Some things may seem so basic and should be part of common sense. But actually, many do not think out issues carefully. People do things mostly on impulse and those who are not impulsive, analyze a little and then just assume things will work out on what they have decided after partial thought. They take action based on goals that are not sufficiently clear or detailed.
The biggest example of this phenomenon is the hundreds of thousands of OFWs who invest their hard-earned savings on businesses offered to them that are clearly unsuitable to their particular situations.
And why did they invest? They were simply driven by their general desire to earn more money.
The how, the when and the why issues do not even get serious attention. They rush to invest without defining their expectations. Worse, they do not even compute what they will make out of it versus the possible risks of failure. They invest based on the assurance of trusted friends and relations who are not even qualified nor experienced enough to give them such advice.
This kind of confused decision process is demonstrated every day. It is so common for OFW families to rush investing in tricycles, FX taxis, sari-sari stores, etc, etc. When asked why they invested, nine out of ten are not able to say why except to say, “I wanted to get into business and make money”.
Their objective of getting into business is valid. But in reality, the investment does not serve the real purpose of making money. The thought processes, unfortunately, end there. No further thinking goes into asking whether or not the particular business will, in fact, make money for them. They listened to stories that their investments would be profitable based on the experiences of others.
They should have at least asked themselves two more questions: What is it that I should earn and how will this investment make me earn that amount?
The failure to ask these questions is precisely because people generally do not define their purpose clear enough so that they can correctly study it sufficiently think it through before they decide.
There are three Tagalog phrases that, to my mind, reflect perhaps this cultural flaw in our thinking processes. These are: “Pwede Na (That’s good enough), Medyo (More or less) and Akala ko” (I thought that, or I assumed that). These words show thinking that is not exact and accurate. Unfortunately, this kind of thinking finds itself in the work place resulting in mediocre performance.
Overseas, the Filipino worker behaves differently. He is extremely productive and the reason is because he is given specific and detailed work objectives, which are measured on a regular basis. The reason is clear. Rules and other work-related systems are required. Supervision is consistent. Proper tools are provided and the workers are given feedback of their productivity very quickly and regularly. There is no room for imprecision.
In most local organizations, decision processes are mostly influenced by behavioral or cultural feelings and practices. Short cuts are more the rule than the exception. Any questions or doubts, if any, are resolved based on assumptions. Even where strict rules on quality control and management systems are in place, the quality of action still, more often than not, falls below standards.
Supervision is perceived most lacking when it comes to service industries. When supervisors face a situation where they have to choose to stick by the rules versus cutting work time or “hurting the feelings” of either clients or co-employees, rationalization wins. For example, they start thinking that the employees will feel bad if their attention is called and cannot work well anyway. So, they allow them not to follow the strict rules. Or they need to meet a deadline so they allow short-cuts. All the other employees see these bad examples. Eventually, everybody follows the wrong standard and quality suffers.
How would you overcome these behavioral or cultural practices?
One way is to start on the financial aspect of your life. After all, finance will probably be the most precise part of your personal life. Practice in being precise in the management of personal finances, encourages care in the thinking process in work, family and other relationships.
The first exercise in managing personal finances is to know where you are financially at any point in life. Our CFE Team gives the basic principles and “commandments” but reminds you that you cannot start on a journey without a map. A Personal Statement of Assets and Liabilities and Personal Income and Expense Statement are requirements to get started. With these tools, you can be more precise in moving forward to make your Personal Financial Plan. With such a plan, you can draw up alternative road maps to reach the same personal financial goal and to better assess the opportunities that come up. No short cuts, no “Pwede na”, no Akala Ko”, no “Medyo” can be allowed.
Wherever you are in the world, it would help if you take time to check out websites: www.colaycofinancialeducation.com, www.franciscocolayco.com, www.kskcoop.com. There are many options available to you for learning and investing.