According to the data gathered at the country’s biggest shipping portal, the Port of Manila, Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) send most of their Balikbayan boxes and remittances back to the Philippines during the holidays, specifically during Christmas time.
The latest statistics presented by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), place the estimated number OFWs deployed in 2018 at of 2.3 million. With millions of job seekers already working overseas, how come the number of Filipinos leaving the country for better employment is still aggressively rising?
There are a lot of factors behind this phenomenon, one of which is poor money management. The hard truth is that not all OFW-supported families are able to convert the remittances that they are receiving into savings or investments.
Take Kristana*, 28, a sales associate. Her mother has been working as a nurse in the United Arab Emirates for 12 years now. For as long as her mother has been working overseas, she has been the recipient of her mother’s remittances.
When asked how she maximizes those remittances, she straightforwardly answered that she is not into investing nor she ever thought of putting it into a savings account. “Wala, nag-iipon lang ako on my own. Kapag may sobra tinatabi ko for future use.”
As members of families provided for and supported by OFWs, here are a few financial realities that you need to keep in mind. Show them that all their efforts abroad are worth it by helping them provide a better future for you all.
1. The remittances that you are receiving are a privilege, not an entitlement.
The meanings of entitlement and privilege are often interchanged, especially when an OFWs family is under the “monthly remittance setting.” With this kind of setup, a member or two from the family work abroad and their remittances are the main, or even the only, source of income in the household.
Most often than not, the family members left behind see themselves as entitled to the money that their OFW relatives send back, and this is where the problem starts.
When you receive the monthly remittances sent to you by your loved ones, keep in mind all the hard work and sacrifice that they went through to ensure that you got that money. Always remind yourself that you are privileged to be the recipients of such generosity and that it is not something that is owed to you.
Having the right mindset will lead you to make better spending decisions. Don’t forget to be grateful and express your gratitude to them in every little way that you can. One good way is to help them invest some of that hard-earned money to ensure they have a good future when they finally come home.
2. You need to ensure that every centavo counts
People tend to oversee the real amount of their money and splurge once they get it, especially if they didn’t work hard for it. One good way to ensure that the money you receive goes toward the things you need is to make a budget.
Most people struggle with their finances because they think that having a budget will limit them, but the truth is, having the right budget can improve their way of life and be more liberating as you are more aware of how much you have and what it can get you.
When you make a budget, you ensure that every centavo counts. Allot some of your OFW relatives remittances to necessities, some for savings and investments, and also, for treating yourself and the other family members.
3. Help them grow their money
Make sure that some of the remittances that your hard-working OFW relative sends back gets a chance to grow. Don’t just spend everything; make that money work for you and for them.
You can start by putting up a small business, or you can invest in thestock market.
By ensuring that some of the money they send back has a chance to grow, you are helping to secure a better future for your family. And helping hasten the day when your OFW relative can come back secure in the knowledge that their loved ones no longer need their sacrifices to live a good life.
(Read: 4 Wise Investments For Seafarers)
4. Know that their family comes first
OFWs tend to carry the weight of their whole families behind their backs. Not only do they support their immediate households, they also often help out other relatives. For example, many of them even send their nieces and nephews to schools.
When money comes easily just like that in the case of monthly remittances, some people tend to slack off and lose their drive to earn on their own. This is where the outset of the culture of apathy and laziness develops.
Just a reminder, their main priority is their own family. Their spouse and their own children. Parents can be secondary especially if they are not capable of working anymore. But outside of that circle, you should not feel bad if their money is already allocated in a way that doesn’t include you.
Source: GMA Network