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What motherhood taught me about personal finance

Being a mother involves a lot of sacrifices. These include giving up the last few pieces in a bag of chips because our children want to eat them, too, or volunteering to play silly games in children’s parties because our daughters want to get a prize, or losing sleep because one of our children has a high fever that doesn’t want to go down.

Nevertheless, being a mo­ther is one of the most fulfilling roles I have ever had, and I ne­ver regret having children des­pite the difficulties that come with the package.

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Being a mother has taught me a lot of things, including lessons on how to better handle my personal finance. Most importantly, being a mother gave me compelling reasons to save and invest.

Although I have always been “kuripot” (thrifty) it was more out of habit because I grew up in a Chinese family where being frugal was an important value.

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However, when I had children, I became motivated to be kuripot and to save and invest because I wanted to give my children a better future.

As a mother, I have many dreams for my children. One of my dreams is to give them the best education I can afford and to allow them to experience as many things as they can so that they can expand their knowledge and discover their talents. That way, they can maximize their potential, and be the best that they can be.

Another dream that I have as a mother is to give my children something in the future when they start a family of their own. By doing this, I hope to give them a head start by helping them afford the down payment on their new home, pay for the rising cost of child care, or start their own business. This will hopefully give them the freedom to risk doing something that they really want to do even though it might not be profitable right away, or to stop working or to accept a lower paying job because they want to spend more time with their own children.

Aside from helping my children succeed, being a mother motivated me to save and invest because I wanted to make sure that I would have enough for retirement. After all, I don’t want to be a burden to my children when I grow old.

Because of my dreams for my children, it became easier for me to cut back on unnecessary expenses such as my daily orders from Starbucks and my occasio­nal shopping sprees in the mall, especially during January and July sale seasons. Being a mother also helped me resist the temptation to buy the latest gadgets and the trendiest designer bags even though there are pay light promotions. Suddenly, being fashionable became less of a priority over saving and investing.

Being a mother also motivated me to learn how to invest in products outside of regular savings and time deposits. Although investing in stocks was easy for me because of my work as an analyst in a stock brokerage firm, I also learned to invest in properties as this was in line with my goal of boosting my passive income when I retire.

Finally, being a mother taught me the importance or risk management. Although I am lucky that my husband and I are both working and that we share the same dreams for our children, suffering from unforeseen circumstances, such as getting sick or an untimely death, would cause a major setback for us in reaching our goals. Because of this, we decided to live a healthier lifestyle. Since I became pregnant with my first child, my husband and I started eating more fruits and vegetables, less fried food and sweets. We also started exercising more.

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Although I used to think that getting insurance was a waste of money, my husband and I finally availed ourselves of both health and life insurance when the children came because we were worried about what would happen to them in case something would happen to us.

Two Sundays ago, we celebrated Mother’s Day. Although I truly enjoy the love and attention that my children give me during Mother’s Day, I would also like to thank them for just being there as my children. Without them, I probably won’t know as much as I do about personal finance and I won’t be here writing this column today.

To my family, this column is dedicated to you. Thank you for giving me the gift of mother­hood! INQ

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