be no dissolution of marriage or early demise of one party that would complicate the handing down of wealth. It is best that the one who has less materially brought up the discussion on pre-nuptial agreement. But whoever brings it up, please do so long before the wedding, and not on the eve of your big day. Aside from the disposition of properties during the marriage, there are many more complications, gossips, and drama that may come about prior to marriage. But come to think of it, relatives will always have something to say, whether you belong to opposite ends of the social strata or not. So what the heck, just do it! But first make sure that you know what you two are getting into, and you are committed to make your marriage successful. Also, be financially independent from your parents when you get married. Any inheritance would just be a bonus when it comes.
There, I hope this piece helped you pick up a few takeaways from this fun movie (and book) which is currently the talk of the town. The reality is that money is such an emotionally charged aspect of life. It is something we need all throughout our life, and yet there doesn’t seem to be a systematic way of teaching our children how to handle it – both its technical and emotional aspects. Whether you are poor or crazy rich, each member of your family should be aware of the workings of money. How about your family, are you all comfortable with the laws and emotional aspects of money? It all starts with having healthy conversations about money in the family. Cheers to high FQ!
- If you want to be grounded with your relationship with money before you become “crazy rich” reading the FQ Book may be a good idea! 🙂 I wish to thank those who already bought FQ: The nth Intelligence. If you’re interested to see what’s inside the book watch this FQ Book Preview
You may now purchase the book in major bookstores, or if you want autographed copies, please go to FQ Mom FB page (click SHOP), or FQMom.com (click BOOKS), or email us at FQMomm@gmail.com
- If you want to professionalize homemaking, check out the seminars of H&S in collaboration with Kenvale of Australia. Visit their FB Page “Homestyle & Skills” to participate in their seminars that start on August 31, 2018. My session will be the last one scheduled on October 3, 2018. Click link to sign up – #HomeGoals
- Want to know your FQ Score? Take the FQ Test Challenge now! Click link. http://rebrand.ly/FQTest
Rose Fres Fausto is a speaker and author of bestselling books Raising Pinoy Boys and The Retelling of The Richest Man in Babylon (English and Filipino versions). Click this link to read samples – Books of FQ Mom. She is a Behavioral Economist, Certified Gallup Strengths Coach and the grand prize winner of the first Sinag Financial Literacy Digital Journalism Awards. Follow her on Facebook & YouTube as FQ Mom, and Twitter & Instagram as theFQMom. Her latest book is FQ: The nth Intelligence.
ATTRIBUTIONS: Photos taken from junkee.com, philstar.com, Warner Bros. Pictures/Released, modified to help express the message of the article.