When you turn on the tv, radio, go online, talk to your family, officemates, and friends, what’s the most likely topic? COVID-19, the new corona virus! And this is happening worldwide. Just yesterday, there were a total of seven events – talks, conventions, launches, etc. – scheduled in my calendar that were cancelled. One company which postponed its Christmas party from December, due to the typhoon, and rescheduled it to March, will again postpone or maybe just cancel. Flights all over the globe are being cancelled. Everyone’s on their toes about COVID-19, panic buying here and there, changing in lifestyles (social distancing, no more beso-beso), slowing down business and economy are all happening now because of this virus.
There’s a website that I check from time to time to see updates on real time – https://worldometers.info/coronavirus. As of writing, there have been over 100,000 cases, over 4,000 deaths, and over 66,000 recoveries recorded. From a low 6 cases in the Philippines for quite some time, the figure suddenly jumped to over 30 cases, prompting the government to declare emergency and even suspending classes for the rest of the week.
This is a serious pandemic of global proportion and I don’t need to be an economist (although I am by education) to predict that our growth rates will be significantly dampened by this. As much as we all need to be cautious and vigilant about the situation, there is also a tendency to overdo things. The panic buying of masks, alcohol, and similar products have caused unnecessary shortage that deprives the medical personnel and other staff who really need to use these products.
In a recent trip to Palawan, I was inside the airport ladies’ room. There was a lady wearing a mask who came in to use the toilet. Then she left without washing her hands, the one true defense against the virus! I was so tempted to say, “Hoy, pa-mask-mask ka pa dyan, hindi ka naman naghugas ng kamay mo!” I’m sure you’ve encountered similar situations – getting the false sense of security from something while disregarding the sure solution.
In Behavioral Economics we talk of a cognitive bias called Availability Heuristic, a mental shortcut that relies heavily on immediate examples and other information that are available at the moment as basis for evaluating something.If we apply this to what’s happening now, all the news, updates, warnings, photos, videos, and other posts, including jokes, that we see online, can make us paranoid and do irrational things such as the panic buying that has been happening this week.
Because of the vivid and available images collected and now available in our minds, our mental shortcut tells us that this disaster is the worst ever and we get too praning thinking that we can catch it any time now!
But what’s the most common disaster?
Let me tell you about a more common disaster. It is the disaster of not being able to save and invest in a systematic way that will leave you unprepared for retirement as you approach 60! Yes my dear reader, that is the more common disaster in life that happens to a huge number of people.
To cite a survey published in the website of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas, eight out of 10 are not saving up for retirement. On the other hand, the Global Aging Institute and Pru Life UK survey shows that 90% of Filipino workers worry about being poor upon retirement. (See links below)
Now here’s the difference. The disastrous effects of COVID-19 can be easily seen and experienced, and everybody’s talking about it so it’s hard to miss it. On the other hand, the disastrous effects of unprepared retirement cannot be easily seen and felt after you miss out on paying yourself first. This lack of immediate disastrous effect is what makes us complacent and allows us to postpone doing the right thing to prepare for old age. In fact, the immediate gratification of buying stuff and delaying saving and investing get in the way. We tend to make decisions that favor the happiness of the current self, sacrificing the happiness and well-being of the future self.
The good news
The good news is that while we cannot control the occurrence of calamities such as earthquakes, volcanic eruption, virus infections such as COVID-19, we can actually control the occurrence of a disastrous retirement.
In the same way as you gather your family, your community to prepare your environment to be safe in the event of a calamity, let’s also gather our family, our community to talk about money in a healthy way. Let’s raise our children to have high FQ. Let’s design our environment, our spending habits so that we can prepare well for our happy old age. Who knows, the government might declare a holiday to commemorate retirement disaster in order to heighten the awareness of this more prevalent disaster?
I hope you are all safe, and I wish you all a high FQ (you may check your FQ Score now) so you can start your FQ journey and avoid a disastrous retirement!
1. Due to the declaration of emergency brought about by the COVID-19, the Money and Family Summit will be postponed to July 11-12, 2020. Tickets bearing the original date will be honored. You may still buy your tickets now by clicking here. Remember, not preparing for your retirement is the more common disaster .
2. Mom and Son Podcast – Year 2 Episode 10 (SHORT DISTANCE RELATIONSHIPS with ROLF LAMELA & MARTIN AWID)
Today on the show we have Anton’s oldest friend, Rolf Lamela, who lives on the same street as we do, and another long-time friend, Martin Awid, who lives in the village nearby. The boys discuss how integral it was having a constant set of friends in their childhood. They even share some stories like their circumcision experiences ??? and how they would still hang out with each other anyway; from action figures to dancing to basketball and to the real world. Join the conversation and stream the episode now!
Originally uploaded on Anton Fausto’s YouTube Channel: https://youtu.be/O54C5xRIi_Q
FQ Mom Link: https://youtu.be/v2OgyhTmJkk
3. If you want to include better Financial Health for 2020 and the new decade, take the FQ Test now. Click link. http://rebrand.ly/FQTest
4. Have a healthy relationship with money, start by reading FQ: The nth Intelligence and sharing the lessons with your loved ones.
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.
Photos from freepik.com, modified and used to help deliver the message of the article.