Life savings

With a regular paycheck, a new employee inevitably has to discuss saving with his folks.

In my case, my mother started the entire thing again. The original plan - yes, we do plan these things - is that I'd give a thousand bucks off every paycheck to my mother, so she can keep it in my bank account. If that's the case, a year's worth of work should lead me to stash around P24,000 in my bank account.

"Kapag ganyan, marami ka nang pera pag-abot mo ng 40," she said.

I slightly freaked out. By the time I reach that age, my parents might be dead already.

"Buti pa nga kayo, sinasabihan ng ganyan," she continued. "Noon, 'di ba, hindi tayo tinuturuan ng ganyan?" she says to my father.

I'm coming out of relying on, technically, dole-outs. Suddenly I have to get my money not from the table where the allowance is usually placed, but from a machine with a tired, recorded voice. "Please enter your six-digit PIN," it said, while I punch in a not-so-random combination of numbers. A few more buttons pressed, and four paper bills come out of one of its slots. A thousand bucks has to go to the bank' the remaining two thousand will have to work with me for a little over a week or so. I was frustrated, but only because I got two P1,000 bills. It's paranoia intensified.

The realization is, our every decision now has to put the future into consideration. Sure, we did that in school - if you don't get away with cheating, you can kiss your academic future goodbye - but most of us still had the security of a constant stream of survival benefits. Whatever we needed merely landed on our outstretched palms: our tuition, our photocopy money, our date money, you get the drill. But now, you don't just work for yourself now; you work for yourself for a rainy day. Either you grin wide today, or you reserve that grin for tomorrow.

Auntie Bam was looking for one of my school projects; inevitably, the conversation will end up about my employed life. It's pretty much a matter of interest on my mother's side of the family, as I am the first of the grandchildren to step off school and enter work (and in a quick period of time at that). I think everybody wants to know what I'm up to, or something.

"Nag-iipon ka na?" she asked.

"With two paychecks, yes," I replied, before proceeding to explain the thing I just explained a few paragraphs ago.

"That's good," she answered. "At least meron kang money for a rainy day. If you keep it up, tapos you choose investments wisely, baka pwede ka pang mag-early retirement. Unless adiktus ka sa work."

"Nosebleed sa investments," I conceded.

But suddenly that word makes a lot of sense. The morning after Monica's after-graduation party, I was at the receiving end of a discussion about stocks over a breakfast of sausages and scrambled eggs. Well, I can't blame my uncle for being so future-oriented, but I can only nod in agreement to everything that's been said. At least I understood what the fuss was all about.

Eventually we'll have to make many of those investments. I can blabber on about emotional investments - we've all done that - but if we're to believe our economics in saying that happiness and self-actualization are the end goals to everything, then it must be valid to conclude that everything we do with what we earn should back up everything that we want to get. Say, how else can you impress the girl you like (despite having every chance of the girl shunning you) but by getting something from your wallet to supplement your emotions? A twisted worldview, I know.

But I'm not really going after it yet. Sure, it pays to know, but I'm just entering my seventh week at work. I'm still coping, or so I claim, and while I'm getting the feel of you (partly) providing for yourself, it will definitely take a while before you achieve the balance of responsibility and runaway fun. Or, as I told my aunt, "darating rin yan." But when the opportunity comes, of course, you'll have to grab it. That's how things begin.

I was at Makati this afternoon, taking up an exam for P&G, on the strength of an invitation from the company that came in two months late. I know some people who work there, and my father's encouraging me to pursue the invitation because of the good experience and equally good benefits. Suddenly, my future lay on a forty-item aptitude quiz that requires calculators, and while I waited for someone to actually come in and start the entire thing, I sat quietly, self-stripped of earphones, and forced myself to observe the people around me.

Behind me, three friends who found themselves taking the same test were chatting. Their conversation didn't help appease my late jitters any bit; the guy was talking about brands, banks, promotions and his own life mixed in. I do know a lot of business students, but I didn't expect to hear something like "nag-apply ako as brand specialist" after a conversation about Manila nightlife.

"Surrounded by marketing people," I texted Ariane, who was in some restaurant on the other side of the Ayala Center. "Anong ginagawa ng liberal arts dito?"

"Marketing involves a lot of [communication arts] stuff," she said. "Believe me."

While the three continue to discuss their dreams of becoming assistant managers of whatever and whatnot, I started thinking about what I'd do if I finish the test earlier than usual. I shouldn't get distracted on my path to world domination, or else; I just happen to be surrounded by the wrong people.

And your responses...

mahirap mag ipon :| lalo na kapag sa age ko. lol

Blogger N.8/11/2008     

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