Imagine your household helper browsing Bloomberg, reading the charts, picking stocks, and placing trades. She is making the same gains as you are making or perhaps even earning more because she’s closely observing the stock market whole day while doing household chores while you are away working. Then one morning you panicked after reading the reddish charts and she came forward and gave you an advice that the plummeting by 75% of your Bitcoin or any other investment is “just the effect of the market correcting itself”. How would you react? Would you look at her as the same uneducated helper you hired months or years ago?
If I am in your situation, I won’t be surprised at all. Because I know their kind exists and they are growing in multiples at a rapid rate. In fact, I’m one of them. I’m a proud member of a global financial literacy movement called International Marketing Group (IMG).
What is IMG?
International Marketing Group (IMG) is a financial distribution company headquartered in the Philippines that promotes financial literacy and financial inclusion to all Filipinos and their families all around the world. It promotes investment opportunities and other financial services to the unbanked by partnering with top-tier financial services firms, insurance providers, real estate companies and other financial that can’t be normally reached by ordinary Filipinos.
I won’t be elaborating much about IMG as it’s always best to get to know them by visiting their official website.
How I discovered IMG?
It was a tip from a Dutch colleague that led me to the accidental discovery of this awesome group. My colleague, while browsing on Facebook during lunch break, showed me a post on his newsfeed that says something like “Invest in Jollibee stocks for only PHP5,000 while you are here in Hong Kong”. He said, “But Jollibee shares are not being traded here (Hong Kong). Is this a scam?”. I got curious and being a financial literacy advocate and a naturally skeptical auditor at the same time, I asked him to send me a screenshot so I can investigate if it’s legit or not. I found out that it was actually legit. PHP5,000 is the minimum deposit amount required for someone to invest and trade in the Philippine stock market. Much more to my surprise that such FB post even provide a more legit and safer product through investing the money in a mutual fund which usually is the most recommended investment product for risk-averse first-time investors.
Next thing I know, I sent the poster a direct message on Facebook. I only have one objective at the time. I wanted to know who those elite financial savvy people are. Over the weekend, I went to the IMG Hong Kong office at Central to attend and observe their financial seminar. I ended up immediately filling-out membership application forms and paying my initial investment amount. Why? Let me explain to you further in the next paragraphs.
My personal experience
I attended one of their Saturday seminars in Central. Their office is located just on the 2nd floor of the Jollibee branch along Connaught Road so seeing Jollibee smiling at me as I approach the stairs made me feel at home already. I entered the room and the seminar have just started.
The speaker then was a truly amazing Filipina. Her name is Agnes and judging the way she delivered the finance concepts I’ve been trained to do and been doing as part of my profession, I can say she’s above average. When you hear an OFW or more specifically a household helper in Hong Kong teaching you the latest news about stock markets of both Hong Kong and the Philippines, its performance, top gainers and losers and even freely giving her outlook in the next weeks and months, oh man, that’s insane! More polishing and learning and that lady can actually work at the trading floors in any stock exchange or perhaps get interviewed by Bloomberg!
Immediately I looked around, looked at the faces of the audience and I saw a beautiful thing unfolding right before my eyes. I saw Hope beaming from their eyes. I saw on their faces the hope for an opportunity to be freed from all hardships, sacrifices and most importantly, poverty so they can provide a better future for their families especially their children.
Right after the seminar, I proceeded back to the office area to meet the other IMG members and ask them few questions. Immediately, I asked if this is something like networking or multi-level marketing where I need to sell products and earn commission (nothing against my networking friends here OK? Power! =] ). I also asked who their competitors are, how’s the money being reinvested and what’s the safety net in case of a crash.
I pretended to be a clueless and skeptical jerk who doesn’t believe in what they are offering. Guess what? I never heard anything defensive or aggressive response from them – you know, those “pang-uuto” just to convince the target to sign-up and invest. In fact, they answered gracefully all my questions in a very educated and professional manner. They didn’t mention anything about selling products as they are more focused on educating and helping people develop their financial IQ. Then, it’s up to you how you want to develop and implement a strategy of your own.
Renowned Filipino personal finance and business coach, Fitz Villafuerte who is also an IMG member, provided a good analogy about IMG’s approach. He said “As an analogy, let’s say that IMG is an umbrella salesman and you’re a pedestrian passing by the sidewalk. Most salesman will try to sell you their umbrella, telling you how cheap but sturdy their product is .But IMG will not do that, instead… they will inform you that the weather forecast for the day is that there is a high probability of rainfall later. If you went out of your house prepared, then you’re all good – but if not, then I’m sure you’ll suddenly consider buying that umbrella, right?”
Benefits of IMG Membership
There are plenty of benefits one can get from joining IMG:
• Continuous financial education
• Financial health check-up services
• Access to various affordable and flexible investment products, health and life products and services,
• Asset protection/preservation services
• Discounts on many financial products and services
• Opportunity to build and expand your business network as most IMG members are also successful entrepreneurs and founders
Why I joined IMG and why you should too?
Initially, I joined IMG just because I was just curious about that PHP5,000 Jollibee stock investment ad. But as soon as I get to know more IMG and the awesome people comprising it, I found myself gravitating towards it to learn more so I can inspire and help more Filipinos around the world to get out of poverty.
As an OFW and finance professional, I find the in-house financial education seminars and webinars for remote OFWs very helpful. It gave me other ideas on investing, and where to put my hard-earned money for wealth accumulation, preservation and distribution later on. Despite being a finance professional already, I still realized that I still have a lot of things to learn just by talking to them and sharing with them.
Nelson Mandela said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”. Education is the great equalizer and gave me the opportunity to rise up from the muds of poverty and compete at the international arena. Now it’s time for me to pass this opportunity forward through IMG. IMG is giving every Filipino an opportunity to get that much needed education towards financial freedom.
If you are interested to know more or even join IMG, please send me an email at email@example.com and I will personally endorse you to them.