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The Hamburger

April 21, 2012

The hamburger

Monday, 26 March 2012 20:22 Edmund Lao / Personal Finance

BY definition, a sandwich is a food item, typically consisting of two or more slices of bread with fillings between them. Sandwiches are a widely popular type of lunch food, typically taken to work or school, or picnics to be eaten. They generally contain a combination of vegetables, meat, cheese and a variety of sauces or spreads. The bread can be used as it is, or it can be coated with any sauces to enhance flavor and texture. They are widely sold in restaurants and cafés.

Presently the most common form of sandwich is the hamburger. A hamburger is a sandwich consisting of a cooked patty of ground beef meat usually placed inside a sliced bread roll. Hamburgers are often served with lettuce, bacon, tomato, pickles, cheese, and condiments such as mayonnaise and ketchup.

One famous company that serves hamburger is McDonald’s which has more than 33,000 restaurants serving nearly 68 million people in more than 119 countries every day. The whole world has embraced the American way of eating. Noticeably, McDonald’s changed the way people dine. An example is Hong Kong. People used to take breakfast at home. Due to the fast-paced life, they do not have time to prepare at home and the result is breakfast at McDonald’s. A survey showed that people were healthier then than now. Here in the Philippines, the same can also be said. People enjoy partaking of their food products especially hamburger. For two reasons, our generation can then be termed as a hamburger generation. One, we are hamburger lovers.

Two, unknowingly, we also have become hamburgers!

LET us consider the present situation. A person graduates from college and works in the corporate world. He earns a modest income and becomes a breadwinner of the family. His parents and siblings now depend on him for their financial needs. The person, as a good son, then obliges to take responsibility of his parents’ needs. Then along came the wedding and his own children. He has now additional dependents to feed. He is now hemmed in between his parents and his children whom he has to support. His parents grow old faster than he can provide for them and his children also grow up faster than he can provide for them too. This situation is like a hamburger, where his parents and his children are the slices of bread and he is the patty. The difference is that while hamburger tastes good, this generation does not look good at all.

A generation ago, a family can consist of more than 10 children with only the father working to sustain the family’s needs. But after one generation, things changed. Life became hard. One has to support his aging parents and his growing family. It has become impossible for one to make both ends meet and save for his future. The cycle repeated itself as the former provider grows old without money and is now dependent on his grown up children who will duplicate what he did in the past. It is during this time that he will experience the harsh reality of life. There was a story about a retiree who overheard his children talking about what to do with him. His children are at odds as to whose turn is it to take care of him. Evidently his children can not support him financially. More painful is that most of the time, is it the sons-in-law or daughters-in-law who are against having to support another mouth to feed. That is the painful reality that all of us will encounter if we fail to correct the current situation. It must be noted that  our children are not our investments, but our responsibilities. We as parents created them so it is our responsibility to feed and raise them up and not the other way around when we reach our golden years. Always remember to pay forward, not backward. By paying forward, we let our children be responsible to their children but not to us anymore.

How do we then reverse the current situation?

Enumerated below are recommendations:

Change the mindset and behavior. As RFP Pastor Chinkee Tan stresses, mindset is a key factor in handling finances. Along with proper mindset, it has to be followed by proper action. In compliment, RFP Randell Tiongson stressed that correct money behavior is a key to financial success.

Eliminate unwanted expenses. There are a lot of expenses that are not really needed. List down these expenses and eliminate the unwanted expenses. The key here is to live below his means. This can save money that can be used for building one’s nest egg.

Avoid debt trap. Always check emotion before buying. Before buying, determine if one can pay in full. Otherwise, due to impulse buying, he may end up using credit card and be deep in debt, paying a high interest fee for amortization or finance charges.

Increase income. Use spare time to generate additional income for investment purposes. There are some companies offering businesses during that can be done after the regular working hours. Although not guaranteed, there are people who made it good in part time businesses.

Save up. Saving is actually paying yourself. During payday, we always pay our utility bills but we always forget our No. 1 supplier of our needs—OURSELVES. Allot 20 percent of the income and store it in investment house, just like the ants that store food during summer days. This is a guaranteed way to avoid being dependent on your children on your golden years.

Invest to grow funds. Excess money that was saved should be invested to minimize the effect of inflation so that money can grow. As we grow older, we must have money to work for us or else we will be forever working for money. Unlike human beings, money does not get tired. It can work 24/7 without complaining. The harder our money works for us, the better our financial standing will be.

Applying these baby steps can help minimize or eliminate the hamburger generation we are in in right now. There is no other best time to start but NOW. Eliminate the hamburger generation but not the hamburger.

Happy eating!


Edmund Lao, RFP is a registered financial planner of RFP Philippines. Learn the essentials of personal finance and become certified. Join RFP Batch 27 from April 28 to June 16. To know more details, visit or inquire at

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