In spite of substantial income, while working abroad, still there are many Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) remain broke or end up with almost nothing when they come home to retire.
It is no secrets that working abroad is not easy and requires hard work and a lot of sacrifices. So it is important that as OFW, you know your priorities and you know how to save and where to invest your hard-earned money so that you can retire early and make your money work for you eventually.
In his column in Tempo.com.ph, Chinkee Tan, a well-known financial adviser in the Philippines discovered four common financial mistakes of OFWs that are needed to be addressed!
1. Spending Too Much On ‘Pasalubong’
OFWs should be practical nowadays. Save your money first. Spend it on more important things such as tuition of your children, healthcare, and house amortization. Always remember the needs before the wants. Do not listen to what others have to say. As OFW, the most important thing you need to secure is you and your family’s future.
Always remember that working abroad is not forever and it is understandable that you want to give the best for your family. It is common for OFWs to send Balikbayan boxes full of imported chocolates, canned goods, branded shirts and shoes, and other things not only for immediate family but also for distant relatives as well. But ask yourself, it is needed? Is it necessary?
Buying pasalubong is not bad as long as you have invested more on your savings.
2. You Do Not Prioritize Your Savings
Overspending is a common mistake of OFWs. We love to spend on things that we never experience or we love to have such as new gadgets, shoes, clothes, etc. Sometimes we think that money is endless because we are earning dollars every end of the month.
Again, working abroad or being an OFW is not forever. We get tired, we get sick, we get old. It is very important that you save a portion of your income first aside from what you send to your family back home.
If you need to buy something for yourself that will make you happy, make sure you set aside the limit you want to spend. Stick to it and do not break it.
Never bring excess money and do not bring your credit card. Credit card is the most convenient way of overspending.
3. You Don’t Have Financial Goals
What is the main reason why you decide to work abroad? Is it for your children to finish schools? Is it for your dream home for your family? There are many reasons why a person chooses to be an OFW. What you need is a clear vision of what financial goals you want to achieve in life. Write them down how much you want to make and how much you can afford to spend.
Set a timeline of what do you want to achieve and monitor if you are hitting your financial target. Work hard to achieve them.
“Bahala na si Batman” is also a common mentality of many OFWs. When you are earning a comfortable income there is an illusion that you are financially OK. However, we need to be reminded that being an OFW is a long-term proposition. The moment you stop working, you stop earning but the problem is you do not stop spending. So whatever you made, it will be gone soon after you retire.
4. Giving in to the pressure of relatives’ requests
Do not let other people dictate you on how and where to spend your money. Do not let yourself be pressured. Weigh your options and learn how to say “no” when needed. Give what you can only afford.
Do not let other people derail you from your goals. Some OFWs even need to loans from lending just to send more money back home for parties and fiestas. Remember it is you who work hard to earn money and you deserve a good life when you retire after the long years of working hard in a foreign country far away from your family!