Many people look up to you because of how much you know about investments, personal finance, and the economy. They hear you on TV, listen to you speak in seminars, and learn from your coaching, but I’ve had the privilege to listen to you ever since I was young, and there are four life lessons you taught me that I carry with me every day.
I remember we used to always play this game when Ate Billie and I were younger. We would lie down in bed before sleeping and you would ask us, if we had one million pesos, what would we do and buy? Our answers were endless! They changed as we grew older, from the toys we wanted in the commercials we saw on Cartoon Network or Nickelodeon, to the must-have iPod mini, to vacation trips abroad.
But while our wants changed as we changed and grew up, it was a fun little game that helped us imagine and exercise our faith. It helped us to not be afraid to dream. It taught me the concept of goals and the process of achieving them one day .
Whenever we would dream or imagine really crazy adventures like buying a room filled with candy and having our own movie theater at home, you would always join us in the fun. You never let us think that it was impossible, because you taught us that God owns everything. As we grew up, our wild dreams and imagination turned into faith.
We would enter toy stores a lot before when we were young but you wouldn’t always get us the toys we wanted right away. I remember those times clearly because you taught me two precious words that, until now, I can never forget and will always value: delayed gratification. I realized you were teaching us the value of waiting for the things we want. That there is always a way to get them by working hard for them. That if we do it right, we would end up with something better.
Now that I’m older and working, I see that you were planting seeds. You taught me to see past my short term goals and wants. Now that I’m experiencing the “real world,” it’s become clear that I won’t always get the things I want right away. It’s because of those moments when you said, “Not now, maybe next time.” That pushed me to work hard for those things, to pray, and to think twice about spending on things I don’t really need.
Dad, you are the most generous man I know. You always give what you have to everyone around you. You meet people in coffee shops to coach them on personal finance as part of your advocacy, you give your time and effort to meet OFWs, you’re passionate and dedicated to educating Filipinos on financial literacy, and you even give material gifts to people around you.
You have always given what you have to the people in your life. I know now that while you always teach others to invest (stocks, insurance, property, etc.), your most valuable investment has always been your relationships with those beside you and the people you cater to. As such, you taught me to invest in myself and in others as well.
As I grew up, I realized why you do what you do. Why you work so hard, why you have so much passion and dedication. You’re fueled with a purpose to educate Filipinos on financial literacy—to teach them how to invest, save, and budget, and help give them the necessary knowledge to rise above struggles and achieve financial freedom. Most people in my generation try so hard to find a passion they love, so that the passion can eventually work for them, but you taught me differently. You always said, “Find your purpose, not your passion.” You would always remind me that my purpose in this life is what I should strive to find out and know, and that my purpose wouldn’t necessarily be my passion.
I want to thank you, Dad, for teaching me how to wait and to work hard. I never thought hearing the words “delayed gratification” would actually make so much sense at such a young age. Thank you for teaching me to pray to God who owns everything, and to not be a slave of money. You taught me to dream big and, eventually, to have faith. Thank you for teaching me to invest in myself and in others. Thank you for showing me what generosity means, and for being an example of how money can be used for a purpose.
Lastly, thank you for encouraging me to find my purpose. I am who I am today because of what you’ve taught me.