My Thoughts About Money

It’s funny what type of activities Taiwanese women do for fun.

Have nothing to do?!

Just go SHOPPING!!!

Here’s a typical conversation between two Taiwanese women (translated from Chinese, of course)…

Girl 1: I’m bored.
Girl 2: Me too…
Girl 1: What can we do?
Girl 2: Let’s go shopping!
Girl 1: Great! There’s a sale in Sogo!
Girl 2: Let’s go then!

*roll eyes*

I’m not here to judge… wait, I kinda am.

But geez, there must be better things to do in life than to go shopping.

As you may notice, am not really a shopaholic. 😉

For one, I don’t have place to store the stuff that I already have. So where can I put the stuff I recently bought?! The roof?! Secondly, shopping requires money. And why buy stuff that looks like the stuff you have at home?!

Girls, you see, usually buy clothes that have the similar “look.”

It’s quite nuts here.

Women are quite content walking around the whole day in the shopping mall, and buying a single item. I think it’s a BIG waste of time. I have loads of better stuff to do than to shop at Sogo, Mitsukoshi, Taipei 101 or whenever.

Don’t they have a life?!

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I used to teach English at a language center for adults.

You get to meet a lot of interesting people there.

One student was named Maggie.

We did a one-on-one tutorial for a couple of weeks. I remember that she was always complaining that her job as a service representative at a bank didn’t really pay enough.

She said she needed at least NT$60,000 (around Php 90,000) to maintain her lifestyle.

Gee… that’s a lot more than what am making.

But anyway…

She complained that she always didn’t have enough money. She told me that she recently bought an apartment near Taipei 101 (a prime location), and the mortgage payments were pretty heavy. She was also supporting part of her boyfriend’s lifestyle. Hence, the NT$60,000 minimum.

In conclusion, she said she didn’t have money and was poor.

When she left, she showed me her new LV bag. It costs around NT$30,000!

I was like, NT$30,000 for a freaking bag?!

I wanted to grab her bag and slap her around in it.

Don’t ever dare say you’re poor when you’re throwing money in buying a bag! Regardless if it’s LV, Coach or whatever expensive brand-named bags there are!

I’ve seen poor…

Poor is when you sleep on the streets because you don’t have a roof over your head…

Poor is when you have no money to feed your wife and kids that night…

Poor is when you’d have to steal just to eat…

I’ve seen poor… and it irritates me when people say they’re poor and buys an LV bag. It irritates me because there are people who can’t even afford to eat.

Maggie, no wonder you have no dough to pay for your mortgage payments. NT$30,000 can already pay that for that month’s installments. And you buy an LV bag?!

Some people don’t really know how to save money. For them, status symbols are more important. They’d rather throw their money on a Porsche, be stuck with a heavy debt and look cool, than to put their money away in the bank.

It made me realize that a lot of people in Taiwan are pretty materialistic. Brand-named goods are snapped up like crazy by women here.

Not that it’s wrong, but I do think there’s more practical things to do with your money (i.e., investing it in business, or saving it in the bank for a rainy day).

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I remember my mom told me about their friend who owns a bank back home. She told me, “Look at Uncle XXXXX, he owns a bank while his family’s wife owns another bank. He is a multibillionaire, but when he goes out, he doesn’t look like one. He simply wears a simple shirt and a simple watch.”

Lucio Tan, who’s one of the richest tycoons back home, is the same way. When you look at him, you wouldn’t guess that he owns a conglomerate which includes an airline as well as a liquor and cigarette factory. He’s one of the most down-to-earth guys there is, opting to wear just a simple white sando (undershirt) over a barong (formal Filipino wear). Very understated and low-key.

Lesson for today: When you don’t have money, you don’t have to show it off. Why? Because you don’t need to. You’re happy in the knowledge that your money is safe in the bank and your future is secure. Letting other people know of your finances will only create trouble for you. Instead, just keep quiet and keep a low profile.

That’s how you get to know who the old-rich are and the new-rich.

The old-rich are very confident about their financial status. They feel no need to flash their money everywhere. They don’t really show-off their cash, or make other people feel that they are more inferior because they have less money.

The new-rich however, take every opportunity to show off their wealth.

Mercedez Benz or BMWs? Check!

The biggest houses?! Check!

Very large and expensive jewelry? Check!

Meanwhile, the old-rich just roll their eyes and politely say nothing about it. They know that the more you show off your wealth, the more you attract trouble. Kidnapping is a serious issue at home. And besides, you don’t know if people hang around you because they like you — or only because they like your money.

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My parents recently related to me that some of my relatives are in big financial trouble.

Apparently, they have borrowed around Php 20 million (more than NT$13 million) from the bank, and cannot afford even to pay the interest of Php 200,000. The problem was, they didn’t spend the money wisely, opting to purchase goods that aren’t profitable or pay for their day-to-day expenses.

That’s a lesson that I truly believe in: Never borrow money unless you have to. And when you borrow money, try to pay it as soon as possible. Don’t put yourself into a delicate position of owing people money.

It’s true what they say, money can be the worst master — or the greatest slave.

Put the money in a bank or in some worthwhile investments and watch it grow. Or you can put yourself more and more in debt (you can do this by borrowing more money to pay off your debt), and you’ll find yourself stuck with the burden of being unable to pay the high interest.

I know that money isn’t that important. Good relationship with family and friends are worth more than money. But please, be smart about money as well.

So don’t waste your money doing excessive shopping. 🙂

About Bonita

I'm a forgetful person. But I think a lot. Every day, a lot of thoughts enter my head. That's why this blog came to be: first, to keep my memories alive through the years, and two, to actually see how I and my thoughts have changed. Please note that I seldom draft or edit my posts. Sometimes, if I'm not careful, I offend some of you, my readers. And while I apologize for making you feel uncomfortable, I am not sorry for being honest or for making well-intentioned mistakes. I will however be the first to admit if I change my mind. Hence, do read and proceed with caution. My life is as colorful and as boring as you make it. I complain many days, but offer some encouragement in others. Life is fluid, it changes. So keep the positives and throw away the negatives, and I do hope that at the end of the day, you will enjoy reading the blog and leaving comments here and there if my posts touches you. Happy reading!
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5 Responses to My Thoughts About Money

  1. BlackDove says:

    I just LOOOOOOVVVEEE your outlook on money matters. I predict that you will be a millionairess soon.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Hey Raven, don’t the banks in the Phillipines ask for collateral when one applies for a Php 20 mio loan ? or maybe I am missing the part where the borrowers are in fact still enjoying the freedom and joy to spend money that does not belong to them….banks prefer to continue bankrolling them than writng off a bad debt !

  3. raven says:

    Blackdove, thanks for the compliment. Still trying to be a millionaire, but hope to be one before I hit my 30s! They say the first million is the hardest. Well, then, let’s start working for that million then!

    Anonymous, that’s true… you need collaterals before one can borrow that loan. But I’d like to think banks prefer to have their cash returned, than be stuck with collaterals they have yet to sell. As for these big lenders, that’s what wrong. Spending money that doesn’t belong to you… that’s bad financial sense.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I fully agree with you, by the way you mean borrowers spending other people’s (instutions) money and not lenders. In fact, banks make a heck of a lot more money on the interest they charge on these loans and hence they are happy to extend credit and wait for debtors to collapse, then they pick up whatever is left or they sell off these debts to others and in any case they are insured….
    About my anonymous status, sorry, but I am new to blogging, and hence have not created a proper profile yet. The reason I came across your blog is that I live in Taipei and recognize so much of what you are writing about. Great stuff ! You should perhaps compile a “best of” and write a book ? Why not !

  5. raven says:

    Anonymous, thanks for the kind words. 🙂 We’ll see if I can find enough “best” articles to compile a book. Anyway, good point on why banks still loan money to bad debtors… for the interest!

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