Success is defined as the attainment of wealth, favor, or superiority. Through hundreds of definitions and various inflections of the word, everyone will have a different person come to mind when you think of success.
There is success to be found in different fields in society, people of different backgrounds, and reason why they are deemed to be winners. Success, as the definition implied, could come from being famous or having the most net worth, but it could also come from touching the lives of most people or raising a family of loving individuals. It is a relief to know that success comes in different forms because it means that anyone could succeed in life. Yes, even you!
Our podcast guest for today talked about striving to be a better steward of success in her financial independence journey. It doesn’t matter if you think that success is earned, given or both. I believe that it is our imperative to be better stewards of it. Be it to help people who are closest to us or to aid a stranger in dire need.
Almira Rabaca came to her Financial Awakening in 2019 after reading several articles in the column Money Diaries on Refinery 29. Upon seeing other people’s relationship with money, she examined her own finances making her realize that she is not in a very good position. Accounting for how hard she worked as a physical therapist, she didn’t have much saved.
Like us and most Filipinos, she is frugal. She doesn’t splurge on shopping sprees, but she is not spending mindfully neither. Her paycheck went somewhere, but she didn’t know where. Everything just piled up from payments for a doctoral degree, moving to another state and a serious medical emergency. The only option to get by was to be in debt until the paycheck starts rolling in.
Plan to Financial Independence
Almira started following personal finance blogs and picked out money strategies that would work in her situation. She encountered terms and acronyms that were new to her, but she didn’t have anyone to ask in her circle, so Google became her friend. There is a lot to learn once you start looking. She got caught in the whirlwind of information the personal finance world has to offer. It could be overwhelming, but she didn’t get intimidated. You don’t have to know everything to start your FI journey.
First, she took a crucial step to nail down her debt by answering an important question. “Where does my paycheck go?” She took pen and paper, tracked down all her expenses, and then came up with a simple budget she could stick to.
After 4 months, she got rid of her debt. Her newfound freedom meant that she had more room to make her money work for her, so she turned the page of her financial independence journey into learning how to invest. She contributed to the company 401(k) up to the match, then opened and automated her IRA contributions so her paycheck is out of sight, reserved only for her future self.
One of the things she did to get ahead was to move from a high cost of living area to a lower one while keeping the same level of income (geoarbitrage). A difficult move because this meant leaving the beautiful weather and lively vibe in California to wearing heavy coats in Indiana winters.
Financial Independence Vision
Having been in debt for a while, Almira finds peace of mind knowing that there’s money to spend when it is needed. She said that all goals in life can be achieved without anxiety when you are well prepared.
She plans to still work as a physical therapist, but less hours so she can prioritize family life and do the things she loves. Although she aims to max all her retirement accounts and start an HSA to jumpstart her Financial Independence Vision, she wants to be bit generous with the budget in the future. She wants to enjoy the journey with her partner (now encouraged into the FI cult). Eventually she wants to buy a house and start a family. A reality within reach now that she lives with intention.
Being Better Stewards of Success
Money is a tool to spend on what you value. Almira learned that if she wanted to be a better steward of success, she must help her closest circle, her family. She is not obliged to do so, but she feels that there is no dollar amount you can place on being there for your family.
Balance is the key as with most things, but it takes trial and error to find it. Living your life to the fullest, taking care of loved ones and saving for the future is a tough balancing act. One way to look at it is that you must love your future self like your present self and family. Remember that she’ll be needing you too!
Connect with Almira @mirachibels on Instagram.
We are a Pinoy Physical Therapist duo living somewhat unconventional but intentional lives. In this podcast we want to learn how Filipinos all over the world in different industries and walk of life earn, spend, save and invest money to achieve Financial Independence.
We are NOT certified financial advisors, analysts, or CPAs. Investing strategies shared in this article and the website are not financial advice, but our own opinions that are for educational purposes only. We want you to treat our content as a preview to do your own research so you can make smart financial decisions.