Mums Tips: Financial Tips For OFW Families

9:44 PM

Kudos to our “Bagong Bayani” or our dear “OFW's” as we call them, who toils hard in working abroad for the betterment of the economic status of their families. More than that, don't you know that these brave modern heroes of our time, who have chosen to leave our land for a greener pasture plays a huge role in the economic growth of our country, by sending their hard-earned salary to their families through their remittances? In fact, according to Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, monthly remittances early this year has amounted to a staggering 2.1 Billion US Dollars. Unbeknownst to many is, how do their families use this money?


As an OFW wife (or even if not), it is our duty and responsibility to take care and to put into good use the money that was entrusted to us. Apart from saving and securing the education and the future of our children, for me, I always wanted to multiply the money that I regularly receive from my husband- thinking not only for our kids but for the two of us as well. I have heard a lot of sad stories from OFWs who have spend their entire life working overseas and yet when they retire, there's nothing left from their earnings and I really felt sorry for such loss, that I myself doesn't want to experience that in our old age, where we should be retiring and enjoying the fruits of our labor days.

I have gathered here some financial tips from one of my favorite Author and a church Pastor, Dennis Sy, from his book “Rich for Life” and I've been doing this personally and applying it in our family.


FINANCIAL TIPS FOR OFW FAMILIES
(Excerpts from an interview to Author and Pastor Dennis Sy and his book Rich for Life)


#1 REMEMBER THAT THE REMITTANCE IS A PRIVILEGE, NOT SOMETHING YOU ARE ENTITLED TO


Dennis Sy stresses the importance of understanding that the remittance is a product of someone else’s hard work. It is important to know where the money is coming from- they say money is 80% knowledge and 20% behavior.

While picking up your monthly remittance, you need to regularly keep in mind the sacrifice our relatives made to send this money. When we begin to see ourselves as recipients of a privilege and not something owed to us, we put ourselves in the right mindset to make better spending decisions.

What is the danger of an entitlement mindset to those who receive remittances? “Pag entitled kasi, feeling nila dapat monthly meron sila.They become complacent. Pag di nakapagpadala, sila pa galit. I have encountered some OFWs in Dubai who tearfully tell us about how hard life is for them. They work so hard, send money to the Philippines to send their nieces and nephews to school while the kids’ father just lazes around the house, glued to the couch watching soaps,” Sy recounts.


#2 PUT A NAME ON EVERY PESO YOU RECEIVE

“Dapat lahat ng pera may pangalan. We call it budgeting. People who receive money from OFWs tend to splurge because they didn't work hard for it. Having the discipline to budget the finances given to them would give them the boundaries needed to make the money grow. Budget includes savings, investment and monthly expenditures,” Sy explains.


Why do you think we struggle with the word "budget" so much? “We struggle with budgeting kasi feeling natin it will limit us. Ironically, budgeting actually enhances our way of life because we can save up for the future rather than rely on our kids to bail us out in the future,” Sy explains. Budgeting, when done right, can actually be liberating rather than limiting.

What is the simplest way to apply this tip? How do we start putting a name on every peso, so to speak? “In my book, Rich for Life, I strongly recommend the automatic debit system. Ibig sabihin, monthly the bank debits a certain amount in my account that goes to mutual funds or investments, and same goes with savings,” Sy shares. Using this automatic “forced” savings system allows us to get used to only spending the 80% leftover. The 20% may not seem like a lot, but pooled together, a steady trickle of small savings will result in more than you expect.


#3 MAKE MONEY WORK FOR YOU

“As families of OFWs, we receive money from the hard work of our family members. It would be wise to make the money continue to work for you rather than just spending it outright,Sy explains. Sy recommends finding ways to start a small business. It can be as small as selling Ice Candy in your neighborhood or in your office (We all know that amazing success story!) or you can get into investing in the stock market.

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Although the word “invest” seems like such a big word; unattainable even, sometimes all it takes is a simple step in the right direction. “Matutuwa pa ang nagpadala ng pera dahil nagbunga pa ang ipinadala niya,” Sy says.

Since we’re on the topic of investing and making money work for us, we know that there are a lot of places we can put our money in. But what are the things we shouldn’t invest in? What are some red flags of a bad investment deal? “Pag masyadong mataas ang return on investment pero wala ka namang kailangan gawin. Ika nga di ba, “too good to be true” usually is too good to be true talaga. Check with SEC kung registered ba ang company. Huwag magpadala sa mga tsekeng natanggap sa umpisa.


#4 DECIDE WHO REALLY NEEDS THE MONEY

“What this means is that the family members must know the priorities. We have heard countless stories where the OFW sends money to send nephews or nieces to school. For me, that’s carrying so much false burden. The question isn’t “Should I send them to school,” but the question is “What are your siblings doing that they can't afford to do it for their kids?”

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“When money comes easily, especially through a monthly remittance, people tend to slack off and lose their drive to earn their own living. So ang nangyayari, ang OFW na lang ang nagtratrabaho and the culture of laziness and apathy grows,” Sy laments.

Sy suggests that you get the family together and have a good talk. Discuss who gets the money and why. Needless to say, the priority ought to be the spouse and their own children. Secondary might be parents who are not able to work anymore. Outside of that circle, you should revisit why the money is allocated that way.

#5 BE FINANCIALLY LITERATE

“Make it a goal to be financially savvy. Maraming mga finance champion sa 'Pinas ngayon tulad nina Randell Tiongson and Marvin Germo. They help Filipinos manage the money they have. Your best investment is your financial education,” Sy shares.

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There are countless books on finance in the market by local authors who understand the context of the Philippines. He also recommends books by Bo Sanchez on how to invest in the stock market as well as reading blogs online. “As I always say, life is simple. Know what matters. More than money, it is the relationship that matters. Take time to appreciate your family member who works hard, and live a life of gratitude.”  

Sometimes it's hard to discipline yourself when it comes to the habit of regularly saving and investing. But if you'll think about the benefits that you can get later after living that kind of habit can be so rewarding.

So there you have it mums! Be wise, invest, save much, spend less and be financially literate!




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