(Watch:Pesos And Sense Explains: Tips on Saving (OFW)
One common reason why Filipinos want to work abroad is a good salary other countries can offer compare in working in the Philippines.
Despite the homesickness, separation anxiety and loneliness, still, there are many Filipinos wants to work abroad for the betterment of his or her family back home to uplift their lives.
When we hear a word “OFW”, the most description of them is “maraming pera” that is why when OFWs are coming home for vacation, many relatives and friends are asking for “pasalubong.”
But don’t you know that OFWs has a lot of secrets that they won’t tell to their loved ones back home. Here’s the top 10 and most of them are money secrets.
1. OFWs send money more than they spend.
According to one survey, many OFWs send 25-50 percent of their salary. The remaining of their monthly income goes to accommodation, food, utilities, transportation, and allowances.
There are some who are lucky enough to send up to 75 percent of their salary because they already have a free accommodation, free transportation and working with a food allowance.
(Watch: Common OFW Money Mistakes)
2. Large numbers of OFWs do not have savings.
According to The Filipino Times survey, only 13 percent of OFWs send money home for retirement savings, dollar accounts or business purposes.
3. OFWs become banks
Many believe that money is easy for OFWs to come by. That is why when there’s a financial need at home, the first person in mind is always the OFW.
Many OFWs ignore their ringing phones because they know that most of the time it’s just someone asking for money. Just because you work abroad, everyone seems to think you won the lotto. There are people who are asking for special favors, solicitation for baptism, birthday parties, “utang” for business, pricy pasalubong and etc.
4 Money is not endless
If an OFW is working in a country that pays a good salary. Expect a higher cost of living too plus their own financial commitment.
Because of these responsibilities many OFWs go into debt and the ready availability of credit cards which easily trap the inexperienced consumer.
Only a few OFWs admit they do not have enough money to send home. There are OFWs who borrow money or make a loan while working abroad, just to send money to their loved ones. A credit card is maxed out for “pasalubong.” Their reasoning is that if their loved ones can’t enjoy the rewards of their efforts, why else would they make sacrifices in their lives?
(Watch:ANC On The Money: Money Management for OFWs)
5. “We take care of you. Who will take care of us?”
“The main reason a person goes abroad for work is, of course, to provide a better life for his or her family,” said Franz Angeles, Money Talks UAE Certified Associate Financial Planner.
“However,” she stressed, “sending everything without even setting aside for retirement life and, worse, even depriving himself or herself of a reasonable amount for subsistence is not good both for the OF and his or her family.”
Angeles explained: “Say, they send everything, and their family spends it all when the OF goes back home for good (usually old and not capable of working) without any savings, he or she will be dependent on his or her family. Paano kung magkasakit? Saan sya kukuha ng pangpagamot? He or she becomes a burden to the family.”
6. Working abroad is not pretty as it seems
OFW life abroad is not what they exactly imagine.
Facebook post of OFWs such as gift, balikbayan boxes, travel and dining adventure are far away from real lives. These are just small part of their lives in other countries.
Nobody ever takes pictures of hard and menial work, long hours, or getting scolded by an employer. Nobody post or talked on social media about cramped quarters and poor living conditions.
Nobody puts in a status update that they came as a nurse or a teacher but actually work as nannies. Nobody brags about being a tenured professor in the Philippines who works as a factory worker abroad.
Nobody talks about the constant immigration struggle or the fear involved in the life of an undocumented immigrant.
OFWs try as much as they can to keep the drama away from home so that their families may not worry about their situation and can think otherwise.
7. Padalas, pasalubong and balikbayan boxes are all product of hard work and unbelievable sacrifices
OFW buys pasalubong for families but seldom buy for themselves. It does not matter if they do not have decent shoes, as long as they can buy what families is asking them for so long.
Sometimes a balikbayan box takes few months to fill in and it is not an easy task. Some OFWs took a part-time job for extra income to buy palada or palasulubong.
8. OFW hopes their payables are being paid home
While working abroad, many OFWs left payables like debts, contributions to Pag-IBIG, SSS, Philhealth and retirement savings and 18 percent of OFWs send money home for these payables.
However, there have been a lot of cases where OFWs debts and contributions are not being paid.
9. OFWs are always one step away from ruin
When OFWs are sick, they just shake it off, especially when there is no close friend or loved ones around to take good care of them. For some, going to hospitals are a waste of money especially when a worker doesn’t have a health insurance. If OFWs do not have sick leave at work, they actually working through their illness because they don’t want to lose the money for being absent
Each of OFWs is one serious illness or accident away from losing our livelihood or becoming disabled without any nearby family support to care for us. OFWs continue working even not feeling well with crossed fingers or “Bahala na si Batman” attitude with prayers because families depend on them back home.
10. OFWs sometimes wish they could give up all and go home
Indeed there is no place like home.
For OFWs, there’s a point in their lives where they just want to drop everything and go back home. Sometimes the sacrifices, the loneliness, and the challenges are simply too much to make up for being away.
No amount of money can replace the lost time for those who left their families at home to work abroad especially those who left their children. OFWs do what they can for to provide the needs of the family and for everyone else to survive.
Know as “modern heroes” of the country and savior of the family. For OFWs, it is really hard to give it all up and to let everyone down just because they are tired, lonely and far away from home.
As a Filipino that works abroad or OFW, how long would you like to work in other country and be away from your family? Do you have a goal to be able to come back in the Philippines for good, let us say, after 10 years of working?
Many people think that Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) has a lot of money since they are working abroad. But the truth is some of them are also in debt while abroad and worse, sent to jail due to unpaid debt.