OUT of nowhere, the Covid-19 pandemic struck the entire world, including the Philippines. Among the casualties of the restrictions are the business and employment sector.
The crisis posed a challenge to every household. With this, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) saw the need to improve financial literacy and capability to help Filipino families cope and recover from the socioeconomic impact of a crisis such as the global pandemic.
Financial literacy is a discipline that financial experts have been encouraging to the younger demographics. But only a few of them were able to grasp its importance.
Senior high school student Joseph Legarde, 17, can be likely dissociated with his fellow peers.
Unlike his fellow teenagers, who are currently enjoying their youth such as playing online games, Legarde devoted his youth to earning at a young age.
At his age, it is shocking to know that Legarde is already a foreign exchange (forex) trader.
According to investopedia.com, forex is a portmanteau of foreign currency and exchange. Foreign exchange is the process of changing one currency into another currency for a variety of reasons, usually for commerce, trading, or tourism.
Legarde shared that he was exposed to forex at the age of 15 by accident after joining a forex seminar with his father.
To his father's surprise, Legarde was fascinated with the concept and he invested his time learning.
"In forex, you can earn money while in your own comfort zone. That is why I got interested," he said in Filipino.
More than just earning, Legarde shared that he was driven to engage in forex trading for his family.
Originally residing in Manila, his family moved to Davao City.
He personally saw the financial struggles of his family, which made him mature in his point-of-view in life. Growing up, he became more thrifty, and lived a frugal youth.
When the opportunity of forex trading came, he saw this as an opportunity to help his family.
He said that he has a brother who was diagnosed with "violent autism."
"I was motivated because of my family. I want to help my brother who is a special child, and requires treatment and medicines," he said.
His mother is also struggling to walk because of a damaged cartilage.
Since he started forex trading, he learned how to do the tricks and trade.
Admittedly, trading currencies can be risky and complex, he said. Thus, forex cannot guarantee profit if actions will not be carefully strategized.
Two years in the trade, Legarde is now starting mentoring others at a young age.
“I am quite fascinated because I get to do mentorship. Adults are even surprised that I got to start at the age of 15. I have something that some adults do not even know,” Legarde said in jest.
Legarde started his career in forex trading in late 2019, months before the pandemic.
The pandemic also saw a booming interest in this trade. However, he cautioned the public to be vigilant as many scammers proliferated.
More than ever, he always reminded those who wanted to try forex trading to find the right mentor.
He also hopes that schools would offer financial literacy to prepare students for the future.
Meanwhile, Legarde advised those who wish to pursue forex trading as a career to always put their heart if they wish to be financially successful
“You don’t have to excel in class just to learn forex. All you need is basic mathematics, and dedication,” he said.