By Rico T. Bautista, President and CEO of Etiqa Philippines

Last July 2020, Social Weather Stations (SWS) did a survey on the adult unemployment rate in the Philippines and the results showed that it reached a record high of 45.5% or around 27.3 million adults. This means that almost half of the Philippine adult population either lost their jobs, could not find a job, or are still struggling to have an employment. Half of those who were surveyed lost their jobs during the coronavirus period, while the rest lost theirs even before the pandemic crisis hit our country.

In the midst of all these, one cannot help but ask, how can I manage my financial health? Will I be able to sustain my financial health in the middle of the pandemic and beyond? What are the things I should consider so that my financial situation will continue to be healthy? Will insurance continue to be relevant so that I can keep my finances in a very good position?

There is no single answer to all the questions above, but it is my intention to give some bits and pieces of advice which hopefully can help our readers manage their financial health.

For those who have their jobs and are currently earning during this pandemic, it is important to continually be grateful for what you have, and the situation that you are in. You need to maximize your current earning capacity. This can be done by ensuring that the following principles are considered.

  • Save for the rainy days. We do not know when the next pandemic or crisis will be. Because of this, we should find ways to set aside from our earnings an amount that we can use for the challenging times ahead. Do not splurge on nonessential things.
  • Invest and grow your money. There are several investment opportunities that you can look into. The idea is for you to ensure that your money will grow as you set them aside.
  • Get covered by your company. Employee benefit on group health insurance and group life insurance should be made available by employers. These benefits should be provided for to employees.
  • Protect your assets. One of the things that you need to do is to protect your valuable assets like your properties and vehicles. You are paying a small amount compared to the peace and security against any risks of damage to what you own.
  • Insure yourself. You should protect the most valuable asset that you have, i.e., yourself. This is one of the best and more responsible things to do. In case of unexpected demise or health emergencies, it would be helpful to have a financial support system for you and your loved ones as well.

The first two points above are reminders of how one’s earnings should be allotted. Being able to take the future into consideration, spend your income wisely, and find ways to make your money grow well are some of the most important things when it comes to managing your financial health. The last three points focus on making sure that you and your assets are well-protected. This can be achieved through health, life and even general insurance. While it may seem like an expense at first, it is also a necessary expense that would be beneficial to you and your financial well-being in the long run.

On the other hand, for those who are in the midst of looking for a job, my most important reminders would be the following:

  • Maximize your skillset.
  • Seek for earning opportunities.
  • Network with people who can help you.
  • Build your personal branding.
  • Be hopeful.

Although these may be trying times, there will always be a silver lining in the horizon. There will be better times ahead.

My family came from humble beginnings. My father, who used to be a house help and a mailman, worked his way up in the economic ladder by selling and getting life insurance products. When he passed away, his insurance coverage helped my mother provide for her medical and hospital bills. My mother also passed away several years back. But she left us, her seven children, with an insurance policy which allowed everybody to sustain our way of life. We did not suffer economically when our parents died, due to lingering illnesses.

As we are in the midst of a pandemic, we are continually reminded of how vulnerable we are, both to mother nature and the happenings of life. By having an access to insurance, we are taking a step towards taking better care of our lives and of those whom we love, and making sure that our assets are also well-protected.

We are not certain of the future. But we can protect our dreams and the dreams of our loved ones by getting life, health and general insurance products. Insurance is key as it plays a pivotal role in managing one’s financial health.