Why do OFWs need to seek investment opportunities? It is one of the best options sought by most Filipinos nowadays to try their luck in another country and take jobs that they can stack or jobs that pay more than what they can take in the country to make most of their time and earn as much as they can while they are apart from their loved ones. There’s a significant number of people in our country who have chosen this situation because of what the current jobs can offer here them. Most of the jobs offered abroad are known to have a bigger pay for the same amount of work done, and this is also the main reason a Filipino would want to go abroad and work there. For most of us, this is a normal thing, but a heartbreaking thing to be experiencing since working in another country, though there are a lot of perks, still is a sacrifice that one has to take if they want to be earning more to support their family. We have to remember that working abroad is not all about sweet songs and butterflies and is not as peaceful as one would think. It’s risky because you are going to a new place without the help of friends or family. Anything that you experience in that foreign land, especially the personal problems, will have to be handled by you, and help will not be present consistently.
So, what is the reason why our countrymen choose to be an OFW? And, with the amount of money they are earning, why do OFWs need to seek investment opportunities to secure their future as well as their family’s security?
Why Do Filipinos Want to Work Abroad?
There are several reasons why someone would want to choose this setup instead of being in the comfort of being close to your family and friends. Most of the reasons listed below may apply to the people close to you, and since most of the reasons listed are the reasons provided by most of our OFWs, they might also apply to you or maybe the reason you are looking to start the path of your career as an OFW.
- Compensation – The most significant reason that you or the person you know chooses to be an OFW is because of the amount of money you can earn versus what you can earn in the country. The same type of job that is available here in the Philippines is significantly better in terms of pay as an OFW offered in another country. The normal salary for jobs available abroad commonly pays three to five times more than what the jobs offer here in our country. And, if you are a person that has the option to work abroad, it is almost a choice so easy to take because of the huge difference in salary and all the benefits included. Some of us even take jobs even if they are stepping down from what we studied for. For example, most of our registered nurses here in the Philippines earn less than a nursing aide in another country, and this is primarily the reason why nurses take jobs abroad even if they are considered a step down in their careers.
- Better Career Opportunities – Some of our fellow men also seek jobs abroad because they want to advance their careers more quickly. Some of the learnings our facilities can provide to our professionals are significantly less compared to the facilities and opportunities provided by the jobs other countries give. This is true for most of our registered professionals like our engineers, architects, doctors, nurses, brokers, lawyers, etc. and that is why they seek experiences provided by jobs abroad. This is also one of the main and most important reasons why professionals seek opportunities provided by jobs abroad.
- Work Experience – A valuable experience is part of the reason why OFWs need to seek investment opportunities abroad professionally. Experiences that will make a significant addition to the value of the skills of an employee, professional or not, so that when they look for jobs again, the experience that they gained from their last job will be a plus to their next employer. Some of them think of the work experience as a valuable part of the job that makes the actual work more pleasant. Since jobs abroad, especially in countries with a strong economic stature, provide an ideal work environment, the experience one can encounter can greatly enhance the value they add to their craft.
- Chances to Be a Resident – For the current OFWs we have registered in the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), and a good number of the target to be a resident in the country they are in. The reason for this is because of the better living conditions some countries provide. With better healthcare or government or just the community itself, some of us fall in love with the difference offered by other countries and this is the reason why we also want to stay and be a resident. This can also be a step where our family members may be taken as well to be with us and live together where we are.
- Better Benefits for Dependents – OFWs, when they start working abroad, can be a part of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) where they can get benefits provided to all OFWs and their dependents. Also when they become resident ex-pats, their dependents become entitled to some benefits like scholarships, free education, and something similar. If you are thinking of starting a career abroad as an OFW, the benefits will also be beneficial to your parents or kids.
Investment Options for OFWs
It is a well-known fact that OFWs earn more than ordinary office workers in our country. This doesn’t mean that the way they spend their money is more extravagant than the common employee in the Philippines. People often assume that OFWs spend their compensation on frivolous expenses but this could not be farther from the truth. Most of the modern-day heroes we call OFWs are great at budgeting and saving money to the point where they almost don’t eat or spend money on items that they want, and this is the reason why OFWs need to seek investment opportunities all the time. They are strictly following schedules and are not interested in the normal get-together or out-of-town trips usually taken when you are in your own country.
Based on the Consumer Expectations Survey for the second quarter of 2019 by Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), 68.9 percent of OFW families allot their money for education, and 49.8 percent for medical expenses. This is good news for our government since the collection of the remittances OFWs provide to their families accounts for 10 percent of the GDP of our economy. In September of 2019, the cash remittances sent home by OFWs grew to an astounding 2.379 billion US dollars. This is 6.24 percent higher than the same month in 2018 and is also higher now in 2022. These remittances are the key driver for real estate property demand and household spending in the country. Money spent on housing increased compared to the first quarter of the year. According to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) survey on OFWs in 2018, 66 percent of the OFW families saved less than 25 percent of their remittances. Still, only 11 percent of these families saved around 50 percent and over.
As part of the answer as to why OFWs need to seek investment opportunities, planning for the future is one of the key fundamental factors to think about all the time. According to the Registered Financial Planners of the Philippines (RFP), OFWs must have an intelligible financial goal that can be achieved in three key steps: Save, Invest, and Insure.
Of course, it is apparent that even in jobs not located abroad, savings should be prioritized. Though it’s hard to do locally, it will be a lot easier for our OFWs to save especially if they are earning more there than what they can make here. Savings, and learning how to save, are some of the fundamental things that we need especially if we are thinking of the future and do not want to stay abroad for the rest of our lives. You might be earning a lot, maybe about 6-8 figures a month, but that can be lost in the blink of an eye if you don’t plan your budget well and save some for emergencies. You can also use the “Pay Yourself First” financial strategy wherein your first action whenever you receive your pay is to allot money for savings first. This will give you practice in strictly budgeting what you can first before spending it on the things you want to buy but most likely don’t need. This will practice your frugality and will give you a constant reminder of how much you are allowed to spend on things. In doing and practicing this financial strategy, you are prioritizing your long-term financial well-being which will, in turn, affect your life and the lives of the people around you for the better.
Investing might be one of the best ways to be financially independent when you are thinking about your future. This will give a lot more value to your hard-earned money since investing, especially in the properties that will return its value, is also a good way for you to have your money work for you. Let’s face it, you are probably not going to earn this much until your kids are getting into college and earning their degrees. As an OFW, securing your future means securing your family’s as well. This is the reason why a lot of our Balikbayans have their businesses when they get home or at least have invested in a few properties that they can rent out or sell as part of their investment plans. Some also use stocks as part of their investment plans to still earn money even after retiring. One of the best ways to ensure that the money you earned won’t go to waste, investing it in real estate properties, whether for renting or using it as your own, will be a good plan. As we all know, the value of real estate properties only appreciates over time, especially in the places where infrastructures are present. This means that the amount of money you spent on purchasing it will also return or even increase as time goes by. This is the reason why investing in real estate properties is a good way for you to secure your family’s future.
Insurance is one of the most popular investments now that most people, not only OFWs, are interested in purchasing it. This is because insuring something, may it be your car, your house, your kids’ education, or life itself will ultimately save you a lot when you think about it since emergencies are something that happens instantly and we are always not ready for it, emotionally or financially. Life insurance provides a more secure future for you and your family especially if you are in another country and could not be with them all the time. The most basic form of life insurance will leave behind a cash benefit to your beneficiaries in case of an unexpected tragedy to ensure that they will not have to have a harder time adjusting to the situation. There are insurance plans that can also cover dependents based on the plan’s coverage, and basically, what insuring does for you is your savings and cash flow will not be hurt that bad when tragedy falls. You will still have the resources you need to manage your resources whatever emergencies you face and you and your family will be ready to adjust to any situation life may throw at you.
As on OFW, you are the best chance for your family to be financially successful. One of the best ways to secure their future is to also secure yours and the money you are earning. Always think about the ways how and why OFWs need to seek investment opportunities as well as securing them for their family’s future, and hopefully one day, this can also be the learnings you impart to your legacy.