Alumni Profiles, Giving Back

What Matters Most

Alumnus Jason Vitug NCAS’03, RBS’03 refocuses his life and helps other millennials achieve their financial goals

Jason Vitug NCAS’03, RBS’03As a 20-something vice president of marketing and business development for a credit union in Silicon Valley, Jason Vitug thought he had everything he could want: a six-figure salary, two cars, a motorcycle, and a closet full of designer clothing. But after being offered a promotion, Vitug NCAS’03, RBS’03 took inventory of his life. “I looked at everything I owned,” he says, “and realized that all the time I had spent working was represented by these things that I truly didn’t value.”

So he quit his job, sold everything, and began traveling around the world. His travels helped him understand that he valued visiting new places, learning about other cultures, and having new experiences rather than accumulating things. He also knew he wanted to help other millennials learn about personal finance and create goals that reflect what they want out of life. He created his website, Phroogal, in 2013 and wrote You Only Live Once (Wiley, 2016), a book about taking control of one’s personal finances.

Q: What is Phroogal and why did you start it?
A: I founded Phroogal to get people thinking about money in a different way. I want people to understand personal finance and how it can impact their ability to live their dream lifestyle. I started Phroogal as a personal finance blog and it has turned into a community of over 65,000 people who believe in talking about money more openly.

Q: What are the most common mistakes people make in financial planning?
A: Most financial planners will ask you, “Do you want to buy a house, go to college, buy a car?” They start listing these tangible financial goals, without any idea of how they relate to your vision for your life. But people often don’t achieve these financial goals or they have a hard time following budgets because they don’t understand how those goals relate to their overall vision for their life.

Take a step back and look at the bigger picture: What are your values—education, family, community? Understand why you value those before you start setting financial goals. You might think you want to own a home but if you envision yourself traveling around the world in the next few years, you could derail yourself because your goal doesn’t align with your values.

Q: What do you mean by your book’s title, You Only Live Once?
A: It’s an understanding that you have this opportunity to create a lifetime of moments. Are you willing to spend the money you make at work on things that truly don’t matter to you? Or are you willing to be conscious and mindful of the decisions you make daily that can create a lifetime of happy moments?