How to Be Smarter With Money Even If You Don't Have Much

Practical tips from the head of a financial technology company
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We’re already a few days into 2019, so you’ve probably already read a bunch of articles about how you can be smarter and more responsible with your money for the year. Whether it's about which stocks performed best last year or money challenges you can do this year, there are several resources out there that can help you take better care of your budget.

Here’s another one that gives pieces of financial advice, and they’re straight out of the mouth of a financial technology (fintech) company’s head.

Esquire Philippines got the chance to talk to Hamilton Angluben, the general manager of digital lending firm Cashalo. While he talked about the company’s strategy and the state of fintech in the Philippines, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to ask an expert for any tips on how we can better manage our finances this year.

This is what he had to say.

If you DON’T have money

If your wallets and bank accounts are empty and you need money immediately, Angluben’s general tip is to borrow smartly.

“If you don’t have money, you have to borrow responsibly,” he said. “When you borrow money, you should have a plan as to how to repay it.”

He also highlighted the importance of knowing where you can borrow money and what rates and repayment options they offer. While he obviously vouched for Cashalo, Angluben said that the best lender varies depending on what you need the money for.

“When you say you’re borrowing responsibly or borrowing smartly, you’re looking at the interest rates, you’re studying your options,” he explained. “Should I borrow from ‘5-6’ or should I borrow from Cashalo? Will a bank lend to me? Which are the best rates to use?”

If you DO have money

If you have cash in your pocket and you don’t know what do with it, Angluben advised that you should find ways to make that money more productive. And the easiest way to do so is by investing it.

“[If] you do have money, you look at ways on how to invest that money,” said Angluben.

He added that being smart with money means understanding all the investment options available to you. These options range from pooled funds to real estate to many other investment vehicles, and finding the right one depends on your risk appetite and investment goals.

“Of course, there’s a lot of venues for investments,” he explained, adding that you always have to “make sure that your money is earning, is gaining interest, or is appreciating in value.”

Being financially literate

At the core of Angluben’s pieces of advice is the idea of financial literacy, or the knowledge of how money works and how financial services can help you. As the head of Cashalo, which disburses loans to hundreds of thousands of Filipinos, financial literacy is at the core of its strategy, and the company wants to make sure the loans they give are being used correctly.

“On one hand, we’re giving financial access to millions of Filipinos. But if they don’t know what to do with the financing that they get, it's not going to be sustainable,” explained Angluben.

And he linked that to the little nuggets of financial wisdom he imparted above. Being smart with your money in 2019, and in general, means being financially literate.

“It really goes back to financial literacy and how to educate yourself on the options available to you as to how to make the money work for you,” he said.

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Lorenzo Kyle Subido
Lorenzo Kyle Subido is a staff writer for Esquire Philippines.
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