Each passing day, more and more Filipinos are leaving the Philippines to work abroad. Most of them have no choice in leaving their family and loved ones because of the scarcity of employment opportunities in the country.
Majority of OFW who work abroad are skilled workers and professionals as well. Many of them don’t have any idea what will happen to them after working for many years in a foreign land. This blog is my way to help them so they can get few knowledge and understanding how to live and work away from home.
Many OFW, old and new, are not properly prepared when going to their work destination in terms of financial and emotional knowledge. Some of them don’t have bank account or very little knowledge how to properly handle their money.
In this post, there are top 5 things that an OFW must have which I would want to share. This post is not technical so I would assume that this will be understood easily by readers.
1. Bank Account
First on my list about things that OFW must have is bank account. It can be a savings or checking account. Normally, it is easier to open a savings account because many banks now are offering accounts with very low initial deposit and no maintaining balance at all.
That’s a good development and news for every one who are planning to apply for a new account. The application is also easier than ever before so owning your own account is not impossible.
Why do you need a bank account? Very simple. You will use it as a secure place to save your money and at the same time, your remittance tool to the Philippines.
If you don’t have a bank account, your only option is to send your money through Western union or other money remittance company. I don’t recommend to send your money using this option because they charge higher fee than bank’s wire transfer.
In order to save on remittance fees, you should open your own or your wife’s bank account so you can use it to send your remittance. There are many savings account for OFW with low initial deposit and zero maintaining balance such as BDO Kabayan savings account and BPinoy savings account.
You could check their respective website so you can have an idea on how to open a new account. It will be better if you could open before you go abroad. Anyhow, you can tell your wife or a member of your family to open a new one so you can send your remittance to that account.
Opening an account is not hard these days and it is very accessible and convenient. Actually, you can open a new one in the POEA office in Ortigas where you will notice many banks are operating inside.
A bank account is very important because it is your tool to manage your money properly. I suggest you enroll to Internet banking at the moment you open an account. In this way, you can monitor your money anywhere you are even without your physical presence in the Philippines.
With online banking, you can also invest in stocks, mutual funds and UITF. Most major banks like BPI and Metrobank have these capabilities. Some banks have branches overseas where there are many Filipinos. If you are living near these Philippine banks, you must take the advantage of opening a new bank account.
2. Basic Financial Knowledge
Most of us are not taught on the basic concept of finance and money. Since majority of Filipinos are poor, teaching finance to children is not common among families.
However, as we grow old and started working and earning money, we begin to realize the importance of basic financial knowledge. Financial education is very rare to be learned in the school so you can do it by yourself.
There are lots of information you can get from the Internet about personal finance and financial literacy. You may also read blogs and websites that teach finance and investing.
Before I started my blog 3 years ago, I have read several books about financial education such as “The Richest Man in Babylon”, “Pera Mo, Palaguin Mo”, and “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” among the few. I gained much information about basic finance when I read those books.
You don’t need to study complicated things about money. As an OFW, you only need the basic of how money works, the interest rates, inflation, and how to grow your money.
3. Open and Regular Communication
Regular communication with your family is a must for all OFW. Since you are away from them for a long time, a regular mode of communication is very vital so that your relationship will stay and become stronger though you are apart from each other.
We thanked God that today it is easier to communicate than ever before because of technology and Internet. It is easier to call to other countries because of mobile phones that almost every person has.
As an OFW, you should make it a point that you communicate and talk regularly to your wife and kids. You should set a date when you could send them messages and things happening to your and their life. In this way, you will avoid being lonely and homesick.
Without regular communication, relationship maybe weaken and soon die. It is one cause why many OFW families are falling apart. Be sure to talk them regularly. Use the power of Internet, Facebook and Skype!
4. Support Network
Support network is also important while working abroad. It is hard to be a solo flight in a foreign land, you can never know what will happen to you there. Therefore, it is essential that you have friends or trusted co-workers that can help you during emergency or when you’re sick.
Make sure that you choose those people who are real to their words and friendship with you. If you’re a Christian, belonging to a local church where you are located would be a great help for your spiritual and social life.
Lately, I realized the importance of life insurance especially for OFW and their families. It is a financial tool that every person and OFW should consider particularly when your job is hazardous.
The main purpose of insurance is to protect your family from your sudden loss and to give them some amount of money in case of your accidental death. I am considering to get a term insurance or variable life insurance once I return for good in the Philippines.
For your information, you cannot apply for insurance if you’re out of the Philippines because it is one of the mandatory condition when getting an insurance. The reason is that the governing laws for insurance must be governed by the Philippine laws and your physical presence is necessary when signing the insurance policy.
As an OFW myself for over 5 years, I have realized that these things are very essential and will be a great help for every person who are planning to work abroad. To summarize, OFW must have: bank account, basic financial knowledge, open and regular communication with their family, a support network in their country of destination, and insurance.
This post is just my thoughts on the important things an OFW must have. This may not be complete and your inputs will be greatly appreciated. If you want to add more on the list, you may leave your comments below. Thanks!