Why is there a big gap between the rich and the poor in the Philippines?

wfmaPhoto credit: wfma

We all know that in the Philippines, there is this big divide between the rich and the poor. The poor get poorer, while the rich get richer. Why do think is that?

There are many reasons but for purposes of simplifying, let us focus on one thing. The rich know how to get richer and they are actively engaged in activities that make them accumulate more wealth. On the other hand, the poor, who do not know how to make ends meet,are indebted up to the future generations (this is an exaggeration, but may actually be true for someone out there),are averse to making money because they think money is evil, have poor mindset versus the wealthy mindset of the wealthy, and other reasons which I cannot fathom at this time.

Why do the rich get richer?  Take for example the following situation.

One day, I was at Jollibee, queuing to get to the counter so I can order my food. The lady in front of me placed a large order worth more than 500 pesos. The cashier, probably because she was trained to do so, offered the Jollibee card to the customer.

I am a holder of this Jollibee card, and I am not endorsing it to readers, but what does the card allow you to have? It gives you the chance to accumulate one point for every 50 peso purchase in any branch in the Philippines.  It was my mom who got me this card and I am always grateful for that. Because I cannot count the number of times I went to this blessed store when I was famished and did’t have to pay for whatever I ate. That is one point.  The card also allows you a chance to win some pesos — thousands of pesos — when they draw certain numbers.

Point number two. I was in Baguio over the weekend, and hey, they have 711 convenient stores there too!  Guess what? I have their card– and I also get points for every purchase of some amount. Last Christmas, I got 1.5L ice cream and other goods for free from their store. Yep, we buy the card, but the returns outweigh the cost of the card.

Point number three. I won’t mention the name of the store anymore, but you all know it since it is found in strategic locations in the Philippines. You can watch movies there, buy groceries, clothes, perfume, make-up. You name it, they got it. And yes, I am a proud holder of their card, and many times I have bought groceries using the points I had in the card. And one more thing, the goods cost less than when you buy from the “palengke”. I know. I compared their prices.

In line with point number three, the poor pay more, right? Because the palengke price, you may think is lesser, is actually higher than the cost in the grocery, and you don’t get any points for future use!

Try to compare the price of one kilo chicken in the palengke and in the grocery and you will see what I mean. What else? Do you see the price of magic sarap and the like? I can’t remember the exact name of that product I bought–it costs, 4 pesos in the palengke, when it is supposed to cost only 1 peso! The poor pay more you think? You bet they do.

Now let us go to the favorite of all, the credit card.

Let’s remember  that the rich get richer while the poor get poorer.  The rich will use their CC to the max and then by the end of the month, they will pay in full for whatever they purchased. What do they get for that? They get the full points, and they do not get charged by the bank.

What about the poor who also uses the credit card, but because Juan spends more than he can pay for, he will pay only  a certain amount of what he owes — not the total amount, therefore, he will be charged by the bank. “Konti lang naman,” he says, but if you total that for one year, I doubt if you will say konti lang naman.

Juan, what you pay for as fine, is what the rich enjoy.

The rich didn’t pay for anything, he got his max points, and he enjoyed his purchase. You, Juan, paid for what the rich is enjoying and you will continue to do so, because you do not know how to manage your money.

You save your money in the bank? Go ahead. Have you heard of the latest bank”hacking” for 81M?  Talk about no security.

Besides that, interest is less than one percent in one year. Let us say you have saved ten thousand pesos in one year, that will give you 100 pesos interest for one year. Plus it is taxed and don’t forget inflation. So your ten thousand in reality is worth less than ten thousand. And it can get hacked by anyone and so bye bye to your money.

Why am I writing this? Because I want people to understand that if they are born poor, they do not have to die poor.  If they do, then that is a grave disservice to themselves. Why let others have everything that is good, and not go for it yourself, when you can have a share of the pie and eat it too?

Someone was telling me a few days ago that it was against God if we do what we can to be wealthy.

I think it is against God to neglect ourselves and not to use the world and its resources so we can have comfortable lives and share to others who are less fortunate.

I think it is against God if we do not respect, cultivate and grow the resources that we have given the limited time we have on this earth.

I think it is against God if we insist on having a poor mentality in all aspects (not necessarily in material wealth), when He gave us everything –time, talent, treasure– to use and develop– not just for ourselves but for the society as a whole. (Of course, those who have a vow of poverty– the religious people are not included here).

I do not agree that God wants His people to wallow in lack and poverty. I do not agree that those who have wealth are evil people. I think people can be evil whether wealthy or poor. Being good or evil has nothing to do with one’s wealth. Being evil has everything to do with one’s motives, to oneself and to others.

The passage of time shows us that we are moving towards development and progress. From the time fire was discovered by the early inhabitants of the earth, there was no stopping progress. Tell me a society which instead of moving towards what is new and advanced, is instead trying to go back to the times when people lived as hunters and gatherers, nomads, with no sense of territory.  Even the tribes that we have in the mountains are slowly loosing their old ways– sad as it may seem.

The natural tendency is to gravitate towards that which is offering better ways to do things, to communicate, to travel. Do you know of anyone who will insist on using the snail mail instead of the internet or texting via cellphones?  Yes the snail mail or the use of telegrams — were the  best ways for us to communicate, once upon a time. And you may not now know this, but you may ask your parents and they will tell you their love stories involving the snail mail and or telegrams.

What am I saying? I say let’s say yes to growth, to learning, to moving forward. And I say the same thing and very loudly when it comes to making our money grow. Let us say yes to growing our money! Why? Because money — it may not make you happy, and it will never make you happy, but it can allow you to enjoy the world with your loved ones because you do not have to enslave yourself to the land or to the desk so that you can buy rice for the family to eat. So you can afford to see the best doctors if you get sick, so you can send the children to the best schools, so you can have clothing to protect yourself from nature, so you can have a decent home to go to and rest at the end of the day, instead of looking for any dark corner in the barangay to stay at night because there is no space for you to lie on for the night.And this is the best part, so you can enjoy the world, and discover its beauty together with your loved ones because you have the time and the means to do so.

How can this happen?

You, Juan, have to know how to grow your money.

We will teach you how. We are not selling you products, unlike the other companies out there.

We are selling you to you, so you can have a chance to enjoy the world with your loved ones. So you can be secured. So you can have a decent house, your dream car, school funds  for your kids, your retirement package. And many more.

If you want to give yourself a chance at growing your wealth and enjoying it too, come to the free Financial Literacy seminar on Saturday, March 19, 2016, 2 pm, Makati. (World Financial Marketing Alliance, 7th F Philamlife Salcedo Bldg., 126 P. Leviste St., Village, Makati City). (You can also attend on any Saturday, same time; or any Tuesday  at 7pm, Telephone Number 02- 812-1188. If they ask who referred you, just say it was Lily Colon or you may text me at 09222147873).

The sky is not the limit. You are the limit.

Here’s to your financial freedom!