Put on your oxygen mask first | Inquirer Business
Money Matters

Put on your oxygen mask first

/ 02:00 AM February 01, 2023

Question: I am a family man now with children. I have always wanted to buy something for myself—you know, toys for the big boys. But I always felt guilty about finally doing it. Should I be?

Answer: A portion of airline safety demos has the following script: “During decompression, oxygen masks will drop from above you. Immediately grab the aircraft oxygen mask and pull firmly toward your face. Put them over your nose and mouth, pull elastic band for a firm fit and breathe normally. Keep the mask on until you are advised otherwise. If a child or other passenger needs your help, put on your mask first before helping them.”

So, why be seemingly selfish by putting on your mask first before helping others? Simple. A person who is running low on oxygen would be of no use to others if he or she faints before he or she is able to help them.


The same is true for personal finance. In providing for their families, parents need to ensure that they themselves are in the pink of health physically, mentally and financially prior to helping the rest of their families. Otherwise, their own financial problems will prevent them from pursuing the family’s goal of achieving financial freedom.


Staying financially fit requires a host of actions from earning enough to cutting back on expenses to afford savings which, when invested, would speed up the journey toward prosperity.

Let me give you an example. In one of our family trips abroad, I got to meet up close and personal my dream electric guitar, a 50th Anniversary 1960 Gibson ES-335TD (thin line, dual pick up) VOS (vintage original specifications) in sunset burst finish. This guitar retailed then for approximately P164,000. To be sure, buying this guitar would bring me endless joyful playing time. Unfortunately, that’s just it. It would be only me having all the fun. Moreover, buying the guitar would create a dent on my personal finances that would have a domino effect on my family’s budget. Eventually, I decided not to buy the guitar.


Yet on the flight home, I could not wipe the smile off my face upon seeing my two daughters slurping the spicy Korean noodles I bought for them on the plane while my wife was having her fill with a simple sandwich. You see, airfares at that time did not automatically come with meals on board. You needed to buy those meals. Still, it took just P480 to afford them that simple joy. As for me, my heart was already full.

Oh, but don’t get me wrong. I am not a martyr to be shot at Luneta. I also did a little bit of indulging. Reasonable wants can be enjoyed from time to time. So, while I did not buy the expensive guitar, at least I bought a Gibson brand guitar strap. That kept me going for a while.

Life presents us with many choices, tradeoffs if you will, on how to use our wealth. A level-headed person will make his choices based on how effective his life goals are met, sometimes at the expense of certain wants. After all, having a family is like being in the US marines—“no man left behind.” So, you do not have to feel guilty in buying your “toys for the big boys” if the purchase will not financially cripple you and eventually your family.

Your family’s journey to financial freedom begins with your own journey toward financial wellness. INQ

Send questions via “Ask a Friend, Ask Efren” free service at www.personalfinance.ph, SMS, Viber, Twitter, LinkedIn, WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook. Efren Ll. Cruz is a registered financial planner and director of RFP Philippines, seasoned investment adviser, author of bestselling personal finance books in the Philippines and a YAMAN Coach. To consult with a YAMAN Coach, email yaman@personalfinance.ph. To learn more about personal financial planning, attend the 100th RFP Program this March 2023. To inquire, e-mail info@rfp.ph or text 09176248110.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

TAGS: Business, Money Matters

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Curated business news

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

© Copyright 1997-2023 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.