The 10-20-70 rule

PURPLE SHADES - Letty Jacinto-Lopez (The Philippine Star) - September 19, 2020 - 12:00am

Teresa was a domestic contract worker in Kuala Lumpur.  She was the sole breadwinner.  Every time the phone would ring, she’d freeze. It would be her older sister calling from Pangasinan, giving the same old complaint and the same old demand: “Send money.”

Perhaps out of guilt, concern, or exasperation, she’d whine, rant and stomp her feet, but in the end would wire the money.

This went on for several years through several contracts, and it made her grow weary and resentful of her older sister.

“Won’t you ever stop asking for money?” she’d scoff.  “Can’t you once even ask how I’m doing?”

She found some breathing space when shopping with other Filipina mates, sometimes going out on the town dressed in her new denims and fashion jewelry.

And then, COVID-19 reared its spiked head.  Teresa was terminated and sent home to Manila.  She had no savings, nothing stashed away, nor could she boast of any accumulated goods and assets.

When she returned to Pangasinan, her older sister sat her down and said, “You remember those times when I’d call you persistently to send me money?

“Here,” the older sister said, as she handed her a booklet.

Her Ate had saved and deposited every bit of the money she had wired to the bank.  “I knew you were not a saver and that, if left to your own resources, you’d spend it all.  That’s why I did the (forced) saving for you so that when you returned, you’d have something to show for it.”

The story of Teresa had a happy ending.  She was saved by her sister and escaped what would have been a hard, wretched life, not to mention the string of regrets she would have to wrestle with.

Many contract workers, however, are not as fortunate as Teresa.  “This is the gnawing problem that has weighed heavily on the soul, ” said Fr. Dave Concepcion of the Maria Goretti Parish, UN Avenue, Manila.

They become smug and confident, believing that as long as they have a contract, they are safe and will always find the means to obtain emergency money and financial assistance.

Often, coworkers are the bad influence who’d encourage them to throw hard-earned money on silly stuff that amounts to nothing at all.  They treat every situation like a joke, happily proclaiming that it's better to “enjoy yourself; it’s later than you think.”

Fr. Dave raised his hand and asked, “Who among you has heard of the ‘10-20-70 Rule’?  It is a basic formula expressed in simple fractions.”

For example, if your take-home pay is P100, set aside 10 percent of that amount — P10 — and donate it (cheerfully) to the Church.  You are returning to God a part of what He has blessed you with.  Some call it tithing but in reality, you are the steward of God’s wealth.  You don’t keep it but you make it grow and share or pass it on.

You are acknowledging and showing your gratefulness by giving it back to God through charity, or to any individual and/or relief organization that would need it more.

Save 20 percent — P20 — in the bank.  Treat it as money you are keeping to prepare for those proverbial rainy days.  Make it a habit to save this amount every time you get paid or when you have collected any bonus or cash gifts.

This can also address those “just in case” moments that may happen, but you’re just not sure when it will happen: emergencies like sickness, death, disasters, nature’s wrath, accidents, etc.

For the remaining amount that represents 70 percent of your income — P70 — you spend it.  That’s right!  Spend every peso for your housing, your meals, transportation, leisure, hobbies, shopping, and other pursuits that add to your feeling of achievement, wellbeing and comfort.

Caution:  Do not spend more than 70 percent of your income.  If you go beyond, you are living beyond your means.

Be prudent in your spending.  Be aware of the sharp contrast between a “need” and a “want.”

A want should be thrown in the bin.  It is unnecessary.  It is a whim, an impulse, an indulgence that may give you instant gratification, but when the excitement subsides (and it will, and fast), you’ll be left with something impractical, inutile, and worse, you’re stuck with it.  (Read:  Luxury brands fall in the “want” category.)

You would therefore require a certain degree of calmness, some sensible, analytical thinking, and taking things slow and easy.  Tread carefully.  Process it in your mind, be discerning, weigh things before you take action.

You will find that when you pace yourself, you’ll avoid hitting that wall, saving you from a lot of guilt, not to mention a large bukol (head bump). Always use the 10-20-70 Rule.

Thanks to Fr. Dave for the reminder.  This formula can give you an enlightening perspective as well as solid footing in setting your priorities right: God comes first, family comes next and you come last.

* * *


or many years now, the Parish of St Clare (Santa Clara) in Dagat-Dagatan, Malabon-Navotas, home to 40,000 daily wage earners, vendors, tricycle drivers, factory workers, ‘batilyos’ or fish port laborers, and construction workers, has wished for a tangible, visible   church where they can worship together as a community.

The Santuario de San Antonio Parish has heeded the call to help build this church through its annual relief  project called Francisfest and stage a benefit concert, “Build my Church on a Song”.  The concert will highlight the tandem vocals of Rachelle

Gerodias and Byeong-in Park.  It will be streamed online at the Santuario de San Antonio Parish Youtube channel and Facebook page beginning October 4, 2020@8pm until October 11, 2020@11pm. https://tinyurl.com/YoutubeSSAP or https://tinyurl.com/FacebookSSAP.

The Francisfest committee is headed by chairperson, Betty Go Roxas-Chua with Fr Reu C. Galoy, OFM, Rose Padilla-Galvez and Jose Mari Chan.

  • Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with