As a parent, one of the best feelings in the world is to see them reach their dreams. Today is my youngest’s big day. Today is the culmination of all her grueling years in med school. My eldest knew how important this day was. She woke up early to help her elder sister prepare.

She helped blow dry her hair, assisted with the make up, and even lovingly helped her put on the toga. Despite claiming that she just didn’t want her younger sister to embarrass her, I suspect she’s as proud of her younger sister as I am.

It is during these times that I really miss my husband. I just know he’d be very proud of her and what she’s become. Even though he left us early, he was able to fulfill his promise to the girls.

When I lost my husband, it felt like my world ended. He was my best friend and partner. He was the one I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. But I also knew I – we – were lucky that he took care of us. When we said our vows, he promised to love me and take care of me until death. But he did so much more. He took care of us, his family, even after he was gone.

He planned for everything, even the worst case scenario, so when the worst did happen, money was the least of our worries. He might not be here, but I am so thankful that I never had to worry about funding our children’s education.

Every time I wrote a check to pay for their tuition, I always reminded them to be thankful that their Papa made it all possible for them. He is not with us physically, but he still made sure that he fulfilled all his promises to them. My youngest daughter has finished preparing for her graduation. As we were heading out of the house, she looked at the picture of her Papa which was displayed in the living room. She smiled and whispered, ”Thanks Papa! This is for you!”

We had everything planned. We had our whole life planned. We had grandiose dreams and goals and were slowly and surely working towards them. We were going to grow our business and turn it into an empire. We were going to see our daughters graduate from med school and become doctors! We were going to retire with a comfy little nest egg and see travel with just the two of us again. We will be like newlyweds again. We were going to grow old together. He promised! We promised each other!

Then one day all those plans, and dreams, and promises disappeared.

It was sudden and unexpected. One moment we were relaxing on the sofa and the next minute he was clutching his chest, unable to speak.

The next few days were a blur. I remember being in the hospital the girls were confused and cying, looking for their dad. Then there was a sea of faces coming up to me whispering and murmuring their condolences as they awkwardly tried to give comfort. There were a multitude of paperworks and forms I had to accomplish and submit and file. The acquaintances were the first to disappear, then the friends trickled out, and lastly were the relatives. And finally, nothing.

After the sea of people around me, I was again left alone. Grief wanted to take over, but I was also gripped with the questions like, “What am I going to do now?”, “How am I going to raise the girls on my own?”, “Can I do it?”

The bell rang. I was irritated. I didn’t want to talk to anybody. I heard my daughters knocking on the door, so I knew it was someone they knew.

The bell rang again. I sighed and forced myself to get up from the bed.

My friend and financial consultant was at the door, giving me a sad smile and a hug. The tears fell again, but she silently held my hand and lent her shoulder when I needed it.

After a while, she spoke, “I know you might not want to see anyone right now, but I promised him that if something happens, I should give this to you once things settle down. That’s why I’m here.”

She handed me two things: a check for 5 million and a letter from him. Before I can even open the letter, on the envelope, it said in his clumsy writing, “Sorry I broke my promise, but please fulfill our dreams.”

So we’ve spoken to our Financial Consultant. Viv created a realistic and personalized Financial Plan for us. She helped us with our cash flow, with budgeting, and now, I can really see us reaching our goals, and ever since the beginning, one of our main goals was their college tuition fee. Di pa rin naman nabago. 

Our Financial Consultant was patient, consistent, and reliable. She answered all our questions and resolved all our concerns. 

My wife and I smiled at each other as we gave our first payment towards her med school tuition funds. We know that our money is in safe hands, they will help us make it grow, so that we’ll be able to use it when the time comes.

And with everything laid out in front of us, we took our first step into Financial Freedom. 

It has been a few months and masaya ako, masaya kami ng asawa ko sa decision namin. Nakakatakot siya sa una kasi di mo alam if kaya mo talaga gawin. Pero tuwing nahihirapan sa pagsunod sa budget at minsan naiisip mo na wag na lang, na bahala na lang, iniisip ko mga anak ko. 

I imagine them in their white doctor’s coats proudly smiling at us. Ang ganda ng pangarap nila, and gusto ko maabot nila yun.

Di pwedeng bahala na lang ang pangarap nila. As parents, responsibilidad natin na matulungan sila abutin yun. Kung kaya naman, mas maganda kung maibigay natin sa kanila yun, di ba?

Eventually, yung fear na baka di mo kaya, napapalitan ng surprise na, “kaya ko pala!” Ang sarap sa pakiramdam. Tayo rin lang pala ang pumipigil sa sarili natin. Guidance lang pala need natin so that we’ll handle our finances better and smarter.

With our kids as our inspiration, my partner’s support, and with the help of our dependable Financial Consultant, Viv, I know we will get there. 

So I’ve talked about budgeting and saving. How we’re making a financial plan for our daughters and their education. Time to introduce our third child, our business. Parang anak, kailangan mo rin bigyan ng pansin at atensyon ang business para lumago ito. At syempre, para ma-appreciate ng mga bata na ang ginagawa namin para sa negosyo ay para rin sa kanila, tinuturan na rin namin sila about the business even in their young ages. 

The business started as a small sideline. We wanted extra income so that we’d have better cash flow. Even then, we were lucky that we knew that we should not rely on a single income. 

It is a great way not only for them not only to know the product, but also to know our customers. They see the hard work we put in so they can appreciate how the business works. It is also a way for us to teach them how hard it is to earn money, so that they’ll also know how to handle it properly. 

Teaching them the value of hard work so that hopefully they also learn how to handle their money. We’re hitting two birds with one stone. 

Nakakataba ng puso pag nakita mo silang tumutulong. They learned how to make coffee so when they see us crunching numbers and doing the paperworks for the business, they make us Capistrano’s coffee just the way we like it. They learned the kinds of food that goes well with Capistrano’s vinegar so that they can offer it to their friends and their friends’ parents. 

Every weekend, we set aside time so the whole family could work together on the business, but of course, we try to ensure that it will be a safe and child appropriate activity for them. We gave them an allowance for the help they do. 

And since they know that we have to work to earn the money that we have, we are hoping that it will help them be more money savvy. Sabi nga ng matatanda, ang pera na mabilis makuha, mabilis din mawawala. 

We were already adults before we learned how to properly manage our money, how to set a goal and that saving and investing is something that we should be doing. We’re hoping that our kids will be able to handle their finances better. And that eventually, Viv will also help them with their financial goals when it’s time to do the same for their own families.


So, we already know how much our target is. The next step is to know how to get it.

Sabi nga nila, The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

In financial planning, that first step is called Budgeting. And one of the basics of budgeting is income allocation.

She shared with us an Ideal Income Allocation table to show us the best way to use our income. Una, maiisip mo parang mahirap siyang gawin. I mean, 40% lang yung needs? Eh paano kung need ko ng milk tea?

My friend assured us na it might look intimidating and impossible to do, pero kaya siya. And nag-explain na siya how to better understand the table.

Needs are for those na you need to survive. Yung kailangan bayaran monthly or else! Examples niya are Meralco bills, Water utility bills, Rent/Mortgage, internet, loans. There are also Needs na hindi naman monthly binabayaran like tuition fees. For those expenses, it is best to get the annual amount and divide it by 12 to know how much to set aside for it.

She also explained that ordering out or having food delivered is not considered a need kahit weekly or monthly naming ginagawa.

What made us happy is that she informed us that we don’t need to deprive ourselves just because we’ve started to save and invest.

She then pointed to the Wants part. So that we’ll feel happy about saving and investing, we should also allocate part of our budget for our wants. It can be dining out, online shopping, milk tea, coffee. It doesn’t matter! You have the budget for it!

Savings and Investment was also placed in the budget. It also helped that she defined for us what savings and investments are. Marami kasi tayong Pinoy na medyo nalilito when it comes sa definition ng investment. All along, I thought yung house naming was our biggest investment for our kids. Until she informed us na unless it will generate income like for rent, buying a house is an expense and not an investment.

And of course, last but not the least, is for Giving/Tithes. We are happy that we are blessed by God, so we also have to be a blessing to others. The best way to show that is to allocate a part of our budget to give back to him.

The best part of this is she guided us every step of the way. It wasn’t a simple overview. She helped us discuss every aspect of our finances para malaman namin kung saan siya dapat sa income allocation and what we need to adjust in our budget.

Having a hard time saving? Need help budgeting? Want a personalized budgeting plan? Talk to my financial consultant, Viv.

When my wife and I met with her friend to help us fix and manage our finances, one of the things she told us is that we should know our goals. Walang kwenta ang save nang save nang di mo alam kung saan mo gagamitin ito. Makikita mo nga siyang lumalaki, pero mauubos din sa biglaang sale kasi wala siyang pinaglalaanan.

We knew what one of our main goals were: education funding. We promised our kids they’ll reach their dream of becoming doctors and we want to deliver on that promise.

And since we were discussing dreams anyway, tinodo ko na and said I wanted my kids to study in the best schools in the country. Lahat naman tayong mga magulang, pangarap yun di ba?

So, she told us, to know roughly how much our goal is, we have to know the current prices of the school tuition in our chosen schools. From there, factor in the inflation, the number of years we have to save up, then she came up with the projected numbers.

She gave us the Projected Annual Tuition Fee table.

Nanlaki mata ko nung nakita ko yung projections. Nagulat ako sa laki ng numbers na binigay niya. And it is just for one kid. We have two. A lot of questions started flooding my head. Is this real? Can we afford this? Will we have to break our promise?

She noticed my – our – surprise, and she tried to reassure us. She smiled, “Nakakalula, no?” I nodded and she continued, “The good news is that I can help you reach that goal.”

My wife and I finally breathed a sigh of relief. “What do we need to do?”

“So, we already know how to manage our finances. We just saw our goal amount, and we know when we will need the money. Now, let’s plan how we’ll reach that goal.”

She showed us options on how to reach our goal. She listened to our concerns. We discussed our plans. It wasn’t long before we both agreed on our financial plan.

Maganda pala sa pakiramdam yung napa-plano mo nang maayos mga pangarap mo.

Challenging? Yes! But she showed us it is possible to do it.

Feels great? Yes! We finally know where our sweldo goes.

Want the same thing for your kids? Talk to my financial consultant, Viv.

Sweldo na naman. It’s that time of the month when you’ll see “Describe your sweldo using a movie title/song title/movie line/song line” on your FB timeline. It’s that time of the month when the monthly Lazada and Shopee sales looks so tempting. It’s that time when we splurge a bit so that we can treat ourselves to something nice. The time of the month when all our bills and payables come knocking.

And since it’s sweldo, my wife and I are again in front of our computer with the bills and payables. For the longest time, we’ve been trying to save up to ensure that we’re prepared for the kids’ college. They wanted to be doctors, so we have to make sure we’ll be able to afford med school.

Budgeting has been ugly and frustrating for us for the past several months. We kept on trying to save, but every time we see our account the day before sweldo, it is almost always 0 or very near to it. Despite wanting to save, it seems like we were getting nowhere.

I sighed. Another month has passed, and we are still no better off than when we started.

My wife sat there staring at the screen, I could see on her face the frustration I was feeling with our budget and savings. We both didn’t know what to do. Suddenly, her face lit up and I knew she had a lightbulb moment. She smiled, “You know what?”

“Uh… what?”

“I remember my friend helps people to budget and fix their finances. Maybe she can help. What do you think?” she said as she reached for the laptop and started looking for her friend in her friends list.

I, we, were both desperate, “If she can help us with this mess, why not?”

We met with my wife’s friend. It was an eye-opening experience meeting and talking to her. Despite the distance, we agreed on an online meeting wherein she discussed a lot of things. She made us realize our goal, what we were doing wrong with our budget and savings, and what we had to do to reach those goals.

The best part of that meeting was that she promised us she’ll help us through our journey.

The process is not easy. It is actually quite challenging but seeing our savings – and even investments – grow is very fulfilling. It is really nice to have an expert that can help and guide us through this tough time.

Months ago, I promised my kids that as long as they study hard, they won’t have to worry about med school expenses. I’m glad to think that when they do go to med school, my wife and I would not have to worry about med school expenses.


It was an almost perfect morning.

Despite the work from home set-up, I still looked forward to the weekend. I didn’t have to wake up early, I can take my time drinking my coffee instead of hurriedly gulping it down so I can prepare for an early meeting or quickly finish an early deadline.

I smiled as the aroma of Capistrano’s coffee filled the air. The kids were happily playing doctor in the living room. The missus sat in front of me with her own cup in hand. She likes her coffee a bit darker, so she left the coffee bag in her cup. I’ve already removed mine, placing it neatly on a saucer nearby.

This was something I look forward to every weekend, our early morning conversations have become our small bonding moment every weekend morning. The fragrant smell of warm brewed coffee drifted in the room while the children’s laughter and voices could be heard in the background.

I smiled, savoring the peace as I took another sip of coffee.

It was then that my eldest stood up and headed towards us with her younger sister following close behind. “Papa! Mama!”

“Yes, Ate?” I said as I gave her a smile.

“Papa, when I grow up, I want to be a doctor! I‘ll cure everyone who’s sick!” She smiled proudly.

Sumingit pa si bunso, “Me too, Papa! I’ll be a doctor like Ate!”

My wife paused, placed her coffee down and smiled, “Wow! Kaya mag-aral kayo mabuti para maging doctor kayo paglaki.”

They smiled, gave each of us a hug and a kiss before going back to playing doctor and patient in the living room. This time, Ate had the stethoscope in her hand pretending to listen to a heartbeat as bunso looked  up at her with a huge smile her on face.

“So, paano na?” my wife asked as she looked at the two kids happily playing on their own.

I shrugged, “Ewan ko.” I looked at my beautiful kids as I took another sip of coffee. “Do you think they were serious?”

She smiled, “Di ko alam, but what would you do if they are?” she paused, “Kaya ba natin?”

“Let’s plan. Let’s budget.” I looked at her, unable to stop myself from smiling.

She raised an eyebrow and smiled, “What?”

“Life. One second nagkakape ka lang, next thing you know, gusto na mag-doctor ng anak ko!”

To say that a lot has changed since 2020 is an understatement. We didn’t realize the huge effect that this would have in our lives. Businesses were forced to immediately adapt, they suddenly offered online sales for their clients, and work from home for their employees. For the kids, distance learning became the norm. Before, it was a luxury if we can have dinner with our family, but these days, we are spending time with each other 24/7. The initial panic buying to ensure our cupboards are well stocked have been replaced by online shopping.

Even our homes were not spared. We had to rearrange the house to make space for our ‘home office’ and even the kids had to be given their own space for their distance learning set up.

Roughly a year and a half into this new normal, we’ve somehow adjusted, and things are starting to look more optimistic. There are still a lot of uncertainties but in these dark times, the spirit of bayanihan has prevailed giving hope for everyone. Left and right, we see news and stories of people helping each other out. The vaccine has arrived, and more and more people are willing to be vaccinated.

In our homes, we’ve gotten used to our work from home set up. With no more commute taking a huge chunk of our day, we found ourselves with a lot of time in our hands to discover new hobbies or pickup a pastime that has previously taken a step back. We turned to gardening, baking, cooking as either new hobbies or a new side hustle. We were able to spend more quality time with our kids every day, instead of it being just a weekend event.

It really challenged our patience, but even the kids were somehow able to adapt to distance learning. Or at the very least, they were present during the synchronous classes with their teachers and were able to submit all the assigned tasks that were given to them. Kids these days have even discovered a new way of bonding with their classmates by playing an online game while on a zoom meeting to coordinate their moves.

It has been a very challenging and interesting year and a half, but despite the uncertainties and the fears, we’ve grown stronger and are even closer to our families. So, pat yourself on the back, we will get through this.