Bakit gets ko na, pero ‘di ko magawa? (The truth behind our money behavior)

Bakit gets ko na, pero ‘di ko magawa? (The truth behind our money behavior)

Mar 17, 2021

(Click play to listen to audio version of article.)

“Bakit gets ko na, pero ‘di ko magawa!” I wish you could read that twice or thrice as if you were rapping, complete with scratch. 🙂

That’s the meme of FQ Book 2, the second installment in the FQ Trilogy entitled Why Financial Education Alone Does Not Work (a crash course in Behavioral Economics). It is a two-in-one book and the flipside is The Psychology of Money.

I gathered all my guts to write this book because the message goes against the popular belief that Financial Education is the answer to our money problems. Honestly, I wish it were, but it’s not. There is no empirical evidence that financial education improves our financial behavior. In fact, studies show that the effect is a miniscule 0.1%!

Now that we are all talking about the vaccination against covid, try to imagine if you were tasked to solve the problem. Will you count on a solution, no matter how popular it is, if you know that the positive effect is 0.1%? Think about it.

Remember the many discussions as to which vaccine we should get – the Chinese-made or the other brands. In assessing the options, the number one factor that we consider is the efficacy. How well will it protect us? It should be the same for solving our poor financial behavior, a long-running problem of mankind. What is the efficacy of Financial Education in protecting us from our money problems? Is 0.1% good enough?

Most of the time “gets naman natin.”

Come to think of it. When it comes to handling money, I have always talked about the very simple three basic laws of money:

  1. Pay yourself first.
  2. Get only into a business that you understand, and seek advice only from competent people.
  3. Make your gold work for you. Make an army of golden slaves before you buy luxury.

Simple right?

Yes, but simple is not always easy. And this goes for the other important aspects of life.

Let’s talk about health. We also have three basic laws of being healthy:

  1. Eat well.
  2. Sleep well.
  3. Exercise.

Is there any adult who doesn’t know these three basic laws of health? I guess none. But there is a rise in obesity and other debilitating diseases that are happening at young age.

Is there any adult who cannot understand the three basic laws of money? I guess none, but even if they master these laws or ace their Finance classes as mandated by the government, they still end up saddled in money problems.

The human wiring

The reason for the meme, “Bakit gets ko na, pero ‘di ko magawa?” lies in the way we are wired. Let’s have a short lesson in biology. Look at the image below.

The upper right is the pre-frontal cortex. This is our rational brain. When I give you a Math problem, this is the part of your brain that you use.

The lower left is our limbic system. This is our emotional brain. This is the seat of all our emotions. This is responsible for switching on our fight or flight reaction.

While our limbic system is what we largely use from the time we are born, most neurologists agree that our pre-frontal cortex is not fully-developed until we reach the age of 25. Unfortunately, even at age 25 or 85 or whatever age, the pre-frontal cortex still has its limitations, such that when the two systems are in conflict, guess which one wins?

It’s our limbic system. When it comes to our behavior, the limbic system rules!

Financial Education targets our rational pre-frontal cortex, but our actual behavior is driven by our emotional limbic system.

And that, my friend, is the reason for the meme, “Bakit gets ko na, pero ‘di ko magawa!”

There is a huge gap between knowledge and behavior, what we know and what we do. This is the reason why I use Behavioral Economics in my approach to important matters such as money, health, relationships, etc. Behavioral Economics, simply speaking, it the fusion of Traditional Economics (that whose models assume that the consumers, that’s us, always act rationally) and Psychology (that which studies our actual behavior).

Enter Mak and Emong

In FQ Book 2 I decided to talk about the above duality of the beautiful human being in a fun and easy to understand way. I promise, no nose-bleed. You will be joining Makatwirang Mak (the rational one) and Emotional Emong (obviously, the emo one).

Along the way, you will discover yourself. You can give yourself scores on Behavioral Economics principles or biases that affect the way you deal with money.

Join me in this wonderful and important journey. I promise you, after reading this book, you will never be the same again. You will now know how to guide yourself from your vulnerabilities without feeling helpless. You can do things to protect yourself from yourself and live a better life.

I invite you all to come join the book launch this Friday at three in the afternoon. It will be shown live on the Facebook pages of ABS-CBN Books and FQ Mom. And if you want to join the zoom, please scan the QR Code or click I’m joining the FQ Book 2 launch to register. Lucky winners from registered attendees will get a chance to win prizes from FQ Mom and our sponsor, Gcash!

Please register to join the fun and have a chance to win prizes from FQ Mom and our launch sponsor Gcash. Scan the QR Code or click

See you there!



1. Please join us every Thursday at 11 am live on Kumu for an hour of Money Lessons with FQ Mom and Sons. You can come 15 minutes early for an online exercise. See you tomorrow!

2. SAVE THE DATE: March 19, 2021 at 3-4 in the afternoon live on FB!

Please register to join the fun and have a chance to win prizes from FQ Mom and our launch sponsor Gcash. Scan the QR Code or click

3. To get your copy of FQ Book 2 click

To know more about FQ Book 2, watch this short video .

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

ATTRIBUTIONS: dreamstime