ABS-CBN chairman and CEO Eugenio "Gabby" Lopez's Retirement Speech

>> Wednesday, November 28, 2012

I was surprised to see the word "Retirement" in the title of this article which I read from ABS-CBN's official newsletter. I didn't see this coming but as the age old adage says, "All good things must come to an end."

I'm keeping a copy of this speech here to remind myself of how great it is to be a Kapamilya.
We had our ups and downs. Many times we wanted to quit. But we have to admit, iba pa rin ang Kapamilya.

ABS-CBN chairman and CEO Eugenio "Gabby" Lopez's Retirement Speech
Delivered during the Kapamilya Awards 2011 

Wow, 25 years Freddie (Garcia)! I feel I can do another 25.

25 years. Not even my marriages have lasted that long!  The only relationships I have had that lasted this long are my siblings, my parents – talagang Kapamilya.  When I look at the list of 25-year awardees I realize it’s all the people that I started with.  Like everyone, we all have certain beliefs, lessons that we accumulate over the years.  Normally the lessons I have learned, the insights I have gained, I share with senior management.  Today I will share it all with you – my Kapamilya.

Rapid Change:  We live in a time where change has accelerated rapidly.  The changes in technology affect all of us in profound ways:  The way we communicate, the way we interact.  ABS-CBN in 5 years will be a very different company from where we are today.  ABS-CBN in 10 years is likely to have TV revenues as a very small part of our overall revenue.  When we started 25 years ago, we were not even on satellite throughout the Philippines.  Today we are on satellite throughout the world.  But one thing has remained constant in the last 25 years and likely to remain so for the next 10 years – “In the service of the Filipino.”  As long as our north star is guided by this simple yet powerful mission, we will never go wrong.

Follow Your Instincts:  I cannot count the number of battles I have been through.  We have been up, we have been down.  We’ve been to the pinnacles of success.  I remember my father with President Ramos pushing the button in the ballroom of Shangri la Hotel when Pan Am Satelite became operational as our television signal was transmitted live to North America.  The first of many satellites as we send our TV signals across the globe.  We have also experienced the depths of despair – none more poignant then walking through the corpses of our Kapamilya in the Ultra tragedy, entering the stadium and facing Alou, our EP, and her production staff.  In all of these incidents, in the events that defined ABS-CBN, I like to think that the decisions we made were never driven by profits.  I followed my instincts but those instincts were molded by the years I have spent in the trenches of ABS-CBN. 

Magic in the Air:  Never forget that at its best, ABS-CBN is magic on the air.  The alchemy that comes from creating content is pure magic.  And this goes for all job functions not just those in production.  For I am sure all of us have treasured stories about our jobs.  Many nights ago I was watching the ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra perform Maalaala Mo Kaya in a classical style. I could not help but reminisce about how far we have come.  25 years ago, I was sitting in a restaurant or karaoke bar with Charo, Freddie, and Rolly Cruz, where the genesis for Maalaala Mo Kaya was born.  And here we are, 25 years later, with Maalaala Mo Kaya the longest running drama anthology of all time.  Who would have imagined such an outcome.  And yet this is part and parcel of what we do everyday.  That magic comes from passion, for without caring you cannot create.  It is passion that is the driving force for ABS-CBN alchemy.  And as I often like to point out:  Making money is like breathing oxygen, you can’t live without it BUT it’s not why you live.

The Dying of the Light:  The lesson I hold closest to my heart, embedded in my DNA by my father is:  You never, never, never, never give up.  You can be up against the most unbelievable odds, as he was when he planned his escape, but you never give up.  And so I say to you Kapamilya, you will undergo your own struggles, your own crisis. You may change business models, you may close divisions, you may change tactics, you may be up against seemingly insurmountable odds but you never give up.  You never give up on your corporate values, you never give up on your principles, you never give up on our mission.  As Dylan Thomas once said “Do not go gentle into the night but rage, rage against the dying of the light.”
When I move on, Peter Musngi and I will be the last employees who worked in both the pre-martial law and post-martial law ABS-CBN.  It is in many ways the end of an era.  We started from the ground up.  Many of you will never experience the struggles and hardships we, the remaining 25-year tenured employees, have undergone.  Undoubtedly you will undergo your own struggles, your own pressures, your own sleepless nights.  Who is to say that our struggle is more important than yours?  They are all equally important to the future of ABS.  For make no mistake, the challenges we face in the next 5 years are daunting indeed.  We have always been a trailblazer, a company known for its innovation.  But that innovation has always been tempered by our North Star firmly guiding us.

Promise of Service:  So as I close this chapter, it is good to reflect on our North Star with this story from Fr. Tito, our chaplain, which he told during one of our relief operations in Cagayan de Oro during Typhoon Sendong. And I quote:

There were two soldiers, Joe and Carl, who were close friends. It was war time and they were together in one company that was engaged in an encounter. Their company was outnumbered and they started to suffer heavy casualties, and the commander ordered a retreat.
When the company got to safe ground, Joe noticed his friend, Carl, was not with them. He immediately went to the commander and asked permission to go back to look for Carl. The commander disapproved saying that with the heavy fire of the enemy Carl would surely have been killed. He told Joe that they would recover the bodies when it was safer. Joe apologized before he disobeyed the order and ran back to the battlefield.
Several minutes later he came back carrying Carl’s dead body. As he put down Carl’s body, the commander saw that Joe himself was badly wounded. He was furious and he told Joe, “I told you he would have been killed in the fire fight. You foolishly endangered yourself and now I risk losing another man. What a waste!”

Joe, now fighting for his own life, calmly told the commander, “Sir, it was not a waste. When I got to Carl he was still alive. I held him up and propped him on my lap telling him to hold on. He gasped for breath, he smiled and his last and only words were, “Joe, I knew you would come.”
After this story Fr. Tito went on to recount how Diether Ocampo was talking to Chona, an 11-year old girl – “Nandito kami para sa iyo at marami pang mga Kapamilyang darating para dalawin kayo.”  “I knew you would come” was the meaning of Chona’s smile.
To many Filipinos here and abroad, this then is the true meaning of our mission “in the service of the Filipino”:  A commitment to be there in times of need.

I was a wild and unruly youth when I joined ABS-CBN 25 years ago.  Everything that I have become I owe to ABS-CBN.  I am not going away but my role will change from CEO to Chairman.  As FMG would say, from mentor to tormentor.  In many respects I have been the child growing up to be a man as a result of what I have learned here at ABS.  Now I feel like the father saying to ABS, you have to know how to make your own decisions without me weighing in; you have to make your own mistakes as I have.

ABS-CBN has a deep bench of talent with many people as deeply committed, as deeply passionate.  The next 5 years will be among the hardest, the most volatile, but also the most fun and the most creative season for all of us.

As I end this stage of my career with ABS-CBN – I just want to say – I don’t regret a day, a minute, a second of all that I have experienced.  It has been an honor and a privilege to lead you these past 25 years.  All things come to an end but it is my wish that ABS and what it stands for will live forever. It cannot live forever if it doesn’t learn the process of passing the baton from one generation to the next.  And that is what I am doing today.  But always remember, till my dying day I will always be Kapamilya.


On The Money: Expert Tips on Saving for your Kid's Education

Saving for your Kid's Education
taken from ANC's On The Money
with Arlyn Tan, AIM-Sun Life Financial PLanner

Parents want the best for their children and that includes the best education that they can provide.
However, good education doesn't come cheap, so parents have to know the best way to save and invest for this.

Why do parents need to plan for their children's education funding today?
Apart from giving quality time to their children, we know that the most valuable investment a parent can give to their child is a good education.

Education is the key to opportunities for your childen in the future.
The chance to a better job, to a better life, comes with a good education.

The Education fund needs to be planned early because it comes sooner than other needs like Retirement.
We have a shorter time to prepare for our children's education compared to other needs in life.

In the Philippines, a family on the average has 2 to 4 children simultaneously going to school.
This makes Education costs to eat up a big part of your budget.

But 90% of Filipinos plan only 1 year befor school starts.

So how do we save up for our kid's education?

1. The First step is to know your objective. What is your dream for your child? Where would you like your child to attend college?

2. Decide what kind of fund you are planning for - is it for High School or College? Do you want to include in your plan other education-related expenses like miscellaneous fees or just the tuition fee?
Sometimes, these other expenses (books, cost of daily allowance, boarding, extra-curricular activities, etc.) are higher than the actual tuition fee.

3. Come up with your target figure. Ex. P2 Million for a 4 year course.

Make sure to factor in tuition fee increases and inflation when you compute for the value of the education fund you want to achieve.
You can use the assumption of 10% annual tuition fee increase.
So if 1 semester of your target school is P50,000 today, next year this will increase to P55,000.

If you have a 3 yr old child today, by the time he starts college at 18 years old, this would be P208,000 per semester!

4. After arriving at the target amount needed for your child's education, decide if you want to plan for 100% of the amount, 75% or less.

Or, how much do you have now that we can work with?

A Financial Advisor can help you in computing for the monthly investment you would need for your target amount.
Figure out how much money you can save for this and how much monthly investment is needed to achieve your goal.

You can also put in a lump sum.

Recommended products for setting up an education fund
1. Mutual Fund. This is an investment fund that can give an average projected return of 10 to 15%.
2. VUL - Variable Universal Life Insurance. This is an insurance plan with investment fund.
The insurance plan ensures that whatever happens to you, your child will receive the education fund.
The investment fund gives an average projected return of 10 to 15%

If you want to guarantee that your child will get the target education fund you plan for, you need to get an insurance equivalent to the target education fund you want for your child.

The purpose of this is if something happens to you (like death or disability) and you can't work anymore, your child automatically gets a lump sum amount.

From this lump sum, a part can be used to provide for his daily needs, and a part will be invested to fund for his education in the future. Your child will get the lump sum even if you haven't completed the monthly deposits for your child's education fund.

So if you target P2 Million for your child's education, you need to get a corresponding life insurance of P2 Million to serve as your cushion in case
the unfortunate happens.

In Summary:

1. It is important to start early. Start investing now.
The earlier you start, the more time for your money to grow.
You can even start even when you don't have a child yet.

This would enable you to sit in the shade because you planted the tree a long time ago.

2. Save as much as you can
Putting in more would enable you to take less time to reach your goal!

3. Have a Financial Advisor study your needs so that you can get an objective solution.

4. Find investment solutions that will give you higher returns. It should be higher than the tuition fee increase rate (10%) and inflation rate (4%)
Make sure to invest only with reputable and legitimate companies to avoid scams.

5. Review and evaluate your objective, plans and funds regularly.
Your needs and income may change as the years go by.
If a new baby is born into the family, you might want to setup an education fund for the new member of the family.
If you change jobs and get a higher salary, you might want to increase your monthly deposit to your fund.

Hope this helps!

Feel free to get in touch with me at grace.c.cunanan[at]sunlife[dot]com[dot]ph for a sample Road Map on how you can start Saving for your Child's Education.

Happy Saving and Investing! 


Make your Christmas Bonus Work For You

>> Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Making your Bonus work for you
report from Nina Corpuz, Dateline Philippines ANC

For many Filipinos, the 13th month bonus means "It's time to splurge".
But why not make that Christmas bonus work for you.

For many Filipinos, the much awaited Christmas bonus or the 13th month bonus
is as good as gone.

Common ways Filipinos spend their bonuses:
- bibili ng TV
- magsho-shopping

"walang natitira, tinanggap ko lang isang araw, kinabukasan, wala na"

By January, many Filipinos are left with no savings, worse, some of them are burdened with debt.

Financial coach Salve Duplito advises Pinoys to use their Christmas bonuses wisely,
but putting it in the bank is not one of them.

Because if left in the bank, after one or two months, "ubos na iyan ksi ang banko
or ATM account is very accessible. Maya't-maya kukupitan mo yan."

Banks only give about 1% interest compared to the Stock Market or Mutual Fund
which can earn you about 10% to 15%.

Investing in the stock market maybe riskier but you don't have to pull out your money
when it falls.
"Hintaying mo lang na paakyat yung trend, tsaka mo sya kunin, e di kumita ka."

You can also put your money in a business.
"sa 200 pesos na capital ngayong araw na ito, gawa ka ng mango float.
Ibenta mo bukas. Sa susunod na araw, ung 200 pesos mo, 400 pesos na."

Duplito says she is not saying that Filipinos should not enjoy the extra  money.
It's ok to spend it but not without limits.

Hope this helps!

Spend your bonuses wisely.

For more information on how you can stretch your money so that you can grow it
to fund your Child's Education, your Travel Dreams, or your future Medical Expenses or Retirement,
feel free to leave a comment or drop me a note at geecc[at]hotmail[dot]com for a free financial health check.

Happy Saving and Investing!


Important Money Tips for Solo Parents

>> Thursday, November 08, 2012

Tips for Solo Parents on How to Handle Money
taken from ANC's On the Money
with Vina Dimanalata - Registered Financial Planner


Based on a recent survey, around 14 million Filipinos are single parents.

If you're one of them, how do you reach financial independence despite flying solo?

Solo parenting is a growing trend.
This is due to any one of the following:
- young adults w/ children out of wedlock
- separated from spouse
- widow/widower
- spouse of OFWs


Important To do list for Young Single Parents
1. Find a stable job to be able to predict the income that will be coming in.

2. You must realize that you have a dependent.
And if you have a dependent, the number one thing that you have to do is to protect yourself.
Protecting yourself means that if anything unfortunate happens to you (like death or illness), the expenses and needs (ex. education, day to day living expenses) of your child who is your dependent are covered and are taken cared of.
You protect yourself by getting an insurance.
With an insurance, in the event that something happens to you, your child will receive an amount of money which will be used for his needs in the absence of your earnings.

3. Consider preparing for your children's education.

4. Live within your means by finding cheaper alternatives.
Example: you can still go out once in a while but do it less frequently and go to less expensive places

5. You cannot afford to spoil your child.
Resist buying gifts for your child that you can't afford just to make up for your absence. Instead, find quality time that you can spend with your child.


For those who are married to OFWs

Your responsibility is to grow that capital that is being sent home.
You must realize that being a migrant worker is temporary and that you should prepare for the time when the OFW comes back home.
Save and grow the money that is being sent home.
Maintain a lifestyle that can be continued even when the OFW comes back home (meaning when the time comes that you cannot rely on remittance anymore to sustain your lifestyle)

Have money tips of your own that you would like to share with us? Do leave a comment.


About This Blog

This blog is my attempt to document the bits and pieces of my life. It also serves as a reference for things I need to remember every now and then, like activating UnliText, among other things.

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