Business, Personal + Finance

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Learning from Registered Financial Planners: Efren Cruz, Aya Laraya, and more!




I finally finished my journey through the 2nd Cebu leg of the Registered Financial Planner Program this year. I started by participating in a 3-4 days of whole day training at the EcoTech center in Lahug, Cebu City. In Manila, I am told this is supposed to be an eight-week long journey to understand personal financial planning in the Philippine setting which is series of half-day Saturday classes with the Philippines’ leaders in personal financial education.



Tuition for this was about 29,000 pesos but with transportation added in, I'd say 30,000 is the actual figure. I must admit, that it was quite a significant amount of investment that makes you think twice.

"An investment in knowledge pays the best interest." - Benjamin Franklin

Many people online or even offline declare that it's better to do self education since almost everything is in the internet these days. I came into the same conclusion and reasoning, but what made me take a leap of faith by joining this program?

Aside from meeting in person the known experts and personalities in Financial Planning in the Philippines, you get to ask them for some guidance, different questions, advice, knowledge and experience sharing in Investments and personal finance in general. Well, you may also reason out that you can do that in facebook to by stalking or adding them and eventually messaging them. But engaging them face-to-face is a totally different experience and I bet they won't necessarily respond to a stranger on facebook.

Prepare all note taking devices!
Eat all the food you need since it's going to fuel your body for all the nosebleeds you will get from Financial Terminologies
Financial Planning in the Philippines
Another reason why I wanted to join and learn in the program is to get a perspective, an unbiased view or picture of financial literacy, education in the Philippine context since what is mostly found online are from Foreigners (Robert Kiyosaki, Millionaire Next Door..etc..) but we must admit that there are so many questions that those books cannot answer, simply because the Philippine setting is very different from the US.

Once again, you may reason out, these experts lecturing us have sites, facebook pages and even blogs of their own, so why not follow that one too? Yes you can, but I still believe nothing beats face-to-face interactions and get advice and knowledge straight from the horses' mouths!

To summarize here are my reasons for spending for a somewhat formal education in finance:

  • No book could ever capture the wealth of their (The Speakers) wisdom.
  • Unbiased financial planning education since financial institutions usually design the interactions with us financial newbies to be profitable, which means product selling. Here there is none of that.
  • Learn different methodologies, strategies and perspectives in Personal Finance in the Philippine setting.
  • Myth Busting: Confirm what I knew and thought I knew about and things I don’t know about. What is applicable in the US may not be applicable here in the Philippines.
Our first speaker was Aya Laraya of Pesos and Sense

Aral Muna Bago Invest
This is the phrase or quote that Aya is known for through his Pesos and Sense educational company. The first topic of the week was an overview about money, motivation and ultimately behavioral finance. That was a surprise to me as I was prepared for some nosebleeds and headaches on Day 1 since this is financial planning we are talking about here!

What affects our spending decisions as well as Investment choices is influenced by acquired behavior, culture and external environment. Basically, how we spend our money is more emotional and psychological rather than technical (for technical can be learned but behavior and attitudes are more difficult to control).

About Aya Laraya:
Aya Laraya is known as a Personal Finance and Investment Advocate. He began his career in the field of finance when he made his first investment while he was still in highschool. Setting this as his cornerstone, he pursued his Masters of Business Administation (MBA) from University of Western Australia, where he also enriched his writing skills.

He is also a Certified Securities Representative, a Certified Investment Company representative, and as a Realtor.

Aya Laraya takes part in uplifting the financial literacy of the Filipinos by offering practical advice in determining the most suitable investments for their particular needs.

Efren is one smart, diligent and very patient man. He taught us the technical stuff.
Money is never the Goal
A lot of people look up to him, fellow practitioners, financial advisors and including myself, because of his expertise in terms of money management and personal finance. With his topic more on the technical, we had our first run through the steps of making a comprehensive financial plan but was focused more on the calculations involved in relation to financial goals.

Though we did discuss that behavioral finance is important, it was also equally important to be able to accurately capture data and information from clients about their current state -- in terms of insurance, education, expenses and the like needs. This needs to be holistic and also accurate because this is our benchmark that we will base our forecasts on when we start making recommendations and future value calculations.

About Efren Cruz:
Efren Cruz is a pioneer in the Personal Finance industry in the Philippines and has 25 years of experience in financial services industry, 18 years of which in fund management heading the Wealth Management division of Standard Chartered Bank Philippines Branch.

He is also a registered financial planner of RFP Philippines, personal finance coach, seasoned investment adviser and bestselling author. He wrote the book Puede Na! (A Complete Guide to Personal Finance) in 2004, and is the chairman and president of the Personal Finance Advisers Philippines Corporation.

Mr. Efren Cruz is also known for the EnRich seminars, the very first Philippine Personal Finance App called Ya!man and has also written several articles in newspapers covering personal finance and has been sought as a resource speaker. You can catch Efren in his Personal Finance Seminars by checking his website PersonalFinance.ph.

Among the speakers Atty Terence Camua was the most greenhorn in terms of overall experience but his topic was more to his advantage since he is a CPA-Lawyer and we learned about taxes and laws in the Philippines related to Finance
Knowing the Laws of the Land
So we covered the behavioral aspect, the technical, mathematical and now we go to LAW. Damn I wasn't expecting this (I clearly didn't read the topic outlines provided at the time). And here I thought I'd escape facing law again.

In college, though my engineering course didn't have much law subjects, it was enough for me to not like it. But now I have come to like it out of necessity I suppose. We discussed many things such as the Family code, property ownership in the Philippines, Taxation and Estate Planning all in one day.

About Rev. Atty. Terence Camua, MA, CIS, RFP
Terence Camua is a lawyer, financial planner, professor and pastor who specializes in estate planning, taxation and investment advisory.

With our Final Day Speaker - Jesi Bondoc
Financial Planning is for Everyone
Sir Jesi synthesized all previous topics of the week in his whole day session and by taking us into the step-by-step guide in making a personal-comprehensive-financial-plan. He emphasized that it’s really a must to consult a financial planner and it doesn’t matter whether you have lots of money or limited funds. Financial planning is for everyone. Many people aspire to have a comfortable financial life, but they never take the effort to plan for their finances early on.

About Jesi Bondoc:
Jesi Bondoc, RFP® is the current Director of My Wealth MD and Partners, Inc., an investment consultancy firm. He is a Registered Financial Planner and Certified Investment Solicitor. Has more than 10 years experience in the financial services industry

Jesi writes in MoneySense Magazine and Business Mirror on topics covering personal finance and investments. He has conducted multiple personal finance and investment seminars to various companies and associations in the Philippines that includes Prulife UK, AXA, Smart Communications, PLDT, Aspac International, Instone Philippines Inc, Ateneo Graduate School, De La Salle University, DHL and more.

Jesi regularly appears as a financial expert on ANC channel’s TV show “On the Money.” He is a BS Accountancy graduate with more than 10 years experience in the financial services industry.

Who Can Become RFP®?
Below is a list of qualified individuals who can become Registered Financial Planner (RFP):

  • Professional Accountants
  • Legal Professionals
  • Credit Officers
  • Real Estate Agents
  • Insurance Intermediaries
  • Bankers
  • Securities and Stock Brokers
  • Investment Advisers
  • Financial Consultants
  • Other Professionals Working in a Similar Field

To know more about the Certification Process please click here.

This post has gone long enough, but those are just the gist of what I got from each speaker, at the end of the day we must all be willing to learn things we don't like if we want to change our life and achieve our hopes, goals and dreams!

"If you think education is expensive, try ignorance." - Derek Bok

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