“It’s my bday and I am sad.” This is the message I received today from my sister today six in the morning.

I asked her, “Why are you sad? Don’t you have money for celebration today? I will send money to you.”

She replied, “It’s the first time I had a birthday without father to celebrate with.”

(Most of you do not know but my family is from Dumaguete City. I graduated from Dumaguete. I worked as a working student. And worked my way up to where I am here in Makati.)

I have always said to myself “I will never be poor again. I will work hard and earn money so I will be rich and I will be truly happy.” Five years later, it isn’t so happy after all.

I really thought money can solve all my problems. But today is September 7 and it is my dear sister’s birthday and she is not happy.

Why? Because my dad is in Cebu scheduled for Brain Surgery to remove excess fluids from his brain this September 25. And because of this it is the first in 18 years of my sister’s existence to celebrate her birthday without my father.

The text message of my sister today made me really sad. I want to make our bunso, my little sister happy always. So I posted in my facebook requesting everyone to send a Happy Birthday greeting to my sister Earnestine. She might not know who greeted her but at least she receives lots of birthday greetings. A simple act from a brother several kilometers away from his sister.

Five years ago I vowed to never be poor again so I worked hard. I couldn’t say I am very rich but I would say I have enough for my needs and wants. Five years after, money still didn’t give me the kind of happiness I expect to receive.

You see money did not buy my sister’s happiness. Nor did it buy my mother’s sense of security. Neither can it buy my father’s health.

Today I just realized that money is fleeting. A simple hospitalization costing millions can easily wipe up all that you have worked for.

Today I realized that money can’t buy happiness.

We are blessed to be a blessing to others. It is only when you use what you have to bless others that you will realize that money can be a source of happiness for other people which in turn will make you truly happy.

Money can make you happy if you use it to bless others.

P.S. Please send my sister a happy birthday. Here’s her number “Earnestine – 0935 754 0974.”

P.S. 2 – Kindly please pray for complete and full recovery of my father and successful brain operation this September 25.


Mark Joseph T. Fernandez, CPA, RFC, AFA is the founder of FinancePH and is one of the top financial advisors of Insular Life. He has helped hundreds of people start saving, investing and insuring. Reach him at mjtfernandez@gmail.com.

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