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Thinking of fixing your finances but don’t know where to begin? Experts from insurance provider EastWest Ageas share tips and insights on how to be money-smart.
Set your targets
First, you need to set your goals. “Think about that one thing that you really want to own or accomplish. Then consider how long it will take you to achieve that status. If you’re serious about it, spend some time planning how you’ll get there with the resources you have,” said Sjoerd Smeets, president and CEO of EastWest Ageas.
“At 30, I dreamt of retiring at 55, and I pushed myself to ask experts and advisors how I could make it happen,” Chief Customer Officer of EastWest Ageas Joub Miradora also shared.
Milestone ages that end in zeros and fives can be good deadlines that motivate you to focus on your targets. It can be as simple as paying all your overdue credit card fees or having enough capital to start your dream business.
Check your spending habits
Next, you need to take a hard look at your finances. Miradora shares that many people are lost on how to break free from the cycle of debt. “I listened to stories of people from rags to riches, then back to rags, and got curious about the recurring behavior that they displayed,” he recalled.
He advised people to be conscious of their spending. “Know your weekly or monthly expenses and income. You can only begin saving and preparing for a more financially secure future if you really understand what you do with your money,” he added.
Ask yourself - do you live paycheck to paycheck, without any money left over? Do you overuse your credit cards? Do you allot money for health coverage or emergencies?
Consult with professional finance experts
A person who wants to be fit in the right and scientific way at the gym would hire a personal trainer. A person experiencing the blues would go to a therapist. The same goes for learning about finance. You need a guide to make sure you are doing things right. This will also make you accountable for your saving, spending, and investing decisions.
“Unlike my time when financial literacy was not openly discussed, content and advice are just everywhere now,” Miradora said.
“Almost everything is available online. There are books on how to get started on the path to financial security, how to move up in life, prepare ahead, and even leave a legacy. Listen, while also discerning. See what works for you. After all, personal finance is a matter of personal choice.”
For Miradora, learning works best from the right partners, something he realized in his twenties. "At the age of 25, I met some experts and advisors in the financial services industry who taught me how to get started on the path to financial freedom and the appropriate financial products and solutions,” he shared.
“Step by step, you learn about this. And financial advisors can help you in determining your need based on your current expenditure, income, and future protection expectations,” Smeets added.
Smeets believes that when one becomes financially literate, he can better build his future dreams. “It helps to provide your partner and children gain independence and build their lives,” he added.
While starting young is good, anyone can embark on their financial journey, regardless of age.
Editor's note: BrandedUp is designed to provide you with insightful, inspiring, and educational content created by The Philippine STAR in collaboration with brands like EastWest Ageas Insurance.