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'Financial' Independence Day: Lessons from National Heroes |

The Budgetarian

'Financial' Independence Day: Lessons from National Heroes

Dolly Dy-Zulueta -
'Financial' Independence Day: Lessons from National Heroes

MANILA, Philippines — Constantly thinking about establishing financial stability for the family and looking for ways to even slowly but surely achieve it? You are not alone.

It is ingrained in the mind of many people, especially breadwinners, who are always relied upon to solve the family’s financial woes. The struggle, so to say, is very real, and the fight towards financial stability is riddled with problems and challenges.

As the nation looks forward to the celebration of Philippine Independence Day on June 12, perhaps it is wise to also take a look at how our national heroes were able to achieve their goal of freeing the country from foreign rule during the darkest hours of Philippine history and draw inspiration from them. After all, June 12, 1898 would not have come if our national heroes did not risk their lives and limbs and, for many, faced death straight in the face for the freedom and liberties modern-day Filipinos are enjoying today.

There is much we can learn from our national heroes beyond what they have done for our country. Besides their bravery and love for the country, their personal beliefs and practices remain relevant today—and are worthy of emulation, especially for those of us working towards personal goals and financial security.

A mind for money consciousness

 Dr. Jose Rizal, our National Hero, is easily among the most revered and respected. His writings — particularly his novels Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo — are considered to have inspired the Philippine Revolution that was waged against Spanish colonizers for the country’s independence. He is known as a polymath, someone with a wide range of knowledge. Besides being a writer, he was also an ophthalmologist by profession and had skills in painting. 

But aside from his talents and contributions to the Philippine Revolution, Rizal is known for being money-conscious. Historians noted that Rizal kept a very detailed record of his daily expenses — listing down money he spent, down to the last centavo. A letter he sent to his sisters even revealed that he once did not take a bath for months while studying abroad because “a bath is expensive.” In his travels in Europe, records showed that he went out of his way to look for cheaper accommodations to save money and plan his meals meticulously so he could follow the daily budget he had set for himself.

Of course, it isn’t healthy to forego daily needs just to save money. Yet, we can also learn a thing or two from Rizal in terms of budgeting. Then and now, it helps to record our expenses and set a specific budget to avoid financial waste and, instead, help us achieve our financial goals sooner.

The value of self-improvement

Andres Bonifacio is known as one of the founders of the Katipunan, a Philippine revolutionary society with the goal of gaining independence from Spain. From history lessons, we learned that Bonifacio did not complete his formal education. He is considered today as a self-taught man — reading books about United States presidents, the French Revolution, and French novels.

He supported his family by working at a young age; Bonifacio learned English while he worked as a clerk for a British company. He dealt with his financial hardships by working hard and held part-time jobs to augment his regular income. This also did not stop him from being a vicarious reader; he was immersed in literature and read novels such as Victor Hugo’s "Les Miserables" and Rizal’s own novels, which inspired his desire to fight for Philippine independence.

From this we can learn that we are never too busy to improve ourselves — may it be through self-education, reading, or formal education and training. It is also important to have more than one source of income. Bonifacio exhibited that hard work and passion for education are values that remain relevant today. 

There are many other national heroes who have fought fearlessly for our freedom and can be considered as models for our modern lives. By being financially strong and independent, we can help ourselves as well as our family and loved ones — thus becoming our very own personal hero.

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