Bo Sanchez: From P800 A Month To Becoming Truly Rich
When Bo Sanchez was a younger man, he hated money. “I really thought that to love the poor, I had to become poor,” he says. So he lived as a poor missionary, just getting by while devoting himself to ministry.
Until one day, he decided to turn his finances around. Today, he’s got at least 16 income streams flowing into his life, from internet businesses to real estate to micro-entrepreneurship. Not to mention he’s a very influential lay evangelist who brings inspiration to countless Filipinos around the world.
But Bo didn’t decide to become rich just for his own personal gain — he did it so he could help his ministry, which was having a lot of money trouble. “I couldn’t give any advice to them because I didn’t know how money worked,” he says in an exclusive interview with iMoney.
Now, it’s safe to say Bo knows a thing or two about money. With his mantra of “everybody deserves to be rich”, Bo has now helped thousands of Filipinos discover financial freedom, and counting.
Bo Sanchez, the founder of Truly Rich Club (among many others), shares the difficult journey from poor missionary to financial guru with iMoney, along with the money lessons he’s learned along the way.
When you were growing up, what was your attitude towards money?
I didn’t like money. I felt that it was an instrument of the devil. So the less I had, the better I felt. I held to this false idea that if someone wanted to really please God, he had to give up all pursuit of money. My entire retirement plan was when I grow old, I’d sleep on the sidewalk with newspapers as my blanket.
You were, in your own words, a “poor missionary” back in the day. How much (or little) were you making back then, and how did you get by?
I earned P800 a month, which was enough for basic food and transportation. But I was giving away whatever I had for ministry work. I was working in the slums and tried my best to help the poor whenever I could.
That’s a very noble cause. But when did you decide to turn your finances around?
When I was 30 years old. That was when I decided to get married and realized I had to change my retirement plan. I couldn’t tell my kids to sleep in the sidewalk with me. The other reason why I changed my thinking about money was the number of people who asked me for prayers for money. I couldn’t give any advice to them because I didn’t know how money worked.
Was it difficult to do that?
It was very difficult to make a shift. I read lots of books, attended seminars, watched videos, listened to audio talks, and talked to financial mentors. I had to unlearn many things and learn many other things, which was a long process. I made many mistakes. I lost a lot of money while doing it.
How did you end up losing money?
My first business never became profitable. It failed. So did my second, and third, and fourth …
Yikes. What kind of businesses did you have that didn’t work out?
I sold herbal juice, I sold memorial plans, I sold engine oils, I organized major concerts. I also owned a squidball kiosk, a hotdog stand, and an ice cream stand … I tried networking. I tried direct sales. I tried everything.
It looks like you truly did! But even though you kept failing, you eventually became a success. How did you find the motivation to keep going?
The needs of the ministry were all around me. I knew I had to become rich if I wanted to help people. So in face of failure, I just had to try again and again and again. I was unstoppable. Sooner or later, I knew I was going to make it.
So what was your first profitable business?
Doing corporate seminars. Companies would ask me to give seminars on values, which was right up my alley. And I loved doing it because I could reach people who usually didn’t go to my prayer meetings. Today, because I earn from my other businesses, I now donate my speaker’s fees to ministry. My most profitable businesses are my online businesses.
Now that you’re successful, what do you wish you’d known sooner about money or finance or your career?
I just had to stick to my core gift. It was tempting to venture into exciting things that I saw other people around me doing, but if it wasn’t my core gift, I wouldn’t succeed. But now that I focus on my core gift, success has come easier and quicker.
How do you integrate your money advocacy into your preaching?
As spiritual leader, I don’t only take care of people’s souls. I need to teach people how to follow God in their family life, their health, and even their finances. It’s my mission to make them grow in every important area of life.
Has your attitude towards money changed over the years?
Absolutely. As I learned more, my attitude about money, investments, entrepreneurship, and generosity has matured.
A lot of people seek your financial advice. What’s the most common problem they approach you with?
Many people are in debt and many people have zero savings. It’s so sad to see people who earn a good salary but they find themselves buried in debt. Many grow old and poor, depending on their children — even if they earned millions in their lifetime.
That is sad. What do you think holds them back from being “truly rich”?
Two things: a lack of financial literacy and a lack of the right financial mindset. Filipinos don’t know how to save and invest their money. Worse, they have a poverty mindset that traps them from learning new financial habits.
To help them out a little, what financial instruments can you recommend for those looking to increase their wealth?
When it comes to investments, I believe the safest and best place to invest is the stock market. I’m not talking about trading. That’s how people lose their money. I’m talking about investing long term in gigantic companies using peso-cost averaging.
(iMoney note: for more on peso-cost averaging, read our article Peso-Cost Averaging: The Easy Way To Invest here.)
What’s been your best financial decision?
When I got myself a mentor on how to invest in the Stock Market, my finances have never been the same again. [Financial mentorship] is what we provide through the TrulyRichClub. People think they can do it on their own. But that’s how they lose money.
Are you happier now that you have more money?
I’m not a priest. I’ve not taken the vow of poverty. Like every Christian, I’ve taken the vow of generosity. I believe the ultimate purpose of money is to love others. I’m happier today because I’ve got more practical ways of loving people.