From A Million Won to A Million Pesos

This story is from one of my co-OFW here in Korea

"I don't believe is not possible that your salary is only 1Million can't survive with that...never" said Mr. Kim in disbelief when I replied to his question about my monthly salary. I showed to him my payslips and he was shocked. That was in 2007. That year, 1 Million Won, less taxes and deductions, when converted to Philippine Pesos is equal to P48,000. I thought it was a big money before coming to Korea...I was wrong. The cost of expenses in Korea is 3-5 times than in the Philippines, specially food. So in effect, my salary has the same level to a P12,000 income in our country. That was my starting salary in the Philippines after graduation in 2001. At first, I feel bad. It was a miscalculation on my part but it's hard to go back.

I'm always a fighter and I remember my ex-boss told me before leaving my previous company....that one of my greatest strength is making things happen. So I told myself that I need to find a way to earn more. From my 1 Million Won salary I managed to save money diligently and consistently and invest the money. First, I tried business....a small business with a capital of P200,000. It was a failure.

However, I never stopped looking for other opportunities while persevering at my day job. As my salary increases, I increased my monthly savings rate while trying my best to maintain my expenses.

Then in 2009, I started investing in the Philippine Stock Market. It was the time when people are paranoid about the economy and investments, but I saw a great opportunity. It was a jackpot.

In 2010, my stocks portfolio swell and I know I need to be smart since it is a risky investment. I started pouring some of my gains in bond funds to hedge against the risk of the market. Whenever the market goes up, I pull out my money and set it aside as cash or put it in the bonds. Then everytime, there's a negative commotion in the market I inject more funds in my stocks portfolio and buy back stocks from profitable companies only. It was a good strategy.

Less than 4 years after, I have proved that money, even at a small amount, is the greatest source of income. My 1 Million Korean Won have given me more than 1 Million Pesos of pure liquid assets (cash, bond fund and stocks). It maybe a small amount for some but this million pesos have been working for me now. My money was a great worker that it can earn more than my monthly salary. For example, in the last 2 months, I gained P240,000. It could have been more if I didn't remit to my parents, pay the tuition fee of my nephew for his summer class in the university and expenses in my overseas trip in the early April.

Now my next goal is 1 Million USD.

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