Ep422: Jonathan Yabut – Don’t Put Your Money in the Bank

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Quick take

BIO: Jonathan Yabut is the proud Filipino winner of the hit Asian reality TV show, The Apprentice Asia. Today, he is Asia’s leading motivational speaker on topics involving leadership, talent development of Gen Y workers, and office productivity.

STORY: Jonathan won $100,000 as the winner of The Apprentice. He took a large chunk of the money and left it sitting in the bank. He regrets never investing the money because it never made much from the bank.

LEARNING: Your money won’t grow if you put it in the bank. Ask questions to understand how an investment works.


“Never hesitate to ask questions about your finances and investments.”

Jonathan Yabut


Guest profile

Jonathan Yabut is the proud Filipino winner of the hit Asian reality TV show, The Apprentice Asia. For winning the show, he served for one year as Chief of Staff of AirAsia, reporting directly to Malaysian business mogul Tony Fernandes based in Kuala Lumpur. Today, he is Asia’s leading motivational speaker on topics involving leadership, talent development of Gen Y workers, and office productivity.

Worst investment ever

As the winner of The Apprentice Asia, Jonathan got $100,000. That was quite a huge prize money for a 27-year-old. So apart from spending on things every millennial wants, such as shoes, travel, gadgets, he left a big chunk of it sitting in the bank.

Jonathan’s biggest regret now is that he never invested in investments such as stocks, bonds, money market, etc., way earlier. Had he invested that money as soon as he got it, it could have probably led to something more significant.

Lessons learned

  • Expand your network and be around people who can nudge and advise you on where to invest your money and yield better returns.
  • Never be ashamed of asking as many questions as you can, especially if you are entering or enrolling in a long-term investment.

Andrew’s takeaways

  • Take advantage of the many investment options available now.
  • If you put your money in the bank, you expose yourself to the shortfall risk because it doesn’t grow as it should.

Actionable advice

Never be embarrassed if you don’t know much about your finances and how it’s going to be utilized. You need to ask as many questions as possible until you have a reasonably good understanding.

No. 1 goal for the next 12 months

Jonathan’s number one goal for the next 12 months is to diversify his assets further.


Read full transcript

Andrew Stotz 00:01
Hello fellow risk takers and welcome to my worst investment ever stories of loss to keep you winning. In our community. We know that to win in investing, you must take risk but to win big, you've got to reduce it. To join our community go to my worst investment ever.com and receive these five free benefits. First, you get the risk reduction checklists I created from the lessons I've learned from all my guests. Second, you get my weekly email to help you increase your investment return. Third, you get a 25% discount on all a Stotz Academy courses. Fourth, you get access to our Facebook community to get to know guests and fellow listeners. And finally, you get my curated list of the Top 10 podcast episodes fellow risk takers. This is your worst podcast host Andrew Stotz from a Stotz Academy, and I'm here with featured guest, Jonathan yabut. Jonathan, are you ready to rock? I'm pumped up and ready. Thank you, Andrew, for having me. You are welcome. And I know you're pumped up. You know, anybody that checks out your profile on LinkedIn or anything about your business knows that you are all about pumped up. So let me introduce you to the audience. Jonathan yabut is the proud Filipino winner of the Asian hit reality TV show, The Apprentice Asia, for winning the show. He served for one year as Chief of Staff of airasia, reporting directly to Malaysian business mogul, Tony Fernandez based in Kuala Lumpur. today. He is Asia's leading motivational speaker on topics involving leadership, talent, development of Gen Y workers and office productivity. And I'm going to say so much more Jonathan, take a moment and fill He further tidbits about your life.

Jonathan Yabut 01:42
Thank you, Andrew, it's nice to see you in this session. So this is Jonathan. As mentioned a while ago, I'm the winner of the apprentice Aisha the first ever season. And it's the same TV series created by Mark Burnett, who invented survivor there are about 20 countries today who have their own version of the apprentice, you have to undergo a series of negotiation tasks, creativity and marketing. And every episode, they fire one person until only one person gets left behind, the winner of the show wins 100,000 US dollars, together with a job that makes you as the Chief of Staff of airasia. So that was I think that moment that catapulted me in my life 100,000 US dollars. Isn't that big when you look at it in the long term, but for someone who was 27 years old that time, that's a lot of money. Is it? At the age of 35, I kind of COVID-19 I think it's it can easily pass through. But during my time, I've thought to myself, wow, this is a lot. And so I tried to thinking what I will do with the money. Of course, the biggest thing that I will think of is saving that so. And yeah, so a lot of it kept what was kept in the bank.

Andrew Stotz 02:57
Let me ask a few questions about yourself and what you do, because I know the audience would like to know more. Um, first question I have is when you did the apprentice, and you started, how confident were you that you were gonna win, you're like, I'm gonna win this or you're like, Oh, my God, this is gonna be tough.

Jonathan Yabut 03:13
I think I'm relatively a confident guy. Since I was young, I was a member of the debate varsity team when I was in university. I know I'm a very outspoken guy, so maybe 60 to 70% entering the competition, but the moment you see Episode One, two, and three, and you get to have a feel of the other contestants that started to dwindle. So I'm out in the 30 to 20%. And I'm like, gosh, I'm the youngest male contestant, I have the least amount of experience. So I will try to stay low under the radar and a few episodes. And then once I get to see the strengths and weaknesses of the other competitors, that's when it will start to kick in and rev up the engine. Yeah,

Andrew Stotz 03:54
exciting. And, you know, I just curious for people that hire you and your business. How would you describe kind of what you personally bring to people? You know, I think I've looked a lot of what you do. And I'm just curious, like, how do people feel when they work with you.

Jonathan Yabut 04:11
So when we introduce ourselves, we label ourselves j y consultancy and ventures as a company that specializes in organizational behavior. So whether it be about leadership, motivation, public speaking, business writing, or even digital marketing, we specialize in upscaling your employees. So if you want your generation X leaders, for example, to be better, and understanding the Generation Y aptitudes of why they're different in their workplace, we give you best practices. We give you case studies and we also conduct research for those organizations.

Andrew Stotz 04:46
And you know, this podcast is all about authenticity. People come on this podcast because they want to share their worst, you know, investment and the risks that they take and the issues that happened in their life. And you know, you Your life wasn't all a better roses, as you've told me a little bit about maybe you can just tell the audience about your, your humble beginnings and kind of Where, where, where you've taken that to this point.

Jonathan Yabut 05:12
So both my I come from a line of parents and grandparents who were public school teachers, both from the grandmother side, grandfather's side were farmers, farmers of coconut. And both my mom and dad were also government workers. So I lived in the slums of Toronto until the age of 17 years old. So if you're familiar with Metro Manila, there's this one.in, that district that has a lot of slumps. So I lived there until the age of 17. I remember until the age of 15 years old I was living with, I was sleeping in the same bedroom with my parents, in a king sized bed, that didn't have any mattress, it was made out of wood. And every night, I would put up a mosquito net, because you have to protect yourself in a very humid Hot Country like the Philippines. So I knew, you know, living and growing up, how the other half lives, in terms of you know, wanting the best for yourself aspiring to get out of poverty and wishing that you can give a better life to sank your parents after all their sacrifices.

Andrew Stotz 06:17
Well, you're a real inspiration. I know, not only in the Philippines, but for all of our listeners. You know, it just it's a great story. And now it's time to share your worst investment ever. And since no one ever goes into their worst investment thinking it will be. Tell us a bit about the circumstances leading up to your story.

Jonathan Yabut 06:36
I have to commend you, by the way, Andrew, because I've I don't think there's any podcast out there that makes people focus on that one mistake. And people are willing to share that one mistake because it's something that makes you feel vulnerable. In my case, I think my mistake. So first and foremost, I think people when Pete when people say mistake, I think they always think about the one thing that they did. In my case, I think my mistake was the absence of what I did. It was an action for my end. So a while ago at the beginning of the podcast I mentioned after winning 100,000 US dollars as a 27 year old guy that was almost 10 years ago, who thought wow, I got lots of money. So apart from spending on things that you like as a millennial, you know, shoes travel gadget, a big chunk of it gets sitting in the bank. And my biggest regret now at the age of 35 is that knowing that that catapulted my finances is that I wish I invested on a lot of financial instruments way, way earlier. And it's 2013 versus 2021. It's what, eight years now, a big chunk of my money that I have invested could have probably led to something way bigger. Today, whether it's a property, whether it's stocks, or bonds, or money market, for example. Hmm.

Andrew Stotz 07:56
So how would you describe as you look back now, the lessons that you learn from this?

Jonathan Yabut 08:02
Well, number one, and I think a lot of the young listeners in this podcast can relate. I think it's a time of 2000 2010 to 2020, we have been fortunate that there's this social media, social media today exposes you to a lot of things, it exposes you that, hey, if you have this amount of money or assets sitting, there's an opportunity for you to place it somewhere else, right. There are a lot of apps and software today, which I didn't have when I was seven years old that you can use for trading, you get a lot of the online banking software today, right? The proper banks even allow you at the click of a button to invest in bonds invest also in equities and put it into money market, how I wish looking back that I had an opportunity to do that. Of course, in hindsight, because this technology wasn't available yet. What I wish is I can expand my network and be around people who can nudge me and tell me, john, if you have this amount of money, you're supposed to be placing it somewhere where it can yield better returns. And, again, a part of me wants to be more forgiving of myself, because I know that my friends, my friends and my mates and my co workers, they were very homogeneous, they were mostly the same corporate type of thinking. If you earn this amount of salary every month, you put it in the bank X percent goes to savings, X percent goes to consumption. But when you expand your friends to a group of other folks, for example and trip indoors, we see it from a different light. I wish I hang out more with this types of people had a glass of beer or a glass of wine, for example. And the more I get exposed to them, which I regret again, because I'm only doing this things now even at the time of COVID-19 The more you get to realize, gosh, I could have done more. I could have earned more from this opportunities.

Andrew Stotz 10:01
Maybe I'll share a few things that I take away from your story. It reminds me going back in time to, I went to the Philippines to the to de la Sol dasmarinas. And I went to give a speech there. And I arrived the night before. And I actually also have a course I teach on how to give a presentation. And one of the things I teach is called will come from this little story. But I remember I arrived kind of late, it was like eight o'clock at night that we arrived on campus, and they had a room for me next to the venue on campus. So I said, you know, let me go to the venue. And so the venue was being set up. And it was about 2000 students in that particular event. This is probably four years ago. And what one things I did is I put up my presentation on the screen, and I went to the back of the room and I realized my fonts are too small. And I had about 200 slides, because it was a three hour presentation, I had to go back to my room and increase and every time you increase the font size is like you have to expand it to another page. So that like had, I spent probably three hours preparing. But the main thing about that event was that I was teaching about how could you start investing if you were in the Philippines. And that's a course in a book I had how to start building your wealth. And in fact, I gave away a free trip to Bangkok on Wow, I had a contest. And everybody, everybody signed up, we had a blast. And then a lady named Shara Charmaine, Franco one. And then she came to Thailand with her mother, and did 48 hours with me. And for anybody listening, you can go to my YouTube channel. And you can see that we documented she came to my, my factory, she came to my finance business, she came to CFA to meet with people, she went through my whole day went out to exercise, we had a great time, she's now you know, a successful accountant and has been moving up the ranks. So that was a great event. But just that time, it was only like four or five years ago, there still weren't a lot of instruments available. But now, Philippines has been developing. And there are I know, a lot of Philippine Filipinos are using etoro as one way of trading in the market. And then there also are some mutual funds. Now, I've identified one in the Philippines that allows you to buy that mutual fund at one of the banks, and then on every stock in the world, not just the Philippine stock. So I think that, you know, the first thing I would say is that the options now, as you said, are great, there's a lot more options out there. And the second thing that you know i i take away from it is that there's something that most people, if you talk to somebody and you say they say I'm low risk, so I keep my money in the bank, I always say that's high risk. And they say no, that's not high risk, how can I be high risk, because you know, it's safe in the bank, I said that the problem of putting your money in the bank is now you're exposing yourself to a new risk. And that risk is called shortfall risk. And that means that when you need the money at the age of 50, or 60, it won't have grown to be the amount that you needed. So you know, there is no ultimate safety in the world of finance, you have to kind of balance risk and return. And I think you just remind me to for all the listeners out there to remember, just because it's in the bank, doesn't mean it's safe, there are other risks you're exposing yourself to. So those are some of the things I also think about, you know, in the Philippines, as well as Thailand, in many of the countries in Southeast Asia, instruments, whether that's life insurance, whether that's mutual funds, can be very expensive. So I always want to warn the listeners that you should ask a lot of questions about the expenses of progress of any instrument. And finally, before you turn on the recorder, you talk to you and I talked about life insurance. And I'm reminded by the fact that I have a life insurance policy. It's dated, it was started in 1965. From my life insurance. And in my family. They gave my dad gave me a life insurance policy, the day I was born. You're so true. Not everyone gets that kind of data from their parents. He paid for it until I was 18. And then he handed it to me and then I've been paying it's 100 bucks a year. You know us so it's like, but it'll be it'll be it'll be nice. So those are some of the things I take away anything you would add to that.

Jonathan Yabut 14:27
Yeah, um, this is something I think more of a call to action for societies and governments in general. And I think it's important that citizens get to know this. At the end of the day, it no one teaches you how to manage your assets. There is no course in university or high school that does that. I think Scandinavian countries do that and some of their high school curriculum. But at the end of the day, when you have this amount of money, you only find out how to make use of it if you have a good set of friends if you have a good financial adviser who I wish is not going to Will you write on having to purchase a lot of assets and instruments, because again, as you've mentioned, they come with a lot of admin charges that most customers aren't aware are going to be charged away from them. So if you end up in a situation where you have to face a financial instrument, never be ashamed of asking as many questions as you can, especially if you are entering or enrolling in a long term, if you're entering into, let's say, a five year bond, or a three year bond, or you know, a 30 year insurance plan if you need to pay for ask as many questions because when you sign on, there is no going back or penalties are going to be incurred if you have to turn your back.

Andrew Stotz 15:44
And one of the organizations I'm involved with is Chartered Financial Analyst CFA program. And the CFA program came up after the 2008 crisis with investor rights, and anybody can type it in investor rights CFA, and one of the rights is that in retail investor, an individual investor has a right to understand the fees attached to any instrument. And more importantly, you have a right to demand that they explain it in a way exactly understand it. So I really want to challenge all the listeners around the world. When you're presented with a financial instrument, you must ask. Please explain the fees to me very clearly. The second thing is if it's not clearly do not hesitate to say sorry, I don't understand that. Can you explain that better? I just I need to understand this. Clearly, you have a right to do that. So based upon what you learn from this story, and what you continue to learn, what one action would you recommend our listeners take to avoid suffering the same fate?

Jonathan Yabut 16:46
Same thing that I mentioned a while ago, never hesitate to ask questions. But just to add value to that, never be embarrassed if you don't know much about your finances and how it's going to be utilized. I think a lot of us I think there's a more of an Asian culture. A lot of us have this stigma that if I ask more, it's either I'm challenging the authority, or I will lose my face because I'm entering into a transaction. And yet I don't know what it is about. And trust me guys, it you don't need to be the best, you know, intelligent person to enter financial transactions. Sometimes there are situations where and you're interested to enter it, but you're also learning along the way. And because you're learning along the way, you have to demand that if you don't know what's going to happen next, you're going to ask those questions. And remember, we're lucky or the day before, 10 years ago, when you have to ask a question, you have to make a phone call. These days, it's just a chat on WhatsApp. It's an email that you can send. And a lot of the insurance agents, a lot of back agents, a lot of investing agents can now be accessible in the time of COVID-19 digitally. Now. Take advantage of those tools.

Andrew Stotz 17:56
So last question, what's your number one goal for the next 12 months?

Jonathan Yabut 18:01
More my case would be diversifying further my assets. So I think I'm pretty good with the financial instruments, Bart, I'm this age of 35. So I don't think you know, I'm at the cusp of getting out of that age of being a millennial. And in five years, I'm turning 40. So I'm, I've been heavy these days on the property market. And that's the part that I that's the part that I would love to engage on. Most especially because at least for now, in the Philippines, the property market is resilient. But it's also a time where in the property market has good competitive rates. So I want to engage on that. And yeah, looking forward to the future that gets a long term basis. Thinking of having a family thinking of settling down. That's something that I want to be more solid this year.

Andrew Stotz 18:54
Well, I can't wait to check up in 12 months, and find out where you are. Alright listeners, there you have it another story of laws to keep you winning. My number one goal for the next 12 months is to help you my listener, reduce risk and increase return in your life. To achieve this. I've created our community at my worst investment ever.com. And I look forward to seeing you there. Jonathan, as we conclude, I want to thank you again for coming on the show. And on behalf of a Stotz Academy, I hereby award you alumni status for turning your worst investment ever into your best teaching moment. Do you have any parting words for the audience?

Jonathan Yabut 19:32
Now well, thank you for the certificate. And I think my message more is for you, Andrew, thank you for holding this kinds of podcasts. I think there needs to be more education that a lot of our folks need to capture that they can't get from formal schooling. And thank you for that for this podcast. Therefore,

Andrew Stotz 19:52
thank you very much. I appreciate that. And that's a wrap on another great story to help us create, grow and protect our well fellow risk takers This is your worst podcast hose Andrew Stotz saying. I'll see you on the upside.


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About the show & host, Andrew Stotz

Welcome to My Worst Investment Ever podcast hosted by Your Worst Podcast Host, Andrew Stotz, where you will hear stories of loss to keep you winning. In our community, we know that to win in investing you must take the risk, but to win big, you’ve got to reduce it.

Your Worst Podcast Host, Andrew Stotz, Ph.D., CFA, is also the CEO of A. Stotz Investment Research and A. Stotz Academy, which helps people create, grow, measure, and protect their wealth.

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