Because I’m an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) and there are many Filipinos working abroad, I would like to take this time to make some tips and advices to them especially for new OFW. In my family, we are three OFWs, first is my father who worked in Saudi for more than 10 years and my sister who worked in Syria for three years. I would say it is really hard to work in a foreign land particularly if your job is a difficult one like if you’re a house helper, construction worker or a seaman.
There are lots of reasons why Filipinos want to work abroad but it boil to one major goal: to get a higher salary or income. I believe it is the greatest factor why anyone would go in a foreign land to work without knowing what will happen to him or her in that place. Some people considered OFWs as the new heroes because they help to boost the Philippine economy through the billion-dollar remittances they sent to our country every year. Personally, I don’t think I’m a hero because of only that. Being a hero is a different level for me, it involves sacrifices and unselfish interest for the sake of the country’s benefits.
For new OFW, I would like to give you some tips involving how to take care of your finances before and after working abroad. I’ve been working here in South Korea for more than 4 years and I’m thankful I learned about personal finance and investing through reading books, blogs and discussions with my co-Filipino workers. I would say there is a very small percentage of OFWwho are financially educated.
I would like to give an example to back-up my assumption here. First and foremost, I’ve been receiving many emails and comments from this blog how to open a savings account among OFWs around the world. What’s the problem about this situation? You are working abroad but you don’t have a bank account in the Philippines?
First Tip: Before leaving the Philippines, Open a savings account in a Reputed bank and enroll that account to Internet banking
Personally, I recommend Bank of the Philippine Islands or BPI because they have one of the best products and services among the banks in our country. I also do have other bank accounts like ChinaBank and Metrobank. It is very important to have your own savings account because it is where you should put your hard-earned money or use when sending money to the Philippines. You should select a popular and established bank so that you can have a guarantee that it will not bankrupt easily.
Your savings account should be enrolled to Internet banking the moment you open a new bank account so that you can monitor your balance and remittances through the Internet and anywhere you are. It will give you much comfort when you can view your account even though you are outside the Philippines.
Second Tip: Arrange a Way on How you can Give Money to your Family without giving them your ATM or Bank Account
There are many OFWs that asked questions to me about how to open an account from abroad. Sadly, our banking system does not allow that kind of situation so it is very important to open one before leaving the country. When you are there working for quite sometime, there will come a time that you need to send money to Philippines especially if you have a family that depending on you. In this case, you should send money to your own savings account in the Philippines not to other people’s account.
Since you have online banking, you will know the result of your remittance if it is already credited to your account. I used BPI Express Cash as a way to give money to my parents and siblings during emergency and regular giving even though I have my own family. You can apply Express Cash in their own name or to any person you want. The application cost is only P100. You can see this post to give you more idea about how BPI express cash can help you make your remittances faster and more convenient.
After I received my remittance to my own account, I will just transfer a certain balance to Express Cash and then the beneficiary can withdraw it anytime after I successfully transferred the money.
Third Tip: If you possibly can, learn how to save and invest
Since you have your own savings account, it is easier now for you to save money from your salary. Normally, if you are working in a company, you will be given a local bank account in your current country and use it for your banking needs in that place. You can schedule the frequency of sending money to your Philippine bank so that you could save money on remittance fees. In that way, you can start saving money in your savings account in the Philippines.
While working abroad, you could start investing so your money will also work for you. You may begin investing in low-risk or high-risk investments such as UITF, mutual funds, stocks, apartments, online and other types of business. You may start learning how investing works in the following articles I made: