Gen Z's Guide to Saving and Adulting, According to Mariana Zobel de Ayala

Carrying out the ultimate adulting task of managing your expenses doesn’t have to be scary.

Not ready to adult? Well, you’re not alone. A whole graduating class of Gen Zs are stuck in euphoric limbo between fresh college grad and fully-fledged employed adult. But eventually, the honeymoon phase will end and the new slew of to-be-employed youths will have the challenging task of adulting. And that means managing money. Cue the shivers. 

It’s daunting, to say the least, to think about applying for government IDs, filling out documents, and other newfound responsibilities that just feel endless. But nothing can top the terrifying task of taking care of your finances—the ultimate (and sometimes unwanted) stepping stone into adulthood. Luckily, BPI is here to give some much-needed tips for Zoomers to successfully budget their hard-earned money.

During this year’s Business Leadership Program of the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, BPI discovered the three main priorities of financially sound Gen Zs. These are minimizing debt, achieving financial independence, and giving back to family. To meet these needs, BPI came up with an easy-to-follow three-pronged approach for the youth to manage their spending. If you don’t want to end up broke, read on. 

1| Build for your future.

First and foremost, understand where your money is coming from. Whether it’s from your side hustle or from your nine-to-five, it helps to know roughly how much you should expect to earn from each stream of income. Remind yourself to monitor your expenses and adjust your spending whenever needed. 

“First, building for your future requires assessing your personal revenue streams,” said BPI SVP and Head of Consumer Bank Marketing and Platforms Mariana Zobel de Ayala. 


“See yourself as your own business. Understand where you might have income coming from—whether your salary from an employer or a side hustle you may have—and how much you might realistically expect from each stream.”

One important way to prepare for the future is: Learn to adapt to the times. For example, the Philippines is experiencing rising inflation rates, and gas prices are through the roof. Everyone is making some necessary changes in their lifestyles. 

“Goals change, the market changes. Be disciplined in tracking your budget so that you may continue to adjust and ensure your longer-term goals are being met,” said Zobel de Ayala. 

2| Prepare for spend and splurge.

It definitely feels good to splurge on your favorite things, like your favorite food, some new clothes, and maybe even that new book you’ve been eyeing. After all, happiness is a need. 

But don’t forget to thoroughly map out your monthly needs. Identify everything you’d need to shell out some cash for each month, and set saving goals for yourself. Always bear in mind, though, that there’s no cookie-cutter way to save your money; just save whatever works best for your circumstances. 

“There’s no right or wrong approach to saving. Your plans should be dependent on your personal aspirations and needs. Different individuals may have varying thresholds for savings that make sense for them—some are comfortable putting 10 percent of their monthly income towards a savings account, whereas others might have more aggressive goals that require them to put away 30 percent of their monthly income,” said Zobel de Ayala.

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There are plenty of ways to maximize savings without giving up things that make you happy. One hack? Opening multiple bank accounts, each with a specific purpose. 

“You should not stop enjoying the things that bring you joy. Anything you put towards savings is good,” said Zobel de Ayala. “One of my favorite tricks is to use different savings accounts in my BPI online app—naming each for different purposes. It makes it easy to put away my monthly income into different categories—short-term savings (like a trip or a new gadget), long-term savings (like a retirement fund) or a stash for recurring expenses (such as food, bills, and other monthly needs).”

3| Invest in stability.

With the growing inflation rates in our rocky economy, this step is crucial. Grow your money. You can set aside a small amount each month to invest in different types of insurance and funds. More importantly, learn to invest in the right banks, platforms, and stock brokers that will help you meet your goals. That way, you can earn more money from your money. 

“Stability is not just about investing in the right instruments, it is also about investing in the right banking partners that will keep you and your goals safe,” Zobel de Ayala continued.

Financial stability is as much about your bank account balance as well as your state of mind. Find a bank, whether traditional or digital, that works for you and stick by it. Find financial advisors who have your best interests at heart. And most of all, find the maturity to deal with the challenges of finances and all the challenges of adulting. 


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Juno Ileana Reyes
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