by: Maricel Salialam, Finance Director
We all need to manage our finances well. We know that this is important. The funny thing is that, when discussions about finances arise, people tend to be a little uncomfortable about it and even shy away from learning more. This is because many of us have a mindset that finance is an intimidating, complicated, and boring topic.
That is the reason why we created the Piggy Bank Sessions. We want to help TeamAsians understand financial topics in a simple and fun way. We choose topics that we think are relevant to our team, filled with young people, such as:
- learning how to balance their spending vs their earnings
- for newly married individuals learning how their new tax status can change their budgeting priorities
- for new parents who want to be prepared with the right information to raise their children
And in the spirit of all our TeamAsia Pop-ups, we also wanted to make sure that all the activities that would lead to making better personal financial decisions would be engaging and insightful for our team.
When employees get their payslips every payroll period, not everyone understands why and what the breakdowns listed are for. So we devised a session dedicated to explaining the different types of deductions, why they are necessary, and what they are used for. We also defined in detail what the benefits for each corresponding deduction and how this would benefit their future. We realized as the crowd listened intently that most companies don’t explain these concepts to their employees, making the assumption that employees know and accept what is written on their payslips.
In the same session, we also covered the often headlined but much misunderstood provisions under the new Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law that directly affect employees. We needed to do this to enlighten TeamAsians of the many benefits and adjustments we need to make because of the TRAIN Law. At the start of 2018, I’m sure everyone felt the impact of even a little increase in their take home pay because of the adjusted tax rates and exemptions. We were able to show that even if we loved the additional funds for ourselves and our families, there is a downside, as prices of certain products such as soda and petroleum also started increasing.
During the second Piggy Bank Session, we tackled the topics of personal investments and insurance in a session that we held in partnership with Unionbank and InsularLife. The highlight of this session was seeing our TeamAsians gamely engage in T Praxis game, a game similar to Monopoly, that simulates one’s life into a short board game, compressing 30 years of your life in playing a 2-hour game. The nature of the game involved making decisions for the type of career you choose, making investments, the impact of not having insurance when you need it, the impact of the economy in one’s personal finances, owning property, and preparing for your retirement.
Personally, I really enjoyed partaking in this activity, and was happy that I was able to play the full cycle –even reaching the part of paying estate taxes after “death”. I was also proud of my Finance team, fully expecting (haha) that we would be one of the last ones standing when the earnings at the end of the game was computed. It was a great experience to find TeamAsians learning to be more proactive and mindful of their personal finances. I also shared with everyone that it is never too early to start saving for your future through investment and insurance.
The topics we’ve covered so far have received great feedback from the team, and we are happy that we’ve achieved our objective of enlightening TeamAsians about the benefits of financial literacy.
We will continue our search for other interesting Finance topics that will spark the interest of our teammates. We will find new partners to have more engaging activities with and continue to do sessions that veer away from the traditional lectures but rather something fun and enjoyable so our TeamAsians continue to appreciate and learn from these sessions.
As we look forward to the continued support and participation of TeamAsians for all our future Piggy Bank sessions, we the Finance team ask you — What do you want to learn about next?