Getting Ready for the Rainy Days

Si Langgam at si Tipaklong
source: Adarna House
When I was a child, I remember my Aunt Flor bought me my first book which is entitled "Si Langgam at si Tipaklong (The Ant and the Grasshopper)" published by Adarna Books. In the story, the ant represents the hardworking and frugal person who works everday, even on bright sunshine, while the grasshopper represents the happy-go-lucky person who hop and play all day and are not worried of the future. Until one day, the rainy season starts and both the ants and the grasshopper are prevented from going out to gather food. The ant survive the rainy season because he has plenty of food stocks which he collected everday during the dry season while the grasshopper starved and eventually died. 

The moral of the story is very obvious but unfortunately most of us Filipinos (including me before) mimicked the grasshoppers’ lifestyle. We earn less yet we spend lavishly in things that we don’t need. I know that some people will object with me and will rant excuses like:

I have low salary
My mother, father, brother and the entire kin relies on me (pasan ko ang daigdig syndrome)
I deserved to be happy
I cannot bring my money to death and so I spend it now.
However, just like the parable, life is not always sunny…one day, rainy days will come and when that time comes, it pays to have a reserve money or savings. Rainy days means the unexpected or emergency events that happen in our life like:

Layoff or loss of jobs
Business bankruptcy
Illness or sickness
Damage due to calamities like typhoons, earthquakes, tsunami and volcanic eruptions
War and civil unrest
Economic meltdown
Other unexpected events that will require us money.

Last Monday, I woke up with a very sore throat and muscle pains which became severe at night. It was followed by fever, chills and red rashes all over my body in Tuesday. Like most Filipinos, I wanted to self cure it but I know it is not a wise thing since the symptoms are pointing to “scarlet fever”. Yesterday, I take a leave at work and proceed to the general hospital near my apartment. They did several test, received an injection shots and prescribed some medicine. If you think hospitalization in the Philippines is expensive, try living abroad….that’s why we, OFWs, have the common motto…”Bawal ang Magkasakit (Getting sick is prohibited)”. But we are only mortals which are susceptible to disease and body degeneration as we age. Even with my health insurance, I still shelled out 78,000 Korean Won or roughly P3,000. Fortunately, I always keep an emergency fund with me here (in Korea) and in the Philippines (for my family). It not only saves me from sacrificing my (and my families’) health but also saves me from worries and stress of looking for funds in case of unexpected turn of events.

Whenever we received our salary, we must always set aside a small amount and keep it to grow  so we can use it in the future. Let us not keep living a 1st World lifestyle while our salary is 3rd World rate. In 2 months, my work contract will expire and it is not yet certain if it will be renewed. Some of my colleagues are already agitated because losing jobs for them is like cutting the source of their lifeline. Not for me since I have live the “Langgam” lifestyle this past few years and my reserve will help me to survive in the worst case possible. 

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