Financial advice for the OFW is a subject that many people are interested in but many more still remain clueless about. While some tough spirits who leave the security of the home country to explore opportunities abroad end up expanding their finances and life experiences, many OFWs seeking business opportunities at home end up going over budget and spending way too much over the holiday season.
Going home this Christmas presents the OFW with the perfect opportunity to come home with a purpose – to be with their loved ones and to put their money in the right place. Here are some OFW vacation tips to digest and know by heart to avoid going home penniless post-Christmas season.
Set a budget even before coming back.
Make your calculations at the start of the Ber months. Here are some essentials to put on our checklist:
- Monthly utility bills
- Investment fund
- Roundtrip plane ticket
- Christmas shopping budget
- Budget for leisure
The holiday season is synonymous with shopping, dining, Noche Buena, exchange gift, travel – and even investing. You might get tempted to spend out of hand. Budget allocation allows you to have full control of your cash flow.
Be firm when learning to say no.
Many families expect gifts of sorts to make up for the times apart. Naturally, you would feel obliged to meet their demands. However, this can compromise your financial security and might even affect them too push comes to shove. Instead, explain the need to budget and let them choose one gift for a certain amount only.
Put the immediate family first
Giving pasalubong is a time-honored tradition and an expression of love in Filipino culture, especially during the holidays. Aside from your nanay and tatay’s requests, it is also typical for friends and extended relatives to ask for and expect pasalubong. The usual scenario is that you end up having no choice but to buy for them even though they aren’t part of the initial budget. To keep things from getting out of control, put your immediate family members first on the list – for both pasalubong and for seeing to their needs. Then, if there is extra budget, buy gifts for friends and other relatives. Learn to put your foot down and politely decline if they nudge you for cash or gifts. Tell them that your money is already deposited in savings or insurance.
Hold one celebration
To cut the time and the money you need to spend from going to different parties and visiting friends and relatives, set up one big occasion which you can invite everyone over to instead. While rekindling bonds is fun and something to look forward to, remember that you have a limited stay and a limited budget too. Go for quality, not quantity.
Mind all your local accounts
Take the opportunity to update and manage your financial accounts in the country before heading back overseas to avoid penalties for non-activity or missed fees. This is also the perfect time to discuss with the family any updates on joint accounts, investment accounts, incurred balance on loans, and insurance policies.
Think about the long term.
For many things in life, walang forever, and that can be true for OFW jobs. Numerous OFWs are not tenured or are only signed under contractual jobs. Thus, realistically speaking, there is a constant threat of layoffs for people working abroad. Though everyone deserves a taste of their hard-earned money, it is important to fortify one’s financial security – even if that requires making a sacrifice. It is through investments that you appreciate your money’s value and allows you to have a secure fund for future use. It is best to prioritize putting your funds into doing the following:
- Insurance for family members
- Educational plans
- Investing in mutual funds
- Investing in stocks and bonds
- A fund to use to put up a business
Source: Balikbayad, Burn Gutierrez, The Philippine Star, The Philippine Daily Inquirer, When In Manila, Fitz Villafuerte