There’s a popular notion that the Chinese are thrifty when it comes to their finances, while Americans are generous. Filipinos, on the other, are said to be extravagant with their money. But how true are these prevailing notions? And what is influencing our behavior when it comes to handling our finances?
According to Registered Financial Planner (US-based Global Certification) Edric Mendoza, there are several factors that affect our behavior when handling our finances, including our cultural history. In an episode of FUNDamentals on Plus Network, Mendoza identified some of these factors and shared solutions on how Filipinos can better manage their money.
1. Family and Friends
– Whether we’re aware of it or not, the biggest influence on our financial behavior is our family. Whether it’s our parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, brothers, or sisters, they all play a role in how we handle our money. If we are having problems with spending, debts, or savings, it’s important to ask some hard questions and determine whether we got these struggles from a family member.
Fortunately, this influence can be addressed and changed. We cannot change our family, but we can change our friends. We need to take a look at the people we surround ourselves with, whether it’s our schoolmates, officemates, and other friends. Are they contributing to reinforce negative behaviors when it comes to money? The Bible says that bad company corrupts good morals, and by choosing good and positive influences, it will allow us to change these behaviors and do things differently when it comes to money.
– The Philippines has a long, rich history, which includes the colonization of the Spanish, Americans, and Japanese. These events influenced several aspects of our culture, including the way we handle our money. For instance, during the 300-year Spanish colonial rule, the government could take everything from Filipinos, which changed their attitude toward money. Since everything they own could be taken from them at any moment, the term “bahala na” was coined, and the mañana habit was developed over time.
– In order to address this, it’s important to break away from the poverty mindset or the mindset that nothing has changed in our lives. According to Dave Ramsey, author of the book Game Changers, “100% of our actions that we can control, we can control.” So it’s important to take control and understand that if things are going to be up to us, it’s up to us to take control. While there are many things in our lives that we can’t control, one thing that we can control is what happens in our lives today.
– Another factor that plays a role in how we handle our money is language. According to Mendoza, countries with futureless words tend to handle their finances better. For instance. In the English language, the word “save” has a past, present, and future tense, while in Filipino, the word “ipon” also has a past, present, and future tense. But since these words have different tenses, we tend to break them into time periods, even subconsciously. There’s a thinking that since we’ve saved money in the past, there’s no need to save in the present, or since we plan to save in the future, there’s no need to worry today.
But because of this mindset, we may not be able to save as consistently or as well as we want. On the other hand, in countries like China and Germany, in their languages, when you translate the word “save” and put it into the past, present, and future tenses, the word does not change. And because the word does not change, in their psychology it gives them the urgency that they need to keep saving, which is why language is also another important factor that influences our financial behavior.
Psalm 90:12 says that we should “teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Mendoza says that have today, and it’s important to ask ourselves about what is within our control. We need to look at our reality and money that we have and ask ourselves, “Can I save anything right now? Can I pay for something I might need? Can I invest in something?” Instead of thinking about the future or the past, it’s important to focus on today. As the Bible says, number our days, be focused and intentional about it, and see what will happen to us in the area of money.
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