5 Habits Every OFW Needs to Avoid

As far as financial literacy is concerned, it’s safe to say that most Filipinos aren’t just quite there yet. OFWs, in particular, need this just as much as we all do, because it’s hard to see all your sacrifices go to waste right when you no longer have the capacity and opportunity to earn money overseas.

Now, if the ability and the opportunity to earn money do not factor in the reason why most Filipinos end up poor in the Philippines or even overseas, then there must be another variable that greatly contributes to this phenomenon. And to put it quite frankly, it’s not even other people’s fault why many Filipinos, (and some) OFWs remain poor… it has something to do with an individual’s habits and attitude towards money and spending. In this post, we list down some of the 5 bad money habits OFWs should avoid:

By U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class LaTunya Howard, Public Domain

5 Bad Money Habits OFWs Should Get Rid Of

1.      Inconsistent in Saving Up.

Most OFWs are focused on working and taking care of the bills back home. Because of this, they save little (if anything at all). While it’s good and well that we take care of the bills first, it’s better if we also think ahead for our future.

Having your own savings fund prepares you to become more financially secure in the future. This is one of the most important things you learn through financial literacy and management. Now, if you have already set aside or started putting into your savings, you just need to do it more consistently.

2.      Dependent in One Source of Income

When you started earning, did you notice that as you bring in the money to support your needs, your expenses just keep getting bigger along with it? If you are earning with a fixed income, you find it necessary still to work within a budget; and sometimes, because of this, you forget to save up and simply just focus on what needs to be paid. So, in order to make ends meet, it’s important for everyone to understand that we need to have alternate sources of income.

This is to ensure that you have funds to cover your needs, and at the same time, to save up for other investments (properties or business) which you could use to further grow your funds.

3.      Excessive Spending

The problem when a person suddenly makes it big or if they start to receive a bigger pay (say, in dollars) is that 95 per cent of the time, they do not know what to do with this money except for one thing – to spend it all away. This is called the “one-day millionaire” mind set. It also doesn’t help that in the Filipino culture there are certain things such as “utang na loob” and “balato” which are forms of peer pressure/showing-off, and legitimizing solicitation which only promote dependence among the people who have little to no contribution to your earnings right from the start. If you keep at this kind of attitude, don’t be surprised to find yourself empty-handed, and even miserable in the end.

4.      Oversharing or Lending to Family or Relatives

Everyone needs money in order to survive. Even the rich do despite the fact that they are already earning well enough to support themselves. Being an OFW does not make you the instant provider of your entire clan and friends – at least not without your consent.  Therefore, if you care about your personal goals and priorities in life, you would be careful in saying yes to every request or even demands of your relatives and family.

5.      Accumulating Debts

Remember those times when you had to borrow money to make it abroad? Or that time when you had to get a loan from the bank because your next pay is still a few days away and you needed to pay the bills or your children’s tuition fees? Make sure you get all these accounted for because as time passes by, these will all accumulate and compound to a point that you might have to give up your entire savings just to be free from debt.