Do You Want to be Rich?


A Look Into the Future

It just happened.

I was in law school, one daughter, one husband, a house, no mortgage, no money.  Husband wanted to quit work and start business and asked my permission to which I said, um, okay, how…?, yes.

If there is one important thing I learned in married life, it is the power of believing.  If I believed in D, let’s call my one husband D, he suddenly soared, flew, made miracles, painted rainbows.  If I nagged him, he would flail, shrink to nothingness, felled by my ungraciousness and unbelief.  In the many years of our marriage, I always resorted to lashing out.  In my years of law school, I who never put food on our table all those remaining law school years, would slay D with my words  – and everything that remained – our confidence, peace, sanity – would shatter.

I do not know when I turned wiser, do not know when I finally understood that if I believed in him enough, if I gave him words of encouragement, if I lent him my ear and silenced my wicked tongue, he will be a bigger man.

So with my blessings, he left his stable job, went to business, worked, did not sleep, until 1-2-3 months became 6, lost his partners (some intentionally), then lost the business.

To say that I – we – were shattered is an understatement.  There was no money flowing in those six months and I was in law school (read: I was “expense”).  I do not know how we survived.  Perhaps, we did not.

But after the crash came a new beginning.

I just took the Bar, happy to be back at work (read: I was no longer “expense”) and I do not know when or how but I started thinking about Robert Kiyosaki and Rich Dad, Poor Dad.  Mind you, I have not read the book, just some excerpts from it, did not know Kiyosaki from Adam, but I knew I wanted to be rich.  So, as a good employee would, I started surfing at company expense, and surfing led me from Robert Kiyosaki’s financial coaching website to Salve Duplito’s Money Smarts (  She ran an ad at that point in time, looking for guinea pigs for a financial experiment.  I wrote her a quick email and got the part, the hubby in tow (it was for couples – perfect!).

The result of the first meeting with Salve’s financial planner was disastrous.  If we were going by grades, he would probably have given us an F.  And I do not blame him.  We lived a paycheck to paycheck existence, had Php5,000 in the bank, had Php30,000 in credit card debt, one million pesos of “thank you mommy” liabilities.  We had a few weapons in our arsenal too: we had no mortgage (house fully paid courtesy of early inheritance from D’s parents), I owned another house which I acquired when I was still single, and I just learned I passed the bar.  He was not impressed.

In fact, in his report, the financial planner said, “While the couple’s Emergency Fund Ratio (EFR) will be over 1x by the end of 2007, the ideal ratio is 3x.  The couple would need to add around Php149,000 to their annual income to meet such a ratio.  To raise their savings rate to 18.1% from 6.7%, the couple would need additional annual income of Php262,000, or add 24% to their current annual income.” After this analysis, without ever explaining what the hoot it meant, or if there was any hope for us, we never saw him again.

And then we met financial planner extraordinaire.  Let us call him J.  At our first meeting, J had the temerity to ask us about our parents and about their money habits, about our feelings about money, stuff I considered a little too personal for a first meeting.  But deep within, something soared and I knew that I wanted to be asked, that I wanted to know, and I wanted to understand.

From those first hard hitting questions came a fountain of realizations.  We are a product of our parents in more ways than one.  We deal with money the way they dealt with money.   I was a combination of my mother who is still haunted by memories of a childhood knee-deep in flood waters, sharing a bathroom with 9 other families – I call her my “poverty-guilt mindset” – and my father, the generous gambler who died a little too suddenly – I call him my “big spender mindset”.  I would spend and then feel crazy-guilty.  I tell you, it was not a good feeling.  I am still looking at that fountain, analyzing, learning, understanding, forgiving.

Money Smarts catalogued our one year journey from zero (or negative?) to adding more than Php411,000 (income + savings needed) to our annual income.  I do not blame or mock that first financial planner.  He was part of the journey.  But the credit goes to Salve and J – who listened, believed and stayed.

We continue to find great people and great mentors in our journey, sharers and catalysts, friends and those who uplift and those who pin down (when we get too excited about nothing).  But change is within and when I look at D, I am amazed as to how we have allowed ourselves to make this journey and change our lives.

At the beginning I said it just happened.  No.  It did not just happen.  It was a long and arduous process.  A team effort.  But our conscious and subconscious allowed the want to surface until it is eliminated because the inaction turned into action.

We are still works in progress.  There are still avenues to be discovered, mistakes to learn from, mentors to listen to, blessings to be claimed, mindsets to be changed.

Money matters, wealth attraction, financial freedom – we can take you with us in our adventure.  But first, can you make the embrace?  Do you want to be rich?

Be rich,


Text by Issa.  Art by D. Copyright 2009.
email: [email protected]

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  1. Nannette Ferreria says:

    Your write up has reminded us about a very important value – the power of believing. Believing in our husbands, believing in ourselves and somehow, God,(for me – the “Universe” for some) who watches over us will make all things work together for our good. Our “good” doesn’t necessarily mean life will be perfect – we will still make wrong turns, but its important to set our sights on the goal because it will keep us going despite the hardships and the fears. Let the goal be like a lighthouse in the distance. And our family be like the captain and the team who will steer our ship out of the storm into calm water. – We gotta believe in each other.

  2. Issa says:

    It’s wonderful to see you here, N!

    Yes, belief is really powerful. It is a sad truth, though, that people would rather criticize and insult and malign. And yes, I do understand the “urge” (been there, been that 🙂 ) but really, it does more harm than good, harm that could be permanently debilitating. It’s an old adage but people really need love, and belief, and we hear of sad stories where people have spent their entire lifetimes looking for that one nod, that one smile (usually from a parent). Thanks for sharing this belief with me. 🙂

  3. Tyrone | Millionaire Acts says:

    Hi Issa, what a nice story you just shared your readers with. I believe in building a positive mindset. Believe in yourself that you can do it. In believing, there comes discipline and action. Sooner or later, you won’t realize that after those efforts that you’ve made, you will be surprised that you already reached your goal. 🙂

  4. Issa says:

    That’s true. Victory, or defeat, comes before the game. It happens in the mind. I guess we just have to train our mind to believe the self more. 🙂

  5. George R. says:

    Hi Issa,

    great site! truly informative. Btw do you have a financial planner to recommend? fees? really need the services of one right now 🙂

    Thanks and more power to you and your blog

  6. admin says:

    Hi George! When are you available for a meeting? I can set this up. I will also email you privately about their names/contact information. More power also to!

  7. Kendrick Chua says:

    Hello Issa, I stumbled upon your blog when I was browsing through Salve’s blog roll. I found your blog very refreshing since you share your personal experiences. I love this post!

    I am a financial planner and your entry inspires me to be the most effective financial planner for my clients. At the end of the day, regardless of how much financial planners know and how many credentials he has, it doesn’t matter if he can’t help the client.

    More power to your blog and to your journey to financial freedom.
    .-= Kendrick Chua´s last blog ..Money Habits of Ordinary Chinese =-.

  8. Issa says:

    @Kendrick Hi! Salve is a very good friend and we are also both training to be financial planners. Like you, our thrust is to be effective for the client and not lead them on to expensive products which will yield more commissions. I think when money is foremost in the mind of the financial planner (his or what he will get out of it), it compromises the relationship. It should be win-win for both. But getting to that middle ground is easier said than done as I have found out and I have questioned myself many times about motives. I think, though, that when “helping” is foremost in the mind, it makes a lot of things clearer, and some decisions easier (like foregoing more commissions). We try to stick to that advocacy.

    More power too, to you and your blog. Thanks for visiting. 🙂
    .-= Issa´s last blog ..Waiting for the Apple to Fall =-.

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  10. Joy says:

    Hi Issa!

    Reading your article (at least the first part of it) is like reading what I went through. Only that, I quit law school long ago and been quite happy with that decision. I also went down the broke-married-and-with-kids path but was able to step on the break and made the U-turn fast enough. I would like to know more about couple’s Emergency Fund Ratio (EFR)or if it’s not too much to ask, can you give me the name and contact numbers of your financial planner. Thanks and keep on writing dear.

  11. Issa says:

    @Joy For a while, I thought I was also leaving law school for good (I stopped for 4 years!) and the years leading to becoming a lawyer was long and hard. I am glad you made the U-turn too, and fast at that. Regarding the emergency fund ratio (EFR), it is the money a family will need to survive in case of, say, a job loss, disability, or any situation when one or both of the spouses cannot (hopefully, temporarily) earn income. Usually, this is equivalent to three times the monthly expenses (for businessmen, this should be six times the expenses). The EFR is usually deposited in a savings account that can easily be accessed but it should not be too easy (i.e, time deposit account, or an account without an ATM). You can contact our financial planners Joe and Nannette through They are our partners and we will be happy to meet with you. Happy new year! 🙂

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