The Budgetarian


FQ (Financial Quotient) - Rose Fres Fausto - Philstar.com
There are some important investments that come only once or a few times in a lifetime.

In the age of fake news, algorithm power, troll farms, especially now that we are in the heat of election campaigns, there is one very important factor that each and every one of us should not fail to apply: Believability! 

Our article today is applicable both in our selection of leaders and our selection of investments. Don’t you just love it that somehow, the basic laws of the different aspects of our life are usually similar? I do.

When it comes to the basic laws of money, this is embodied in the second law:

What is believability?

American billionaire hedge fund manager and founder of Bridgewater Ray Dalio talks about believability in his phenomenal book “Principles” and also radically applies it in his firm with great success. If you’re an investment geek or just want to have a great life system in place, check out his book. 

Believability is used in idea meritocracy, a decision-making system where the best ideas win, not necessarily the loudest ones. Because not all ideas and opinions are created equal, we do not just lap up all the ideas and claims that come our way. Furthermore, in making a group decision, we do not just apply a straightforward “democracy” wherein all votes are considered equal. 

Dalio defines people with high believability as people who have demonstrated track record in the area of concern. To put a measurable criterion, he says people who have done it successfully at least three times. He also looks out for the reasoning behind the conclusion. And of course, there is the motivation or agenda that might go behind the conclusion. This is where conflict of interest may come in. 

So, imagine yourself choosing between two investment options that will profoundly impact your life – not just yours but also those of your children and your children’s children. 

You are counting on the help of 10 friends to make the right decision because, after all, this is a huge investment. 

Six of them have been telling you stories about great returns even mentioning gold bullions and some glory days decades ago that may come your way again if you take part in the Red Investment

On the other hand, you have your four other friends telling you that the Red Investment is a scam and that you are better off with the Pink Investment, something that’s relatively new but has achieved decent returns since inception. The fund manager of this investment is also very hard working, spending 18 hours each day, something that the older sister of the Red Investment called as either a lie or stupidity.

Both groups of friends have been feeding you information to back up their respective investment recommendations. 

Here are a few of them that we should apply the Believability Test on. 

Let’s start with the claims against Investment Red.

  1. Investment Red is a scam because the proponent belongs to a family of thieves.
  2. Investment Red is a scam because the proponent lied about his college diploma.
  3. Investment Red proponent is a weak leader, according to his former ally.

On the other hand, here are the claims against the Pink Investment:

  1. Investment Pink is a puppet of the Yellow Company.
  2. Investment Pink will not give you good returns because the proponent is “lutang, lugaw and bobo.”
  3. Investment Pink proponent is perceived as weak because she is a woman. 

Let’s start with the first set.

1. Investment Red belongs to a family of thieves. 

This can be easily fact-checked by googling “greatest robbery of a government.” Yes, their family holds a title in the Guinness Book of World Records. The mother was also convicted of graft in 2018 and sentenced to 77 years’ imprisonment. On top of that, the BIR has also demanded their family to pay estate tax amounting to over P200 billion. 

In terms of believability, there is no need to put weights on the opinion of the persons who say so and who say otherwise because these are verifiable facts.

2. Investment Red proponent lied about his diploma. 

The same is true because the university already sent a statement that he did not graduate from their institution. This made the Investment Red website delete their earlier claim.

3. Investment Red proponent is a weak leader, according to his former ally. 

Here’s the thing about this statement. That former ally used to say that he wanted to step down give his top post to Investment Red leader, even if his legal successor is actually Investment Pink leader. Why the change of heart now? So, let’s apply the believability test on the claim of the ally:

a. Track record: Has the former ally done leaders’ assessment successfully for at least three times? Maybe, so we can give it a positive score.
b. Reasoning: How logical was the process to arrive at his conclusion? Did he base it on facts? Maybe. 
c. Motivation: What was his agenda? Is there any conflict of interest? The former ally wanted his own daughter to be the leader of this Investment Red and was reportedly dismayed that she stepped down to second lead. Consequently, he brought out some unsavory news about the lead such as drug addiction and being nothing but a spoiled son. Apparently, the former ally’s blurting of these accusations was a product of his emotional outbursts, something that he is known to always resort to.

Overall, the believability of the former ally’s conclusions may still have a positive weight. Moreover, you can also research on the actual leadership of Investment Red because he has held leadership posts in the past. The results are not very good as well.

Now, let’s go to the second set, this time about Pink Investment.

1. Investment Pink is a puppet of the Yellow Company. 

If you research who made this claim, no particular name appears. And the problem of this claim is this: Who is the puppet master? Liberal Party? There are hardly any members in the party as it was decimated after the 2016 elections when most of its members jumped ship to the ruling party. Furthermore, the Aquino family, successfully maligned by the term dilawan, are not in any political position. The three main ones Ninoy, Cory, PNoy, have all died serving the country, that’s why there’s a joke that goes, “Sino ba ang nagdidikta kay Mrs. Pink? si Josh or si Bimb?” So, this claim has no believability.

2. Investment Pink will not give good returns because the proponent is “lutang, lugaw and bobo.”

First of all, the terms lutang (which means drifting) and lugaw (which means porridge) were obviously just used to have the same first letter as the proponent’s name to make catchy monickers. The claim of bobo (stupid) is also easily verifiable. Can you consider someone who graduated from the UP School of Economics and finished law school while being a mother and eventually passed the bar (even if take 2) dumb? And if I may add, “Can a stupid mom raise three very intelligent and hardworking daughters who were honor students, completed their respective degrees in the most prestigious universities here and abroad?” Nah… I don’t think so.  This claim has no believability. 

3. Investment Pink proponent is perceived as weak because she is a woman. 

Okay, if you believe this, regardless of who said it, then you have a lot of work to do on yourself. 

The believability test should also be applied on the people who recommend the Red Investment versus the Pink Investment. 

Look at the people around the Red Investment. They have graft cases and convictions of their own. So, when they sell you the Unity story, please think about what they are uniting for before you invest in them.

On the other hand, have you seen the endorsements of respected personalities and different institutions for the Pink Investment? They are taking the risk right now by making their stand known, even if the odds are still not in their favor.

Put it this way, your four friends who are recommending Investment Pink may be less in number now but if you apply their higher believability weights, their recommendation should matter more than the six recommendations for the Red Investment. Apply the three factors stated in the Believability Test above: Track Record, Reasoning and Motivation.

I hope by now you see more clearly the true motivation of the proponent of the Red Investment. He said it himself in some interviews, “to protect my family.” Oh, and by the way, he refuses to attend company presentations to the public facing his competitors. Why do you think so?  

As for your six friends who are convincing you to get into the Red Investment, maybe some of them are also misinformed. Why don’t you talk to them about believability and help them figure things out? You may want to bring them to some Pink gatherings. I heard they’re fun. 

An opportunity of a lifetime

There are some important investments that come only once or a few times in a lifetime. Your decision whether to go for Red or Pink in May is one such investment. I cannot over emphasize the importance of your choice this May. In fact, we cannot afford to just say, “I don’t like Investment Red.” We should all actively warn everyone not to pick the Red Scam. If the government agency responsible for protecting investors from unsuitable investments failed to do its job, we should help warn the public. We should explain to those who care to listen that they might have been misled because of fake news and disinformation using vast amounts of money that were stolen from our country. We should explain to them that if there’s anything that the Red Family has done successfully, it is to twist history to their favor and that’s the only reason they seem to be ahead in the preference surveys, the reason why six out of your ten friends you’re listening to are still recommending Red Investment. 

But there is hope as we are experiencing something profound. Never before have we seen such a powerful movement of volunteerism in favor of an investment option. No matter what you picked to hate about Mrs. Pink, she has the charisma to inspire others to volunteer and give their best behavior as displayed in the Pink gatherings all around the country. Maybe because she sets the right example. While attendees in the Red gatherings go there expecting to get something, the attendees of the Pink gatherings go there bringing something to give.  And I see even young citizens chipping in in various ways. 

With just a few days before the reconning, there is still a lot of work to do to close the gap. We have to teach everyone about believability. Let’s do this for our children to give them a chance to be proud to be Filipinos again, and let’s hope they won’t blow it the way we did EDSA.


1. Join me in my Money Lessons with FQ Mom on Thursday March 24, 2022. Our guest will be Maoi Arroyo, founder of Ignite Impact Fund.

2. We now start the end of the first quarter of 2022. If you still want to do your goal setting for the year and want to use FQ template for this activity, just email your request to [email protected] with the subject GOAL SETTING TEMPLATE.

3. Grab your copy of all or any of the FQ Mom books. 

This article is also published in FQMom.com.

Attributions: Freepik, NasyonalistikoPinoy, iStock, Dreamstime, Alamy


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