There is no doubt. Filipinos are proven to be loyal, trustworthy and industrious anywhere you see them in any part of the globe. In fact, that’s the main reasons why foreign employers love hiring Filipino workers. We value our work and we dedicate our whole selves to it, but when it comes to handling our hard earned money, especially our kababayang OFWs, there are a few ineffective strategies that actually needs some fixing.
As the old Filipino expression goes, tabi tabi po
1. Followers of Trend
The boom of commerce and technology is enticing and often deceptive but honestly, most of us itch to always be in with “trend”. After all, in the views of society, those who doesn’t have the newest stuff like designer clothing, designer bags, smartphones, tablets, laptops or DSLR cameras is not cool and therefore unaccepted. However, with the rate of how things improve and replaced in our modern age, material things like these are easily “out-of-dated”, reduced in value and have a newer and better model. Ergo, in order to follow the trend, we still buy those products even though we can’t afford them anymore. Upgrade to an Iphone 6 even though you still have a year’s worth of contract for your Iphone 5 that you only got 6 months ago. We often fail to plan the best and brightest future for our families because we allow ourselves to indulge on things that isn’t really that important. So Live simply and be content with what you have when it comes to material possessions.
2. Day Millionaire
There are OFWs that we call 1 Day Milliionaire or in tagalog ‘ubos ubos biyaya bukas nakatunganga’. Especially in Canada where you can get a credit card so easily it’s like getting cookies from a jar. Swipe here. Swipe there. Swipe anywhere. Even crossing the US border to shop for clothes and unnecessary stuff spending up their whole paycheque within hours. They succumb to their emotions or feelings of excitement about buying things that are branded and expensive most probably because of the poverty they experienced, they at least want a foretaste of what it feels to live luxuriously. However, the results of all these senseless spendings are excessive expenditure on things that are not actually needed (more likely to be piled up in a garage) and the loss of money in debt instead of alotting it for savings and investments.
3. Emotion-driven attitude
Generosity like no other and an unwavering care especially for their loved ones are some of the best traits of the Filipino people. That’s why when they go overseas to work, they still carry these traits but for some reason, these traits actually turn for the worst. In their hopes of providing the best possible life for their family, some of us suddenly lose the ability to be thrifty and practical when it comes to money. We send out too much, whether it be money or boxed packages (balikbayan boxes) back home even if it means that we would borrow money from others which in general, makes our own way of living abroad uncomfortable. Because of this, we often forget to save money, even though how small it may be, for our own needs. Well, let me tell you this my friend, you are not young and you are not going to be any younger. You won’t have the same energy and strength that you had yesterday. Life goes on and we, in the natural flow of life, will grow weak and eventually deteriorate that’s why I cannot stress enough how important it is to have a “Retirement Fund” or any sort of Savings so that when old age comes we can still pick something out of our pockets.
4. No Savings
When we were looking for a job, we only had one goal in life: save up and buy a house, provide the best education for our kids, and put up our own business. However, when everything stabilized some forgot about their dreams. When the pay cheque is big it seemed that the mindset turned from “how will I spend this” instead of “how will i save this”. There is not a single bad thing about buying the things that we like and would bring us happiness but never forget the reason why we flew thousands of kilometers away from home, which is to reap all the benefits of our hardwork in the future.
5. Buried Beneath an Overwhelming Debt
You know you need to stay away from bad debt like credit cards, right? Being so indulged in using our credit card(s) would be something that no one should be experiencing but what about good debt? Good debt can give you an investment that increases in value and gives you money in the future. Yes, it has the potential to be a good investment – but how good? Don’t just get a home loan because your co-workers got one. Don’t just sign a contract because the agent says “It’s a good investment, Ma’am/Sir!” Don’t just borrow money and expect divine intervention. Yes, you may have the capacity to pay, you may have a “stable” job today but wait a second, check your fridge if you still have food left for tomorrow.
In conclusion, we are blessed to even set foot on foreign land. Blessed enough to work and earn money that is bountiful than others but with all of these comes a responsibility (remember Uncle Ben’s “with great power comes great responsibility”?), a greater responsibility for all of us who are abroad. That’s why we always need to keep our priorities in check, pray to God and ask for help on how to handle our finances in the best and righteous way.
There could be more bad habits one may share. If you have any in mind, comment it below!