|Me and my family. Insert my Kuya and Sister-in-Law|
|My Dad at the hospital 7 months ago.|
Decisions After Decisions
While the medical team was preparing the operating room, my Dad's Cardiologist, Dr. Batilaran spoke to Me and my sisters in a private room to discuss how much everything would cost. The stents alone would cost about P130, 000 pesos each. Of course, there's the cost for the use of the ICU, private room, medicines and everyday expenses while he was recovering.
Two overseas calls and a mini family meeting later, we came up with the deposit the hospital required and the operation pushed through as scheduled. Here's the thing, I only had P20, 000 pesos in the bank. I was saving money for my delivery but I had to withdraw it all to give my share.
So again, I was pregnant, scared for my Dad's life, with no money to my name, and stressed out as hell. The only silver lining is that my Dad's body responded well to the procedure which his Doctor declared as a success.
Logistics and Emotions
I don't have a medical background and I wanted to work off my worries. So I opted to handle the logistics side of things. From admission, to receiving remittances, opening bank accounts, talking to the accounting people, buying medicines, food, and even soliciting help from politicians, I did it all so I don't have to face my fear and regrets.
It was too much to deal with. We had to pool whatever savings we had and ask others for help. Imagine the embarassment and hit to my ego. The shame of realizing you have neglected your future while wasting money on trivial things in your present.
Aside from the lack of knowledge, it was plain denial that made me see how I could've avoided the dilemma. Before, I used to think that it's the man of the house who should be financially-savvy, who should know how to budget and make our money grow. Believe it or not, as modern as I'd like to think I am, I never really understood how important financial independence is. According to Coach Aya Laraya, "We only think about our health when we get sick." Oh how true! We don't miss our water till the well runs dry would also aptly describe how I felt then. I was used to having my Dad take over things, but during those days, it was our turn.
We were lucky to have been able to collect enough help to cover our expenses. But the treatments and medicines are a different story. Right now, we are still in the process of paying off our loans which will take years to finish. You see, the situation could've been avoided had we opened our minds and asked questions. But then again, it's never too late.
We are still a long way from being totally free from debts and financial obligations. There are so many things that we realized but there was one simple truth - your money-management skills and willingness to grow your wealth will make all the difference in your future.
My family is the conservative type, the one's who would rather see our money invested on gadgets and furnitures than on stocks and bonds. We used to run the other way when the term insurance ever pops up into the conversation. Our harrowing experience and seeing our savings being depleted while we helplessly accepted our fate opened my eyes. Something has to be done.
Believe me, what my family and I went through? I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. We still have a long way to go but here are some key advice that I'd like to share with you. Let's journey together towards financial independence my friends.
- Don't be afraid to ask questions - there are financial advisors who could help you out. You just need to find the perfect fit. The ones you will feel comfortable sharing your financial and personal lives with.
- Attend financial literacy workshops - there are insurance companies who are willing to invest in your education and awareness. Just make sure you choose the reliable ones.
- Determine your needs - do thorough research on what type of insurance or investment you really need. Always remember, your policy should work alongside your life.
- Seek Advice - whether it's from family, co-workers or friends who already have investments. It is good to have someone who can relate with your needs to give you a little background on investing.
- Know your budget - and stick with the amount you will agree upon.
- Shop Around - there are so many life insurance companies around. Just make sure to check their history, background and plans. Why not try looking at Sun Life's website?
- Buy - once you have decided what policy you can stick with and is beneficial to you and your family's needs, don't hesitate to sign on the dotted line.
- Spread the word - pay it forward. Let your family and friends be all set for the future too.
You Live, You Learn
It's been 7 months since that day. I now have a 2-month old baby girl and have tons of debts to pay. But now, I am not afraid. Like a traveller lost in a non-familiar place, being financially-educated has cleared the path I am now navigating.
At first, my excuse was I didn't have the budget when in reality, investing on life and health insurance was money best spent than buying overpriced coffee or sporting the latest gadget. In a nutshell, our mistakes determine our fate. Had we not made them, then we would still be waiting for the lucky ball to drop and hope against hope that we hit the jackpot.
Don't make the same mistake we did. Let your someday begin today - invest in a life that is as bright as the sun.