According to the most recent statistical data, there are about 10 million Filipino OFWs all over the world. 1 out of 10 are financially broke, while 8 out of 10 will go home with no savings, or funds for retirement. If you are an OFW, those are scary numbers and those numbers are REAL!
Normally when we hear that someone has been an OFW for years we think they are awash with cash, live in fancy houses, drive around in nice cars and have a secured future. Unfortunately this is not the case for most OFWs. We can list a number of reasons but to keep this post short we’ll only name a few.
Apart from not having any knowledge about Personal Financial Management, most of our compatriots have forgotten the reason why they left to work in a foreign country, and that is to be able to save for the future. As soon as the first paycheck arrived a lot of them started to lose focus and ended up going after luxuries that are beyond their means. Some even got into the habit of using credit cards and personal loans just to be able to finance certain luxuries without realizing that those small expenditures have slowly but surely ballooned and have already put them deep in debt.
While there is nothing wrong with enjoying life or rewarding ourselves for all the work and sacrifices we have done for our families, we must also not forget our main WHYs for working abroad. It’s very important that we do not lose focus on our REAL Goals- and that is to be able to come home someday after working abroad for so many years, and be able to enjoy life with our families back home. OFWs in the UAE enjoy tax-free income and should therefore be able to save a lot of money if only we were not too busy trying to keep up with the fancy lifestyles of our Kabayans.
We all need to remember that the salary we earn here should be used as Capital to help fund our dreams and goals in life.
Instead of spending it all on luxuries like Travel or Branded Clothes and Shoes, or Gadgets, let’s use our hard-earned money wisely. Let’s use our time here wisely. Don’t get lured into the Luxurious Lifestyle of OFWs that you see on Social Media. Some, if not a lot of those who travel a lot and splurge on luxury goods usually have no savings or retirement fund, and are most likely into a lot of debt as well. Don’t try to keep up with them. Run your own race. Don’t rush things. You will also get to enjoy the fruits of your labor one day, and be able to travel the world and wear nice things but for now, at least for now- remember why you’re working away from your family and loved ones, and stay focused.
One of the people who we are fortunate enough to call our mentor when it comes to Personal Finance- Randell Tiongson, always reminds Filipinos to establish a proper financial foundation first before spending money on luxuries.
There is a time and a season for everything. Let’s try not to be like the others who spend money now on things they do not need, and then end up selling everything they have to buy the things they need.
“If you buy things you do not need, soon you will have to sell things you need.” – Warren Buffet