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Spend, Save, Or Invest? Anne And Jasmine Curtis-Smith Teach You How To Balance All Three

There's no need to be "kuripot" all the time to make the most of your money!

Let's be honest. It's tough to save.


What's a girl to do with her finances when there are responsibilities but also wants, when it's important to save for the future but it's also not a terrible idea to enjoy a good meal from time to time or get that new comfy massage chair to upgrade quarantine living? 


Sisters Anne and Jasmine Curtis-Smith know exactly what you mean! 



With a whole new year ahead of them, these actresses and business owners are kicking 2021 off with a healthier and more positive outlook on their finances. After experiencing the uncertainty of 2020 and realizing the importance of preparing for a rainy day (or year), Anne and Jasmine hope to help other women become wiser with money with tips from their firsthand experiences. 


Anne—who's now a mom to baby girl Dahlia, co-founder of makeup brand blk Cosmetics, and co-owner of apparel brand Recess—is all about making sure her financial future is secure for herself and her family. 


Meanwhile, Jasmine, who for the first time is living independently at 26 years old, is reaping the benefits of figuring out financial independence and responsibility at an early age and wishes to share everything she's gotten right—and wrong—along the way.


Check out what Anne and Jasmine had to say about managing finances, which they shared via a financial wellness webinar organized by Manulife!


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Jasmine on getting into the habit of compartmentalizing her earnings


Even professional financial advisers will tell you the same thing: divide your earnings and don't just have one big pot you dip in for savings, big investments, an emergency money, and everyday expenses. You're more likely to mess up your budget and cross the lines between your different funds that way.


"I learned this from my mentors. They showed me that from an early stage, I was able to compartmentalize my talent fees into different percentages. First I started with budgeting my monthly gastos. Then I could see from there what I could set aside for savings, pang wala lang na gastos. The rest will go to a charity or something that I want to advocate for. I really wanted to be able to spend wisely," she says. 


Fortunately, there's a rule you can follow or at least use to structure your earnings with, to get you started on the habit: the 50/30/20 budgeting rule. 

  • 50% of your earnings is dedicated to life-sustaining expenses (food, house maintenance, utilities, transportation, rent, and so on). 
  • 30% goes to wants (a.k.a. your shopping and merienda food delivery fund)
  •  20% is reserved for savings (life insurance, retirement, your kids' educational fund, and your rainy day money)


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Anne on waiting to reach a responsible age before managing her own money


Anne was 12 when she entered showbiz, which meant that what she earned beginning from then up to when she became an adult was handled by her legal guardians. For the first years of her acting career, she received pocket money like a regular teenager but now that she's older, she's appreciative of the value of only getting her earning lumpsum at 18. She definitely feels that she avoided the pitfalls of being a young girl with so much spending power and little regard to saving for the future. 


"My mom and my dad would teach me about the importance of budgeting, so that when they turned over my savings, I was prepared," Anne says. 


"[My road manager at the time] taught me to have a quota for myself, for my savings. I would have a quota for the year for what I have to save. When you have a quota, dapat himdi mo tinitipid 'yung sarili mo... Set a reasonable and attainable quota, and once you've reached that, that's when you can spoil yourself a little bit," she advises. 


In fact, the scheme worked so well for Anne that she plans on doing the same thing for her baby girl Dahlia, should she end up pursuing the same career she did. 


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Jasmine on resisting the temptation to spend on pretty (but non-essential!) things 


We've all been there, including Jasmine. We see something we like and we know we don't need it, but because it's on sale or because we're convinced it's one of a kind, we justify a non-essential purchase. And then we regret it sooner than later, or worse, we never even use it!


Jasmine has a pretty good technique for how to combat this. 


"It has to be something you can't walk away from, but also give yourself a breather of one or two days to think about it. What I say to myself is that if it's been purchased in those few days, it wasn't meant for me. It was meant to be for someone else... I can also think, 'May return of investment ba 'yan? Will I wear it enough in the next year or the next five years, even? Will I wear it more than once or thrice in a year? That's what I do if it's a big amount that I'm thinking of spending," she explains. 


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Anne and Jasmine on tips for starting business ventures


Both Ann and Jasmine own their own businesses, and while some of them now are very successful, both women have experienced not-so-sunny outcomes on their investments in the past. Anne put her money in a restaurant that didn't do so great, whereas Jasmine is now on her fourth attempt at entrepreneurship. 


"You won't always get it right the first try sometimes," Jasmine says, "Especially when you're starting out with people with the same level of knowledge as you," she adds. The lesson to learn from her? Be open (and seek out) advice and tips from more experienced business owners. It's not a sign of ignorance on your end, but rather a way to absorb best practices from people who've been there, done that—and more importantly, have already made the mistakes for you. 


On the other hand, Anne was strategic with her business partners; she chose people who could fill in the skill gaps she couldn't close herself (accounting and finance matters, she laughs) so that her business would be a well-oiled machine whose parts make a great whole. 


"And do find people that you do get a long with that can cover and handle the business when you do take your time away," Anne adds. 


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Anne on the importance of a backup plan


Even as she's enjoying the fame she's attained, Anne acknowledges that being in showbiz isn't for life and that she can't depend on it forever to keep sustaining her financial needs. That's when she branched out into owning businesses and today, she has blk Cosmetics and recently launched activewear line, Recess. They'll be around for much longer, with or without a career as an actress. 


"It was very important that I found partners who have knowledge in that industry who have helped me and guided me," Anne shares. 


"It's very important to have saved for rainy days. It's very important that you're ready for anything. That's why my message for everybody is to have time to save, especially when you're young! It's so tempting to buy [so many things], especially when you have social media. There's so much marketing thrown at you, [and there's e-commerce too]... and you need to be able to prepare for that rainy day," Anne adds. 


This is especially true for Anne now who's preparing for a future for Dahlia, her first child with Erwan Heussaff. If she only budgeted for herself before, she now has to factor in expenses that come with raising a baby. 


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Jasmine on getting the hang of living independently for the first time


It's unusual for young people in the Philippines to fly the coop before they get married, but for Jasmine, it was important for her to learn how to live independently and gain financial responsibility at a young age. At 26, she manages a household on her own, and it's been a huge financial milestone for her. 


Her advice to young Filipinos hoping to do the same is to first make the most out of living with their families. While they don't have to worry about things like utility bills, property taxes, and keeping a home in tiptop shape, save. Save, save, and save some more!


But when they do get to the point where it's time to live on their own, the first skill they need to polish is computing their monthly budget. Everything follows from there.


"In terms of buying things for the house or buying anything for myself outside of my needs for work, I would know my limits. I would know if I'm going overboard and I might need [savings] down the line if there's a rainy day or there's no work. [Having] the discipline to know your monthly budget first before you go and spend on anything else, that would be my advice," Jasmine states. 


Photos from @annecurtissmith @jascurtissmith