Common Money Mistakes OFW’s Make (and How to Avoid Them!)
Why do you have to go to another country just to land a job? This is one of the questions that I have been asked for several years. As a former OFW or an Overseas Filipino Worker myself, it is quite difficult to land a job and practice your profession in our own country if there are only a few companies, firms, institutions that offer a job. As a registered nurse in our country, I have encountered this dilemma personally and believe me it’s really quite frustrating. I was able to work in a government hospital in our country, but the salary is not even enough to feed myself so I left the country and went to get a job in the Middle East. After finishing my contract, I was filled with all the high hopes that the money that I was able to send my family and the money that I was able to save over the years that I was gone would be enough for us, I decided to quit my job in the foreign land and decided to try my luck again in our country.
Sad to say, but it was not enough and I had to do it over again. I personally done these money mistakes that OFWs usually make. If you are an OFW like me, you better read on to avoid them and see the solutions that I have figured out the hard way.
OFW Money Mistake #1: Overspending
Living paycheck after paycheck is the usual trend for most OFWs and so as with their families. With every remittance that they receive every month, the expenses, wants and likes never stop. Since they are getting your remittance regularly, they would have a lot of things in mind to purchase even before they have received your hard earned money. And as for you, although you knew that you deserved to be pampered once in a while since you have been working hard all these times, you would tend to overspend as well. Spending without monitoring would definitely lead you to a financial ruin.
What You Should Do: Track down the needs of your family and not their wants. Remit the money that would be enough to cope all the necessities. Save some of your hard earned money in a bank or investment to make it grow or generate more profits in the end. List down your priorities and jot down your needs. Your wants can also be fulfilled, but ensure that you do it moderately. You do not want to have your hard earned money go to waste, don’t you?
OFW Money Mistake #2: No Goals in Mind
Before you land your job as an OFW, do you have short and long term goals in mind? Well, if you do not have any then you are in big trouble. You will bound to overspend and put your money to waste if you do not set any goals.
What You Should Do: Try to envision the future. What do you want to achieve a year or two from now, that would be your short term goal. That could be settling your debt or earning enough money to start with your very own business. Once you have achieved a short term goal that you have set in mind, you can then proceed to the long term goals. These goals are called long term because they are not quite difficult to achieve in few years’ time only examples of such are having a real estate property like a house and lot, educational fund for your child or children (from kindergarten to college) and the list goes on. You need to set goals in mind to guide you and serve as your motivation why you work abroad and be away from your family.
OFW Money Mistake #3: Saving Money is Not Your Thing
This should also go for the family who receives the remittance, because you are giving them regularly, saving would not be in their vocabulary. Same goes for you, as you receive every paycheck, you tend to forget that you are only there for a given contract and that in a blink of an eye all you know is that the two years have gone by and you were not even able to save a dime.
What You Should Do: Orient your family that you have not been going to work abroad forever. You will only be there for a certain number of years, so they need to save as much as they could to help you out. As for you, learn not to live from paycheck alone. Try to spare a portion of your earnings every month. Some would recommend 20 to 25%, but it would all depend on your preference but make sure that you will not spend your savings. Keep this in mind: “Save first before spending” this would definitely help.
OFW Money Mistake #4: Scared of Investing or Creating a Business (or It Has Not Crossed Your Mind at All)
Being an employee will not make you rich. That may be a bit harsh and blunt, but that’s the truth. Reality bites as it may seem but we have to be straight forward with you. Your energy, strength and capabilities will diminish as you grow older and working is not an option too when you reach a certain age. Saving money is never enough, especially if you are only saving a portion of your income. Try to compute them over a period of time, would that be enough for you? Before any of these dreadful situation happens to you, you need to wake up and turn things around.
What You Should Do: Invest to keep your money secured and safe from inflation or in any financial deterrent. Research and check all the options that could generate more profits. It could be in franchising, trust funds, life insurance, the list goes on just choose the best one for you.
Don't Let Your Sacrifices Go Down the Drain!
Mistakes are preventable, but they are never erasable. While you still can try to change your bad habits and don’t forget to put your eyes on your goal. We all want a brighter future for our families that’s why we have chosen this path of searching for greener pastures. You are lucky enough to be chosen and be hired in a foreign land so don’t waste it. Make the most out of your hard earned cash and don’t let your sacrifices be circled around the drain for nothing.
Editor's Note:This is a submission by Candy, a small business owner and a freelance writer. She was also a former OFW.