A wealthy man goes to a faraway land to build a new housing project to expand his business, and he'll be gone for three years. So he summoned his three faithful servants and gave each one hundred thousand pesos.
“Take this with you and grow my money as much as you can for I shall collect them with interest when I come back exactly three years from now.”, he declared.
The first servant had little knowledge about money. It was the first time he ever got a hand on such huge amount! So he started to ask for help from friends and relatives. Armed with a burning desire to grow his Master's money and a newly created Facebook account, he started to seek advice from everyone whom he thought might help him, until one particular thing struck his attention: invest in the stock market. “This is it!”, he told himself. And just after a week, the first servant was all smiles. He bought shares of almost every PSE company he'd see on FB groups that are being recommended by so-called traders.
The second servant, who regarded himself smarter than the other servants, went to a computer shop and asked Google:
Where to invest one hundred thousand pesos - Philippines
The third servant who was afraid to even count the money, intelligently dug a hole inside his house and buried the money there. He even stored foods inside his house in anticipation that should a war break out, he'd never have to leave his house.
True enough, after three years, the Master came back from his business project. He immediately summoned his servants to see how well they did with his money.
“I invested on stocks!”, said the first servant with brimming confidence. “Hmm..very well then”, said the Master as he quickly pulled out his 17" Android Tablet and opened an online app to check the stock price of the companies that his servant had bought.
“Anyare?!”, the Master exclaimed! “All I see is an ocean of red! All your stocks are at a loss! Oh, and why buy Jollibee shares when all you eat is Aldub meal? Don't tell me naniniwala ka na rin sa forever?”
“But Master, they say investing on stocks is my best option if I want to grow my money in the long term, and these companies are their bets!”, answered the servant.
“Fool! Even the best investment instruments are doomed to fail if done without purpose! Haven't I told you that I'd be back at exactly three years? Are you that smart to predict that in three years’ time, your portfolio would be green!?”
“Oh, I was blown away by all these inspiring stories I read”, said the servant as his confidence slowly melts.
“Well this ain't that movie, boy!”, yelled the Master.
The first servant started to shake in fear. He knew there was nothing left to do but to beg for his Master's forgiveness.
“Listen well”, said the Master. “It may have worked for them, but that doesn't mean it would work for everyone else! Not when North Korea tests bombs and Russia is trashing their we'll-destroy-America-in-30-minutes spiel! Always remember that before you invest on anything, you should have a clear plan and purpose. I don't see three years as long enough for your LONG TERM plan. You should know when to lock in your gains and when to make changes with your plan.”
“So what shall I do, Master?”, asked the servant.
“Why don't you ask Facebook?”, the Master angrily replied.
The first servant was about to cry for his Master's mercy when the second servant spoke with arrogance, “Master, forgive my friend's foolishness for he has not taken the same path that I took.”
The Master looked at the second servant and asked him what he did.
“I have invested the money in myself”, he calmly said. “I bought books and attended seminars, including that 18-thousand-peso-early-bird-rate-ticket from a world-renowned financial guru! You will not believe how knowledgeable I am today about all these investments. Forgive my english, but even you might beg me to teach you all these things inside here, Master.”, as he arrogantly pointed his finger towards his cerebrum.
“Now that's comforting to hear!”, said the irritated Master. “So where is my money now? How much did you make?”
“You see, Master, I now have a mini-library in my house. You would love my collection of personal finance books...and...”
The Master interrupted his servant, “Yes, yes! But enough of the bragging! I want to know first where is the money I have entrusted with you.”
“I just told you, Master. I have invested it in myself to acquire knowledge.”
“P#$^!&G*0@!?? Three years! Three years and you're saying that all you did was study? What's with all these learnings if you did not apply a single thing you learned?”, asked the infuriated Master.
“Because I'm afraid I have not yet learned the A to Z of money-making, Master.”
“Fool! Investing does not require you to memorize A to Z in its entirety! You just have to learn the A-B-C and you go on from there. What good does it make for you to be this financially literate when you have grown the money to nada, waley, zero, zilch, kaput, none?”
Finally, the third servant quietly smiled because he knew that he will win their Master's heart by at least not losing the money entrusted to him.
“Master!”, he said, “I may have not grown your money, but at least, unlike them, I have not lost a single cent of your money! I buried the money inside my house!”
“Oh, how genius of you!”, the Master exclaimed.
“Thank you, Master!”, and the servant's heart started to beat as fast as a horse!
“Fool! And you really expect me to praise you for that stupidity?”, asked the Master.
The servant quickly replied, “But Master, isn't it that money saved is money earned?”
“Yes! But that was about a hundred years ago when price of goods do not change!”, said the annoyed Master and asked, “How many kilos of corn can you buy with 1,000 pesos five years ago?”
“About ten, Master.”
“Uhm..only about eight?”, answered the confused servant.
With his eyes grown wide, the Master asked him, “And you're telling me you did not lose my money?”
The room was filled with deafening silence.
The Master was the first to break it.
“I may rattle my head and ask a thousand ifs on my mind right now. What if I did not leave for three years? What if I entrusted my money on my other servants instead? What if I told you what exactly to do with the money? What if? What if? But I don't want to kill myself to bed thinking all these what ifs. As one of those good movies I watched would suggest, It's brave to ask what if, but it's braver to embrace what is. We should all learn and move on from this.”
“Very well then, let's just see the beauty on what happened, shall we? John, you put knowledge into action. Some people, like Simon, acquire knowledge and let time pass by because of several things that holds them back: fear, greed and finding the best time to start which will never come anyway - because it's always a day before they come to realize it. Simon, you actually did something that most people forgot to do first - to invest on your education. But do not let your learning lead to knowledge, or you'll become poor. Instead, let your learning lead to action, and you can become wealthy. There is nothing more pitiful than a man who is smart and broke! And, Peter, you showed your capability to save and live within your means. Otherwise, you may have spent my money on something useless.”
“Peter, go get the money you buried in your house. John, we shall study your portfolio and see if we need to sell at a loss and buy when the market panic subsides or if we can still hold them and do cost-averaging. Simon, you shall manage the funds.”
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