Most OFWs leave the country to find greener pastures – to build a better future for themselves and their families. The underlying assumption is that being an overseas means you earn a lot, you will send money back home and become rich. In some cases, this is true.
Unfortunately, in most cases, this isn’t true. For many OFWs, instead of being able to save and invest money, they encounter critical problems which stems from poor financial management.
Why are there OFWs that work so long and hard abroad and yet they end up coming home broke? BAD MONEY HABITS.
In this article, we will talk about some of the worst money habits most of us develop. And then I offer a brief solution.
1. Many do not know how to handle and manage money.
According to a survey by Standard & Poor, only 25% of Filipino adults are financially literate. What does financial literacy mean anyways? Financial literacy pertains to the basics of handling money wisely and intelligently.
Of course, other than the ‘piggy bank’ strategy, most Filipinos never learned anything about personal finance in school like the importance of saving, thrift values, and basic investing.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO DO:
Read and learn everything there is to learn about managing your personal finance. Most importantly, ACTIVELY APPLY what you learn. Learning how to do stuff, but not doing the stuff you learn is basically USELESS.
Invest in a good finance book that will teach you how to manage your finances. You can also read the tips and advice of some Filipino financial gurus which are often for free. By being financially literate, you also become informed on how to identify and avoid quick-rich-money-scams or questionable investments.
2. They make incurring debt a habit.
There are instances when a Filipino is left with no other choice but to go abroad and work because of too much debt incurred back home. Before they even started getting their first paycheck, they are already have a lot of debts.
The first few or several paychecks will, of course, be consumed to pay off the debts incurred back home.
In some more undesirable cases, the idea that a family member has already gone to work abroad prompts some families to splurge even before receiving money from their family member working abroad. What do I mean by this? There are cases when OFWs (and their families) feel that they have the power to purchase the things they have wanted for so long. They start borrowing money just to buy stuff that bring instant gratification like furniture, appliances, computers and electronic gadgets with the premise that their soon-to-be-OFW will be earning a lot money and will be able to pay it at some point.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO DO TO AVOID DEBT TRAP:
Borrow money only and only when it is necessary and important. Don’t borrow money to buy luxuries (things you don’t need). Moreover, do not borrow money just to pay off another debt. You will fall in the cycle of debt. Follow and practice this mantra with your family: If you don’t have any money, you should not buy anything. OR, you should not buy or spend on things when you don’t have the money.
3. Many fall for the evils of impulse buying and reckless spending.
Earning dollars (or any first-world currency, for that matter) increases our purchasing power at home. With that, more and more of our “kababayans” get overwhelmed easily and start recklessly spending.
They begin to have this impulsive urge to display their earnings whether in the form shiny gadgets like smartphones and computers, new cars, house and lot. They lavishly give cash or send balikbayan boxes to their family/relatives filled with imported chocolates, canned goods, apparel, and other items bought by overseas workers during their stay there.
When they come home to the Philippines, some OFWs become one-day millionaires. They tend to go overboard and blow their budget on a lot of unnecessary things: nightly parties, weekend getaways, shopping galore, gambling, and so much more.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO DO TO AVOID THIS:
Exercise restraint. Buy only the things you need. Learn to spend money to make more money. In other words, take motivation in the fact that when you invest your money, it will grow; when you use it to splurge, you are, in effect, decreasing your wealth. Don’t spend more because you earn more. Instead, SAVE MORE, when you earn more. Or better yet, INVEST.