New financial attitudes and behaviors emerging among Filipinos
By Antonette Reyes
Rising cost of living pressures due to recent global uncertainties have forced many Filipinos to adapt to economic realities, leading to new financial attitudes and behaviors. Three MDRT members from the Philippines share significant shifts in perspectives and practices they have observed among their clients.
Following finance influencers on social media
Angelika Lola, a two-year MDRT member from Quezon City, Philippines, notes a growing number of prospects reaching out to her after encountering content from finance influencers on social media. As financial literacy is rarely taught in Philippine schools, finance influencers have recently gained popularity due to their ability to simplify complex financial concepts for appreciation by a broader audience. They are often warm and friendly faces offering relatable money management advice, resonating with Filipinos seeking financial stability and security post-pandemic.
Many of them often share a recurring narrative of the peace of mind insurance provides during hospitalization and market volatility, which has made them serve as catalysts for financial advisors, piquing the interest of prospects in the concept of life insurance, then motivating them to seek out more personalized solutions. “Besides giving tips, these influencers helped persuade my prospects to seek the advice of a financial advisor like me based on something they saw on their socials. They even nudged existing clients to learn more about things I’d shared in our meetings.”
While finance influencers help prime prospects to become more receptive to financial advisors like her, Lola emphasizes that she does much of her legwork, too. “Even if they were initially lukewarm to my approach, I would not lose hope and continue providing them with general financial advice. I always believed I would hear from them again when they were ready.”
Gen Z’s interest in insurance
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the financial mindset of Filipino Gen Zs, which constitute almost half of the country’s population, and has prompted many of them to become more interested in insurance, according to Fel Marie Paña, a three-year MDRT member from Las Piñas, Philippines. “When I encounter Gen Z prospects, I always ask them what made them decide to avail of insurance plans. I have found that many were spurred by the pandemic's stark reminder of their financial vulnerabilities and liabilities, while others sought to invest their savings wisely in case of continued volatility.”
She notes more young Filipinos today appreciate that obtaining insurance early offers affordability and better coverage. During initial meetings, Paña delves into their short-term goals, such as building their emergency and leisure funds or paying their debts, and long-term goals, such as retirement dreams and financial independence. After understanding their aspirations for their future, Paña offers them the best and most affordable plans they can avail of at their age and financial capacity.
“I’m happy to see how Gen Zs are taking steps towards achieving their goals. As a financial advisor, our role is to guide and provide them a better understanding of the risks, rewards, and opportunities through our expertise and experience,” Paña adds.
Openness to explore different insurance products
Bea Pelayo, a one-year MDRT member from Valenzuela City, Philippines, found an interesting paradox in Filipinos’ financial literacy. While most of the population has not yet grasped how valuable basic life insurance can be for themselves and their families, a growing number of individuals with more advanced financial knowledge and a risk appetite are becoming more interested in its complex iterations. While before the pandemic, her clients would only look at traditional variable universal life insurance (VUL) policies, she has recently had a notable number of them leaning towards endowment plans, which were previously less popular because of their premiums and payout structure.
“I have a client, a chief executive officer (CEO), who had a VUL policy that he was disappointed with, as its value went down due to the volatility caused by the pandemic. As he neared retirement, he hoped to use the policy’s value. I discussed an endowment plan that would give payouts to him while still being protected. On that same day, he availed of the plan,” Pelayo says.
“As financial advisors, we want our clients to explore their options because there are new and improved policies. We must take the time to explain and personalize our presentation according to their needs and challenges so they’ll consider the opportunities we provide them,” Pelayo adds. “We just keep at it as it might be a game-changer in their lives later.”