38 Lessons from Becoming a Self-Made Millionaire

I’m writing this post on my birthday and it will be published a few days later (schedule! schedule!) and let me share here some in-depth, honest-to-goodness realities of how it’s like being a millionaire (in pesos).

Why am writing this?

I know that some people will be offended. Talking about money and wealth is vulgar. For me though, if the topic requires to discuss money, business and wealth, I don’t mind hearing facts and numbers. And TWP is a platform where everyone can discuss these without shame and judgment. How often do you read articles written by women talking on how they make money, spend money and all the realizations that go with it? Very rare. I always wish there are more brave souls out there who will speak their mind and share their stories.

I don’t think I will ever write this piece a few years ago. I cringe just thinking about it, “Girl, don’t be boastful. There are wealthier people than you yet they never tell anyone.” “Be humble.” “Baka madami mangutang, wag mo ipagkalat.”

But when I started The Wealthy Pinay, I know that normalizing wealth for women is something I need to do. Women are plagued with so many money blocks that are preventing us from reaching our full potentials. It’s like wealth versus our family, our kids, our peace of mind, our health, our happiness. As if being wealthy will force us to sacrifice many things. Can I ask you a few questions though? Did your values change when you lost weight? Did you become mayabang when you graduated college? Did you feel superior when you got yourself a man and married the love of your life? Not really, right? We feel thankful but it’s not as if we are better than others.

So why is it different from being wealthy? Who dictates that money is bad? Who says you will change once you become rich?

Well, I guess no one says that but you. 

So let me share my thoughts about money after becoming a millionaire. First off, let me start that I didn’t come from a wealthy family hence that’s why I said I’m self-made. I didn’t inherit any money nor business. I clearly remember submitting promissory notes every examination day when I was in elementary and highschool. I never had a brand new school uniform (considering I’m the eldest!) and only received hand-me-downs from our neighbor. Luckily, growing up, my parents never let us feel poor. We are not kawawa. We have a home, we are studying in a private school, we can afford to watch a movie and eat out once a year (it’s a big deal) and we have a happy childhood. My parents instilled positive attitude in us and with that, I’m more than grateful.

So, without further ado, on my 38th birthday, here are the 38 major lessons I learned from becoming a self-made millionaire!

1. You wouldn’t even notice that you already reached your first million pesos.

Actually, you wouldn’t even notice the second million. Well, at least I didn’t. Unless you’re the type whose tracking what’s in your bank account every month, you wouldn’t notice that your money is growing. In our case, we had money in the bank, some in mutual funds and few are in saving schemes here and there. I can’t even recall when I became a millionaire. I think it was between 2012-2014. Yes, that’s how un-obsessed I was in reaching the ‘millionaire’ status. The only time I realized we have more than 2 million pesos was when we managed to buy a lot in Paranaque in cash. I was pleasantly surprised but not crazily excited. It was just an ordinary day.

2. I worry (a little) that our circumstances and lifestyle will change when we go home for good in the Philippines

Not paranoid scared but from time to time I can hear my subconscious talking, “You are crazy letting go of everything for just a dream!” “Be practical and realistic and just stay where you are.” Yes, even me, the ever Ms. Positive, still has her subconscious rants negative self-talk. But good thing that I’m aware this is not true so I just brush it off.

3. I like doing charitable deeds but I hate when people expect me to give

I’m more than happy to share my blessings with others and I’m the type who would give even without being asked BUT I hate when I’m forced to give 1.) because they assume I’m rich and have so much overflowing extra cash and 2.) when the recipient of my good deed expects more than what I can give. You know, when I only gave 500 pesos when they expect 2000 from me. Yes, may ganun! 

4. What you keep is more important than what you earn

The person who earns 200,000 a month and saves 2,000 is not any richer than someone who earns 20k and saves 2,000. What you save is more important than what you earn. People might have more disposable income but when the money runs out, those who have consistently invested and careful with their cash will be rewarded big time. Don’t be jealous of others’ fancy clothes or extensive travel, focus on your goal and your journey. Remember, what’s important is what you keep!

5. Your past doesn’t define your future

I didn’t come from a rich family. I don’t even consider ourselves as middle-class. I didn’t graduate with honors or active in any extracurricular activities. I was once stupid with money and made so many money mistakes, but it’s not important now because what matters is the present and the conscious decisions I’m making every single day.

6. Mindset is the number one thing we have to focus on

If there’s one thing I can advise you is that focus on your mindset. Whatever your goal is, make sure that you have the correct mindset to achieve it. Know your self-worth and find ways to improve your psyche. Easier said than done though, but that’s why I’m here. My lifelong mission is to make you believe in yourself and push you to take lots of inspired actions.

7. I’m afraid my children will grow up to be entitled and unmotivated

I don’t think my children will ever be brats and obnoxious (I won’t let them) but I have this tiny fear that they won’t have the passion and drive that I have. It’s unfair that I expect this from them but I can’t help it. Just like all mothers, my wish for my children is for them to grow up happy, healthy and live their life the way they want it.

8. You have to take risks

Nothing in life is guaranteed. You could be inside a jeepney and be killed. You could be driving a car and be killed. You could even be staying in your house and be killed. So, you can’t really be safe anywhere, every time. The questions we really need to ask ourselves are, “What’s the worst thing that will happen if I risk it?” and “Is it worth the risk?”

My desire to be financially free is greater than my fear to fail. I’m willing to take the risks (although it’s calculated risk, mind you!) and just go for it!

9. Laziness is a disease

I have this false belief that everybody can be truly wealthy (by their own standard) if they just want it. But realization hits me that not everyone will make it. Not because of any other reason but for the plain and simple fact that some are just lazy. I was lazy too, mind you. And I still have my lazy days until now. But time and again, I’m always reminded of my goal. What do I want to achieve? And will I achieve it by reading this pocketbook? Or browsing the net for hours?

10. It’s great to have money

Having money is great. I won’t deny that. It won’t make you happier or healthier but having money is better than having none. I can be sick and have money OR sick and no money. Both will probably end in deathbed but at least the other one can afford painkillers and not die in excruciating pain. Morbid!

11. I’m not into material things

My husband is lucky that I don’t like expensive stuff (he isn’t as well, lucky me!). I can afford to buy branded items if I want but I don’t get excited collecting them. This attitude helps in saving money that goes into our short-term savings and investment.

12. You can be rich being an employee

The money we have saved and invested these past few years all came from our employment. And that’s why I understand people who won’t leave their jobs because of the security, fixed income, and benefits that go with it. I get it. I totally get it! And entrepreneurship is not for everyone anyway. Not everyone has the tenacity, guts, patience, and craziness to do what entrepreneurs are willing to risk.

But if you are happy being employed, may I request you to find another source of income. Because come the time that you get sick (knock on wood), or get tired working or want to do other things, then I want you to have that freedom to take a break from your daytime job without worry.

13. It’s still a constant battle with my money blocks

I’m still plagued with money blocks – I’m not good enough; it’s easy to earn money but it’s also fast to lose them; I can’t be more successful than my husband; and other negative beliefs about money. It’s manageable and sometimes I’m able to clear them but they still creep in from time to time.

14. I actually don’t feel rich

I know I have money but I don’t feel rich. For me, rich is Mark Zuckerberg or the Kardashians. You know, the people who have the disposable income to do anything they want (or not do anything at all) and flying in a private jet is like no big deal – they are the rich people.

15. And in line with that, I don’t think I look like a rich person

For sure I don’t look rich. I’m not a smart dresser. I value comfort more than style. My clothes are, most of the time, wrinkled and I don’t give a damn. I love fashion though and appreciate a nice collared shirt and sleek pants but I don’t think I can pull it off to look like a ‘fashionista’. I’m too lazy to even brush my hair 😂

16. I love an easy life

Chillionaire (Chill Millionaire) is what I aspire to be. Some rich people might want the stress, hustle, and power that wealth and success bring but it’s not for me. I prefer not to come to the office if my presence is not required. I won’t have an issue delegating tasks to a manager I can trust. My idea of rich is being able to spend time with my loved ones. Dropping kids at school, cooking for them, reading books while seated next to my husband who is watching his fave NBA game. That kind of life.

17. I don’t feel guilty not doing household chores

I am very honest that household chores are not my favorite thing to do. I even told my dad when he was alive, and my mom now, that the reason I work hard is so that I can afford to hire someone to do them. I wonder what my father thought of me at that time! 😂 Although, surprisingly, even to myself, I don’t plan to hire a live-in maid when we go back to the Philippines next year. I want to live in our home with just my husband and kids. I want to be domesticated businesswoman (is there such a term?). Maybe I will just ask someone to do the ironing weekly or do deep-cleaning every 2 weeks. Let’s see how it goes.

18. But I feel guilty when I’m failing as a mom

My kids are my weakness. I don’t mind failing my husband but I feel a total loser when it comes to my kids. I beat myself up when my they are lagging behind on homework or don’t eat well. I always blame myself for not having enough time or not being a good enough mom. I learned that time management is really the key. We have to make time for things that matter to us.

19. The desire to improve never stops

Good thing that I love research and I always have this hunger to learn and improve. Honestly, I don’t know where it’s coming from. Is it innate? Genetics? Dire necessity? Upbringing? I don’t know. But one thing for sure is that learning is a choice. I can choose to slack and just be contented but I’m glad that I’m wired to learn.

20. Because life is a never-ending learning

Once you stop learning, you stop living.

21. Being successful will influence your inner circle to level up (not guaranteed though!)

I had this conversation with my husband that the best thing about improving our financial well-being is being able to influence and inspire our inner circle that it’s possible for them too. And I’m happy that friends and family, which we have regular interactions with, are now starting their businesses or investing or now on the road of finishing their debts. I’m not saying it’s because of us, because ultimately the decision and action to improve lies with them, but I’m glad to be there in case they need help with anything.

22. I always feel responsible

I feel responsible for a lot of things. I feel responsible for my siblings (being the eldest). I feel responsible for my family. I feel responsible to improve the lives of our community members. Even with my daytime job, I always feel responsible for my team and their mistakes feel like it’s my mistakes too. I blame myself for not helping them, training them, coaching them.

I consider this characteristic as both a blessing and a curse.

23. I worry about being judged

ALL THE TIME. I’m afraid that people will judge my way of thinking. I don’t want people to think that I’m just focusing on money and success. I feel like I need to explain where I’m coming from but then I know it’s futile. People will judge, no matter what and I won’t be able to influence that. It’s a reality that I need to understand which I’m slowly learning.

24. I love seeing success in friends and family

This brings so much joy to me. I’m so excited when friends are telling me that they are starting their business or investing in this and that investment vehicle. I’m excited when they get promoted or had an increase in their salaries. My immediate instinct is to advise them of what they should do or not do but will stop myself because I don’t want to be the obnoxious know-it-all friend who gives unsolicited advice. I’m just very happy for everyone’s success.

25. I value time more than money

I’m not the one who will slave myself in cooking or doing manual labor when I know it’s much efficient to hire that service. If I’m so busy and whipping up a meal becomes a challenge then I have no guilt of ordering takeaway food than stressing myself about how I’ll fit in the time for cooking.

26. I hate drama

A friend just recently told me that I’m the most neutral person she knows. And I’d like to take it as a compliment. I don’t engage with office politics (lammo na, away away sa opisina), and I stir away from negative people. I never let myself feel like a victim although I know lots of women romanticises being api in a telenovela ng buhay nila. They always see people as the kontrabida and they are the Judy Ann who cries and wallows in pity. I hate drama! In moments that I feel being mistreated, I walk away from the situation and just take the high-road. Again, all is just a mindset game.

27. I always let my practical brain rule

In life, you always have the option on how you want to react. If your boss raises his voice, you might have two reactions:

1) OMG! What an asshole! I really need to find a new job. My boss is a demon!
2) Boss is stressed at work and he doesn’t know how to release it properly. Poor him.

And I always am the type 2 gal. I don’t let my emotion overrule my thinking nor my judgment. The thing people say or do is a reflection of who they are, their experience, their values and what they believe in. I always rationalize why people act or behave the way they do. In doing so, I become more tolerant and practical. I’m not sensitive in a dramatic way but I have a big emphatic heart.

28. My goal is to give more ‘time’ to charities

Giving money is easy. There’s not much effort required. But donating time is harder to accomplish. We always feel that we don’t have enough time in a day so we would rather donate money than do volunteer work. I’m guilty of that and I want to improve it. My plan is to give free talks and seminars to public school children on how they can achieve their dreams. That it’s ok for them to have big dreams. And give practical pieces of advice on how to turn these dreams into reality.

29, My passion is to help women build their own successful and sustainable business

Women are better entrepreneurs than men. This is based on my logic alone but I believe this 100% true. One major reason is that women are less egoistic than men. Research has long suggested that men are generally more narcissistic than women — more entitled and self-indulgent. These traits don’t go well obviously with business.

I hate it when women are seen as the weaker gender. And I hate it more when some women believe it. I keep on saying that entrepreneurship is not for everyone but for the women who have the heart and desire for it, I want to be able to help build their business through mindset coaching.

30. Or at least live the life they have imagined.

A woman may not want to have her own business, but my sincere desire is for her to live the life she wants. Whatever it is.

31. Writing a book is some kind of validation

As you know, I’m writing a book. I’m currently tweaking and adding chapters after chapters. The plan is to have it published this year or maybe early next year. For me, having a book is a validation that I’m legit. People will see me as an ‘authority’ rather than just a blogger. Of course, this is my assumption and how I view it. I might be wrong. But I’m almost done with the book so there’s no backing out now. I hope you’ll get a copy once it becomes available.

32. I don’t like expensive things but I have an expensive taste

I buy clothes in department stores and definitely only during sales. I don’t mind buying nameless brand rather than buying fakes. I basically don’t like expensive things but I love bespoke, classic and one of a kind pieces. People think my things are expensive but it’s a matter of knowing what looks good on me and mix and matching high fashion and luxury items on my wardrobe.

33. I hate how (some) people spend their money

Drowning in debt and yet still purchasing things. When you call their attention, they will reason out that blouse is only 200 pesos and the skirt is only P150. They will say that the new phone is almost free when they subscribed to the P1500 monthly plan. Hay buhay! You get the drift. You know that I’m into ‘living your life’ mantra but this has to be done responsibly. Living our lives the way we imagined it requires some strategic planning, action, maybe a little sacrifice and lots of work. And I don’t have any amor to these people who spend a lot when there’s no more to spend.

34. That’s a big thing because I usually don’t judge

For me to say that someone is doing wrong or innately bad is a lot, and that person is definitely a bad human being  (I only know 1 evil woman in my entire life. She will not be named). I don’t judge easily. As I said earlier, I always try to understand why people react the way they react but judging someone means I am a human after all. I’m not a saint (never claimed to be) and I want to be positive most of the time so if you ever irritate me, then you might be a total asshole.

35. Don’t let anyone pull you down

Your partner, your parents, your siblings, your best friend, your boss – whoever they may be – don’t let their fears become your fear. They may not be exactly pulling you down but their advice stems from their own fear. “It’s difficult” “Impossible.” “It’s safer to be employed.” “Just concentrate on your child” “Be an OFW.” Unless the advice is from someone who had experienced it, just listen to their well-meant advice but focus on what you want. Remember, being a millionaire is not that easy, otherwise all of us are millionaires now, but it’s not impossible either. You don’t need to shed blood or wait until your 60. It’s possible now, whatever your age or situation is. Again, just ask, believe and take lots of inspired action.

36. I can’t help everyone

Unfortunately, this is true. When I started TWP, the intention is for everyone to believe that their ideal life is possible for them. Who am I kidding? Not everyone buys that idea. So now, I’m focusing on women who want to have their own business. I want to help them build it and then grow to a sustainable source of income.

37. A business class seat is still expensive

If the time comes that I won’t mind paying 4x more fare for a business class seat, then maybe I’m truly wealthy. But until I reach that stage, I’m fine in the economy class (unless there is a business class promo fare).

38. And my biggest realization…

I won’t write another similar post on my 39th birthday! Oh my gosh! Why did I even think this is easy. I should have written this post when I was 18 and only need to come up with 18 things. I almost run out of things to say. Oh well… 😂


Phew! Writing this article excites me but also bore me to death. I almost didn’t want to finish it. It’s the same with making money – it’s exciting and boring at the same time. You may not want to work hard for it because it’s like, “What for?” But the same way that I keep on writing this post reminding myself of my WHY (I’m writing this so that the community can see and believe that everything is possible) and I need to finish it soon (because if not now, when?), I want you to realize that being a millionaire and a multi-millionaire takes time but doable. There are exciting moments but there might be a phase that you want to scream ‘Screw it!’. It’s normal.You just need to continue pushing.

If this story makes you feel better and inspired, can I make a small request to click that Facebook button and share? I would really appreciate it.

By the way, if you want a free tutorial on how you can buy and sell your first stocks, I made this one for you. I never promoted this well and I should. Click the photo to open the page ❤️

Live The Life and Business You Have Imagined!
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