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‘How can one be a ‘millionaire’ and still not have enough?’ The perplexing case of having Php1M in savings in today’s economy

Here’s a question for all those working or those just starting to: Once you’ve earned P1 million pesos, what would be the first thing you’d do with it?

This seems like a very common question to ask everyone, but it can actually make people think deeply about their finances. Like, really deeply think. If you were to finally hit P1 million in your savings, what would be your first line of action? Are you going to get a house? Invest your money? Pay debts? Splurge a bit? Relax a little?

Many will probably think along those lines. But in order to frame it better, perhaps the question should be: “In our present economy, how far will P1 million take you?”

The reality? Not that far. Baka nga sa kanto lang.

In a recent Reddit post made under the @r/OffMyChestPH subreddit, having P1 million pesos is almost “nothing” in this economy. The original post on Reddit may have already been taken down, but here’s a link to a photo that is circulating on social media, if you want to look at it:

reddit post
via Facebook

“Akala ko enough yung 1M para magpahinga ng 1 year sa work

Nakaipon ako ng 1.1 million earlier this year so nagdecide ako magstop ng work and finish the last two sems of my MA as a full time student.

Wala lang pala magkaroon ng 1M in this economy hahahaha. Maling mali ang projections ko ng expenses dahil sa taas ng bilihin at cost of living sa Metro Manila. Kinailangan ko rin magpadental surgery na di covered ng HMO and may unexpected six-digit expenses dahil sa mom ko. Plus ung[sic] tuition sa MA pa.

Grabe yung economy natin and lack of social safety nets. At least marami akong realizations about retirement costs in the future and inflation. Thankful for this kasi at least di ako ma-shoshock pag matanda na ako.

Two months lang nakapahinga tapos balik na ulit sa trabaho (may nag-soft offer na so sana maging kontrata siya). Nagpart time rin ako while job hunting. Nakakaparanoid yung walang cash flow kahit may savings. Sobrang joke hahaha feeling ko 10M is the new 1M. Ayun. Tapos na ang delulu pahinga at balik sa pagiging alipin ng salapi.

Sidenote: I’m grateful for the privilege to take a break and still have savings. Nawindang lang ako sa liit ng isang milyon sa current reality natin here in the PH.”

[“I thought having 1 million would be enough to take a year off from work.

I managed to save 1.1 million earlier this year, so I decided to quit my job and complete the last two semesters of my MA as a full-time student.

Turns out, having 1 million in this economy is not enough, hahaha. I completely miscalculated my expenses due to the high cost of living and inflation in Metro Manila. I also had to undergo dental surgery that wasn’t covered by my HMO, and unexpected six-digit expenses came up because of my mom. Plus, there’s the tuition for my MA.

Our economy lacks social safety nets. At least I’ve gained many realizations about retirement costs in the future and inflation. I’m thankful for this because I won’t be shocked when I get older.

I only rested for two months, and now I’m back to work (there’s a soft job offer, so I hope it becomes a contract). I also worked part-time while job hunting. I feel like I’m getting paranoid when there’s no cash flow even though I have savings. It’s like a big joke, hahaha. I feel like 10 million is the new 1 million. That’s it. The delusional rest is over, and I’m back to being a slave to money.

Sidenote: I’m grateful for the privilege to take a break and still have savings. I was just surprised at how small 1 million is in our current reality here in the Philippines.”]

After the post was shared on Facebook, the comments have been wild so far–ranging from general disbelief to just putting in the lolz because, that’s just what we can do now:

comments comments


comments comments

Imagine toiling day and night to be able to save up P1.1 million, but end up depleting them almost immediately because of factors beyond one’s control.

Now, imagine the plight of those with little to no savings.

Zoomers born in the great Y2K–when we were all younger, P1 million seemed big enough for all of our basic needs. Because, it kinda was: In 2000, just as NSYNC was dropping their global smash hit “It’s Gonna Be May (lol)” and our families were still renting out VCDs, Php1,000 could cover essentials. But by the end of 2022, those same goods 1k was able to cover then would roughly cost you now around Php2,386–a 138.65% increase due to (yep, you guessed it) inflation.While 1 million pesos will not make anyone a filthy rich individual, it should at least give us the comfort that it is a good enough fallback. But reality is hitting us hard now–it simply is not enough.

We can take jabs at who or what to blame exactly for this situation that literally played us the long, unfunny game, but unfortunately, there are just too many contributing factors for this (feel free to deduce what we can’t put here). But at the bottom of the equation, you have the common Filipino that is being humbled by our own country’s economic situation, which is wack when you realize that that same humbled Filipino is also the target of enterprising and unscrupulous syndicates, opportunists, and out of touch personalities that do nothing but exacerbate the condition.

And we wonder why people are becoming fed up with just about everything these days.

So, again, what is Php1M worth these days? Not much. We can even speak this from experience. So, yeah. Time to get back to work.



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