The Story of Anna and Brenda

Be with me as I journey to my first million.

When asked why saving is so hard, people would say they’re not earning enough. In a closer look, most of us have this idea that we can only build our nest egg after a salary increase or a move to a lucrative job. It turns out we are missing the entire idea of saving, ie, to keep a fixed portion of our income as savings regardless of how much our salary is.

In fact, the society has learnt to categorised people according to the salary we received each month. Majority of us, nonetheless, don’t know that it doesn’t really matter even if you have a six-digit salary. At the end of the day, it all goes down to how much money left you have set aside for investment or savings.

And to make a point, I will share a story of two girls: Anna and Brenda.

Brenda is a bank manager. She earns 20,000 pesos a month. She drives a gorgeous Honda City car. She has the latest iPhone 7 smartphone. She dresses well, and she spends most of her free time in Starbucks coffee shop  with her friends.

Anna, on the other hand, is a housemaid. She earns 7,000 pesos a month with free food and lodging. She hitches ride on her employer’s SUV whenever she goes to the church during Sunday’s. She has a secondhand mobile phone from her employer. She dresses fine, and she spends her free time watching TV with the other maids in her employer’s living room.

If we are going to compare Anna and Brenda, we’ll have descriptions from both the opposite ends of the spectrum. I would, however, describe Brenda as inefficient in her finances. You know why? Well, she’s shelling more money out of her pocket than she puts in.

Let’s check Brenda’s monthly balance sheet:

  • Car Mortgage – 10,500 Pesos
  • Car Fuel – 3,000 Pesos
  • Mobile Plan – 3,000 Pesos
  • Clothing – 2,000 Pesos
  • Food & Beverages – 2000 Pesos
  • Total – 20,500 Pesos

Do your math, and you will find Brenda is living more than her means. She is 500 pesos short every month. She needs to get from somewhere else to cover the 500-peso short.

Where do you think she gets the extra 500 pesos to cover her extravagant lifestyle? Yes, she gets it from her credit card.

If Brenda doesn’t do anything about her problem, she will be swamped within one year. She will be in neck-deep debts that she’ll struggle to make both ends meet.

To all of my readers: Please don’t be a poor Brenda.

Meanwhile, Anna is doing fine with her finances.

Let’s have a look at Anna’s monthly balance sheet.

  • Lodging – Free
  • Food – Free
  • Phone – Free
  • Entertainment – Free
  • Mobile Calls – 100 pesos
  • Clothing – 300 Pesos
  • Family in province – 2000 pesos
  • Total – 2,400 pesos

Well, Anna is efficient in her finances. It doesn’t take her to have a degree in accounting to achieve a high percentage of savings: 4,600 Pesos is 66 percent of her total salary.

Given the right help to pick a good investment vehicle, Anna can become a millionaire within 20 to 25 years. Putting her savings in a place where she can grow her money thru compounding interest would allow her to achieve financial freedom in shorter time.

Indeed, Anna is an inspiration. Despite working as a housemaid, it did not hinder her to save for her future. Although most of us prefer to be bank managers than housemaids, you can’t deny that you like the way Anna is balancing her finances.

Bottom line, there is no reason for you to justify your inability to save. You are more blessed than Anna is, but you are pulling a Brenda stunt every time you receive your salary.

If you want financial freedom by the time you reach the age of 40-45 years, there is no better time to fix your Brenda-like spending habit than today.

And just like Anna, you can break the chain of poverty all by yourself.

It did not take Anna to be a bank manager to do that.


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