Don’t be overwhelmed.
If you are a first-time OFW, you might be daunted at the things that you need to take care of. If you’re not careful, you might find yourself one or ten years later with nothing to show for it, whether it’s money or investments. You don’t want to be like Auntie Terry who worked for eight years as a nanny and now lives in a hut with no toilet or running water. Here are some tips to help you take care of your future:
1. Enroll your bank account online.
If your job agency has provided you with a remittance account, monitor your account online. Open another ATM account jointly with your loved one at the same bank. Then link it to the same online account. Make sure you can transfer money from one account to the other without fees. Most big banks have this capability. You can save up by remitting money “one time big time” and then trickling it down to the joint account monthly or bi-weekly. You control your money this way.
2. Buy in bulk and buy when it is on sale.
It’s a no-brainer but it’s effective, especially for pasalubongs. You’re expected to bring home pasalubong to all of your “relatives”. Yes, even the cousin of your neighbor whom you met once will be expecting a knick knack when you get home. Make sure that the brands that you buy are unrecognizable in the Philippines. They won’t know if it’s expensive or not. Kuripot, I know, but you’ve worked hard and it’s easy to run out of money while you’re on vacation. And as they say, it’s the thought that counts.
3. Do your budgeting the “envelop” way.
This is a very practical way of budgeting that’s discussed by Bo Sanchez in his book “My Maid Invests in the Stock Market” and covered in this blog and in this blog as well. Divide your monthly income into five “envelopes” for Tithe (you can allocate this for different things if you’re not Christian), Expenses, Emergency, Support, and Retirement. Furthermore, make sure that the budgets don’t overlap.
4. Make your money work for you.
Don’t be content with having your money sit in the bank on a time deposit. Just consider that a PhP 100,000 time deposit will earn a whopping net of PhP 1,000.00 in a year’s time. Sari-sari stores are also not feasible specially if there are already five stores in your street alone. Explore business opportunities like food cart franchising at a mall, a laundromat, or look at transportation businesses (jeep/van/multicab/tricycle). Have your loved ones be on board with the business that you’ll be looking at so you can plan together.
5. Save for your retirement – invest in the stock market.
The short-term gains for the stock market are minimal and you might think it’s not worth it. Remember that this is for your retirement and stock market gains pay big time in the long run. If you are overwhelmed by the thought of investing, here is a short tutorial:
Furthermore, we are viewing this in the long-term. Anything that you put in should be forgotten and not be withdrawn until you’re old and gray. You won’t be an OFW forever, so you have to think of yourself and where you will be once you’re not earning dollars anymore.
Picture attribution CC BY 2.0