Thursday, June 02, 2011

The Consumer Country (a re-blog)

Mario (not his real name) was an MBA classmate of mine when we were working then in Ayala. We have a lot of qualities in common that’s why we were at eased with each other for at most 10 years.

One thing that differ him from me is that he is a spendthrift.

Every payday I save money to invest in my house and college education of my children. Mario is different, he spend as if there is no tomorrow. Branded clothes, shoes, neckties, handkerchiefs and regular dining in fine restaurants are his usual “investments”. He is known in his office for being maporma.

When we reached 30 years old, Mario and I decided to have a small drink at the Greenbelt. After we downed 2 bottles, Mario got under the influence. He began to tell stories to me that he was heavily in debt. More than hundred thousands because of the plastic (credit card!!!). He can not pay anymore the loan because he has other loans with lots of people. He is about to be kick out from his apartment if he will not pay the rent which is due for 3 months. His girlfriend abandoned him when she learned that he was bankrupt. Mario was totally devastated. Victim of zero savings habit and 100% consumptions propelled by his eveready credit card.

My life was reversed of him. I am not rich but I have a house and lot , college plan for my two children are paid in full and I have investment in mutual funds all before I reached 30.

Mario and I parted ways when I left PILTEL in 2001. I never heard any news about him. But I see a lot of Mario’s in our country. Children of OFWs, government or private workers and sabungeros. Only few people I know who has the propensity to save and invest.

Our country is a consumer country. With the exception of the Tsinoys and some enlightened countrymen the norm in our blood is to spend and consume. Postponing pleasure today in order to have a pleasant future is somewhat a blasphemy in our culture.

To exorcise this spendthrift demon, some like Mario need to suffer first before expelling it while others kill it even before it step on their door mat.

The roads are difficult for the latter but sure as the sun shines it brings reward.


  1. Sir Arnel! Great blog you have here. I really love this post, I believe this is very true in the Philippines. It's really ironic that the society thinks someone if rich if he keeps on spending, when in fact if you spend you actually lose your money (in the sense that you trade it for a product w/c is usually overpriced).

    Sir, can I re-blog this post? :) Looking forward to your positive reply. Thanks!

  2. Very nice post. I can really observe people who spends as if there is no tomorrow. I am one of those few who loves to save. Cheers!