MY MONEY STORY
Making Good Music
By Jaya as told to J. Randell Tiongson
Photos by Jun Navarro
People say that you are what you are because of your surroundings and your situations and I agree. When you are exposed to a negative environment, I believe there are two things that can happen – you can be crippled by it, or you overcome it; I chose the later.
Because I have a celebrity mother (Elizabeth Ramsey), many assume that I was raised in a life of plenty, a life of luxury – how I wish! In reality, I only experienced a life of financial prosperity much later in life. I have no qualms about my life growing up; my mother raised us the best as she could, something I will forever be grateful for. However, I was exposed to the realities of life at a very young age. I learned early on that if I want a better life, I need to work hard and be prudent. In my industry, money can easily be earned but unfortunately, it can also be easily lost. I have seen too many people in my environment reach a peak in their careers then wallow in financial difficulties short after. However, I am also encouraged by so many in the entertainment industry today becoming more financially responsible and manage their earnings well.
I believe in investing and I believe that I invested where it matters most, my craft. I am very passionate about music and I will always be an artist. Competition in our industry is fierce; today’s rising start can be tomorrow’s fallen star – as fast as one rises can be as fast as one getting lost in obscurity. I constantly improve my craft, study, practice, and learn from others. Regine Velasquez is my role model for her artistry – how she is so dedicated to our craft and how she reinvents herself periodically. For an artist like me, this is the sort of investment that I should focus on lest I will find myself wondering what went wrong in my career.
There are many things that I am thankful for the Lord – a God-given talent that has brought me where I am now. I am not saying that I have already reached a life of unimagined wealth but I can say that I am happy with what I already have. It is important that we know what we want and level of satisfaction we should attain. I wouldn’t want to be lost in my quest for my aspirations; I know there are more important things in my life like my relationships and my family.
Financially speaking, I must admit that I am not that savvy. I have simple views in the handling of my finances. I understand that the key to prosperity is keeping a healthy cash flow. I always moderate my spending and I purposely avoid extravagance even if at times I can afford it. I don’t think I will last this long in a very competitive industry and I understand that artists come and go and no amount of talent will guarantee that you will be where you are indefinitely.
Thankful for blessings
I am blessed that through the years, Filipinos still like me and my music. It’s by God’s wonderful grace that I am where I am right now. I am likewise blessed that my husband (Gary Gotidoc) helps me stay rooted with reality and I learn so much of practical living from him. My union with my husband allowed me to learn so much about proper financial management as my father-in-law has been mentoring us with the rudiments of money management. My husband and I relish what we learn from him in the area of finances and investments.
We believe in investing in real assets such as land but we also believe in keeping an adequate liquid position, one can never tell if there will be a financial emergency. Further, opportunities are always present for those who have ample cash. Also, it is prudent that we also have other sources of income such as business ventures. It is the combination of many things that will allow us to live a life of adequacy.
I will continue honing my craft for as long as I can but I am now preparing a life of sufficiency even without my singing career. It is still a long way to go but I choose to prepare for it day by day and well ahead of time.
My past, though impoverished, prepared me and molded me. Negative experiences are part of our lives. I just chose to learn from it and not to scar me.
* Jaya is a multi-awarded singer. She is a mainstay of the highly rating GMA shows such as SOP and All Star K. She is happily married to Gary Gotidoc and the mother of Sabriya and another baby soon. She is set to release her 11th album under GMA Records. Jaya is also part-owner of the hip place Barracks along Tomas Morato Ave in Quezon City.
MY MONEY LESSONS
Jaya has had great success in the entertainment industry. But her background, experience, and lessons from her husband and father-in-law have taught her a practical view of finances. Here are some things she has learned:
- Don’t buy anything that will require you to pay for a very long period. As I said earlier, one can never be sure how long we will be “marketable” in this industry. If I get a long-term obligation to purchase an asset, there is a good chance that I may not have a sustainable income to pay for such an obligation. When I borrowed for a property I acquired before, my loan was originally a 10-year term. However, I was able to pay it off in just three years because I was deliberate in terminating my obligation much earlier. I don’t know if I will be earning the same income through the years so I made sure that I will not have obligation when the time comes. As a personal rule, I will only get into an obligation with a maximum of two years only. If I can’t afford to pay it in two years or less, I will not make the purchase.
1) Don’t follow the hype. My environment can be crazy with fads and trends. We are expected to be trendsetters and there is a ridiculous pressure on us to keep up. Most of the trends in my world are costly – jewelry, ultra-expensive bags, SUVs, extravagant vacations, posh homes, etc. I made a resolution early in my career that I will not bow down to such pressures. I am not bothered if people around me will think that I am not up to date with the latest trends. I’m an artist; my craft is my true possession and not what I own. I know that if I succumb to the pressures of trends and hype, I will regret it financially. My feet are planted on the ground; I do not entertain illusions of having the same lifestyle of the rich and famous.
2) Do not live beyond your means. It may be cliché to a lot of people but I sincerely follow this very wise philosophy. Spending more than what you earn is a recipe for financial disaster and I have made a personal vow that I will avoid experiencing a life of financial ruin. It is easy to be tempted to be extravagant especially in my environment but I also know that such temptations will only cause grief and regret later. While I do not advocate living like a miser, I know that quality of life is not dictated by what we can purchase.