Filipinos have grown used to the idea that millions of our countrymen need to find employment overseas in order to make ends meet. Sadly, despite many of them earning far more abroad than they would here, it’s not unusual for many to come home without any sort of preparation or thought on how to sustain themselves following their foreign stints.
Here are some simple tips to avoid making the same mistake:
USE YOUR TIME WISELY
Keep in mind that your stint abroad won’t last forever, so it’s a good idea to budget your time as well as your money. First things first: be sure to pay off any debts you may have, whether they were pre-existing or incurred in the process of making your way overseas. Once your debts are clear, you can begin the process of saving for your future.
SET GOALS, AND STICK TO THEM
Remember why you went abroad in the first place; whether it’s to pay for your children’s education or to complete payments for your family home or condo, having a clear goal in mind will help you steer away from spending your money in other areas. Don’t give in to the notion that you need to provide your family with the latest gadgets or other bilin in order to be a good provider – you’ve gone abroad for a reason, and you should stick to it. Once you accomplish your goal, you can then move on to set new ones.
TEACH YOUR FAMILY
Gone are the days where families would only hear from their OFW relatives a few times a year via snail mail or scratchy landline calls. These days, anyone with a smartphone and an internet connection is within reach; use the opportunity to maintain a (virtual) presence in your loved ones’ lives. By keeping an active correspondence, they will better appreciate the effort you exert to provide for them, thereby preventing them from taking what you do for granted.
If you’ve accomplished your goals, why not have your money work for you? Small investments in stocks, property, or even a small business that your family back home can help manage. Just make sure that no matter what you end up investing your hard earned money in, it’s either affiliated with a reputable institution (such as an established brand or real estate developer) or at least under the watch of someone you can depend on and trust.
PLAN FOR THE UNEXPECTED
We’ve written about savings before, and just because your earnings have increased is no excuse to break the habit. Be sure to set aside a portion of your salary for the pool of savings you’ll turn to when you come home. It might also be a good idea to have a dedicated Philippine savings account for your nest egg, ideally separate from the one for your household expenses. Having a Philippine account versus a foreign account ensures your family would have some way of accessing the funds, should the need arise while you’re away.