The COVID-19 pandemic has made us rethink our priorities, realizing the importance of securing our health, finances, and our future. Due to uncertainties, however, many people may have been forced to put their dreams and goals on hold.
To inspire Filipinos to rise up to these challenges, three of the country’s most admired young female icons, who are also brand ambassadors of Manulife Philippines and Manulife Investment Management, shared their lessons on finding courage and strength to thrive in their personal and professional journeys.
In this special feature, Olympic record-breaker and gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz; singer and performer Sarah Geronimo; and artist and actress Heart Evangelista shared practical insights on life and finances amid the pandemic, and how making their everyday better means responsible financial planning and investing in their overall well-being.
Strive to become a better version of yourself daily
Before taking home the Philippines’ first-ever Olympic gold, 30-year-old Hidilyn shared that she faced a lot of struggles in life, both financially and mentally. “I thought I wouldn’t get a shot at winning a gold medal because of the pandemic. Thankfully, through the help of my team, I did not give up on training, and still worked hard to be better day after day. It was a slow-but-sure process, but I persevered and powered through. Kasi ang mindset namin talaga ay dapat araw-araw, maging better athlete, better person, and better Filipino.”
Being surrounded by trusted family, friends, and coaches really helped Diaz manage both her physical and mental health, and helped her focus on her Olympic journey. According to Manulife’s recent study, “Know Your Ys and Zs: A closer look at the financial and mental well-being of Filipino Millennials and Generation Z in the time of COVID-19,” declining mental health is one of the top stressors among young Filipinos during the pandemic. That’s why they are taking active steps to better manage worries and stress. In fact, 62% of them stay physically active through exercise and other fitness activities, and 74% connect with their support system, like friends and family.
“With all the uncertainties, nagpapasalamat ako sa Team HD. Napaka-importante na mayroon kang masasandalan at may mga taong naniniwala sa kakayahan mo, kahit noong mga panahon na walang kasiguruhan ang mga plano natin sa buhay.”
Diaz also advised that when it comes to self-care and self-improvement, “make sure that you improve at least 1% every day. This is how I train my mind. Remember that 1% improvement is better than nothing at all.”
After finally fulfilling her Olympic dreams, Diaz’s next goal is to secure her family’s future. A young millennial herself, she acknowledged that being an athlete entails potential risks that can be detrimental to her career. “I have to accept the reality that I won’t be an athlete forever. Kapag nagka-injury ako, mahirap na. Pagtanda ko, hindi na ako magiging kasing-lakas ng dati. Good thing that Manulife is my partner to help guide me with my finances, so I can secure my future and ensure that my loved ones are also taken care of.”
Plan to help you achieve peace of mind
Before the success of her first virtual concert this year, 33-year-old Sarah Geronimo shared that the pandemic made her feel scared and anxious. “Sobrang na-heighten ng pandemic ‘yung fear ko about the uncertainty of the health of my loved ones, as well as the financial security that my work brings. My faith in God kept me going despite all the challenges, as well as my personal choice to be more strategic with my decisions.”
Geronimo shared that preparing ahead has given her peace of mind because it provides her financial security and stability. Despite the uncertainties, she knows that she and her family will be all right. “Gusto ko mas makasiguro kahit paano na magiging maayos ang pamilya ko ano man ang mangyari sa akin, kaya kumuha ako ng Manulife insurance policies.”
Geronimo also added: “Insurance is a must when planning for the future. Aside from life protection, may mga insurance plans that invest in funds, so I can also earn and set those earnings aside for medical emergencies, na mahalaga lalo na ngayong pandemic. Sobrang na-appreciate ko ang pagtulong sa akin ng mga magulang ko, kaya gusto kong magabayan ko rin ang magiging anak ko in the future. My family and I are also doing our best to take care of ourselves physically, mentally, spiritually, and financially.”
In the Philippines, 86% of millennials and Gen Zs acknowledge the importance of seeing where their money goes, and insurance remains the top financial product they own.
Geronimo shared that seeking advice from experts can help you manage your finances better. “It helps to have professional financial advice, so my decisions are well-informed. With the support and guidance from loved ones, friends, and my Manulife financial advisor, I am confident that I can reach my personal and financial goals. For me, securing your future and that of your loved ones is the best investment you’ll ever make.”
Invest in your overall well-being
Manulife’s recent study also revealed that 51% of Gen Zs and Millennials consider achieving overall wellness as their top immediate goal. That’s why they are taking more proactive steps to care for their financial and mental well-being.
For 36-year-old Heart Evangelista, taking charge of your well-being is the first step towards achieving financial independence. She recounts that when she was in her early days in showbusiness, she faced financial struggles as she was still finding her footing as a young, independent woman. What motivated her was her interest and willingness to learn new things. “Sometimes, we tend to stay down when we are experiencing a setback. When you are down, there is no other way but up. The best way to learn is to stand on your own two feet.”
Evangelista added: “You should invest in yourself – choose to be better and reinvent yourself. Think of new ways to earn. You have to invest not only in your financial future, but also in your emotional stability, intellectual capacity, and spiritual maturity. You’ll be in the best position to overcome any challenge if maganda na yung puhunan mo sa sarili mo.”
Aside from her ongoing shoot for her new TV series, international projects and endorsement commitments, Heart shared that her investments and entrepreneurial ventures keep her busy. She is especially conscious about being smarter with money, which must yield both personal fulfillment and high earnings potential. “I invested in a resort in Boracay with my closest friends to entice local and foreign tourists to see how beautiful the island is. I also invested in global and local unit investment trust funds (UITFs) with Manulife Investment Management because investing in the world’s biggest economies is a great opportunity to help me reach my financial aspirations.”
Evangelista’s advice for people who want to invest is: “start by having a good plan on how to manage your funds. As the adage goes, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. By getting expert advice to help carve the path to meet my financial goals, and through the help of Manulife Investment Management, I am more confident to manage and grow my finances.”