Invest in the future to make dreams come true for you and your loved ones
When people ask me who has taught me the most about finance, I think past my distinguished university professors and esteemed colleagues in actuarial science or investments.
While I have definitely learned a lot from my colleagues and teachers, no one has been better teachers than my 2-year-old and nine-month-old daughters.
Given my profession, I have always understood the need to handle money well. But having kids has made the benefits of saving and investing more real; more tangible. I can’t just worry about my own personal dreams, but more importantly, I want to focus on the dreams of the people who depend on me—my two girls.
Based on a study* we did at Manulife, where we tracked investment sentiment and behavior across different countries, this is something many Filipinos relate to and know very well.
According to the study, more than 60% of investors in the Philippines consider living a more comfortable life by the time they retire to be a top financial priority. Millennial investors, or those who are under the age of 35, are particularly optimistic—with 68% of them planning or expecting to upgrade their lifestyles.
But when asked to reflect on specific aspects of their investments, millennials in the Philippines reveal dreams and worries that extend beyond themselves to a focus on supporting family.
Whereas millennials elsewhere look to buy real estate for their own use (Hong Kong) or for personal investment (Singapore), Filipino millennials do it for their families. Filipino millennials not only want to save for their children, but many of them want to give back and help their parents.
Understanding this cultural nuance has made us realize just how important it is to educate and empower Filipinos so they can manage their finances as they work to make their dreams come true while also supporting their families.
Among Asians, Filipino millennials tend to be among the least disciplined when it comes to preparing for the future. Many put off investing until later, when they feel they have more money to spare.
Compared to other investors in the region, more than a quarter of Filipinos invest randomly while only 15% have a regular investment plan. Among investors who are worried about their lifestyles when they retire, only 39% would choose to invest in stocks or bonds, which can offer greater returns than savings accounts or working overtime.
It’s important to invest intelligently, invest early and invest often. This allows people to begin with an amount that is comfortable enough given their budgets. Even a small amount, given enough time, can yield great returns.
Today, there is a variety of products combining insurance and investments that millennials can choose from. My advice is to go with what feels right given budgets, lifestyles and long-term goals.
While managing our own finances is definitely needed, it doesn’t have to feel like a heavy burden. There are ways for us to enjoy the present without losing control of the future. With a disciplined and informed approach, there’s no doubt that we can pursue our dreams while still supporting the people who matter the most to us.
By: Ryan Charland
Ryan Charland is the President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Manulife Philippines. Himself a millennial, he is based in Manila with his wife and two daughters.
*Manulife’s Investor Sentiment Index in Asia (MISI) is a proprietary survey measuring and tracking investors’ views on their attitudes towards key asset classes and issues related to personal financial planning. Respondents are middle class to affluent investors, aged 25 years and above, from Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines. The most recent MISI was released in 2016. For more info, please visit www.manulife.com.hk.
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