There is a saying in Filipino that goes laway lang ang puhunan (literally, saliva for capital). Though it sounds too good to be true, there are people whose every word is worth their weight in gold. Knowledge is their capital, reputation their advertisement.
A perfect example is the consultant. He is the go-to person, the expert whose advice is so valued that decisions and policies are based on his opinion. He basically gets paid simply for saying something. This is certainly true for people who make a living as financial advisers. After all, people need an education in financial literacy and they come from all walks of life.
According to a 2011 study by a local life insurance company, most Filipinos don’t know enough about investing, following a budget or making a financial plan. They know that they need to save but it’s not worked into the budget. Where there are savings it is normally seen as an end in itself instead of as a means to an end.
Regina E. Kibir is a certified public accountant who has practiced financial advising for more than 20 years, and finds it both a profession and a responsibility whenever she gives advice. Financial advising is more than about money, she says. “As a financial adviser, you are part of the client’s success and failure. As much as possible, supervise them and give the best help. I dig deeper and deeper until I get a lot of data about them, even down to their behavior.”
Knowing about bookkeeping and accountancy can help people become financially literate, but even accountants fail at financing when they are just focused on money matters and forget the business world at large. “I had clients that wanted me to be their internal financial adviser. They were hard workers and knew how to make money, but they didn’t know how to make it work for them,” Kibir says.
How to become one
Involvement in businesses like banking and selling insurance has some financial literacy training worked into it, and so do college courses like business administration and accountancy. Some financial consultants get by with business savvy and experience and build a reputation and client base through referrals.