My First Step to Financial Independence

“Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it … he who doesn’t … pays it.” ― Albert Einstein

My interest in financial investment sparked several years ago when I read an article about a 20-something girl who made a living out of stock trading and mutual funds buying. Since then, I never stopped dreaming that I would become a shareholder one day.

The road wasn’t easy. The first hurdle I had to face was when I found out that buying stocks were expensive, and I couldn’t afford even one tiny share from a meager income. One day, I read an e-book of Robert Kiyosaki‘s Rich Dad, Poor Dad. It opened my eyes that if I’m not going to act now, I will be a forever player in the rat race. I don’t want that. So I started reading the business section of every newspaper I can get my hands on, learn about the Philippine stock market and many other sources to be familiar with how out works. But I thought it’s going to take a long while before I can be familiar with stock trading stuff. I don’t have much time. I had to look for an investment instrument that even an ordinary person like me can invest. I thought of going to banks and try their investment options, but I hesitated. I figured that if they have investment vehicles to go to invest, why not go straight to the source instead of going to a third party? Then I discovered mutual funds.

It was like angels singing “Hallelujah” in the background when I realized this could be what I’m looking for. I don’t need to have extensive knowledge in stock trading to be an investor, and I don’t have to have to be ultra rich to buy shares. It’s just perfect. The second struggle was where can I find one?

I searched the internet to find one. I read good reviews about Sun Financial, so I went to their office to inquire about their mutual funds. They referred me to one of their agents, but I was disappointed. I told the person what I was interested in but she insisted that I get their variable life insurance. I know that it’s important to be insured but I know the disadvantages and would rather get a separate account for that.

Luckily, some of my fellow teachers at an ESL school I used to work at was also interested in mutual fund investments. One of them referred Pioneer Insurance to us so we went. I thought the agent we spoke to was going to do the same thing that Sun Financial insurance agent did to me. Surprisingly, she didn’t. She really listened to what we wanted and introduced us to First Metro Asset Management, Inc (FAMI). Although she wasn’t able to make money from us, we’re eternally grateful for helping us. If someone is looking for a financial adviser, I’d definitely recommend her.

FAMI is an investment company that specifically manages and distributes mutual funds. It also advocates investment literacy among pinoys.

To invest, you will need an initial investment of Php 5,000 to open an account and a minimum of Php 1,000 for any additions. You’ll also need to go to their office, located at Metrobank Plaza building along Jones Avenue, to fill up some forms. You can also talk to my financial adviser for assistance. I’ll refer you to her, if you want. ^_^ Once submitted, they’ll send you a confirmation receipt after week or two. And that’s it. So simple and easy, right? After that, you can buy more shares either monthly, quarterly or annually. It’s all up to you.

If you’re looking for long-term savings, one that’s not readily available, consider investing in mutual funds. Putting money in a bank is okay but the ease of withdrawing money through an ATM machine is just very tempting, especially when you happen to be in a mall and there’s a big sale going on.

FAMI is not the only investment company here. In fact, it’s one among many. If you’re interested, you can check out these other fund investment companies:

2. Philam Strategic Growth Fund, Inc.
4. Philippine Stock Index Fund Corp.
8. NCM Mutual Fund of the Phils., Inc.
10. PAMI Horizon Fund, Inc.

I don’t have an account with any of them yet, so I don’t know about their processes and stuff. If you want to know about mutual fund investment and the likes, it’s best you do your own research about it and about the top performing investment companies here in the Philippines. By the way, investing in such instruments involves risks just like any other form of financial investments. So know the risks before you shell out money.

Just remember that financial literacy is not being taught at school. It’s best that you do your homework and act on it while you’re still young. Don’t be like me who started late.

*FAMI, Pioneer, and the companies listed above did not pay me to write this post. This is purely based from my  personal experience and opinion.