Be Smart About Your Finances For You And Your Family’s Future!
(A Five-Step Guide)

Saving. For many, saving could mean a lot of things. It could mean being thrifty and very frugal when it comes to shopping, it could also mean portioning your income, making sure to take a big chunk from it and keeping it untouched. But what does it actually mean? For Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW’s), there are a lot to consider when you talk about finances. More often than not, reminders like “Itatabi ko nalang ‘to, dagdag din ‘to sa ipon ko” occupies the back of their minds when deciding to purchase something. “Ipapadala ko nalang ‘to, okay pa naman ako sa mga gamit ko ngayon” would probably one of the recurring lines they think of. With all these thoughts, how can OFWs actually save efficiently, effectively, and smartly?
Here’s a simple guide you may start practicing!

1. Plan it, Do it!

“Mag-iipon ako ng ganitong halaga, tapos makakauwi na ako!”
“Onti nalang, matatapos na ang bahay ni Mama at Papa!”
“Ilang taon nalang, masasabi ko na rin namin ang I Do! at babalik na kami sa Pilipinas!”
You’re working overseas for a reason, it could be to provide for your family for a brighter future or following where your heart tells you to go to achieve more and earn more. Along the way, there will be days when you may feel homesick and more tired than usual, but always remember your PLAN. Having a clear plan will help you reach your goals and will be your guide in controlling your finances well. Planning is the first step, but DOING it turns your plan into reality. Remember that plans are just dreams, and without taking action, they remain unfulfilled.

2. Love your family more, but don’t forget to love yourself!

“Ito para kay mommy, ito kay daddy!”
“Ito naman kay little bro, kay ate and kuya!”
“Ito, para sa mga pangarap ko at pagbalik ko. Excited na ‘ko!”
Many OFW’s seem to give the word selfless a whole new level. Truly, the warmth you feel when you’re able to give back to your parents is one of the best feelings you can have as a loving son or daughter, and being able to buy your siblings what they like excites you as much as it excites them. You’ve made them very happy, but are you doing your part to reward yourself too? Always remember that taking care of yourself is very important. This includes eating right, not skipping meals for the sake of adding a few more to your remittance, and also fueling your personal bank account meant for your dreams, and future investments when you’re back. Make sure that you keep a portion of your income that goes straight to your personal savings to prepare yourself for when you decide that you’ve reached your goals and it’s finally time to go home for good!

3. OFW means Overseas Filipino Worker, Not One-day-millionaire Filipino Worker!

“Ang ganda ng bag na ‘to! Bagay na bagay sa akin! Isang buwang sahod lang naman ‘yan!”
“May mas bagong cellphone na, magugustuhan ‘to ng mga anak ko!”
“Bagong sapatos para sa mga kapatid ko kahit kakabili lang noong isang buwan? Akong bahala!”
Although it may sound very tempting to splurge with the fancy things in life when you have the money to spend, don’t let it be the very reason why your finances would be in trouble. Sure, there’s nothing wrong with treating yourself from time to time, same goes with sending your family fabulous presents. What you should avoid is having the One-Day-Millionaire mentality which seems to be sticking around up until now. Before buying something that would cut down your income significantly, ask yourself, “Kaya ko ba ‘to bilhin ng tatlong beses ng may matitira pa sa savings ko?” If the answer is yes, then by all means, purchase that nice item! If your answer is no, you might want to consider factors that might require you to shell out some of your savings. These include health emergencies among many others. It’s always better to be prepared than indulging in a “leveled-up” lifestyle and thinking about how to pay your balances piling up.

4. Don’t just save and save, Invest!

“Maganda ba ang negosyong ‘to?”
“Gusto ko ba ang negosyo kung saan ako mag-iinvest?
“Makakatulong ba ‘to sa pamilya ko at sa sarili ko pagdating ng panahon?”
There will come a time when you can finally say that you’ve already earned more than enough. This definitely calls for a celebration because you’re a step closer to finally retiring and going back home, or by now, you could be thinking about staying in the country you’re in for good since you’ve earned it and you’ve already applied for citizenship. This is where making the right investment matters the most. Investments come in different forms and options like property, a small business, among other things but whichever route you choose, always make sure that you’ve done enough research about the investment you’re planning to commit to, studied how this will benefit you and your family in the future, and how much you are willing to give to make things work. Find the right investment for you and make sure that your choice will always keep you interested and motivated to make it grow and soon reap the fruits of your flavor.

5. Choose the right Financial Partner!

“Ano ang mga offers dito sa bangko na ito?”
“Gaano kabilis ang mga transactions dito?”
“Mapapakinabangan ko ba ang mga services nila?”
Financial partners are everywhere. They may be banks or insurance companies that offer services that somehow seem to be tailor-fit to what you’re looking for. For OFW’s, factors to consider include the agility and availability of service, security, and cost. It is important that you be smart in these decisions because when you choose the right financial partner, financial errands will be easier and would not cause you additional stress. Researching and finding out more about your financial partner of choice will help gauge your decision and determine which of them will give you the best service and the most benefits! You work hard for what you earn, that’s why you have to make sure that your earnings are in good financial condition and your financial partner shares the same values you believe in!
Now that you’ve reached this point, you’re probably wondering when should I begin practicing these guidelines. The right answer is NOW. It’s never too late to reevaluate your game plan which you know by heart before saying yes to that job you have now, because now that you’ve got a little list to remind you how to save efficiently, effectively, and smartly, a bright future awaits not only for you, but for your family. Keep holding on and keep pushing forward, the fact that you’ve taken the time to read through this makes you closer to your dream, that is, if you choose to live by them! Ingat, huwag papalipas ng oras ng pagkain, at kayang-kaya mo ‘yan!

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