5 Filipino Traits That Are Bad For Your Financial Health

Every nationality has a set of good and not-so-good traits, and Filipinos are no exception to this. While we may be known globally as a nation of hospitable people with close family ties, there are a few traits that actually hurt our financial health and prevent us from reaching our full potential. Here are some of them:

1. Mañana habit

A Spanish word that translates to “tomorrow,” which pertains to our habit of setting aside tasks and responsibilities for a later time. The mañana habit is something we’ve successfully ingrained into our culture after being colonised by the Spaniards for more than 300 years.

How this affects your financial life:

When we defer payment of bills and other dues, we tend to get caught with the deadlines. This may have serious repercussions, especially for credit card bills and loans, not only in the form of late penalties but a spotty credit payment history. Pay your dues on time. Walang forever.

2. Fiesta mentality

Who doesn’t love feasts? After all, the Philippines is a country known for its joyful and extravagant festivities, mostly with religious origins. Expect the celebration to be grander as the occasion gets bigger. As for the budget? Don’t worry about it. For now.

How this affects your financial life:

Some Filipinos tend to go overboard by spending beyond their means, if only to be able to create an illusion of the good life. This means that they are willing to borrow money to be able to keep up with their neighbors—which sooner or later translates into a pile of debt.

3. Culture of smallness

The late National Artist for Literature Nick Joaquin couldn’t have said it better: Filipinos have an intense love affair with small things. We think smallness is humility and we do not dare cross the lines of greatness to make it out there.

How this affects your financial life:

Smallness is not humility; it is complacence. When it comes to personal finance, Filipinos merely settle for what they currently have, which leads to a lifetime cycle of one scratch, one peck. If you want to get out of the never-ending work cycle, you have to dream big and take risks. Make an investment, find a better paying job, and look for other sources of income.

4. Filipino time

Filipino time is something we shouldn’t be proud of, even if it bears the name of our country. It’s nothing more than a blatant disregard for other people’s time. However, this has become so ingrained in our societal values that it has become a struggle for some people to be punctual—because we are prone to thinking everyone else will be late, anyway.

How this affects your financial life:

Tardiness doesn’t only cause spats between lovers. On a more serious note, it can also cost you the job or lose you that important deal with a client. At its worst, being late means being out of time. Remember: Being early is “on time”; “right on time” is late; and late is just plain unacceptable no matter what your excuse is.

5. “Bahala na” attitude

When we are faced with uncertainties in life, we tend to not be bothered and have a come-what-may attitude when dealing with them. Bahala na si Batman, as they say, and the rest will follow. This fatalistic attitude may be funny when invoked, but deep within it presents a rather disturbing side of Filipino mentality.

(See: Financial Strategies By Generation: The Young Professionals)

How this affects your financial life:

Leaving your future up to fate (or a caped superhero) doesn’t sound like a good plan. When you leave your finances to fate, other external factors will take over your budget and before you know it, things are out of control. Furthermore, resigning yourself to fate will prevent you from taking chances at investment vehicles, better career options, and growth opportunities that will help you achieve better financial control.

Have something to add to this list? Share it in the comments.