The week before I let go of my Makati office, I wanted to say goodbye to it by taking my wife (girlfriend at that time) there for a surprise candlelit dinner. I had my one remaining staff put up about 20 candles and a soft romantic melody playing in the background before she left for the evening. I had everything planned out and when we walked in, the candles took her breath away. I sat her down in the corner of the office where it overlooked the light-filled city below us. Needless to say the evening was picture perfect and utterly romantic, until the part when I showed her what was for dinner.

Because I was still in debt at that time, we dined on 1 order of Mc Donald’s French Fries, 1 box of Chicken Nuggets and a glass of Orange Juice.

That was literally all I could afford at that time, so rather than starve, I decided to go with it and give my best smile while I gave it. And before I could even show how deeply embarrassed I was, my wife without hesitation and with the most sincere smile looked at me and told me that this was the best dinner in her life. And that was all it took to make me want to give her better food and a better life for all her life. That night, she gave me the ultimate reason to want to be a “better man”.

Within 6 months from that night, my troubled business had turned around and we had recovered 90% of my losses thanks to the virtual office that my wife had recommended and the sales coming in. However I was still not making any money because I did not have the right attitude towards money

My problem was that I never really managed the money coming in versus the money going out. Up until that point, I just concentrated on the money coming in, and never really minded where it was going. And worse still, like many men, I was never comfortable talking to women about finances. Like many men, I preferred to keep it a secret.

But my wife would have none of this “male money secret” nonsense, she told me point blank “If you really want to marry me, you’ve got to shape up your finances. I’m willing to help you, but you have to get with it.” Now, when your wife speaks like that, you never argue, you just do. Besides, I really did want to marry her.

So together we explored what I was doing wrong and found solutions that guide me till this day:

1.)    I should have given myself a salary – I used to think that the business is mine anyway so why should I salary myself? My wife’s practicality made sense, she said: “Well even if the business is yours, you still have to eat right? How can you eat if no money from the business is going to you?” So I gave myself back then a small token salary of P5,000 per month. Today, I always make it a point to give myself a salary for all the businesses that I build. Even if it is my business, I’ve learned practically what it means to “pay yourself first”.

2.)    My credit card bills were through the roof – Every time my bill came, I only paid the minimum amount due and worse I would say yes to every single “insurance” offer from my credit card. So I was paying a HUGE amount in unnecessary expenses plus interest every single month. My wife almost freaked out when I finally revealed this to her. But calmly she explained to me that insurance is good, but the terms they gave me were 10 times more expensive than others. And when it comes to paying only the minimum—that was the worst sin of all for her –“Never ever do that” she scolded, “Did you know that when you pay just the minimum amount, you are just paying in essence the interest payment and only a very small amount is removed from your overall balance?” So I had the credit card company first remove all my “card loaded insurances” which immediately lightened my monthly bills. Since I couldn’t pay the entire credit card bill all at once, I did my very best to pay 4 times more than the minimum amount every month. This drastically reduced how much I still had to pay. When I finally had enough money, I paid off the entire balance. Today, all my credit cards are debt-free.  I always pay in full and ON Time. There are no “useless” expenses on any of those cards and my credit line is extremely healthy.

3.)    I never recorded my expenses – Who has the time, right? Wrong. It’s the most important activity in managing money. My wife once again pointed out, “How will you know if you are making enough money if you don’t even record what you are spending on?” So with lots of help from my wife, I started a simple recording system where I record money coming in, money going out, and how much money I have left. It helps tremendously because it makes you more aware of how much money you have at any given time.  Today, I am very hands-on in managing my personal funds, investments and business cash flow.  There is not a day that goes by that I do not know exactly my finances. All of my businesses are debt-free and profitable.

It took me 9 years to get to where I am today. But I wouldn’t have made it if I have not learned early on that: “All of your success in making money will mean nothing if you do not know how to manage your money properly. If you do not know how to manage your money get help from someone who does, better if it is your spouse.”

 

Mark So is the Chairman and CEO of Businessmaker Academy and Forex Club Manila.  He regularly holds seminars on Business, Finance and Investments.  To read about past articles from the BIZMAKER column, you may visit www.markso.wordpress.com.  For more information about his seminars, you may contact Tel Nos. 6874445, 6874645, 6873416 or visit www.businessmaker-academy.com or www.zerocapitalclub.com.
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Comments
  1. TyroneS says:

    Great article… one problem… there’s not much like your wife out there.. to get by…
    and I’m down south,, there not much thing going on here.. not much I know (anyway)..

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