Money on my mind

Money on my mind

We talked to five individuals from varying careers about earning, spending, and planning for the future.

Art by Maine Manansalan

Venturing into adulthood is daunting. And as much as we would like to focus solely on our passions, the discussion of money is something we can’t avoid. There are taxes to be paid, budgets to be set, bills to settle before they’re overdue. Things are getting a little bit too real, and while we wish there was a universal handbook on being an adult, we’ll just have to rely on the experiences of others. This isn’t just choosing a college course anymore; and because no matter how much you think certain industries are evolving, everything’s still pretty much up in the air until you set foot in the working world. And as you will learn, earning your own money isn’t the same as getting an allowance from Mom and Dad, no matter how much it may seem like an upgrade. With great (spending) power comes great (saving) responsibility, to paraphrase an old saying.

To hopefully help wean you off your dependency, we talked to five individuals from different industries and career paths to help paint a picture of what it’s like to juggle your finances and get what you need and work for what you want — being an adult, basically.

PATRICK, 24
LEGISLATIVE STAFF AT THE SENATE OF THE PHILIPPINES

Years spent working in this industry: 3 and a half years

How much money do you make per year?

I make roughly P650,000 per year.

What do you consider as everyday necessities?

On a weekly basis, I regularly spend about P6,000 for food and transportation.

What’s the minimum amount in your wallet on a weekday?

I usually keep at least P3,000 in my wallet. Although I always bring my debit and credit cards, so I don’t really need to keep cash in my wallet.

Do you live at home or on your own?

I live in an apartment with my sister. The rent is P9,000 per month and we split it in half.

What are your shopping habits?

It depends on the item. For gadgets, I try to check first where and how I can get that item at the lowest price. Same with plane tickets. For other things like books, shirts, movies, I usually purchase them on a whim (I don’t like waiting for sales for those items).

What have you been investing in?

I try to set aside a portion of my savings for equity fund investment.

What are you saving up for in 2017?

I plan to travel to the US and Brazil this year.

Do you have a savings account?

Yes. I try to save at least P10,000 per month.

How do you feel about your taxes and where they go?

I find it frustrating to see my taxes go to programs and policies I am not in favor of. But at the end of the day, I’m happy to be able to extend a small contribution for the development of the country.

Do you ever worry about not having enough money?

At this point, not really.

What’s your long-term goal, career-wise?

I hope to be able to land a government post where I can play a greater role in shaping the policies of the government.

Are you doing the job that you want to be doing?

I’ve always wanted to work in public policy, and thankfully, that is exactly what I am able to work on with my current job.

How happy are you at the end of every workday?

There are times when I find the work too consuming, but there are also days when the work gives me a lot of fulfillment.

What’s the kind of lifestyle you want to live, and how much will it cost?

I am happy to live a modest lifestyle — although I want to be able to afford some luxury from time to time, if and when I feel like doing so. Currently, my income allows me to do just that.

MARVIN, 25
FREELANCE PHOTOGRAPHER

Years spent working in this industry: 3 years

How much money do you make per year?

It’s still a pretty wide bracket in my case. I just got to my third year of freelance and it really depends on the clients I book. I think around P300,000 to P400,000.

What do you consider as everyday necessities?

Food. I love eating and I think most of my savings goes to that. But it really depends on my shoots and workload every week as to how much I get to go out and eat. And fuel. I need my own car for all my equipment. Around P1,000-P2,000.

What’s the minimum amount in your wallet on a weekday?

Around P1,500 maximum. I usually go out without money in my wallet until I need it.

Do you live at home or on your own?

I still live with my family but I’m moving out this first quarter. Right now around P10,000-P15,000 for food, fuel, and phone bills per month. Not including things I want to buy.

What are your shopping habits?

I tend to be impulsive when it comes to clothes but I’ve been on a shopping hiatus lately. I’m saving up for my move out and concentrating on the essentials now.

What have you been investing in?

My long-term goal is to get my own studio. All my savings is primarily focused on that.

What big purchase are you saving up for in 2017?

A  laptop. I’ve been editing on a desktop since I started — it’s a hassle because I can’t work anywhere else. And furniture for my new place!

Do you have a savings account?

I do. I deposit all my earnings to my savings account. I transfer funds to my ATM only when I need it.

Do you ever worry about not having enough money?

I’m stressing about this since I decided to move out. I’m sure my first few months will be adjusting to a new lifestyle.

What’s your long-term goal, career-wise?

To stay in love with what I do.

Are you doing the job that you want to be doing?

I am. It’s good that I get to earn money on something I love doing. There is the fear of instability but it’s important to feel that. It pushes you to work harder.

How happy are you at the end of every workday?

It’s fulfilling because people trust you with your vision.

What’s the kind of lifestyle you want to live, and how much will it cost?

Right now I’m in the process of learning how to lessen my wants and I think it’s the lifestyle I need. I’ve been too comfortable and I need to learn how to be more responsible. The lesser money the better.

SARAH, 25
SALES SUPERVISOR AT A MULTINATIONAL COMPANY

Years spent working in this industry: 4 years

How much money do you make per year?

P1.2 million.

What do you consider as everyday necessities? How much money do you spend on them every week?

Only food, transportation, grooming, and communication fees. Total of P18,000 for the month. It’s easier for me to budget monthly to account for non-weekly expenses.

What’s the minimum amount in your wallet on a weekday?

P600. It’s tempting to constantly spend. The less I have on hand, the easier it is to stick to spending only for the essentials.

How much do you spend on this per month?

I’m lucky enough to be sent on a short-term assignment in Cebu for work, and so lodging is already shouldered by my compensation package.

What are your shopping habits?

I don’t have a regular shopping habit, and quite lucky not to yearn for the latest gadgets. But the downside is that I do end up shopping for clothes and gifts when I really see something I like.

How do you normally treat yourself after a stressful week?

Quick travels out of town and massages are the best!

What have you been investing in?

Insurance, a side business, and priceless experiences through traveling.

What big purchase are you saving up for in 2017?

Travels! I’m not a fan of huge spending except if it’s for traveling. My focus is to save for more capital to grow my side business.

Do you have a savings account? How much do you put away per month?

Maintaining at least P50,000 for emergencies.

How do you feel about your taxes and where they go?

I’ve come to the point of ignoring my payroll slip, just to avoid seeing the bulk of money I’m essentially giving to fund corrupt government officials. I don’t see it put into bettering the everyday Philippines that I experience.

Do you ever worry about not having enough money?

I feel in control of my finances now, but I do worry about my capacity to feed my future family at the rate I’m going and for the lifestyle I desire.

What’s your long-term goal, career-wise?

Business owner and a kickass mother.

Are you doing the job that you want to be doing?

Definitely! My work excites and challenges me, pays my bills, gives me enough to save, and gives me additional benefits.

How happy are you at the end of every workday?

Life definitely isn’t perfect. I’m fortunate to end every workday tired, but motivated to only keep getting better. I’m making sure that these years count — that I hustle hard while I’m young, working towards more exponential gains with less effort, faster.

What’s the kind of lifestyle you want to live, and how much will it cost?

The dream is to spend more than eight hours of my day doing what fulfills me. This means being in control of my time, money, health and pace. That lifestyle requires a monthly income of at least P500,000.

ISABEL, 27
ARCHITECT AT A DESIGN FIRM

Years spent working in this industry: 5 years

How much money do you make per year?

My net income is P212,000 from my day job. I earn extra from personal projects but that amount varies yearly.

What do you consider as everyday necessities?

Just the basic, food and transportation. I usually allot P1,500 for these for the five-day workweek.

What’s the minimum amount in your wallet on a weekday?

Other than my everyday allowance, I always make sure to have emergency cash, at least P500.

Do you live at home or on your own?

I still live with my parents, and they don’t ask me to pay much except for phone bill and to chip in on the groceries. That’s around P3,000-P5,000 a month.

What are your shopping habits?

I’ve gotten pretty good at restraining myself from impulsive buying. I don’t really spend much on clothes, I spend more on books and art supplies.

What have you been investing in?

I’ve been paying for life insurance for four years now.

What big purchase are you saving up for in 2017?

A trip to Europe.

How much do you save per month?

30-40 percent of my monthly salary.

How do you feel about your taxes and where they go?

I hope I see where they actually go.

Do you ever worry about not having enough money?

Of course, but I don’t stress myself out about it. I just try and be conscious of my spending habits and my budget; try to earn more from other things outside the day job.

What’s your long-term goal, career-wise?

To put up my own design firm.

Are you doing the job that you want to be doing?

Yes, I really enjoy what I do. I just wish clients and other people understood and respected the profession more.

How happy are you at the end of every workday?

I’m happy as long as I get a lot done in a day. It’s a very stressful job, but the fulfillment comes months after when you see your designs finally built.

What’s the kind of lifestyle you want to live, and how much will it cost?

To be able to live comfortably as I do now is enough, but I know I’m not yet 100 percent financially independent. I think I’d have to make around P70,000-P100,000 (more) for that, including extra money I can still put away in savings.

ANNE, 26
PHOTOGRAPHY BUSINESS OWNER

Years spent working in this industry: 3 and a half years

How much money do you make per year?

Around P360,000.

What do you consider as everyday necessities?

Food and transport. I try to eat at home or bring food as much as possible, though. I spend around P1,500 a week.

How many times do you eat out in a week?

Around four times, mostly P200-P300 (per meal), then the expensive ones I try to cap at P500.

What’s the minimum amount in your wallet on a weekday?

Maximum P1,000.

Do you live at home or on your own?

I live with my parents. They don’t ask me to pay for anything.

What are your shopping habits?

I plan out my purchases, which means I hardly shop at all.

How do you normally treat yourself after a stressful week?

Nothing fancy, maybe buy myself something sweet (drink or dessert) then stay at home to watch TV shows. Or I go to a friend’s house to make tambay.

What have you been investing in?

Mostly my camera/lenses and laptop.

Do you have a savings account?

Yes. I try to put away 10 percent of my salary a month, at least.

How do you feel about your taxes and where they go?

I try not to be whiny about it, but it’s hard not to notice that a lot of it goes nowhere.

Do you ever worry about not having enough money?

Yes. A lot.

What’s your long-term goal, career-wise?

To own two to three companies in varying industries.

Are you doing the job that you want to be doing?

Yes, but I see opportunities to do other things while doing my current job.

How happy are you at the end of every workday?

Very happy. It’s different to be working on something that you love, and working with people who share the same vision. Sometimes you end up crying because of the stress, but there are times you’re reminded about why you do what you do, and that really pushes me to go further.

What’s the kind of lifestyle you want to live, and how much will it cost?

I want to be married, to have my own house and car and be able to have space for us to work at home. I’ll need twice my current salary at least, to be able to afford what I want.

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