Because OFWs earn more than most Filipinos, it is common to assume that they have bigger savings. Sadly, this is not always the case. More often than not, OFWs and their families end up saving very little or none at all.
Needless to say, our overseas Filipino workers are in a difficult situation, and not just because they provide financial support to their family members in the Philippines. Often, they lack job security and can easily lose an employment contract as fast as they get one. Limited knowledge on investing and entrepreneurship is also a challenge, which is why many OFWs lose their hard-earned money to failed ventures or even investment scams.
If you are an OFW yourself, it is important that you become smarter about your money. By being savvy enough to handle your finances, you not only contribute greatly to the Philippine economy, you also secure the future of your family.
Here are some helpful saving tips for OFWs and their families:
- Talk to your family and set a realistic budget.
There is nothing wrong with your family enjoying the fruits of your hard work, but every family member should know the importance of budgeting so they will be prepared during emergencies. Identify the family’s needs and wants and make sure that the needs are prioritized. These ‘wants’ cannot be completely eliminated from the budget, but make sure family only spends on non-essentials once money has been spent for what is really needed.
- Make your own budget.
Your income should not just be about remittances and your expenses. Make your own saving and spending plan, giving priority to your needs rather than wants. Be sure to set aside a percentage of your income to a savings account. Similar to #1, once you have covered the essentials, you can spend on leisure and entertainment.
- Start making small investments.
Consider your objectives, time frame and risk tolerance when making an investment. Pooled funds such as mutual funds and UITFs are a good starting point because they are fairly simple and easy to understand. Later on, OFWs can dabble into more complex investments like real estate. Starting a business is also encouraged, provided that the OFW knows the business well enough, and has trusted and capable people who can run the business in his absence.
- Set financial goals.
Talk to your loved ones about this. How long do you plan on working abroad? Are you considering on relocating outside of the Philippines? Whatever your plans are, sit down and talk as a family. Remember that it will not be entirely up to you and that the whole family will be working to achieve these goals.