Sep 202014

MANILA, Philippines – We Filipinos are known for our entrepreneurial spirit, and many of us dream of putting up our own business as soon as we have gathered enough capital. Karla La Rosa has been living this dream at the young age of 32. After graduating college, Karla moved to the US to work and scored a job in Wall Street, New York City. Missing home, she came back to the Philippines and successfully ran a health care business.

Admittedly, her income was huge, but in exchange she lost time for herself, family and friends.

“Being 32, I still want to enjoy and have fun. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life working. So right now, I’m looking for something that’s rewarding and at the same time will allow me to travel and enjoy with my family and friends,” Karla says.

Karla’s case is not unique and recognizing that her problem is one of the many financial issues Filipinos face, The Philippines STAR in partnership with Insular Life created “Futurecasting,” a first-of-its-kind 360-approach to financial education.

Futurecasting, which debuted on April 28, has two parts: a column by Francis Kong and a webisode uploaded on Insular Life’s YouTube channel. Real people representing a person’s different life stages (such as singlehood, marriage, and retirement) are given financial advice by Insular Life experts.

In its penultimate installment, Karla receives counsel from Insular Life senior vice president and chief agency executive Ramon “Mon” Cabrera. “In business, what you do is look for a product which you bring to the market, and if the market buys, you earn profit,” Mon begins. “But to set it up, you need to put in time, money, and effort,” he continues. “What you’re telling me is with those three, you want to have more time.”

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Mon remarks that this is possible with a product such as insurance or financial services. Karla may opt to be an Insular Life agent offering Insular Life insurance and investment products to the market, and gain commissions and bonuses as profit.

“If you want more time, this is exactly the business you should enter into,” says Mon. “The time and effort you put in this business would be equal to the amount you want to earn.” Mon further adds that there is a lot of opportunities in this field. According to him, 50 million Filipinos are insurable, but the current ratio of agents to insurable Filipinos is 1 to 1,340. “In fact, you’re not limited to the 1,340 Filipinos, because during the lifetime of a person, he normally buys seven policies,” he stresses. “So the market is really, really big.”

Aside from profit, Mon shares that becoming an Insular Life agent also has non-material rewards, specifically doing good to others. “Here you take care of the financial future of people. You make sure that if anything happens to the breadwinner, the family will be taken care of. You make sure that people who retire will have enough retirement money,” he says. “These are the benefits that you cannot compute — the things that make you happy.”

As host Francis Kong notes, there are three stages to every person’s life: survival, success, and significance. For Karla and those like her who have already achieved success, it’s about time to venture into something meaningful and create time for what truly matters. “You realize life is not just about money,” says Karla. “There’s something more important out there.”

Catch the final installment of Futurecasting on Sept. 29. Read the column of Francis Kong at The STAR’s Business Life section and watch the webisode at

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