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6 Reasons Why Some OFWs Still End up Broke/Poor After Their Stint Abroad


To many of us Filipinos, working overseas is one of the best tickets to earn a much higher salary. A skilled labor job abroad is much higher in terms of pay compared here in the Philippines.
The OFW's Guide to Financial Freedom
"airport-man-travel-traveler" by Skitterphoto is licensed under CC0

Given this fact, many of our "Kababayans" chose to be separated with their families in order to give them a much brighter future. In the short term, they are able to provide their needs but as time goes by, and the overseas job becomes uncertain (because of age and health reasons). The concept of saving for the rainy day is close to none. This is why, some if not most ended up broke or still poor after their careers abroad.



What Are the Causes of This Predicament?

Lack of foresight - this is ingrained to our culture of "mañana" habit. We intend to do things based on the notion that there is always tomorrow.

Confused between Wants vs Needs - First of all, the reason why you are working abroad is to provide for the needs. However, when you are earning good money and is earning a lot, the line between wants and needs is blurred. Acquiring things with the justification that it is a need, but in actuality it is just a want.

Our "Pasikat" Mentality - Again, this is a cultural thing. We have a habit of showing off, not because we want to show-off but because it is perceived by the environment around us. In the rural areas, going overseas equates to being "mayaman". So in turn, we are sucked in the mentality that we need to show them that we are pretty well-off. The tangible way of proving this is through material things.

Excessive "Utang na loob" - Going overseas is not an easy feat because of the money involved just to get started. Some need to sell their assets just to raise money, while others borrow from their relatives. Now, aside from paying the debts with interests, any requests from them is almost automatically granted because of the built gratitude, which was already paid by paying the debt.

No Cash Flow Control - The basic template of an overseas worker is to send money to their family regularly. Leaving only enough amount to survive until the next pay check. This set up is okay if the receiver is prudent with the finances. However, this is not the case to some.

Accumulating Debt - Lending opportunities will suddenly pop-up because you are an overseas worker. If you bite the bait, then you are done. You will now be a slave of the lending institution or individual.



How to Escape This Cycle?

Build an Emergency fund by applying the Savings formula: Expenses = Salary - Savings. This is to ensure that you have something set for the rainy days. The fund can either be 3 months worth of salary or 6 months worth of expenses.

Build a Debt Fund by applying the same formula, but instead for savings it will be for debt payments.

Have an open communication channel with your family/relatives. Explain to them the hard work done in order to earn money and why it is so important to be prudent about it. Financial Awareness must be a family affair.

Build a Back Up Plan - always remember that working abroad is not a secure thing. Sooner or later you will experience set backs. That is why it is important to have another source of income. Make sure to invest in the necessary knowledge and skills to avoid being duped.


"Fortune favors the prepared mind."
Louis Pasteur


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- Your Life In Perspective by Ælfræd "Elf Counsel"


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