Entrepreneur Fitz Gerard Villafuerte, RFP, is living the dream—as an in-demand registered financial planner, personal finance blogger, and public speaker, he’s at the top of his game.
Still, his journey to success hasn’t been straightforward. Although he was trained and initially worked as a civil engineer, it didn’t take long for him to realize life in the corporate world was not for him. He took up freelancing then started opening his own businesses.
Fast forward a few years, and Fitz is now a full-time entrepreneur. He runs a personal finance blog at ReadyToBeRich.com and has over 100,000 followers on Facebook, using it to share the lessons he’s learned about proper money management, investments, and more.
From blogging to financial planning
“I was one of the first personal finance bloggers in the country, and my articles resonated well with Pinoy young urban professionals,” Fitz shares. “A few months into blogging, I started receiving questions about financial management, investments, and other money matters.” This inspired him to become a registered financial planner.
Fitz is always transparent about his motivation for changing his life, which was to find more time—to do the things he enjoys and spend it with the people he cares about, among other things. “Ironically, the solution I found was to spend more time working,” he says. “After-office hours, weekends, and holidays were spent building my freelance career. For almost a year, I had no social life. I couldn’t even find time to watch television. But I was fine with it because I knew all my sacrifices would eventually bring me to my goal.”
Once his freelance income matched his corporate salary, he quit his job. “That gave me time opportunity to learn and eventually become an entrepreneur. And when my businesses started earning as much as my freelancing projects, that’s when I knew I could quit self-employment and become a full-time business owner. I designed my businesses to run on their own because my ultimate goal is to have passive income.
“Now, I can choose to stop working and I am secure to still have enough income to pay for my costs of living. I can now live on passive income, but it was not an easy journey. Those who want the same for themselves must be willing to sacrifice a few years of their life working ridiculously hard for this goal.”
And Fitz continues to move forward (and upward). “I’m focused on growing my financial planning firm, Wealth Arki Inc., and I will continue to be active in the local tech startup community. While most people see me as the financial advocate, I am, at heart, still an entrepreneur.”
Pursuit of Passion caught up with the enterprising financial guru to learn some of his secrets to financial freedom.
Pursuit of Passion (PoP): What are the challenges facing people who are working for money, but who want to make their money work for them?
Fitz Villafuerte (FV): There are many, but the most difficult one would be practicing financial discipline. This means having a long-term mindset and delaying gratification. To prioritize saving over spending. To be dedicated and committed to building their wealth slowly but surely through smart investing.
PoP: Are there different things to consider when you’re single, in a relationship, married, or with a family? What pitfalls should investment newbies avoid?
FV: Yes, it is different for each and every individual. Personal finance is personal. This means that a good investment for one person may not be good for someone else.
This is because each person has unique skills, talents, resources, and personal goals. As such, their investment strategies would be different.
For example, the reason I went into software development is that I’m a highly logical and analytical person. I like creating algorithms and finding logical patterns. As such, studying stock market charts was easy for me to learn, and thus my primary choice of investment.
On the other hand, a friend of mine isn’t as good as me in numbers. He is sporty and outgoing. He is social, that’s why he put up his own events management company. And when it came to investments, he chose real estate for himself and has successfully built his wealth by flipping properties and buying rentals.
For newbie investors, my advice is to know yourself first. What are your strengths and weaknesses? What are the things you are passionate about? Once you are able to answer these questions, you can explore different types of investments until you find one that resonates well with you.
And if there’s a pitfall that everyone should avoid when it comes to this, then that would be investing without a goal.
Always define your financial goals. Because you’re not investing just to simply have more money. You are building wealth because you have things you want to buy, things you want to do, and people you want to help.
PoP: What kinds of investments do you personally make?
FV: I like paper assets. Thus, I have stock market shares, mutual funds, bonds, and many others.
I also believe in investing in knowledge, that’s why I often attend financial seminars, business workshops, and buy books. All of these help in expanding and updating my knowledge about investments, which consequently, then help me choose the best investment for myself.
PoP: Can you tell us a little about what your life is like now versus how it was when you started?
FV: I now have three things that I didn’t have before when I was starting: (1) Passive income—I make money even if I don’t work; (2) Time freedom—I can do whatever I want anytime I want; (3) Location independence—I can choose to live anywhere.
To learn more about Fitz and get his tips on achieving these three things for yourself, check out his website, FitzVillafuerte.com, as well as ReadyToBeRich.com. You can also order a copy of his book, The Ready To Be Rich Guide to Investing: Learn How to Invest effectively to Achieve Your Financial Goals.
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