My Review of the Financial Fitness Forum by RFP Philippines

Financial Fitness Forum 2022

This is my third time attending the Financial Fitness Forum. The first was back in 2015, and the second was last year, 2021.

As with the previous FFF that I’ve attended, I’m happy and thankful for the learning opportunity I had today from some of the leading financial planners and experts in the country. 

From budgeting to saving and investing, the sessions today were full of value.

Here’s the lineup of speakers and topics for the Financial Fitness Forum 2022.

registered financial planner

Financial Fitness Forum 2021

I can’t believe it’s been six years since I first attended the Financial Fitness Forum which was held on March 28, 2015 in Taguig.

Back then, I had just started blogging as Pinay Investor and at the same time working as an Events Director at Manila Workshops organizing and promoting personal finance seminars including Marvin Germo and Fitz Villafuerte‘s workshop series.

I had a wonderful learning experience at the FFF 2015 and I shared it on my old blog which you can also read at the bottom of this blog post.

Fast forward to 2021, the RFP Institute of the Philippines has again brought together the country’s top Registered Financial Planners for the largest financial literacy event of the year, the Financial Fitness Forum 2021 —  a 3-day event jam-packed with personal finance insights and strategies.

I really wanted to attend this year’s forum so I made myself available during those three days and learned as much as I could from the speakers.

Today, I’m so excited to share with you some of what I learned during the online event. So, sit back, sip a cup of coffee or tea, and take notes or bookmark this page on your browser so it would be easier for you to find this content in case you need it in the future.

Day 1

Speaker 1: Efren Ll. Cruz | Getting Our of Debt and Living Prosperously

The first day of the Financial Fitness Forum 2021 started with an exciting topic by the very energetic Mr. Efren Ll. Cruz, who began his talk by introducing himself showing pictures of Efren Cruz (the actor), Efren “Bata” Reyes (the billiards champion), John Lloyd Cruz (the box office king, I’m sure you’ve seen some of his movies), and the funny Mr. Bean.

Attending a seminar right after lunch time, whether it be offline or online, is challenging for most participants because it’s the time when we feel most sleepy. But not with Mr. Efren Cruz! He made us all laugh and learn at the same time during his talk.

I liked his topic on Estate Planning where he explained equitable distribution, minimizing transfer taxes, and preservation of assets. This topic is relevant to us because we have been having discussions in our family lately about transferring of assets, and I got some valuable ideas from what Mr. Cruz taught during his talk including how Life Insurance Trust works.

Speaker 2: Ryan De Vera | Creating an Instant Cash and Multiple Streams of Income

Ryan De Vera shared the importance of being financially prepared especially during this time of pandemic. He shared various ways to earn income including cashing in on assets (real estate, vehicles, equipment, insurance policies); earning from passion, skills, and hobbies (digital work, blogging, podcasting, teaching, photography); and leveraging on other’s people’s time and talent. He also emphasized the importance of investing in YOU by being wise and responsible with your health choices, learning from others through coaching and mentoring, and having a personal financial plan.

Speaker 3: Christopher Cervantes | Strategies to Make Your Money last a Lifetime

Christopher Cervantes shared practical strategies in financial planning. Starting with the end in mind helps you plan and choose investment strategies like bond ladder strategy and index funds to help you achieve your financial goals. He also said that knowing what you want to spend is key to any retirement withdrawal strategy.

Speaker 4: Rienzie Biolena | Using Simple Planning and Budgeting to Manage your Financial Future

Rienzie Biolena emphasized the importance of setting SMART Goals — specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound goals. You don’t just write your goals. You should also put the timeline and the price tag of your goals. He also reminded us of the importance of having an emergency fund and how cashflow management and budgeting help us in achieving our financial goals.

Speaker 5: Fitz Villafuerte | How to Start Any Business with Zero Capital

Fitz Villafuerte shared the benefits of creating business plan before actually starting a business. According to him, the most common mistake the new entrepreneurs do is wasting time saving for financial capital before starting a business. You can start a business even if you don’t have a financial capital. You can use your non-financial capital including your intelligence, skills, talents, network, and social status to start a business.

Fitz also said that winners find ways to win. They don’t make excuses. They don’t let obstacles stop them. And they are not afraid to fail. They learn the lesson and fail forward. Having had successful and unsuccessful businesses of his own, Fitz shared how much he learned from his failures and how it helped him become the successful entrepreneur that he is now.

Day 2

Speaker 1: Marvin Germo | Making Money and Generating Passive Income through Dividend Investing

Marvin Germo shared his money making strategies through investing in dividend stocks. His cashflow portfolio includes high dividend common stocks, US dividend stocks, REITs, and preferred shares. According to him, some of the factors that you need to consider when choosing dividend stocks are the predictability of earnings, resiliency in the pandemic, and track record of dividends.

He emphasized the importance of having multiple streams of income, and he also reminded us that what works for him may not work for others that’s why it’s important that we should do our due diligence by learning as much as we can about the stock market before investing in any stock.

Speaker 2: Noel Arandilla | Building Wealth with a Purpose

Mr. Noel Arandilla is the Co-Founder and CEO of the International Marketing Group (IMG), a company that teaches financial literacy and provides financial products and systems to help people become financially independent.

Mr. Arandilla shared a lot of personal finance insights during his talk including budgeting, saving, and investing. He shared the importance of having health and life insurance, managing debt, and knowing what investment suit you best. According to him, financial education is important, but it is useless without financial execution. Therefore, you need to take action!

Speaker 3: Richard Carvajal | Creating Wealth with Rental Property Business

Richard Carvajal shared his strategies in investing Income Properties. Some of his tips include having multiple listing system, finding a good broker/brokerage, focusing on distressed or “pasalo” properties, finding your expertise, reinvesting your cashflow, and having a good game plan.

Speaker 4: Jog Bondoc | Building a Business that Scales your Lifestyle

Jog Bondoc shared valuable tips in creating a business with practical examples. He talked about creating a business plan starting with a business idea or concept to development, testing, and launching. He also taught us how to set up financial books using balance sheets and income statements, how to evaluate growth potential, and how to scale up the business.

His topic was perfect for those who are planning to start a business (including myself) and I really learned a lot from him. This topic was one of my favorites at the #FFF2021!

Speaker 5: Edwin Suson | Transforming your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Freedom

Mr. Edwin Suson’s talk was jam-packed with ideas and strategies to help us manage our finances better and achieve financial freedom. He talked about the importance of budgeting and he shared different budgeting models including his own approach which is 60% necessities (Operating), 20% Future Fund (Investing), and 20% Worry Free Account (Financing).

He also talked about Emergency Funds, Debt Management, and Savings Plan. I liked how he used biblical principles and verses to emphasize his insights — which is very similar to how I create my content, that’s why he’s also one of my favorite speakers at the event. I believe we have the same values when it comes to financial management and I’d love to learn more from him. And oh, I remember, he also has a good sense of humor and he presented very well! Thank you, Sir! You’re an inspiration!

Day 3

Speaker 1: Randell Tiongson | Personal Finance for Millennials: Maximizing Today for a Better Tomorrow

Randell Tiongson shared valuable tips to help us build our future including having grit, building 21st century skills, having an entrepreneurial mindset, handling money well, investing, and continuous learning.

He emphasized the importance of purpose, which is God’s design for our life, and he suggested that we should focus on our purpose more than our passion. If you don’t know your purpose, pray about it, read the bible, and seek advise from Godly people. I liked what he said in the last part of his talk…

Wealth and the ability to create wealth comes from the Lord, and it is not for our own purpose but for His.

Speaker 2: Rex Mendoza | Managing your Portfolio in Bull and Bear Markets

Rex Mendoza shared his strategies in reaching investment goals regardless of bull and bear markets. He talked about asset allocation wherein he suggested that we should consider our risk appetite, time horizon, and goals and objectives, before we invest in different asset classes.

Some of the tips he gave to survive a bear market are:

  • Do not leave the market in a bear market.
  • Do not check the market very often. Minimize the pain and let your strategy take its course.
  • Adjust asset allocation in bull markets and don’t take in too much risk at time of euphoria.

Some of the tips he gave to ride a bull market are:

  • Keep your emotions in check.
  • Stick to your strategy.
  • Some of your huge multiple baggers aren’t replicable. Don’t act as if they are all the time.

He ended his talk by suggesting that we should keep on growing and learning by reading and watching content that will help us grow in different aspects of our life – personally, financially, and professionally.

Always anchor everything on what truly matters. – Rex Mendoza, Rampver Financials

Speaker 3: Salve Duplito | Financial Concepts that will Change your Life

Salve Duplito shared three financial concepts to be successful and one of them is the power of compounding which is the process of earning interest on your interest, causing exponential growth in your investments and savings.

Time is our best friend and the one thing that makes compound interest so effective. Saving now and starting early will pay dividends in our future and help us accumulate extra money. That’s the power of compound interest and why it pays to start saving now.

People who understand the power of compounding earn it. People who don’t, pay it.

The Pinay Investor with Salve Duplito

Speaker 4: Edric Mendoza | Managing your Family Finances in Changing Times

Edric Mendoza shared practical and helpful tips on how to manage family finances. He emphasized the importance of focusing on succeeding at home and having the right values to work with.

Edric suggested assigning money roles in the family and having regular family meetings.

  • CEO – ultimately accountable, in charge of making big financial decisions in the family
  • COO – manages home affairs
  • CFO – consolidates and oversees family budgets
  • CIO – invests for family future

Aside from being the CEO or Chief Executive Officer, who is ultimately accountable in managing his family finances, Edric also considers himself as the Chief Encouragement Officer, appreciating and encouraging everyone’s role in the family.

Edric’s eldest son, Elijah, also shared tips about money values where he shared the value of hard work, thriftiness, giving, and stewardship sharing his own experiences based on the values he learned from his parents.

I got teary-eyed when Elijah shared how his dad resigned from his work as the host of ANC On The Money so he could spend more time with his family — which I can totally relate with because this is also what I did seven years ago when I resigned from my job to focus on parenting. I have no regrets because I knew I did the right thing, and as what Elijah said,

There are more important things in life than money.

And one of them is family.

The Pinay Investor with Edric Mendoza

Final Thoughts

I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to RFPI who made this Financial Fitness Forum 2021 possible and to all the speakers who have shared their experiences during that 3-day event. I have benefited very much from this fantastic event and I hope my readers have also learned a lot from what I shared in this blog post.

I am now considering taking the Registered Financial Planning Program to further my knowledge in personal finance and financial planning. I believe being a Registered Financial Planner will help me grow as a personal finance blogger and content creator, and it might also open opportunities for me to reach more people and help them achieve financial freedom.

And who knows, I might even become one of the speakers in the next FFF! 🙂

The bible says, nothing is impossible, so can you help me pray for it? 🙂 But of course, I need to do my part and keep learning so that I can provide you with the best content and hopefully make an impact in your life.

Thanks for reading my #FFF2021 experience and if you’d like to read my #FFF2015 experience, please continue reading…

Financial Fitness Forum 2015

Financial Fitness Forum 2015

It was a privilege to attend the Financial Fitness Forum 2015 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 enroll 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.

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.

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 found out that our photo was blurred so I didn’t get the chance to have another shot. Next time!

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 stands 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…)

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.

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.

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

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.

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.”  

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…

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

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”.

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 attending the next Financial Fitness Forum.

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

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