It’s that time of the year again: That time most of us who are part of the workforce are looking forward to, the release of our 13th month pay!
With the holidays drawing nearer, there’s a mighty good chance that the bulk of our bonus will go to either buying gifts for our loved ones, or treating ourselves to things we want.
But before you go spend away your hard-earned bonus, you may want to consider these alternative ways to make better use of your 13th month pay:
1. Build your emergency fund. After paying your bills and debts, it’s better to set aside a good portion (the larger, the better) of your 13th month as your savings/emergency fund. As motivational speaker Francis Kong puts it, it's better if you think of your 13th month pay as savings rather than disposable income. As for how big your emergency fund should be? Financial planner Fitz Villafuerte suggests having six months' worth (based on your expenses) for your emergency fund.
Try: BPI and BDO's Online banking services, where you can access your savings account anytime and anywhere through your computer or smartphone.
2. Improve your skills and knowledge. Learning sure should not end after college. Your 13th month pay will get you far in terms of enrolling in a short course/workshop of your choice.
Another thing you can spend on to enrich your smarts? Villafuerte suggests that you should expand your knowledge on investing. “Buy and read books about investing, attend seminars, visit finance and business websites—feed your mind and have a better understanding of how investments work,” he explains.
Attend: First Metro Asset Management Inc.'s (FAMI) Mutual Funds 101 seminar, happening all Thursdays of November (10, 16, 24), 3PM-5PM at Training Room, 18/F PS Bank Center, Makati City. Best of all, it is free of charge!
3. Invest, invest, invest. You might be not happy with the country’s economic situation but it’s not all bad news. Instead of spending your bonus on a shopping spree, why not use that money to invest on financial products, be it stocks, mutual funds, or bonds? For financial adviser Randell Tiongson, it is best to invest once you have settled all your debts. The advantage of investing is that, with proper monitoring ad advise from your wealth adviser, you can make your money grow in the long run!
Try: Sun Life Financial's Prosperity Funds, where for a minimum of P5,000, you can make your money grow, depending on how much risk you are willing to take in the long run.
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4. Use it for needed maintenance expenses. Aside from paying bills and debts, you should also consider maintenance expenses as well. Whether it's for your house or your car, keep in mind that it's likewise important to keep everything in tip top shape to avoid major repairs in the future that can be costly at times. "Taking preventive rather than corrective measures may save you big bucks in the future," Tiongson explains.
Try: Purchasing your housing needs at any Wilcon store. Don't forget to avail of their loyalty card; points and perks await you for every purchase.
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5. Spend on experiences you can treasure later in life. While saving up is important, it's equally important to invest on yourself, particularly by enriching yourself with experiences. “Decades down the road, when you’re reliving your younger years to your grandchildren or to your friends during your university’s 50th year reunion, you don’t want to stand on the sidelines without anything to say, “ Tiongson explains. Should you want to explore the world, or try out new things, saving a part of your 13th month pay is a good start when it comes tp reaching those dreams. Also remember investment advocate Aya Laraya’s advice: “The best experiences are those you do not regret when the bills come due.”
Try: Booking a trip of your dreams within the Philippines or abroad. Rajah Travel has several tours for you to choose from, which include tours to parts of Europe, America, Asia, among others.
ALSO READ: Daily Diaries: How Do Filipinos Spend Their Money on Paydays?
Illustration by Jana Jimenez