Photo by Kim Wee Ebol of Spotlight Creatives
Women are no strangers to financial issues. It is often said that women have more complicated relationships with personal finances than men. Perhaps these money struggles are being connected to societal barriers such as gender gap, wage gap, lack of financial education, and being the chief budgeting officers in our respective families.
Caring for oneself and for others as well as running the household can take up much of our time, making it a challenge to balance work and family life, including managing our finances. With things we need to keep in mind, budgeting and setting financial goals can get overwhelming and are often set aside.
Luckily, we have this fierce female financial expert who understands our struggles with money and is willing to help us. 
Mariel Bitanga is a Registered Financial Planner and founder of Simply Finance. She is also the VP for partnerships and Acquisitions at Kumu, the fastest growing social media platform in the Philippines today.  She is making a serious mark in the industry with her amazing brand and content that simplifies finance for women, providing you with the best services to boost your financial wellbeing and ultimately help you live your best life.
Mariel created Simply Finance to support, empower, and simplify things for their clients and followers. She wants to help women (and men) who come from different backgrounds and situations who have the desire and curiosity to improve their finances and are willing to take the necessary steps to improve their lives and financial situations.

"I just wanted to create a safe, simple, and approachable platform where people could learn and take action towards improving their finances. Handling our finances does not have to be complicated or overwhelming. Just as long as we equip ourselves with knowledge, create a sustainable plan for ourselves, and take committed action, we will be fine. Simply Finance is here to help with that."

Simply Finance

Simply Finance is a boutique financial planning firm committed to empowering Filipino women by providing financial solutions created according to the unique goals and aspirations of modern-day Filipinas. They also get male and couple clients as well. Their core services for individuals are Financial Planning, Financial Consultations, Simple Plans (insurance, health, and investment plans). 
Mariel now uses her journey to motivate and empower others.  She also gets invited to do workshops and speaking engagements by organizations and companies and helping them create perks and benefits for their employees. She’s also been featured in several media publications such as The Female Network, Mind Nation, and Bride and Breakfast. 

"I ended up doing this because of personal experiences. About 8 years ago, I moved out and became completely independent right before I graduated from college (I already started working in college) and was lost when it came to my finances. I was living paycheck to paycheck and had a wake-up call one day that I can't keep living this way. This curiosity led me to study money management because no one really taught me at home or in school and this led me to work with a Financial Planner. She really helped me and I got obsessed with the process that I eventually joined her team, got licensed, and registered because I wanted to help other people with their money too. Fast forward to today, 6 years later, I now have hundreds of clients composed of individuals and companies. My aim is to really just help one client at a time with everything that I've learned through the years."

Going digital

According to Mariel, one of the biggest challenges she encountered in her business was putting herself online. Before Simply Finance, she was doing her work offline. She later realized that she had to go digital because it’s really the way to go during these times. Like most of us, we can be uncomfortable with unfamiliar situations and things beyond our expertise, that’s how she felt when she decided to step outside of her comfort zone. Mariel said she was scared and kept doubting herself but since she has a strong enough ‘why’, she managed to put herself out there and successfully created an impactful brand online.

"I was so scared and kept doubting myself (and still do from time to time). I overcame this by mustering up the courage and just took steps one by one. Getting the right help I needed from my team was crucial as well. Right before launching online, I really felt my heart was going to explode! I was so nervous. But after launching, it felt so great and the reception from our audience was reassuring. I just kept going from there and just learning along the way."

Motivated, Independent, Self- Made

Mariel believes that her clients and followers play a huge part in keeping her motivated. Her clients’ messages about how they are improving their finances and even messages from followers inspire her to do better and to keep moving forward. In addition, they keep her reminded of why she started Simply Finance.
In a very saturated industry, Mariel thinks that what keeps Simply Finance apart from the rest is the team behind it. She said that there may be a lot of firms or financial planners offering the same services, but the personal touch that they provide makes them unique. Today, Simply Finance has over 20.9K followers on Instagram and is one of the leading financial planning firms in the Philippines, and it all started with Mariel’s desire to help people manage their finances.
With multiple streams of income and building a rich life, this month’s cover girl still thinks that the journey ahead is still long but she’s proud and grateful of what she’s accomplished.

"My life is really great right now! I feel my career is going well and I also just got engaged to a wonderful man. I feel that despite the journey ahead is still long, I feel that things have really fallen into place for me and I just have to keep moving forward. I am most proud of the independent and self-made woman I've become. I'm proud of all the work that I do. I'm very proud of my clients who have reached milestones and improved their financial situations."

Applying the Compounding Effect

Mariel says that it’s essential to keep learning and trying new things out. We also have to believe in ourselves and believe that everything can be figured out as long as we try. She also suggests that if you need help or are lacking in some aspects, then seek assistance from people who can help you because no one is an expert in all things. We can’t do it all alone, a great team and support system is vital to our success.
She also believes that the compounding effect doesn’t only apply to money, it can also apply to all areas of life.  Whether it’s positive or negative, smalls things done consistently add up to big things.  So we need to make better choices.

"I think most of the time, the thing that's stopping us the most is ourselves and our self-doubt. It's usually internal. It's normal to feel this way, but we have to make an effort to empower ourselves to move forward constantly. Just take small but consistent steps towards your goals every day. These small steps add up and compound over time! Before you know it, you've already succeeded and reached the place you've always wanted to reach. So keep learning, moving, and of course, enjoy the process!"

Follow Mariel Bitanga

Get more finance tips and money lessons when you follow Simply Finance’s social media pages below.  You can also subscribe to Simply Finance TV on Youtube where Mariel talks about personal finance and investments.  And if you need help in improving your finances, Mariel is giving a free discovery call. Simply book here.
About The Author
Nira Macaspac

Nira Macaspac

Nira is a brand strategist, startup coach and an advocate of women empowerment.
She is also an educator and a digital media publisher. She has worked as a content producer for different digital media publications in Asia and the Philippines such as Marketing in Asia, Manila Bulletin, StyleMNL, and When in Manila. She has coached several women about branding, personal, and professional development.

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