28 January 2011

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OFW on Financial Literacy


I am not a financial adviser; I am just an ordinary overseas worker like you who has a dream, a dream of having financial freedom. I was enthused to share you the importance of financial literacy because I know we all have the same dreams.

Saving for the future is our main goal here and in order for us to gain financial freedom a very strong discipline about money handling should be observed. Not just OFWs' need financial literacy but our families as well who were recipients in our remittances. They should know financial management too.

Different government agencies and private institutions offered Financial Literacy. If you could remember during the pre-departure orientation seminar under OWWA, bank representatives gave details on your remittances and saving scheme perhaps you forgot all those things or has no concentration due to excitement in leaving the country.

Financial sustainability takes responsibility and financial literacy. In order for you to see the fruits on your hard earned money you should know the discipline of saving and investment. Overseas workers sometimes overwhelmed by their monthly pay check. Instead of planning to save they plan on buying stuff and gadgets like iphone, android or smartphone etc. etc... Others send money more than what is needed for the family. As a result their social status changed needs and wants changed as well.

Saving is a sacrifice where most of us overseas workers lack this attitude. But it's not too late as we are still in the doorstep of 2011 it is a good time to start saving and see where our hard earned money goes.

These are my suggestions.

1. Read self help books - I recommend Francisco Colayco's book "Pera mo palaguin mo"(Philippine bestseller financial book) I actually bought one 3 years ago and shared it to my colleagues.  You will be inspired upon reading self help books.

2. Attend meetings/seminars about financial management- BPI and BDO were just two banks offered financial literacy program. NGO's also offered financial counselling.

3. Hire Financial Adviser- their expertise helps you whether to venture into business or in some investment that your money could earn. Banks also offered Mutual funds, Stocks, and High yield time deposits just ask your bank representative about this.

4. Manage you remittances- send only how much is needed by your recipient. If you send more than their needs they will demand more. Sometimes our families back home never mind on how much they spend thinking that we still have more to send. Telling them the truth of how hard it is working abroad will give you sympathy and they will value your money.

5. Live a very simple life - living in a luxurious life demands more spending. You can maintain your social status by not draining your pocket; spend to your own capacity. Overspending makes your life terrible you will end up on credit cards and loans with high interest rates.

6. Make an emergency fund- expect the unexpected. That is why we have to save for the rainy season and be ready for it. According to the financial adviser we have to maintain an emergency fund for at least 6 months. This emergency fund covers your supposed monthly expenses including your monthly amortization, bills on water and electricity, foods and other house expenses. You can use this only if you were out of job. That is why 6 months the minimum for you to still have time to look for job with no worries. Some suggested that an emergency fund should be atleast 20% taken from your monthly salary.

7. Apply for an Insurance plan- assuming your company provide medical insurance but that is still not enough. Medical insurance has limitations. Insurance plan is a long term program that will keep you secured, Social Security System (SSS) and the Pag-Ibig Fund in another interesting investment program. I recommend OFWs' should maintain their status in these programs.

  OFWs' future is not always certain and our financial security depends in our hands though the Philippines government has implemented with all the governing agencies to empower OFWs' about financial freedom.  But it is our sole responsibility to reach our dreams and that is to have a good future.


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