Seafaring OFWs struggle with the loneliness of leaving their families behind, often for months at a time. Not only that, but they also have to endure the hazards of life on the open sea. What makes it worth it is the thought that their sacrifice will result in a better future for their loved ones. But is that really the case?
We all have heard stories of OFWs spending years working away from their families, only to come home empty-handed after all the hard work. This shouldn’t be the case, no matter what the circumstances are.
If you’re a seafaring OFW and you want to ensure some longevity for your hard-earned money, it’s time you make proper investments to secure your family’s future.
We’ve listed some wise investments for OFWs and how you can avail of them. All these are voluntary in nature so you can just pick the one that suits you the best.
1. SSS PERA Fund
The Peso Equity Retirement Account (PERA) Fund by the Social Security Systems (SSS)is one of the best government-led savings programs OFWs can get. When you hit 55 years old, all your investments in this account will be finally available to you. In addition, overseas workers have better-earning potentials than other Filipinos.
To start with your very own SSS PERA Fund, you can visit any branch of the two accredited PERA administrators: currently, only BPI and BDO are the ones allowed by the government to open these accounts. Once you’ve opened your account, you can start pouring in money to your nest egg for future use.
Your ordinary Filipino can only put in as much as P100,000 per account. However, OFWs can invest double that amount to the investment vehicle of their choice: mutual funds, the stock market, government bonds, and other forms of securities.
Apart from being an investment for the golden years, your SSS PERA Fund will also come in handy if you contract a critical illness or disability. In case you get hospitalized for more than 30 days or medical professionals have declared you disabled, you can prematurely withdraw your funds and use them for hospitalization.
2. SSS Flexi Fund
The PERA Fund isn’t the only investment tool designed by the SSS for overseas workers. For an additional P200 to your monthly contributions, you can invest in a low-risk account that is exponentially better than a traditional savings bank account.
The SSS Flexi Fund is another voluntary investment program for OFWs where they can put their money on short-term treasury bills and all the contributors will split the returns depending on the amount they chipped in. Also known as T-bills, these investment vehicles have guaranteed yields for everyone.
If you invest in the SSS Flexi Fund, you can get your earnings in two ways. One is through the annual incentive benefits for people who do not touch their money within the year. Meanwhile, retirement, disability, and death benefits can be handed in either lump sum or a monthly pension.
To open your SSS Flexi Fund, download the application form on the company’s website, fill it out, and submit it to your nearest SSS representative office. They will also require you to submit a copy of your overseas employment contract. When you’ve already enrolled your social security number to the fund, you can pay as low as P200 monthly—and just pay them in terms that are most convenient to you.
3. Stock market
At first, entering the stock market game may seem scary especially with all the terminologies involved. However, technology made the stock market more penetrable even for the general market.
If it’s still muddy to you, we can explain the stock market in a more simplified way. Think of them this way: if you buy stocks from publicly traded companies, you basically become one of the many owners of the company. As a shareholder, you’re entitled to dividends, which are payments made by the company as a token for putting their faith and cash in them.
In addition to dividends, you can also make money by buying shares while the prices are low. Depending on market conditions, the prices will fluctuate and react to the changes around. If market conditions are favorable, then prices will just keep on soaring—and then you let go of your shares when you feel like the prices are about to stop their uptick.
To include stocks in your portfolio, you can either hire an investment manager if you have the money or you can do it DIY buy registering on websites COL Financial or Seedbox. Once you have your account set up, just top it up and you can finally buy shares and become an owner of a publicly traded company.
(Read: Financial Planning For OFWs)
4. Pag-IBIG MP2 Program
If you prefer medium-term investments where the lowest risk, Pag-IBIG has an investment device that will suit your needs best. Called the Modified Pag-IBIG II program, it’s a government-guaranteed savings scheme that has a higher yield than your basic Pag-IBIG membership contribution.
For a minimum monthly contribution of P500, you can have guaranteed earnings after your account matures in five years. However, you can bump up your monthly contributions to increase your potential earnings by the end of the term.
If you’re an overseas worker, you can start depositing money to your Pag-IBIG MP2 account through bank deposits, remittance, and other payment processing centers. Since this is a voluntary savings program, you can skip your payments, increase your remittance, or just pay a big amount every year—it is totally up to you on how you build your savings account.
So, what’s the worst that can happen to your Pag-IBIG MP2 account?Since the returns are guaranteed, you don’t have to worry about losing your investment. The worst-case scenario, should it happen, will just be getting your total investment back after five years. That’s it.