Many of us Filipinos believe there’s only one way to make money—by working for it. Either you’re paid to provide a service or you earn from running your own business.
However, there’s a second but less popular way to make money—making it work for you. This entails investing your money so that it earns more money. When you invest, your money earns interest over time, or you buy an asset and sell it later for a higher price when its value has increased.
According to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) 2019 financial inclusion survey, only 25% of Filipinos have some sort of investment.
Although it’s true that money doesn’t grow on trees, it can definitely grow if you invest wisely. Start with knowing the basics of investments for beginners through this guide.
Table of Contents
- What is the Meaning of Investment?
- Types of Investments in the Philippines
- Best Investments for Beginners in the Philippines
- What is Investment Risk Tolerance?
- How Much Money Do I Need to Start Investing in the Philippines?
- How Much of My Income Should Go to Investments?
- Are Investments Subject to Tax?
- Investments 101: 5 Tips for Investment in the Philippines
- Final Thoughts
What is the Meaning of Investment?
Many people use the term “investment” rather loosely for a number of things, despite not completely understanding investments for beginners.
A newly bought BMW can be labeled as an investment. Buying MAC Cosmetics instead of a local brand is often considered an investment in quality makeup. You might even be guilty of “investing” in the latest mobile phone.
With these labels, there’s a fine line between investing and splurging. But by learning about the real meaning of investment, you can figure out exactly when a purchase becomes an investment.
An investment is an asset or item that is purchased with the hope that it will generate income or will appreciate in the future.
Based on this investment meaning, there are two keywords to remember: time and appreciation. The goal of any investment vehicle is to grow your money over time.
Let’s say you’re planning to invest in real estate. Simply buying a house to live in cannot be called an investment because it doesn’t automatically generate money. But if you buy a house to rent it out, then it becomes a viable investment because it provides you money for your future needs.
There has to be a return on investment (ROI), which is a performance measure that assesses how efficient an investment is. The higher the ROI, the more profitable your investment is.
Types of Investments in the Philippines
When investing in the Philippines, know that there are three types of investments you can choose from.
1. Ownership Investments
This type of investment works by contributing to a company’s capital. The ownership depends on the number of assets you put into the company. Ownership investments are computed at the end of each year with an increase in your contribution which earned profit or interest.
Ownership investments basically let you put in money and earn as the company grows or profits over time. They’re the most profitable, but they’re also considered to be the riskiest. Examples of ownership investments are:
- Stocks – Investing in stocks makes you a part owner of a company, giving you the right to a portion of the company’s value and income.
- Business – Entrepreneurship focuses on the creation of a product or service that you can sell to others, giving you enormous potential returns.
- Real estate – Buying a piece of land or property is also considered an ownership investment. You pay for it and expect it to increase in value. You can also use it to earn money by renting it out or reselling it.
- Precious metals and collectibles – Gold, paintings, and signed limited edition merchandise are all examples of ownership investments. Most collectors and investors who invest in precious metals and rare collectibles expect the values of these items to increase.
2. Lending Investments
Did you know that lending money is also a form of investment? You can lend a company money with interest and expect returns, even if they’re modest returns. Lending investments are considered less volatile and low risk because you can take your money back anytime. Here are some examples of lending investments.
- Bonds – When you purchase a bond, you loan money to a corporation or an organization, and you get paid with a fixed interest rate.
- Certificate of Deposits – Issued by banks as proof that you have agreed to leave a certain amount of money with them, Certificates of Deposit are almost similar to savings accounts. But unlike savings accounts where you can withdraw your money anytime, CDs require you to leave your money with the bank for a certain period.
- Savings accounts – The most popular form of lending investment and perhaps the most feasible investment for beginners due to its simplicity and accessibility is the savings account. The idea is to put your money in a bank account for safekeeping which will earn profits from monthly interests. However, compared to other types of investments, the returns are usually lower.
3. Cash Equivalents
These are investment assets that are the total value of cash on hand that includes items that are similar to cash. Short-term investors would benefit from cash equivalents, which are the least risky of all investment types. Here are more examples:
- Treasury Bills – T-Bills are issued by the government and you can usually invest with a minimum of PHP 50,000.
- Commercial Papers – These are issued by SEC-registered Philippine corporations to fund short-term obligations like inventory purchases and payrolls.
- Certificates of Deposits – CDs are debt instruments that earn interests and are much similar to time deposits.
Best Investments for Beginners in the Philippines
Wondering where to invest your money as a first-timer? You can choose from a wide range of investment opportunities that best fits your personality and budget. It’s best to select an investment based on your goals (short, medium, or long-term) or based on your risk appetite (conservative or aggressive).
Check out the recommended investments for beginners below.
1. Pag-IBIG MP2 / SSS PESO Fund
Among Filipino adults who invest, the most common types of investments are those by the SSS (88%) and Pag-IBIG Fund (52%), based on the BSP financial inclusion survey findings.
This is not surprising, as the two government agencies’ investment programs offer plenty of benefits to their members. For one, it’s affordable to invest in the SSS PESO Fund and the Modified Pag-IBIG II (MP2) programs. You can start for as low as PHP 500 (for the MP2) or PHP 1,000 (for the PESO Fund). Earnings from these investment schemes are tax-free and guaranteed by the Philippine government, making them one of the cheapest investments for beginners.
How much money you need to invest in stocks: PHP 5,000
Stocks are among the types of investments considered to be the riskiest yet most profitable. If you want to invest in stocks, be sure to know when is the best time to buy. Even so, stocks are a good investment for beginners who are comfortable parting with their money for at least five years.
Investing in stocks makes you a part-owner of a company, giving you the right to a portion of the company’s value and income.
How much money you need to invest in bonds: PHP 8,000
Stock investing and running a business are both risky ventures. If you don’t like taking risks, you can try investing in less volatile investments such as bonds.
Bonds are debt obligations issued by companies and treasuries. The good thing about bonds is that they pay a set amount over a certain period, regardless of the company’s gains and losses.
While this means that you won’t be left empty-handed, you also won’t be able to take advantage of a company’s growth. It’s a low-risk but low-profit investment.
4. Mutual Funds
How much money you need to invest in mutual funds: PHP 5,000
Mutual funds investing involves pooling funds from different investors and investing them in various assets such as stocks and bonds. This is one of the best investments for beginners because, unlike in stock investing, a professional fund manager makes investment decisions for the investors.
5. VUL Insurance
How much money you need to invest in VUL: PHP 1,500 to PHP 3,000
Variable universal life insurance (VUL) combines life insurance and investment into one product. Investing in VUL is ideal for first-time investors because, like in mutual funds, professional fund managers handle their money. It’s also a good choice if you don’t have a life insurance policy yet. Indeed, VUL is one of the top investment opportunities in the Philippines.
How much money you need to invest in UITF: PHP 5,000 to PHP 10,000
Unit investment trust funds (UITFs) work the same way as mutual funds. They just differ in what handles and regulates them.
Mutual funds in the Philippines are managed by insurance and brokerage companies, while UITFs are handled by banks. Mutual funds companies in the country are regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), while the BSP regulates banks that offer UITFs.
How much money you need to invest in GInvest: PHP 50
As GCash’s investment marketplace, GInvest allows you to put money into several partner product providers, depending on your risk appetite. This product is partnered with ATRAM and can be one of the best forms of investment for beginners.
What are the investment funds under GInvest?
- For moderately conservative investors – ATRAM Peso Money Market Fund and ATRAM Total Return Peso Bond Fund
- For aggressive investors – ATRAM Philippine Equity Smart Index Fund, ATRAM Global Consumer Trends Feeder Fund, and ATRAM Global Technology Feeder Fund
What is Investment Risk Tolerance?
Investment risk tolerance is the amount of risk you’re willing to take in your investments. Since investment for beginners poses risks and challenges, you should know your investment risk tolerance before putting your money into an investment product.
It can help you prepare for the worst case scenarios that come with your investment and help you manage your finances more efficiently, too.
There are three types of investment risk tolerance:
This best describes investors who can accept little to no volatility in their investments. Most conservative investors are willing to take small profits as long as they’re assured that their capital will be returned accordingly.
Investors with a moderate risk tolerance can accept some losses. For this type of investors, there’s a balance between risks and long-term returns.
Aggressive investors understand the complexities of the investment market. They’re willing to purchase highly volatile assets that provide high yields.
How Much Money Do I Need to Start Investing in the Philippines?
“Can I invest with little money?”
Yes, you can start investing for as low as PHP 1,000 to PHP 5,000 in vehicles like stocks, mutual funds, and government investment programs.
If you can’t afford to invest at least a thousand bucks per month, you may consider cheaper investments for beginners, such as the GInvest that allows investing for only PHP 50. But because the investment amount is just minimal, don’t expect to earn high profits. Still, it’s a good way to start the habit of investing, especially for beginners.
In the Philippines, the best investment for beginners can start with little money, but it’s better to have more funds for investment. The higher the amount you can invest, the better you can diversify your portfolio to minimize risk. This means you can put your eggs in different baskets. For example, you allocate a portion of your investment funds to stocks, another to bonds, and another to Pag-IBIG MP2.
How Much of My Income Should Go to Investments?
This depends on your investment goals and how much you can afford to invest. The rule of thumb, however, is to invest 10% to 15% of your monthly income. So if you’re earning PHP 20,000, you should be investing at least PHP 2,000 every month.
In the end, what matters more than how much you invest is that you actually get started.
Are Investments Subject to Tax?
Yes. The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) imposes a Capital Gains Tax for the executed sale, disposition, or exchange of capital assets.
Investments 101: 5 Tips for Investment in the Philippines
Got your heart set on investing? Here are some tips to remember before you begin your investment journey.
1. Save up for Emergencies
Don’t forget to set up your emergency fund, ideally before you start investing. It serves as your cushion when any unforeseen expense comes up, and you won’t have to touch your funds for investment.
Investing money you might need in the short term can hurt your finances. When you invest, you’re leaving your money for several years. Taking your investment money too soon will keep you from maximizing your ROI.
2. Set Your Investment Goals
You can plan to use your investment returns to buy a house or a car in the future, fund your children’s education, build your retirement fund, or serve as an extra source of income.
Whatever your purpose is, your investment goals should be clear to you from the beginning to help you make the right investment decisions.
3. Invest Regularly
Investing at regular intervals, like monthly or quarterly, is a good strategy for managing risks, especially in long-term stock investing when prices of shares rise and fall. It also forces you to set aside money for investment regularly.
4. Educate Yourself Continuously
When it comes to investing, knowledge is power. If you continue to learn new things about investing, you can make more informed decisions and maximize your profits.
Read more articles about investments for beginners:
Investment for beginners can be quite confusing at first. But just remember that there should always be a balance between what you can tolerate losing and what financial goals you want to achieve.
Understanding how different investment products work will also help you decide where to put your money and the amount of risks you can take. Securing your future comes with a price, but rewards come to those who plan and think of how their hard-earned money can grow.
-  2019 Financial Inclusion Survey Report (BSP, 2019)
-  How to Start Investing in Stocks: A Beginner’s Guide (Investopedia, 2021)
-  Cash Equivalents (Investopedia, 2020)
-  GInvest
-  Capital Gains Tax
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