What I Learned from the Financial Fitness Forum 2015

It was a privilege to attend the Financial Fitness Forum 2015 yesterday where most of my “idols” in the personal finance field were present. I was asked to attend the event to co-promote the upcoming Stock Smarts Workshops by Marvin Germo (in partnership with Manila Workshops) and to make the registration available to those who are interested to enrol for the April 2015 run.

For those who are not familiar, this Financial Fitness Forum is a one-day personal finance event that features the luminaries of the Registered Financial Planner Institute of the Philippines. It was headed by Mr. Henry Ong, also known as the “Father of RFPI Philippines”, who was visible the whole time, making sure that everything was going smoothly. And it went well indeed! Everything was organized and the speakers committed to the time allotted for their talks. As a result, the event finished on time.

Financial Fitness Forum 2015


This was my first time to attend the Financial Fitness Forum and I could say that they had a perfect line-up of speakers this year.

  1. Efren Cruz “Where does all my money go?”

A lot of people look up to him, including myself, because of his expertise in terms of money management and personal finance. Not only did he share different Money Tips during his talk, but he also shared his talent in singing and playing guitar.

I got the chance to take a photo with him and I wished it was clearer but he had already left the venue when I saw that our photo was blurred so I didn’t get the chance to have another shot. Next time!

Pinay Investor-with-Mr. Efren Ll. Cruz-at-the-Financial-Fitness-Forum-2015
With Mr. Efren Ll. Cruz at the Financial Fitness Forum 2015
  1. Edric Mendoza “How to create your own education plan”

The main host of ANC on the Money discussed the importance of planning for children’s education. He and his wife homeschool their five children and he shared how much they’re able to save (financially) by not having to send their children to exclusive and expensive schools and how fulfilling it is to share quality learning time together at their own home.

His son, Elijah, also spoke at the event, and he shared his experiences as a homeschooled son. He is truly a smart boy!

Edric shared DIY Tips which stand for:

D – Do your research.

I – (I’m sorry I forgot the I :). Can somebody please post a comment below and tell me what the “I” stands for? Thanks! 🙂 )

Y – Y? (As in Why? Or finding and knowing the real purpose of why you’re doing what you’re doing…)

  1. Aya Laraya “The Mirage of Long Term Investing”

Aya emphasized the importance of setting and defining goals in investing. That there should not be such thing as short term or long term investing because at any point we could be both. I don’t know if I got it correctly, but I think what he was trying to say was that we should be flexible when the need to shift from short term to long term or vice versa calls for us.

  1. Marvin Germo “Winning Strategies for Investing in Stock Market”

I’ve been working with Marvin for some of his seminars and I’ve heard him talk a lot of times already about the same topic but I always learn something new from him when he talks. He truly is a rock star in stock market investing.

One that I got from him during this event was that, no one knows what’s going to happen in the stock market, not even experts. But with proper strategies, there is a big chance that you will be a successful trader or investor. And that’s exactly what he teaches, the winning strategies for investing in the stock market.

  1. Randell Tiongson RFP Video Presentation / Announcements

Randell was also the Co-host on this event. He shared a little bit about his experiences as a personal finance expert and an advocate of financial literacy.  He showed the RFP Video Presentation and what RFP is all about, plus some announcements.  

I also got the chance to take a photo with him and Marvin, and I was surprised when he said that he thinks he knows me or that I looked familiar. Maybe he’s seen me on my blog. 🙂

Pinay Investor-with-Randell Tiongson-at-the-Financial-Fitness-Forum-2015
With Randell Tiongson at the Financial Fitness Forum 2015
  1. Christopher Cervantes “How to build your wealth towards financial independence”

Most of the speakers in this event have talked in the seminars that I have previously attended except for Christopher Cervantes, who is a Seafarer and also a Registered Financial Planner. I’ve heard a lot about him before, but it was my first time to see him talk in an event like this. Just like most OFWs, he too experienced how much money he spent on pasalubong when he’s about to come home for vacation. When he found the opportunity to learn financial management, his perception about money changed along with his financial status, and also giving him the chance to share what he knows about investing with his fellow seafarers.

  1. Salve Duplito How to Master the Art of Managing your Finances”

It was my second time to hear about Salve’s humble beginnings. Just like the first time I heard about it, I was again moved by her story. She was born to a poor family but she never felt poor because of the love and support of her family. She was motivated to do her best and be the best that she can be because she believed that it’s not her status that will define her as a person but who she is and what she does best.

This is not exactly what she said but it was something like this.

“Don’t let your status define who you are, strive for the best and let it define the real you and not what others say about you.”  

  1. Jeff Gonzales “How to Create your own Mutual Fund”

I regret that I missed this talk. I had to go out of the Convention Hall to charge my laptop and when I came back, he was already wrapping up his talk.

Based on how I understand the title of this topic, creating our own mutual fund is like diversifying our investments or assets. It’s always safer not to put all our eggs in one basket…

  1. Fitz Villafuerte “How to Invest Effectively to Achieve your Financial Goals”

Fitz is one of most influential bloggers in the country. No wonder he has a lot of followers because he never gets tired of sharing and inspiring others to invest effectively to achieve financial goals.

When we had our first project together in February of this year, I wasn’t surprised that we got a lot of sign-ups because Fitz was the speaker and he totally is an expert in personal finance.  

Pinay Investor-with-Fitz Villafuerte-and-Ginger Arboleda-at-the-Financial-Fitness-Forum-2015
With Fitz Villafuerte and Ginger Arboleda at the Financial Fitness Forum 2015
  1. Lianne Laroya “9-secret sweldo tips to become Millionaire”

I’ve seen Lianne a couple of times already and we exchange emails sometimes but we haven’t gotten the chance to talk in person yet. Not even a photo together! 🙂 She sent me a copy of her book and her stories are really inspiring.

She’s only twenty-three and it’s great to listen to someone like her, whose advocacy is to spread financial literacy especially among people at her age or the “twenty-somethings”.

  1. Kendrick Chua “Think Intsik: Money Habits of the Chinese”

Kendrick shared his grandparent’s humble beginnings and how his mom strived to build wealth to send them to exclusive schools and have a good life. He also explained the difference between being “kuripot” and being frugal, and why being frugal makes a lot of the Chinese people rich. Defining your priorities, knowing the difference between wants and needs, delayed gratification, and hard work are just some of the tips he shared to be able to achieve wealth and be financially independent.

Panel Discussion: “Do you really need a financial planner?”

Jesi Bondoc, Edwin Suson

During the panel discussion, the panellists shared a little bit about their background and their take on the importance of having or consulting a financial planner. Most, if not all of them, agreed that it’s really a must to consult a financial planner and it doesn’t matter whether we have lots of money or we only have 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.

I’m glad that more and more people are taking the RFP Program because that would mean that more and more people will benefit from it. I was invited to attend the Introduction of the RFP Program late last year and I was really interested to take it, but there were conflicts in schedule. I’m hoping that I’d be able to take the program soon.  

Financial Fitness Forum 2015 at SMX Aura
Financial Fitness Forum 2015 at SMX Aura, Taguig

Rienzie Biolena: Closing Remarks

I didn’t get the chance to listen to Rienzie’s closing remarks because I had to accommodate inquiries and registration for the Stock Smarts workshops, but I did a little bit of research about him. Just like the other speakers, he is also an advocate of financial literacy and he writes about financial planning and other related topics on Rappler and Moneysense. He also guested on ANC On the Money before, where he stressed the importance of investing in one’s self by attending seminars and conferences, reading personal finance books, searching the web, and watching personal finance programs to increase our knowledge and capability to earn and expand our resources, and to be able to manage our assets properly.

#FFF2015 - Financial Fitness Forum 2015
#FFF2015 – Financial Fitness Forum 2015

It was a long day for me but it’s all worth it because I learned so much from all of them. I’m looking forward to attend the next Financial Fitness Forum in 2016.

How about you? Were you able to attend the #FFF2015? How was your experience and what did you learn from the speakers? I hope to hear your thoughts in the Comment Section below.

Disclaimer: The contents are only based on my own interpretation of what I heard from the forum and the speakers and not necessarily their exact words. Feel free to contact me if there’s a need to modify anything from the content. 

Credits: RFPI Philippines, Financial Fitness Forum 2015


Am I ready to become a Registered Financial Planner (RFP)?

Exactly a month ago, I attended RFP’s free info-session at their office in Ortigas. I learned about RFP at the Money Summit and Wealth Expo 2014 when I came across their booth. I signed up on their guest sheet and the staff shared a little bit about RFP and its program.

Two weeks later, I received an email from one of their staff inviting me to attend their free info session. It was initially scheduled on July 17 but was moved to July 24 due to typhoon Glenda. Without thinking twice, I accepted their invitation and confirmed my attendance.

Even before Money Summit, I was already hearing about RFP from some of my favorite finance bloggers. But the only thing I knew about it was that it’s attached as a suffix right after the name just like PhD for Doctor of Philosophy, MD for Doctor of Medicine, and RN for Registered Nurse. And RFP was new to me that’s why I confirmed to attend the RFP info session to know more about it.

I reached the venue and registered at 6:45PM but the session started at exactly 7:30PM. The speaker was Mr. Henry Ong, the director of RFP.

 Henry Ong RFP

Let me share to you what I learned from the session…

A lot of people go through financial issues and challenges. And I admit I’m one of them. Lucky you if you have not experienced any issues related to money or finance. But what is it really that causes these issues and failures?

Failures happen not because we didn’t plan to fail, but because we failed to plan. And I guess one of the reasons of this are the various misconceptions about finance.

Some people believe that they don’t need to plan because they’re already earning much or that they already have enough. But the truth is, the more you earn, the more you need financial planning to secure and preserve your money and resources.

A good example of this are the lotto jackpot winners. They’re are so lucky to have gotten a ‘one time big time’ chance. But what happened to most of them? They went back to their old way of living or even went bankrupt and left with debts because they failed to plan. They didn’t know what to do with their money that’s why they spent it on just whatever they like even for things that aren’t necessary.

Another thing is, some people wait for financial crisis to happen before creating a financial plan. I guess most of us can relate to this. Sometimes we spend on things that we want even if they’re not necessarily what we need. We buy the latest gadget or cellphone with quad core processor, 32 gig memory, and retina display. But do we really need it? Maybe yes, maybe not. Then what happens next? We end up regretting why we bought it when we can still use the not-so-old one that we have. And now we are struggling just to make both ends meet.

I’m not saying be hard to yourself. Of course you can buy the latest, the grandest and even the most expensive thing in the world if you want to. But the first question is, can you afford it? Second, can you afford it without you having to go on “diet” for a few days or weeks just to cut on your expenses because you fall short on your budget?  If your answer is YES then go ahead and buy it. I’m sure you’ll be very happy to have it.

The Registered Financial Planners (RFP) Philippines is an independent self-regulatory professional organization offering education and membership in the financial planning field. Its mission is to promote professionalism in practice of financial planning. (Source:

They offer the Registered Financial Planner (RFP) Program to individuals who want to acquire the expertise necessary to be a practitioner in the personal financial planning industry. It also aims to enhance your knowledge and build on the experience you already have in the financial services industry and broaden your opportunities by networking with other financial service professionals.

After knowing all these, I thought that it would be a good opportunity for me to expand my financial knowledge by taking this program. Not only will it help me achieve my financial goals (hopefully) but also help others by promoting financial literacy.

The RFP Program is good for 8 weeks (8 consecutive Saturdays). Application for Batch 42 was ongoing when we attended the info-session and Mr. Ong offered an exclusive special discount for us. The fee for this program is a little expensive but I know it’s worth an investment in education.


I’m very interested to join RFP but due to having limited funds and considering other priorities, I wasn’t able to join Batch 42 which started yesterday. But I’m not closing my doors to this opportunity. If the right time comes, I will definitely join RFP and I will be honored to be called “Registered Financial Planner” with the suffix RFP attached to my name. 🙂

Credits: RFP Philippines