5 Money Lessons That We Can Learn From Hidilyn Diaz

Financial problems are common among professional athletes, as many of them lack the skills necessary to effectively manage their personal finances.

Due to a lack of financial literacy, many professional athletes are unable to appropriately manage their wealth and are susceptible to scams and poor financial advice.

This is exactly why Hidilyn Diaz, the country’s first Olympic gold medalist, wants to help her fellow athletes learn how to save and grow their hard-earned money.

“I once made an unwise decision with my money. I want to share what I learned with them.”

Seeking to inspire and teach other people how to manage their money, Hidilyn recently signed up to be the newest brand ambassador of BDO Unibank.

Her focus as brand ambassador will be to support the financial literacy of BDO. Her heart is set on inspiring all the Filipinos living or working here and abroad who are facing their own challenges to achieve their goals.

Here are 5 Money Lessons that Hidilyn Diaz shared at an intimate press conference with Banco de Oro.

1. Proper Budgeting and Planning

Hidilyn Diaz admitted that she made horrible decisions when it comes to her earnings.

She shared that her first ‘poor judgment’ was not making any profit in the gym she built after winning silver in the 2016 Rio Olympics.

“After winning sa Rio Olympics nang silver medal, s’yempre may nagbigay ng prize money. Ang ginawa ko, bumili ako ng lupa, tapos no’n pinatayo ko nang gym. Pero wala ako na ni singko akong nakuha, wala akong profit doon.”

However, she did not think of it as a wrong decision since it is for the kids who aspire to become the next weightlifting champion of the Philippines. She was disappointed in herself for not being able to ‘pay herself first”.

“Kaya lang siguro mali ang ginawa ko lahat binigay ko, lahat binili ko at hindi ‘yon tama. Dapat may percentage po. Yun ang dapat kong matutunan at mag ipon-ipon din.

“Okay yung mabait, pero dapat may percentage para sa sarili mo, percentage para sa ipon, percentage sa investment, percentage sa pagbibigay sa pamilya, enjoyment, siguro travel.”

Budgeting is the process of creating a plan to spend your money. Creating this spending plan or “budget” allows you to determine in advance whether you will have enough money to do the things you need to do or would like to do.

As Luke 14:28 says,

“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?”

Let’s learn from Hidilyn’s previous mistakes. Before making any decision, let’s make sure that we have a solid financial plan and a clear feasibility study when we make big decisions like starting a new business.

2. Knowing Needs vs Wants 

After receiving incentives from weightlifting competitions, she bought material things, including an iPhone, which led to her second wrong decision.

“May mga time na ‘pag may incentives, bumibili ako nang mga material things like cellphone, iPhone.

“Hanggang sa nahawakan ko yung phone parang… hindi naman pala ‘to… alam mo ‘yung ‘pag bumili ka ang saya mo pero after a day wala na pala.

“So yun ang mga pagsisisi na nararamdaman ko nung bata ako. Hanggang ngayon naman may mga time na gano’n eh,” she revealed.

3. Setting boundaries when it comes to helping family

When she started her journey to become the country’s top weightlifter, Hidilyn admitted that she struggled managing her finances as the family’s breadwinner.

Now that she’s a top-tier athlete, she said that she has now stopped supporting her family after her 2016 Olympic win.

“Sa handling ng pera, siguro sa haba ng panahon ng pagiging atleta, 19 years na ako sa pagiging atleta. So nung una, tumutulong talaga ako sa pamilya. But after 2016, sinabi ko kailangan ko munang magbigay sa sarili ko.”

Giving to others can be rewarding, but becoming the family bank or money tree can be stressful.

Regardless of the reasons why they need the money, it is important to determine how much and how often you’re willing to shell out money and whether you will set up repayment terms.

You can respond without hesitancy that you’ve reached your limit. This forces the family members to seek other options. In choice cases, it may be just the response needed to turn things around.

Like what Lao Tzu said,

“Give a Man a Fish, and You Feed Him for a Day. Teach a Man To Fish, and You Feed Him for a Lifetime.”

4. Dreaming big and winning big

Aside from her financial struggles, Hidilyn also shared what led her to aspire to give the Philippines its first-ever gold medal.

Apparently, it all started when she became a wildcard in the 2008 Summer Olympics. After meeting the best of the best athletes worldwide, Hidilyn dreamed of belonging to the group.

“Tapos nakita ko sina Bolt, sina Phelps, tapos mga NBA. Sabi ko, ‘Wow pang-world class pala ang Olympics.’ Sabi ko pa, ‘Next time hindi na ako wildcard, gusto na ako mag-qualify.’

“Siguro nung 2008 doon ako naging open yung mind ko na may Olympics pala, na ito pala ang pinakamataas na laro sa buong mundo.

She then earned a spot in the 2012 London Summer Olympics but failed to complete her lift, making her feel a “loser.”

“Nung time na ‘yon hindi pa. Sabi ko lang mag-qualify. 2012, nag-qualify ako kaso did not finish ako. Nung time na ‘yon na-feel ko na loser ako, na nakakahiya kasi Olympics ‘yon eh. Tapos flag bearer pa ako nung time na ‘yon at nakakahiya.”

She then said,

‘Babawi ako, babawi ako.’ 2016, nakita niyo nanalo ako nang silver medal sa Rio.”

But her silver win did not stop her from getting the gold as she thought.

“Then after that, kasi may injury pa ako, sabi ko, ‘Hindi, kaya kong mag-gold, kaya kong mag-gold.’”

Come 2020, Diaz finally gave the Philippines its first gold medal in weightlifting.

“There is no quick way to success. Hard work and determination are important. Remember to surround yourself with people who will help you fulfill your dreams,” shared Hidilyn.


5. Opening a bank account and starting saving

Hidilyn shared that with the gifts that she received after her win, the most important thing to focus on next is properly managing them.

“Importanteng magbukas ng account sa bangko. Kahit maliit lang ipon mo sa simula. Para lang  ‘yan nung nagsimula akong magbuhat ng weights. Start small, kumbaga. Tapos, ‘pag  successful ka na, pag lumaki na ipon mo, pwede mo siyang ipang-invest sa ibang bagay na gusto mo. O di kaya ay para sa pangarap na gusto mong matupad, para talagang sulit ang mga  pinaghirapan natin.”

She also reminds her fellow athletes, especially those who have achieved their own feats of how they should prepare for the financial future.

‘Di naman tayo forever magiging atleta, diba? Mahaba pa ang magiging buhay natin  pagkaretiro natin sa ating mga sport. Kaya kung anuman ang naibigay sa atin ngayon, dapat  ipunin natin ‘yun. Para tayo’y makapaghanda, para rin sa ating mga minamahal sa buhay.” 

“Mahalaga ring may relationship at tiwala tayo sa bangko. Importante ito dahil dito natin ilalagay ang ating mga pinaghirapan. Tiwala tayo sa kanila kasi expert sila sa pagtulong palaguin ang ating mga finances. Halimbawa, kung gusto kong magtayo ng negosyo pagkaretiro ko, o bigyan ko ng retirement ang aking mga magulang, alam nila kung paano nila ako gagabayan. Importante ring may serbisyo sila kung saan ako makakapagpadala ng pera sa pamilya ko sa Zamboanga habang nagte-training ako abroad. Nakita ko lahat ‘yan sa BDO.”

BDO Senior VP and Remittance Head Genie T. Gloria said,

“The fact that only 48% of Filipino adults have savings. And just one in five has a savings account in a bank, based on data from the Bangko Sentral, really concerns us. While we understand most people’s concern on how they get paid, we believe it does pay to have a mindset of even starting small.”

As BDO’s latest ambassador, Hidilyn noted the bank’s features enticed her to become one of its representatives.

“First, BDO dahil number one bank. Ako s’yempre gold standard ‘yan eh. Pipiliin natin ang number one.

“Second, may Kabayan Savings Account so gaya ko, parang naging OFW na rin. Tapos yung mga pinsan ko may BDO account din, Kabayan account, so nakaka-relate ako sa kanila.

“Tapos siguro yung gusto ko rin ay easy access. Kasi may app ang BDO eh. Noong nasa ibang bansa kami, nasa Malaysia ako, s’yempre for how many years ako doon, tinitignan ko lang sa app yung kung magkano na lang ang balance ko.

“Tapos ginagamit ko ang ATM doon. Kasi p’wede mong gamitin ang ATM sa ibang bansa kaya gustung-gusto ko ang BDO. Tapos mura ang fee kapag nagwi-withdraw ka.”

So what’s next after winning the Olympic gold?

Hidilyn Diaz doesn’t see herself retiring in the foreseeable future.

“As long as I’m able and my body still affords the training, I will carry on and do what I love to do.”

As Hidilyn continues to lift weights, she has vowed to continue uplifting the spirit of Filipinos who may be losing sight of their goal amid the pandemic.

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