Prepare for the Greater and More Common Disaster

Prepare for the Greater and More Common Disaster

Apr 24, 2019

Where were you when the earthquake happened on April 22, 2019 at around five in the afternoon? I was talking to a friend and I thought I was just getting dizzy because of the heat. Then we both noticed the droplights swaying, “Oh my God, there’s an earthquake!” It was a good thing we were just on the ground floor.


Soon after that, everyone was posting experiences, photos, videos about the earthquake, particularly a tall building that was pouring water from its rooftop swimming pool. Later on warnings, emergency measures to take in the event of earthquakes, different versions of earthquake prayers were shared on social media channels and different chat groups.


Then came the announcement of no classes and no work in government offices on April 23, 2019 the day after the intensity 6.1 earthquake.


I do not wish to be insensitive to the victims of the earthquake nor dismiss all the precautionary measures and attention given to last Monday’s calamity. We should all be prepared for catastrophes such as earthquake, and I do encourage you to discuss this with your household members.


I myself remembered my own traumatic experience of an earthquake that also happened on a Monday back in 1990. I was on the fifth floor of an old Far East Bank building in Intramuros, Manila. It was my first day back at work from my 45-day maternity leave. It was my first day away from my first-born Martin. That was a stronger earthquake and I seriously thought I was going to die! I went under a wooden desk and started praying the rosary because I really thought that my baby was going to be an orphan. My prayer was all for Martin, for him to still grow up loved by whoever would end up rearing him. Unlike some of my officemates who were crying and even hysterical, I was quiet. I think I was in shock. But when I got home and finally hugged my baby, I cried, maybe wailed is a more apt term. It was so traumatic that I got sick and was absent from work for the rest of the week. Decades after, this remains on top of my scariest moments in life.


Availability Heuristic

In Behavioral Economics we talk of a cognitive bias called Availability Heuristic. If we apply it to last Monday’s event, all the photos, videos, warnings, and other posts we saw plus the past earthquake disasters worldwide that have been re-shared online can make us believe that these disasters are more common than they really are. Because of the vivid and available images collected and now available in our minds, our mental shortcut tells us that this disaster can happen to us 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, a far cry from the earthquake victims.


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)

04-statisticsNow here’s the difference. The disastrous effects of the earthquake can be easily seen and experienced in a matter of seconds. 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 last Monday’s earthquake, 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 avoid a disastrous retirement! wallet-icon






  1. We’re doing our #MomAndSonPodcast a little bit different this time! Technically not a “podcast” type but hope you enjoy it anyway! Sharing my experiences and tips during my visit to the “new” Boracay Island earlier this month of April. Enjoy the summer time but let’s always remember to be responsible!


For any questions and comments, e-mail us at



Here’s the link to the video:




If you want to stream the audio, you may do so using these links:





  1. Our FQwentuhan this Friday, April 26, will feature the event highlights of our FQ Workshop for the Insurance Commission employees. This is in partnership with the Insular Life Sheroes program and the IFC (International Finance Corporation), under the World Bank group. Watch the video on Friday and see how fun the workshop is for everyone!



  1. This Friday, April 26, I will also be having a special FQ talk at the National Bookstore Superbranch in Cubao, Quezon City beside Gateway Mall (Bread Talk entrance). My talk will start at 1:00 pm. I’ll be happy to see you there and sign your books as well! ?


  1. Thanks to those who already bought the FQ Book, especially to those who took the time out to send me their feedback. Your feedback is food for my soul. To those who have not gotten their copy yet, here’s a short preview of FQ: The nth Intelligence

    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 (click BOOKS), or email us at


  1. Want to know where your FQ stands? Take the FQ Test Challenge now! Click link. 06-fq-test


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,,, Mapua Institute of Technology at Laguna (MITL) tweet,, Feast Makati-Taguig Facebook page, Diwa Mental Health Facebook page, Civil Defense PH Facebook page,,,,, and modified and used to help deliver the message of the article.


These are the links for the 2 surveys mentioned: