The right time to invest
It was awfully quiet during dinner. I could see that my dad was burdened and had little sleep. He was staring at his untouched food, until he finally said, “Today at work, we had to cut costs and lay off many of our people. We might be closing the business this year because we’re earning less than half of what we used to earn.”
I was fearful and worried and began to panic. How would we make it through this pandemic? How long would we be able to live on our savings?
I began thinking strategically about how I could contribute to helping my family earn more income. I couldn’t stand seeing them so upset and worn out, so I decided to do something to help. Over the next month, I tried to sell Indian mangoes, acquire a Potato Corner franchise, and drop-ship Lazada goods — but was met by setback after setback. Starting a business and earning money is too hard, I told myself, especially without enough capital. All I had in my savings account was money from the allowances I had saved throughout my high school years. I was overwhelmed with stress, because it felt too arduous.
One day, as I watched ANC News, a news reporter named Mimi Ong talked about how the economy had crashed, resulting in the stock market’s plunge to an all-time low. My curiosity grew as I began to research more about the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE). I soon opened my own stock account, because I knew the market wouldn’t stay low for long.
Still, I didn’t know where to start; this was an altogether new experience. I was hesitant because I was risking real money that was even more valuable during this pandemic. I didn’t know where to invest and how much to invest—but I dedicated myself to researching all about the stock market. I was a newbie, but somehow I was confident that the economy would go back up.
Investing in the stock market proved to be an emotional roller-coaster. This is not a preoccupation for easily emotional people. I had to train myself to base things on cold facts, because I felt fearful or greedy at times, which could lead to a decision where I could lose everything.
As I began diligently investing every day for several months, I could see that the stock market was slowly rising from the crash. I started thinking of how advantageous this was for people who needed money and with time to spare. The experience expanded my understanding that investing in stocks is superior to leaving money in the bank, which pays less than one percent interest. That is ludicrous, because the value of my cash depreciates during inflation, especially an inflation of 4 percent.
Researching more about stocks has opened my eyes to another problem in Philippine society. According to an ANC report, less than one percent of Filipinos participate in stock investments, or less than one out of a hundred individuals. I have seen many potential opportunities for the younger generation of Filipinos to invest in stocks. I say this because I have experienced the many benefits of investing in stocks, and have earned some profit because of it. A person who starts early in stocks will have more time to invest and thus accumulate higher cashback. That’s why I would strongly encourage the younger generation to consider investing in stocks. Money invested this way is money that will not depreciate in value, but will incur exponential growth through compounding interest.
I’ve come to love investing in stocks because I am learning, having fun, and making money at the same time, with minimal effort. This pandemic has taught me that when unfortunate things happen, I should keep fighting. I had to step up and push myself out of my comfort zone. I had to actively learn something new all by myself, while many of my friends were chilling, watching Netflix, and playing games. I’m now seeing that hardships really shape who you are as a person. I need to make the best out of any situation, especially this quarantine—turning the bad into good, and turning the negative into positive.
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Isaiah Yu, 18, is from Cavite. He is a freshman sociology student at the Ateneo de Manila University.
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