On gaining financial freedom in 2024, RCBC provides helpful tips

These days, financial freedom is not just a goal; it’s a survival skill. Life can be quite unpredictable, and nothing can help you overcome its hurdles more than being financially prepared. And Chinese New Year is the best time to start your journey towards financial health and improve your financial game. Based on the Chinese Zodiac, 2024 is the Year of the Dragon—a year that astrologers describe to be interesting and unpredictable, with never a dull moment. Of course, you can choose to believe if what the Chinese Zodiac says is true. Yet even on a practical level, the Chinese New Year—which falls on February 10 this year—can serve as an auspicious period for new beginnings and positive life changes!

Here are some Chinese New Year-inspired pieces of financial wisdom and insights that can help attain financial freedom this 2024, curated by Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC):

  1. Pay debt or save emergency funds?  With the Year of the Dragon said to be a year of moment and unpredictability, it’s wise to put some stability into your finances at the start of 2024! And the best way to do that is to sort out your debts and build an emergency fund.

Financial wisdom may dictate that it is important to invest to increase sources of income. The idea here is to live a life where you don’t depend on just your day job. But it also isn’t wise to invest without considering your personal financial status. Before investing, make sure you pay off your debts first. Pay more than the minimum and, if possible, pay more than once a month. Pay off your most expensive loan first, as it is likely to be the one with the highest interest rate. Once you have paid off your outstanding loans, save up a decent amount for your emergency fund. Conventional wisdom says you should have an emergency fund that could cover at least three month’s worth of your expenses. But it depends on your financial capacity and personal circumstances.

Should you pay off your debt first before building an emergency fund? Ideally, it’s best to be debt-free first; the longer it takes you to pay off your loans, the higher the interest rate and other related fees could be. Yet, practically speaking, it’s ideal—perhaps even wise—to save a bit of your monthly income for emergencies even as you pay off your debt. Having funds ready for those unforeseen events and tight spots can help get more loans.

  1. Diversify income. A financial advice that never goes out of style is the advice to create more income sources for yourself. Many think this means investing in property, bonds, and stocks, among other financial products. And while this can be a good way to diversify income, investing isn’t the only way—especially when your financial circumstances won’t allow you to go big on investments just yet. Expanding income sources can also mean taking on a side hustle to supplement your regular income. It means monetizing that hobby you’ve been working on for years. The main point here is to make sure you are not vulnerable to economic fluctuations or major financial hurdles (like a huge hospital bill or a sudden loss of a job) that you may unexpectedly encounter.
  2. Automate savings using your banking app’s features. Have trouble building that emergency fund? If you believe in the Chinese Zodiac, this will be common in 2024 due to the Year of the Dragon’s restless energy. You can, however, offset this restless energy by building a practice of stability and constancy.

Create or open a separate savings account just for this purpose so you wouldn’t be tempted to dip into your “savings” when you get that sudden urge to go on a shopping spree or out-of-budget night out. Take advantage of your banking app’s fund transfer feature; make sure a specific but reasonable amount from your monthly salary or income goes straight to your savings account, so you can resist the temptation to spend it.

RCBC digital app, now known as RCBC Pulz, is one of the most comprehensive banking apps in the country equipped with features that empower its clients to manage their funds anytime, anywhere. You can open a savings account using the app to get your started.

  1. Prepare for the future. Financial freedom is not just about the now; it’s also about the future and securing a stable and comfortable life for yourself several years from now. This means securing investments, life insurance plans and private health insurance (for when you are already retired and can no longer depend on insurance provided by your employment). This also means making sure you have a pension and retirement fund source. This means having a passive income stream.

RCBC Trust can help you manage your investments, with a team of portfolio managers dedicated to providing you with expert financial advice to help you realize your funds’ potential through a variety of investment products and services such as Unit Investment Trust Funds, Investment Management Accounts (IMAs), and Personal Management Trusts, among others.

Wouldn’t it be great to start working on these steps this year? RCBC can help you reach your financial dreams through its rich and diverse list of products—from savings accounts, personal loans, and a personal business relationship manager who can help assist you on your specific financial goals.