I came from an average family (middle class) in the Philippines. My parents were both government workers and rely heavily on their salary as their main source of income. In as much as they worked hard, their salary could nnot sustain the expenses of their school-aged six children. I was the fifth and even at an early age, I already knew how to distinguish the needs from wants and vice versa. My parents’ priority was to send us all to school and finish a degree. A feat that they were able to accomplish.
Thanks to my parents’ discipline and teachings of hard work and even their financial mistakes, I am able to learn valuable money and financial lessons. They were both born in 1940’s and according to Google, they either belong to the silent generation or baby boomers. I think my parents’ take on financial literacy is more of a baby boomer since they were able to buy a house before settling down and paid their GSIS premiums for their retirement pensions. Since they were government workers and had been until their retirement, they encouraged us to study hard, finish college so we would end up getting good jobs that pay good salaries. They believed (and I don’t blame them) that an 8-5 job was the best option for us. They thought that stability equates to success. Entrepreneurship was not a word I heard from them that we should pursue. As I said, the stability of an 8-5 job gives them comfort and now that they’re retired, I think they are satisfied with the choices they had.
I admired my parents and love them for paving the way to my life right now. While they admired that I chose the same path as them (8-5 job), I informed them that I do not plan to have this job until I turn 60. I wanted to have financial freedom in the earliest possible time and stop working for someone and be an entrepreneur and work for myself.
I wish though that they could enjoy retirement more. They were both in their 70’s and no longer have the energy to travel and explore more of the world around us. I wish they had the same opportunity that I do right now. I can’t blame them why they chose stability of an 8-5 job over the uncertainty of the entrepreneur life given the circumstances that they had at that time.
I learned that the circumstances they had were different with mine. I don’t have six children to start with. I also learned the proverbial ‘delayed gratification’ mindset from them without which, I’ve probably forever stuck in quarter-life to midlife crises having no savings and life in general. In the same manner that their mistakes are my guide to either stay away from those or improved/tweaked some things to correct them. My parents are not big in investments and insurance, that’s why I make sure I have those. In the Philippines, not so many people make investments and insurance their priorities and its a sad state in my opinion. Further, my parents are not big savers, something I don’t intend to emulate. Lastly, they retire late in their lives and they are unable to enjoy it to the fullest since they no longer have energy, not to mention their health issues.
The best decisions and worst mistakes that the generation before us should be highly regarded. Without which, we would never be better and successful. I read somewhere that since the generation before us made great sacrifices in order to make a good future for their children, it is just logical that the younger generation should be more successful and not the other way around. However, the same is likewise true that at the end of the day, it is our choices that make us who we are.