As the economy seem to take a turn for the worst every week one’s confidence in the stock market tend to falter. It is counterintuitive to put money in assets that could dramatically lose its value day in and day out without warning. It is hard enough to part with your hard-earned cash, but more difficult to hand it over to a venture that seemed to be a gamble.
Today we talk to “coffee aficionados” who started their Financial Independence journey back in 2017. They are both physical therapist Filipino immigrants that realized the value of financial freedom early in their careers. Let’s find out how Jerome Paguyo and Quiolo Angeles plan to achieve Financial Independence by following the most basic investing beliefs and core principles.
Jerome was introduced to Financial Independence in a family reunion. He met a cousin that was travelling for a year and got curious as to how they were able to pull it off. The couple introduced him to the concept of FI and how it could set him free. He realized soon after that his cousin’s husband is FI blogger Big ERN of Early Retirement Now. He dipped his toes in the water by slowly contributing to his retirement accounts until he became comfortable with maxing them all out.
Quiolo found Financial Independence while hunting for the best interest rates to refinance his car loan. He went down the rabbit hole of sub-Reddit on personal finance, eventually reading different FI blogs and listening to the ChooseFI podcast. He started becoming intentional with his finances until he was able to max out his retirement accounts apart from owning a fully paid car.
Both Jerome and Quiolo love to help as physical therapists, but they still want to have the freedom to do other things like passion projects, time with the family, to just rest and recharge.
Investing Beliefs and Core Principles
Quiolo is invested in the market for the long term. He consistently contributes on low cost highly diversified index funds in his retirement accounts. A good advice that he has for people who don’t have these low-cost index funds in their company plan is to do a BrokerageLink through Fidelity. This option opens the investment choices in your 401k plan as if it were a brokerage account.
One strategy that save them money to invest is batch cooking. As the price of everything rises, sit-in dinners and take-out food had always been a budget-buster especially if done daily. Home cooked meals could make a huge difference not only to your budget but also your health and your relationship as a family.
Jerome’s investing strategy is simple, dollar cost averaging. This is the principle in which a fixed dollar amount is invested on a regular basis, regardless of share price. It takes out the emotion out of investing in the market by eliminating the need to time the market twice (when to buy and when to sell).
He is not too prohibitive when it comes to spending if he optimized the Big 3 (housing, transportation, and food). They don’t own a home as of the airing of the podcast, not allowing themselves to give in to the pressure of home ownership and some flawed belief that renting is just throwing your money away. Huge savings from the cost of home maintenance freed up money for them to invest for the future and time to do things they truly enjoy.
Challenges for New Immigrants
For Jerome, the lack of information regarding personal finance is one of the challenges he faced early in his adult life. It is a mystery how we are at times overly qualified when we enter the workforce but lack the basic knowledge on interest rates, saving and investing. Newly grads are just dumped in the middle of it all expected to make sense of the why’s and how’s of properly dealing with their finances.
For new Filipino immigrants, he reiterates to not be afraid to invest. The market is your friend in the larger scheme of things. So long as you have the right investing principles, like diversifying your portfolio, being in it for the long term and staying the course on downturns, you’re likely to be Financially Independent sooner than you think.
Fear, uncertainty, and doubt was the challenging hurdle Quiolo faced in his FI journey. As people have the beliefs that investing is gambling and accessible only to millionaires with tons of capital. He soon learned that these beliefs are myths. About 90% of his investments are in broad-based low-cost index funds and he has some on speculative investments to play with.
His advice to immigrants from the Philippines is to leave the scarcity mindset behind. This inherent feeling that there will never be enough tends to impede growth and stops us from enjoying life to the fullest. Quiolo values gaming and so he equips himself with the right gear and accessories. This is because depriving ourselves, being averse to investing and neglecting the value of giving could make us miserable, just for the sake of saving an unknown amount of money.
Lessons from the Past and Visions of the Future
Alongside assuring a secure financial future, his mental health and physical well-being have been Quiolo’s focus recently. Knowing that at the end of the day your retirement account balance is not what would make you happy but the experiences it would bring enjoyed with a healthy mind and body with the people you love.
He envisions living with his beautiful family in Washington state close to Oregon taking advantage of each state’s 0% income and 0% sales tax respectively. He still picks up a few patients here and there, but he doesn’t rely on his PT income anymore. He enjoys spending time with the family and doing passion projects such as photography.
Jerome learned that Financial Independence is not about penny pinching to fatten his bank accounts. It is living your life the way you want. Once the savings are in place and automated, spending on the things that you value should give you joy rather than anxiety. FI is not a sprint but a leisurely walk. Take in the sun, smell the roses, and enjoy the journey.
Fast forward 8 to 10 years Jerome and his wife are in the beautiful streets of Spain. Enjoying the old-world streets and plazas, not defined by their jobs but by the freedom of being whoever they want to be. He’s grinding coffee beans and creating masterpieces with fancy coffee makers in their villa.
Investing Core Beliefs and Principles
Investing is a crucial and indispensable step to achieve Financial Independence. It is very powerful because it takes advantage of compounding gains. This force is what takes your 9-5 blood, sweat and tears and skyrocket it to a million dollars within your lifetime. Although it is difficult at times, we must put our trust in the market. Accept the fact that the market tends to have mood swings. It is not all rainbows and butterflies in the short term, but it could surprise you if you’re in it for the long haul.
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.