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Patingin-tingin, di naman makabili
Patingin-tingin, di makapanood ng sine
Walang ibang pera, kundi pamasahe
Nakayanan ko lang, pambili ng dalawang yosi– “Esem” by Yano
Back in college, I vividly remember wandering around the streets and places in Manila during my (lengthy) vacant hours (usually with classmates, sometimes all by my lonesome). And when something fancy caught my eye, I’d move closer to the shop window and marvel at the thing.
Magkano kaya to?, I wondered. “Pfft, asa ka pa. As if naman may pambili ka”, says my “konsensya” (remember those old Safeguard commercials?). And as I take one last longing look at it, (while clutching the last 20-peso bill pamasahe in my pocket) I remember singing Esem inside my head. Damn it, hirap ng walang pera, tol.
If I’ll compute my net worth in college it would probably be in the negative.
What is Net Worth?
The simplest definition is, “the difference between your assets and liabilities”.
In other words, it’s how much you’ll have left if you subtract everything you owe/pay for from everything valuable you own.
Net Worth = Total Assets – Total Liabilities
Your assets include stuff that you own and have been paid for in full already (the remaining amortization on your new car or house is considered a liability).
Liabilities refer to payables such as debt and things that you pay on a regular basis (i.e yung mga milk tea mo araw-araw, mga inoorder sa Shopee, Lazada, etc.,)
Kidding aside, there’s much to gain once we become aware that there’s a lot of things we can do to boost our assets. It will allow us to keep our head above the water and pay for non-discretionary expenses like:
- Food and shelter (rent, groceries, etc.,)
- Education (tuition for the kids, baon, school fees, etc.,)
- Health (medicine, hospitalization, etc.,)
If we can boost our assets, it will also allow us to have funds to cover discretionary expenses (non-essential, but still important) like:
- Relaxation and recreational activities (travel, indoor/outdoor activities, trips, etc.,)
- Personal spending (gadgets, clothes, watching a movie, etc.,)
- And other similar activities
In the next section, we’ll show you some of the best ways you can increase your net worth.
Related: How to Build Wealth in your 20s
14 Ways to Increase your Net Worth
1. Save More Money
“Panong save more pre, e kulang pa nga budget!lol”
This was my usual response years ago whenever I get unsolicited advice from friends urging me to save more money.
It was only later that I realized that saving is hard if you don’t have the proper mindset and system to implement it.
Here are some of the best tips for saving more money:
- Save before you budget (pay yourself first)
- Automate your savings
- Establish a monthly budget
- Cut costs when possible
- Plan major expenses
- Give up expensive habits
- Uninstall Lazada and Shopee (joke lang)
If you want more tips on how to effectively save money, this article will help: How to Save More Money: Tips, Tricks, & Apps
2. Get a Raise
Perhaps the most obvious way of increasing your net worth (since most of us are employees) but not too easy to accomplish in real life.
Company budget, office politics, lack of meaningful career paths, your boss, heck—-even the Philippine economy—- almost everything can be used as reasons why they can’t give you a raise.
And while foreign movies showed us that employees asking their boss for a raise is completely normal abroad, I have yet to hear a story from someone
I know who did it and was actually successful in doing so.
However—and this is important—-focusing on putting the blame on those external factors won’t get us anywhere.
So let’s concentrate our energies into the things that may lead us to scenarios where we can get a bump in our salaries. Which situations am I referring to?
Well, you could aim for a promotion, or switch to a “specialist” role. New positions that come with a new and (hopefully) better compensation.
The steps in climbing the corporate ladder will of course vary from one scenario to the next, but the core principles remain the same in general.
Here are some of them:
- Acquire new skills
- Volunteer for special tasks
- Be your team’s go-to person
- Continuously develop your skills so that you’ll be so good they can’t ignore you
You get the idea. Do stuff that will put you in the position of getting considered for promotions and new job roles. Remember, we should always focus on the things we can control.
So no matter how bad your (office) situation is, stick with doing everything you can to improve your work and beef up your skillset. Even if you decide to leave, the stuff you learned will stay with you. Use it to land a better job that pays better.
3. Find New Sources of Income
While waiting for that raise or promotion, why not find new ways of making money?
Here’s a couple of ideas to get you started:
- Sell something – You’ve probably seen dozens of success stories featured on TV. Fellow Pinoys who work full-time while running a small business on the side.
Often, these stories will show people eventually making more than what they get in their day job. Good at baking? Make a batch of cupcakes and sell them at work. Don’t really have a skill that you can profit from?
Then go buy and sell something. A colleague once bought a dozen chicharon near their place and sold it at a decent markup at the office. That’s easy money right there (it was sold out before lunchtime just through word of mouth).
There’s always something to profit from if you have the right market for your product. And this works for digital products as well—-apps, e-books, online courses, and others—-if you’re an expert on something, you can create a digital product that you can sell.
Don’t know where to start or what to sell? Our massive list of 150+ Small Business Ideas will help you get a couple of concepts to play around with.
- Earn money online – I’m not talking about freelancing or taking extra jobs on the side (we’ll tackle that later on the list). I’m talking about some of the most popular (and profitable) ways to really make money online:
- Content publishing (build a website, start a Vlog, make a podcast, etc.,)
- E-commerce (launch an online store, dropshipping, etc.)
- Affiliate Marketing (promote a product and earn via commission)
- Buy and sell websites (via Flippa, Empire Flippers, Shopify Exchange and others)
4. Get Out of Debt
Debt is not necessarily a bad thing unless you’re down neck-deep in it. And it tends to snowball if left unmanaged. Here’s a 4-step plan to get out of that muck fast:
A. Find out how much debt you have
- Make a list of all your debt/loans
- List them down per interest rates and due dates
B. Choose a strategy for paying off your debt
- Snowball method
- Envelope system
- Pay debts/loans with the highest interest first
- Dedicate a portion of your monthly income to paying off debt
- Balance transfers to lower interest rate cards (credit cards)
C. What got you into debt?
They say prevention is better than cure, and in the case of debt, we couldn’t agree more. Start reflecting on the things or events that got you into debt. If you realize it’s mostly because of your spending habits, then you need to make a few changes. Here are a few tips:
- Cut out expensive habits
- Be more disciplined in spending money
- Save before you spend
- Track your spending
D. Set periodic goals
Whether it’s a monthly, quarterly, or annual spending review, this practice will help you be fully aware of how money goes in and out of your pockets on a regular basis.
This alone will greatly improve your budgeting habits, and combining it with the tips above will surely help you get out of debt faster.
5. Invest in Stocks
It’s never been easier to get into stock market investing. And contrary to popular belief, you don’t need a boatload of money to start investing in stocks.
Don’t get intimidated with all its technicalities either, unless you want to be a day trader (someone who actively buys and sells stocks regularly), you can actually invest passively in stocks.
To the unfamiliar, you earn money when the value of the stock you bought appreciates (increases in value). You’ll also earn when the company decides to share its earnings to you (stockholder) through dividends (issued as cash or additional stock).
To start investing in stocks, you’ll need to:
- Familiarize yourself with stock market investing and do your due diligence.
- Open a stock trading account with an online broker (COL Financial, First Metro Sec, BDO Nomura are some of the most popular ones)
- Fund your account and start trading
We highly recommend you check out this guide to get you started: The Definitive Guide to Stock Trading & Investing in the Philippines
6. Invest in Mutual Funds and UITF
Want a less expensive way of investing in the stock market? With Mutual Funds and UITF, you can. A quick definition first:
- Mutual Funds – A pool of funds/money collected by a Mutual Fund company from different investors. This MF company will invest in a variety of options like stocks, bonds, and other money market instruments.
- Unit Investment Trust Fund – Or UITF for short. Works like mutual funds but instead of MF company investment managers, your investment is managed by a bank.
Reasons to Invest in Mutual Funds and UITF
- Better potential returns for your money
- Professional Fund Management
- Low Initial Investment Costs
- Protection against Inflation
- Easy to Set-up & Manage
- Compound Interest
For an in-depth guide on how to invest in Mutual Funds and UITF, check out this article: How to Invest in Mutual Funds and UITF in the Philippines
7. Invest in Exchange Traded Funds (ETF)
Exchange-Traded Funds share the same core concept with MF and UITF in terms of how it’s structured. Each fund is essentially a basket of different types of investments (stocks, bonds, etc.,).
One advantage that it has over MF though is that it can be traded in real-time like stocks, allowing more flexibility in your investing strategy.
An ETF tracks indexes (guideline/structure for measuring and monitoring the performance of a specific group of investments) of a specific exchange.
In the Philippines, it’s the Philippine Stock Market Index (PSEi). Abroad, in the US, for example, they have the NY Stock Exchange, NASDAQ, S&P, and more.
Currently, there’s only one type of ETF in the Philippines—-the First Metro Philippine Equity Exchange Traded Fund (FMETF) offered by First Metro Investment Corp.
When you invest in FMETF, you’re basically “investing” in the top 30 companies that are publicly traded in the PSEi (e.g, PLDT, Globe, Ayala, San Miguel, Jollibee, etc.,).
This allows for instant diversification for your money instead of purchasing their shares on a per-company basis (stock market investing).
To learn more about how ETF works and how to start investing in them, click here: How to Invest in ETF in the Philippines
8. Invest in Bonds
Why invest in bonds, you ask? Simple—better potential returns on your money than banks.
They’re generally viewed as safer investments than stocks and lets you preserve capital and earn an income from your investment at the same time.
If you’re interested in investing your money somewhere that will net you far more than you would earn from banks, I highly recommend you check out this article: How to Invest in Bonds in the Philippines
9. Run a Franchise Business
Starting a business from scratch is never easy. Idea creation, market research, product creation, market execution—-and everything else between—-are enough to make even the most hardened entrepreneurs think twice about launching a new business.
But if you’re keen on owning a business but want all the help you need to get started, then perhaps running a franchise business is right up your alley.
With this setup, the franchisor will get you everything you need to “own” their brand (for a price). Sure, you won’t truly own the brand’s business, but in return, you can “ride” behind the brand’s popularity and proven market share.
With a franchise business, you’re being handed a tested business model with a ready market. But it’s not without its disadvantages, of course.
To learn about them and everything else you need to get you started with a franchise business (including the best ones to choose from), click here: 25 Best Franchise Opportunities in the Philippines
10. Buy Insurance
How will buying protection increase your net worth, exactly? Well, consider the following ideas:
- The benefit is “asset” that your loved ones can depend on should the unfortunate thing happen
- Some types of permanent life insurance feature a cash value that grows over time (funds that you can access while still alive)
- Once insurance premiums are fully paid, you technically own it (no longer a liability)
Life insurance might not be something that increases your net worth while alive, but it can be thought of as an “asset” that protects your other assets from being liquidated (out of necessity) when you die.
If you want to be among the ever-increasing number of Filipinos who see the true value in financial protection for their loved ones, check out our primer on this topic: How to Get A Life Insurance: Top 10 Life Insurance Companies in the Philippines.
11. Consider Minimalist Living
Most people think that Minimalism is a lifestyle dedicated to simply owning less. However, a true minimalist will tell you that minimalism is merely a tool that lets them make room for things that give them the greatest joy.
It’s all about focus, having less in order to add more of the best stuff that truly adds value in your life.
Do a quick audit of the stuff you own and spend on.
If you find that a good chunk of your expenses goes to stuff/experiences that don’t really provide value in your life, then perhaps you can consider skipping some of them.
Here are a couple of suggestions to get you started:
- Quality over quantity (buy stuff that will last you a long time)
- Buy less stuff (the more stuff you own, the more you’ll have to manage)
- When buying groceries, make a list and stick to it
- Prune your wardrobe
- Stick to the essentials
- Do an annual “Decluttering day”
For more tips and suggestions on how to live the Minimalist way, click here: Minimalism: 50+ Tips, Tricks, & Resources on Becoming a Minimalist
12. Run an online business
A great way to test your entrepreneurial spirit. Here, you are leveraging the power of the internet to create a product or service that you can sell to your target market—all while wearing your pajamas.
Here are some of the stuff that you can sell online:
- Time: Services, Consulting, Freelancing
- Information: Premium content
- Physical Products: Sold through online stores or online selling platforms (Ecommerce)
- Digital Products: Access to software, apps, web-based tools, Service as Software (SaaS), & online courses
The idea is to create something that will generate revenue that will help you build your net worth.
Here are a couple of ideas to get you up and running fast:
- Blog (earn from ads, affiliate income, leads, etc.)
- Ecommerce (online store via FB or website)
- Freelancing business (content agency, transcription, virtual assistant, etc.,)
- Sell digital products
For a more in-depth look at how to run an online business, start here: 7-Figure Online Businesses: 6 Ways to Make Money Online
13. Get Cash Flow from Passive Income
Making money while you sleep? That’s the dream. My lola rented out apartment houses for a living.
As a kid, I always saw her at their garden and mini fish pond. “Relaks lang lola mo e no”, a friend once quipped. In hindsight, I realize that she was really financially-savvy and knew how money worked.
Passive income can be defined as “Income/revenue obtained without active involvement”. And it’s one of the best ways to build wealth.
Some of the most popular ways to earn passively are:
- Rental properties
- Investment (stocks, MF, UITF, bonds, etc.,)
- Online (websites, digital products, etc..,)
Want more passive income ideas? Read this: Passive Income Ideas – 11 Ways to Make You Money While You Sleep
14. Get a Side Hustle
We Pinoys are known for our hustle. In local parlance, “sideline” is something we do to get an extra income.
Whether out of necessity, personal purchases, or simply to make better use of extra time, a side hustle is a solid way to boost your net worth.
Almost a decade ago, I wrote articles for clients abroad on oDesk (now Upwork) during weekends.
I realized that I can actually earn from doing something I love, so I gave it a try. If you have a skill that people find valuable, develop it then offer it as a service.
The Philippines is known for its talented workforce, which is why it’s no surprise it’s the premier hub for outsourced services in the world.
Locally, there are tons of opportunities to pursue, you just need to match your skillset with the right market.
If you’re curious to know how to get a side hustle, look no further than this article: Best Sidelines – 5 Profitable Side Hustles for Filipinos
How to Track your Net Worth (Net Worth Tracker Spreadsheet)
Being mindful about your cash flow and assets is one of the easiest ways you can build better money habits.
It will help you identify problem areas in your spending so you can optimize your budget and saving strategy for improved results.
Using a Net Worth tracker spreadsheet is less daunting than a daily expenses tracker as it only requires that you identify key areas in your cash flow, assets, and expenses and input their values once a month.
For example, let’s say you had the following activities for the current month:
- Renewed your car’s insurance
- Paid for your HMO plan
- Earned 10% more (compared to previous month) on your online investments
- Deposited P10,000 in your time deposit account
Input these items in their corresponding fields in the tracker and your monthly net worth value will be automatically calculated.
This figure will be shown in red if your liabilities for the month exceeds your assets, letting you quickly see if your net worth actually went down for that particular month.
Used in conjunction with a spending plan, you can achieve the following:
- Be more mindful of your expenses
- Identify areas in your budget that you can improve or modify
- View your progress to see if it aligns with your long term financial goals
- Ensure you’re allocating your budget to key components of your finances such as: