A DOST scholar asks how to handle her money

A DOST scholar asks how to handle her money

Jan 27, 2021

Today’s article discusses a letter from a reader who is a student.


Good day Mrs. Rose Fausto. I read your articles – PhilStar, Health and Home, etc. I already watched some of your videos in your FQ Mom you tube channel. Nakaka-inspire po na mabasa at mapanood lahat ng iyon.

I’m a college student, 20 years old, and I currently have an amount of Php60,000.00 in my ATM account. I am currently receiving a monthly allowance of Php7,000.00 as an undergraduate DOST Scholar.

I would like to ask po what would be the best way to do with this money? Should I keep it in ATM or should I do something that will make this money grow?

Thank you Ma’am Rose! God bless po.

  • Lerraine via FB and IG

My Reply:

Hi, Lerraine. Thank you for your letter. I am happy that while still in school you are already thinking of how to manage your money. And congratulations on being a DOST Scholar. Your parents must be very proud of you.

There are two things I wish to discuss in my reply:

  1. Your Php 60,000.00 in ATM; and
  2. Your Php7,000.00 monthly allowance

Money in your ATM

What is the purpose of your Php60,000.00 in your ATM account? Have you earmarked it for anything? If this is your savings that you wish to grow, then it should not stay there.

But before you decide to take out everything, I wish to tell you that there should be important fund baskets in your mind.

Here’s #ADULTING101 for you.

Money is fuel to living our dreams. So, it will be good for you to have a clear vision of your dream life. When you list down your dreams, you will notice that each will have a different time horizon. And these different time horizons is what I wish everyone should be aware of in allocating their funds.

In general, these are the different Fund Baskets.

  1. Monthly Budget. How much do you spend every month? This is the money that should stay in your ATM account. Try to not go beyond your ideal monthly budget.
  • Emergency Fund. If you are still staying with your parents with free board and lodging, you may not yet feel the need to set aside for this. But once you graduate from college and start working, it would be necessary for you to stop relying on your parents. We usually suggest three to six months or even one year’s worth of expenses for this amount. This is best invested in money market funds instead of keeping it in your savings account, so the temptation of declaring emergency is lessened.
  • Dream Fund. If the “dream” that you are saving up for will still take over five years, then you can invest this in Equity Index Fund. You can do this either through mutual funds or UITF (Unit Investment Trust Fund). For Equity Index Mutual Funds, you can use the COL Fund Source which carries almost all the mutual funds in the country. For Equity Index UITF, you can check with your bank, where your ATM account is. If your “dream’s” time horizon is shorter than five years, you may invest in bond funds which give fixed interest rates, or a combination of the two – bonds and equity.
  • YAGO Fund. Since you are still young and the sound of retirement may be alien to you, let’s use another term. You know how it is when young people always say, YOLO (You Only Live Once)? This is a favorite justification for unmindful spending. But I always say, we have to shift from YOLO to YAGO as in You Also Grow Old. 🙂 It will be great if you, at age 20, to already be aware of this because in investing, time is the most valuable factor. The sooner you start, the more time for your investments to grow. The asset class that gives the highest return in the long term is equity investment.

So what do you do with your Php60,000.00 in ATM and Php7,000.00 monthly allowance?

For your Php60,000.00, you may leave a little bit of cash in your ATM account and transfer the rest to Equity Index Fund, provided there is no need for you to use it in the next five years. If you are entrepreneurial, you may use part of it in funding your business, if you have one in mind. Of course, putting up your business will require you to study the market, your product, the time you can devote to it, and many other things.

For your Php7,000.00 monthly allowance from DOST, figure out how much you can commit to observe the first basic law of money which is to pay yourself first. I suggest it should be no less than 20%. This is what we did with our sons as early as Grade 1. Fortunately, that habit stayed with them until they grew into adults. I wish you the same. Automate your saving and investing so that it becomes easy-peasy for you. You will be automatically investing whether the market is high or low, and that will benefit you both during your YAGO and YOLO days. Because you will not only reap the rewards of early investing when you reach retirement. You will also enjoy your youthful years now because once you’ve set your saving and investing system in place, you can enjoy spending guiltlessly.

If you want to go deeper into your FQ Journey, of course, I invite you to go through the exercises found in FQ Book 1, then graduate to studying the psychology of money in FQ Book 2. (See details in Announcements below.) You may also check out other good authors in this subject matter.

Good luck on your studies. Cheers to High FQ!


1. My son Anton and I will speak at the “What’s Your Game Plan” event of AXA Philippines on January 30, 2021. It will be a fun FQwentuhan of sharing how he and his brothers were raised to be comfortable with money. We hope to see you there.

2. FQ Book 2 prints finally arrived! If you want to understand the PSYCHOLOGY OF MONEY, grab your copy of FQ Book 2, a 2-in-1 book. This is a product of my years of studying, writing, rewriting, some more writing and rewriting. To order, scan the QR code or click link.

To know more about it, watch this short video .


3. If you want to enhance your FQ through stories, check out FQ Mom books, available in print (with autograph) and ebook versions.

4. How good are you with money? Do you want to know your FQ Score? Take the FQ Test and map out your 2021 FQ Plan. Scan the QR code or click the link https://fqmom.com/dev-fqtest/app/#/questionnaire