By Francisco J Colayco
In the dictionary, ‘substance’ has several definitions and some of the related adjectives are: dependable, stable, important and significant. We know that the Filipino family follows a matriarchal system where the mother has a quiet, but decisive role in all matters. Yet as a matter of practice, Filipina women are still considered inferior to males, although this belief is slowly changing. Talking as a Christian, it probably all started from the teaching in the Bible that Eve was created from the bone of Adam. This is further emphasized in weddings – the thinking that wives should be obedient to their husbands, and husbands should love their wives. (However, it goes without saying that husbands who love their wives will not require them to be obedient to a point that will harm them. I just want to clarify this because some women might not like my statement reminding them to be obedient to their husbands.) Finally, the wife is the carrier of the couple’s off springs; the one who goes through the experience of childbirth and raising the children. With all these things in the life of a woman, it is natural that wives will tend to think more of their husbands, children and even parents, before thinking of themselves. This kind of behavior is normally praised by society in general because it shows generosity and charity. Women tend to behave in the same way, following the example set by their own mothers. However, there should be some limit to this kind of behavior. Women who read Illustrado are surely enlightened women who are educated and aware. They are women of substance – characterized as achievers in their careers, while loving and caring for their families and loved ones. They are women who offer many reasons to be honored and looked up to. Unfortunately, as I encounter so often, most women, even those who are admired, are not prepared to live a life of financial independence. Married women who bring in the bulk of the income while they pursue their careers tend to forget that they may eventually be alone. Studies show that women live longer than men. Therefore, women should prepare as early possible to live a “life alone.” They have to understand and accept that there is a strong chance that their husbands will die before them, and that their children will have their own families to support. On the other hand, those who are not married and are used to being independent tend to forget that their earning capacity will not last forever. Whatever the case, women should prepare as early as possible for their financial independence when they can no longer work. There are many options: Educate yourself: Read and study and join as many seminars as possible to be financially literate. Make a financial plan: From my books, seminars, and workshops, learn to make a financial plan and have a target savings and investment plan. Keep your attitude in check: Keep in mind that parents should not expect support from their children. Educate children so they can support themselves. At the same time, parents should save and invest so that they will not have to depend on their children upon retirement. This should be the case even if only one parent is still alive. Living with children could be an option to make life more convenient for all, but the objective should be for each to still be financially independent. Talk it out with those concerned: Take time to communicate with your husband, children and parents and even siblings. Making a financial plan and adhering to it will require that you all share the same goal of being financially independent. This may also require a change in mindset. You may not see the change immediately, but future generations can certainly benefit if the plans start now. We discuss these financial plans and issues in our seminars/workshops. Join them when you are in Manila and start building your own path to a financially independent and thus, worry-free future. Call us at 6373731 or 6373741 or visit www.colaycofoundation.com Share this information with your family and relatives in Manila so they can help you reach your goal of financial freedom.