It’s Christmas Eve! Ever since I was a little girl December 24 has been my Christmas highlight. This was the day we heard the last “midnight mass” together in our new Christmas outfits (coordinated, mostly sewn by my mom when we were little); after which, we went home to our Noche Buena feast. Arroz Valenciana prepared by our father and his favorite Pato ham (the whole leg) were always present in those feasts. But as little kids we would not linger at the dinner table anymore because the excitement of opening our Christmas presents was hard to bear any longer.
It’s timely that for today I will share with you my interview with a family. The final chapter of The Retelling of The Richest Man in Babylon was published in FQMom.com last Monday (click Who is ready to be rich?) and today I will share with you my interview with the male members of the Mendoza family done on the floor of Edric’s office one weekday morning.
Edric Mendoza is the anchor of On The Money, a daily show aired over ANC. Edric is first to admit that he wasn’t really a Finance person when he started the show a couple years ago. However, I think that added to the appeal of the show because he would ask the questions that the regular non-finance person would like to ask. And I must say that he has matured a lot in the field, with the help of finance programs and trainings taken up, from interacting with his guests and his desire to learn. I remember having seen on social media a talk he did entitled From Zero to Hero, which describes his financial journey as his show is now a favorite among viewers who want to learn about money.
Join me in this interview with Edric and his sons, Elijah, Edan and Titus. Here are some of the things we talked about.
Who’s your Algamish?
(Algamish is the name of the mentor of the richest man in Babylon.) When I asked Elijah this question, he readily answered, “My dad!” That could be the sweetest thing a father could hear from his son. The same thing with Edric, as he considers his Ilocano father his Algamish. He also considers his father-in-law, who’s an entrepreneur, as another mentor so he describes the dynamics similar to that of Rich Dad Poor Dad because his own father is a corporate person. He finds amusement in the “deadly combination” of his mentors: his father is Ilocano and his father-in-law is Chinese!
He also talks about learning from his guests on the show as part of his mentoring.
Childhood Money Memory
Edric’s childhood money memory is about looking for bargains with his dad when he was around nine years old, “Hindi siya nahihiya tumawad, he taught me this, ‘Edric when you haggle, you always start with half the price!’ So I grew up applying that in business. Even if the price is fixed, I would still ask, then they’d say, ‘Sir naman, fixed prize yan.’ But when I ask, ‘What if I pay in cash?’ And sometimes there is. So finding great bargains, learning how to haggle were among my bonding moments with my dad. Sarap! Minsan naiinis na yong mga sellers, they get irritated but if you’re able to haggle with a smile, you’d charm your way way.”
To that last remark, Elijah said, “Yes I’ve seen him do that!” When I asked if he gets embarrassed by it, the boy said no. Then Edric said, “It’s my wife who feels embarrassed!”
Edric feels lucky to have grown up with an Ilocano dad and a mom who may not Ilocana but also frugal, not into branded stuff. He feels that even if they didn’t say, “Do this, do that, ” seeing them live by example was powerful.
It’s the same for the family of Joy, his wife. He describes his mother-in-law as a “hippie-Bohemian chic” who’s not into branded stuff. So Joy didn’t acquire the taste for signature items as well.
As I observe, different people value different things differently. Last week, if you recall Sun Life CEO Riza Mantaring shared that his father, although frugal, didn’t scrimp on devices such as the high quality nerdy HP calculator that uses Reverse Polish Notation! Edric’s father also has his pick: he spends on athletic items. He buys the best brands for this category.
Adjustments as newly weds
Despite the similarity in having frugal parents, Edric and Joy also found themselves faced with a challenge during the early part of their marriage. Edric, even in college, already experienced working for money when he would tutor and do community work . On the other hand, Joy, even after college when she started working, was still provided for by her family. So when they got married and he said, “Honey, this is your budget.” Joy’s reaction was, “Budget? What’s that?
Edric’s top 3 priorities when tasked to solve the country’s poverty problem
- Go back to the resources we’re blessed with – i.e. agriculture. Revitalize agriculture so instead of everyone coming to the city, they would be enticed to go back to the province where life may be simpler but where the things that one needs are there. Create systems that will uplift the earning capacity of the farmers.
- Financial Literacy – Improved earnings should be coupled with good money sense.
- Have a higher perspective on money. His perspective is “God owns everything and we are just stewards.”
He also shares that contrary to popular belief, poverty has been alleviated in the Philippines and the whole world. He also added that people should not get out of poverty just to be able to buy more things. One should ask the question “How does the provider of these resources want me to use this money?”
Elijah, Edan and Titus also shared what they want to be when they grow up. Being with these three cute boys made me a bit nostalgic as I remembered my own set when they could still sit on Mama’s lap. They also had their own ambitions, which would change from time to time. One wanted to be a teacher (after he came home so inspired by a great teacher). One wanted to be a fire fighter (after a heroic firefighter gave a talk in their class). Still another one wanted to be a carpenter (after he realized that it’s cool to build things.) And the thing is, we never interfered with their young ambitions. We never said, “Ay hijo don’t get into that, walang pera dyan!” Because we know that we cannot predict what would be lucrative when our sons enter the work force. But we believe that when we raise them to have high FQ, they would be fine. Hindi sila gugutumin! It’s because we have equipped them with an economic self-defense, a high FQ. And we all know that allowing our children to follow their passion (not to be confused with whatever is in fashion, okay?) is what would make them succeed!
Let’s enjoy being with our kids and the rest of the family this Christmas. Merry Christmas to all of you and here’s my Christmas wish: A High FQ for EveryJuan!
(This article is also published in PhilStar.com and RaisingPinoyBoys.com)