Financial literacy for our youth advocacy (Philippine Star)

Mr. Edward Lee, chairman and founder of COL Financial Group, believes that every Filipino deserves to be rich!

Looking back at the days when we were planning for the Building Enterprising Students forTomorrow(BEST) Program, we considered many ways on how to equip and empower bright and outstanding students for their future. We bank on them to have a multiplier effect as they become future leaders and cascade the learnings to others. We knew that aside from their inspiring stories of many successful entrepreneurs, we have to empower them with several tools and knowhow on entrepreneurship, leadership and now with financial literacy.

Last week, we were fortunate to combine related topics on finance and entrepreneurship as we had a lively session on “money matters” with our Angelpreneurs Dean Pax Lapid, Armand Bengco, and Mon Abrea, who discussed their expertise on entrepreneurship, personal finance and tax 101 respectively. We were also blessed to have no other than the chairman and founder of COL Financial Group, Edward Lee, who shared his wisdom on how to build wealth, especially throughinvesting.

It was a pleasant surprise to learn Edward has his own advocacy. He believes every Filipino deserves to be rich. He sets aside about two days a week to give free seminars on finance and investment at COL office at Tektite Tower to educate the public on maximizing their money through investing.

We have seen a lot of famous celebrities, even sports legends, and business people on how they earned hundreds of million pesos, only to lose it after a few years. Such a waste and too much money down the drain. Only because they did not have the mindset and knowhow on how to create wealth, a wealth that lasts and grows even more.

Basic laws that Edward shared are save (10-20 percent of income), invest, and reinvest earnings to benefit from the power of compounding. If we look at investing, there are many options for investments. Either you invest in a business yourself, or you invest in other’s businesses. There are various investment options to choose from, depending on one’s risk appetite, and knowhow on how they work. We saw the various annualized return from 2003-2014. Stocks appreciated on the average by 19.6 percent, Bonds by 8.7 percent, T-Bills by 4.2 percent. And of course, we compare this with how much the value of money is lost on the average due to inflation which averaged 4.7 percent per year.

There are ups and downs in the equities market, but Edward showed how corrections and dips, for the overall stock index in the short term rebounded to higher levels in the long term. The long-term trend line is sloping upward. Dips and corrections are needed to have higher returns.

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When people hear about stocks, they usually think it is for the rich and wealthy as it requires a big amount of investment. This misconception has been clarified as one can start investing in companies’ stocks with P5,000. This might still be a big amount for some, but when one can save say, P500-P1000 from his or her salary, in just a few months, one can have the money for investment. He told the story of his driver who was taught to invest in small amounts every month in the stock market, and how that amount appreciated by about 50 percent in one year. He shared that method of peso cost averaging, which is a personal wealth-building strategy that involves investing a fixed amount of money at regular intervals over a long period of time. They just have to learn to buy more when prices are low, and buy less when it’s high.

With the proper education in financial literacy and investment, any individual can save money and grow his wealth. Opportunities abound, especially as the Philippine economy continues to grow, more so with the young demography and growing middle class propelling even more the growth momentum. We have observed a growing middle class as employment around the country grows with the surge in BPOs, adding to the benefits of growing remittances from OFWs and the faster growing regional economies as consumption power are enhanced in the provinces. It has become a virtuous cycle.

More importantly, Edward also shared his core values toward success: Relationship (Build business through good relationship with people, your network and stakeholders and customers) integrity ability to evolve and innovate financial literacy and dream with purpose (how to better the lives of others). I share his core values as these are much grounded and the real fundamentals to me, if one is to achieve success with happiness.

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Go Negosyo also conducted the Negosem last Friday with entrep champ Paulo Tibig and Glen Baticados, and the other day the Magandang Business Advice (MBA) on marketing and innopreneurship, with marketing guru Josiah Go. I shall share the learnings in those sessions in our next columns.

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We are happy to seal also the partnership with the Australian embassy, as we work on mounting a Webilogue (Web dialogue) seminar that will help prepare the SMEs to maximize the gains from the Asean economic integration and other Free Trade Agreements. Thanks to Development Cooperation counsellor Geoff King and Minister Counsellor and senior trade commissioner Anthony Weymouth for being our co-presentors in this program.

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