Money lessons from our National Heroes to achieve financial independence

Ever wonder what was the attitude of our national heroes towards money?

This week, we honor our national heroes for their selfless acts of patriotism. We wouldn’t be enjoying the freedom that we have today without their efforts and sacrifices. But it’s interesting to look back and understand how they managed their finances. Because like many of us, they also worked hard to pay the bills and to provide for their families. 

Some of our national heroes have well-documented lives. Through the narratives told by historians, we’ll find out their money diskarte that may inspire and help us achieve financial independence. 

Dr. Jose Rizal – Learn the basics: Budgeting, Investing, and Debt Management 

Dr. Jose Rizal was the king of budgeting during his time. While studying in Colegio De San Carlos of Universidad Central, he kept a detailed account of all his daily expenses. He logged every single cent he spent: postage stamps, books, theater and lottery tickets. His book of expenditures is currently preserved at the Newberry Library in Chicago. 

He was also known to be frugal. Rizal would opt to stay in cheaper housing and would sometimes stay with friends just to save money. He wrote:

“Tomorrow I am going to change my residence and move to 

No.12 Ludwigsplatz, near the University. The room alone with service, 

light, and heating costs me eight pesos a month or 32 marks.”

Rizal also accumulated debts. He had difficulties paying for his tuition fees that pushed him to borrow money from his friends. It’s said that he was a responsible borrower as he repaid the money that he owed ASAP. 

He also faced financial challenges during the publication of his first novel – Noli Me Tangere. In order to print the first 2,000 copies of his novel, Rizal solicited ₱300 from one of his closest friends, Maximo Viola. Once he gained funds, he immediately paid his loan. 

Our national hero was indeed a lucky lad. When he was deported to Dapitan in 1892, Rizal won a lottery ticket worth ₱20,000. He shared this with two other winners so he ended up with ₱6,200 which is equivalent to ₱3M today. Rizal invested his prize money in real estate. He bought hectares of agricultural lands in Dapitan. 

Andres Bonifacio – Activate multiple streams of income

Supremo or the Father of the Philippine Revolution was financially smart as well. Andres Bonifacio embodied the traits of professionals who juggle a full-time career with a side hustle. Bonifacio worked as a broker for a British trading company and for a German firm called Carlos Fressel and Co. as a warehouseman then sales agent. 

He was also able to save money from his acting gig in moro-moro plays. His savings were mainly used to support his siblings. 

Marcela Agoncillo – Value financial education

Marcela Agoncillo, The Mother of the Philippine Flag, was the main seamstress of the official flag of the country. She was assisted by her eldest daughter Lorenza and Delfina Herbosa-Natividad, niece of Dr. Jose Rizal. 

Agoncillo was born to wealthy parents. Despite her fortunate upbringing, she reminded her six children to live an honest life and to “work hard without depending on the family wealth.”

While we are now in the modern times, these money lessons from our national heroes are still relevant and useful. May we be inspired to make smarter decisions when it comes to budgeting, savings, investments, and even debts.