Home OFW 4 money blunders every OFW should avoid

4 money blunders every OFW should avoid

By: Darwin Fernandez | The Millennials


Plain and simple, money abroad comes easier compared to that of the Philippine economy. We put our work to priority abroad and it’s rewarded bountifully; spend years in a foreign country doing a job you didn’t take up in college and you’d still be earning more compared to the common undergrad in a field he’s mastered.

But how come when we get home, it appears that we’re just as wealthy as our colleagues who earn in terms of peso?

Truth is, the reason money comes big and moves slowly for some of us is that we often overlook these little factors where it goes once it comes rolling out of the teller -machine. A buck in hand can go a long way if you know how to keep it. Here are some common financial mistakes made by overseas workers that every Juan should avoid, as listed by financial coach and entrepreneur, Chinkee Tan.

  1. Spending too much on ‘pasalubong’ (returning gift)

They love their family so much that they want them to enjoy the fruits of their labor. Giving the best that our family is understandable, but we can show our love for them by making sure that all of us live within our means.

If we really think about it, some of the things they bring back as pasalu­bong is not really a necessity – im­ported chocolates, imported canned goods, branded shirts, branded shoes, and branded toiletries.

Buying branded things are not as bad as long as you have invested more on your savings rather than the pasalubong. The sad part is, some of our kababayans are having second thoughts of visiting their loved ones because there are expectations and peer pressure that they need to bring home pasalubong to make their home­coming complete.

My recommendation:

Save your money first. Spend on more important things such as the tu­ition of your children, their healthcare, and house amortization.

Prioritize needs before wants. Do not listen to what others have to say. The most important thing is to try to secure your family’s future.

  1. Not prioritizing savings

Living in a progressive country has its own struggles. The struggle of resisting temptation. Everywhere you go, you will see the word “SALE.” A lot of people easily get excited when they realize they are earning more than what they expected.

Suddenly, the purchasing power you have with your earnings is compelling you to buy things you will later regret. After a couple of weeks, you realize you did not really need that item you bought. The more you earn, the more you buy.

Do not fall into the trap of impulsive shopping.

My recommendation:

SAVE a portion of your income first. If you have the desire to shop, make sure you set aside the limit you want to spend during a sale. Stick to it and do not break it.

Never bring excess money and do not bring your credit card. Credit card is the most convenient way of over­spending.

  1. Not setting financial goals

This is one of the most common mis­takes that an OFW makes. The “bahala na” or come what may mentality.

When you are earning a comfortable income there is an illusion that you are financially OK. However, we need to be reminded that being an OFW is a long-term proposition. The moment you stop working, you stop earning but the problem is you do not stop spending.

So whatever you made, it will be gone soon after you retire.

My recommendation:

You need to have a clear vision of what financial goals you want to achieve in life. Write them down how much you want to make and how much you can afford to spend.

Set a timeline of what do you want to achieve and monitor if you are hit­ting your financial target. Work hard to achieve them.

Ask help from experts who can advise you how best to protect your money. If you want my coaching and mentoring, I’ve developed online learning to teach people HOW TO RE­TIRE AT 50. Please visit chinktv.com

  1. Giving in to the pressure of rela­tives’ requests

Do not let other people derail you from your goals. Some people even need to resort to lending just to send more money back home.

We as Pinoys have a soft spot in helping others. However, your strength can also be your weaknesses. Some may even take advantage of your kindness.

My recommendation:

Do not let other people DICTATE you on how and where to spend your money. Do not let yourself be pres­sured. Weigh your options and learn how to say “no” when needed. Give what you can only afford.

Set aside a specific percentage and amount that you can give as support. We call this fund as our benevolence fund.

This is already allocated on a month­ly basis as part of our expenses. Just in case of relatives and friends need financial assistance, funds will be readily available for us to be a blessing to others. 


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