Teaching people how to save and manage money remains a challenge in a developing country like the Philippines, a top official of a marketing group said. Jose Enrique de Las Penas, president of the International Marketing Group (IMG), said the obstacle lies in changing the misconception that only rich people can afford to save and that minimum wage earners have nothing to save.
What is lacking, he said, is the financial education and the right attitude for low-wage earners to save for the rainy days. de Las Penas said the right mindsed will help people survive the global economic crunch which has left thousands of Filipinos jobless. "The fear will always be there but if you look at it in a short-term level, nothing will happen to you," he told reporters in a press conference last week at the Cebu City Sports Club. de las Penas said the country's financial health is still sound and stable as a result of the experience during the 1997 Asian financial crisis. He said IMG conducts financial education seminars in its offices at the Ayala FGU Tower and Salinas Drive in Cebu.
He said an increasing number of companies sought their assistance in holding financial literacy programs with the onset of the global financial meltdown. At least 20 companies have asked IMG between late 2007 to 2008 to hold financial education seminars, said de Las Penas.
IMG chief executive officer Noel Arandilla said the misconception that only big companies conduct these seminars for employees is yet another serious misconception. "Financial education does not happen overnight. It's continuous because the market changes. You need real updates from a company like us," he said.
de las Penas said IMG is also running a program where they train overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to become financial advisors after they finish contracts abroad. He said this will ensure that the OFWs still have jobs and they and their families receive a sound financial education. Close to 3,000 OFWs were tapped by IMG as financial advisors. But there are still over 100,000 OFWs in Hong Kong, which the company seeks to tap, de las Penas said.
IMG is present in key provinces in the country including Baguio, Bicol, Makati, Manila, Bacolod, Dumaguete, Ormoc, Iloilo, Tacloban, Cagayan de Oro, General Santos and Cotabato. It also has international operations in Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, UAE, Norway, Spain and Italy among others.
IMG products range from healthcare, life insurance, investment, insurance and real estate.