Updated: November 7, 2020
The emails and direct messages have started to come. People are now asking me where they should spend their Christmas bonus and 13th-month pay.
Some already have a good idea where they’ll put the money. And they’re asking for my opinion if that’s a smart move. Meanwhile, some are confused and conflicted. They’re lost at what to do.
After more than a decade of replying to people about how they should spend their 13th-month pay, I’ve finally come up with the best response. And that is to spend it how they want it.
Yes, go and put your money where you feel it would serve you best.
In other words, decide on what your priorities are. And use your money to fulfill those personal needs. Because after all, it is your money and it is your life.
Spend according to your priorities
If your priority is to have some peace of mind in the future, then use the money to build an emergency fund, or buy life insurance, or get a long-term healthcare product.
But if you believe that the most important thing for you right now is to upgrade your smartphone or get a new laptop, then go ahead and buy those gadgets.
If your priority is to provide for your family, then invest the money towards your child’s education fund, or your family’s future home, or perhaps a retirement fund for you and your spouse.
But if what you want more than anything right now is to travel, then go ahead and book those plane tickets and plan for that vacation with your family and friends.
If your priority is to get rid of those pesky collection agents, then you should certainly pay your loans and debts with your 13th-month pay.
But if those don’t bother you at all, and your utmost concern is updating your wardrobe, then go ahead and enjoy shopping this holiday season.
If your priority is to quit your job and be an entrepreneur, then use the money to learn how to start a business, or use the cash as your startup capital.
But if upgrading your current lifestyle appeals more to you, then go ahead and use the money to purchase your dream car, or finally signing up for that gym membership, or getting that beauty procedure you’ve always wanted.
Personal finance is personal. And how you spend your money should be your personal decision; but it should be a well-thought-out decision.
Your life is a result of your decisions and actions.
I agree with French philosopher and Nobel Laureate, Albert Camus, when he said, “Life is a sum of all your choices.”
We don’t have control over a lot of the things that will happen to us, but we have control over how we’ll respond to them. And those decisions and actions that we make drive our life story.
So, you just received your 13th-month pay… now ask yourself:
Which emotion would you like to feel?
Is it the excitement of having a new gadget? Or the calmness and peace of mind from having money saved for financial emergencies?
Which experience would you like to have?
Is it the adventures of travel and the wonders of other cultures? Or experiencing that proud moment and accomplishment as you stand in front of your very own home that you just bought?
Which is more important to you?
Hearing the praises and compliments of your friends when they see you in a new outfit? Or stopping the harassment of debt collectors who are calling your home and your office, and talking to your family and friends?
Which one is your priority?
Leveling up your lifestyle and perhaps, building other people’s perception of you, by buying a new car or enrolling in a gym? Or building a business that can replace your salary, so you can quit your job?
Your money, your decision.
Spend your 13th month pay the way you want it. But when you make that decision, realize and be aware that you’re probably saying “No” to something else.
Your time and money is limited. You can’t have everything that you want, all at the same time. But you can certainly decide which ones are so important and should become your top priorities.
In the end, whichever and however you decide. May you never look back with regret at this moment and wished you’ve chosen differently.