Top Habits of a Wise OFW

We have heard too many stories about success and failures of Filipinos working abroad. As one embarks on a new life working abroad, he or she is exposed to various influences and environments that shape his or her way of thinking. So it’s not surprising that those working in places where extramarital affairs are common might also give in to temptation or those who work in places where commodities are affordable have the tendency to spend even on non-essential items.

There must be a mechanism that arrest the undesirable lifestyles that divert an otherwise focus on the important things in the life of an overseas Filipino worker: work, make money, send money to family or save for oneself. But the world is too complicated for that to happen, yet it’s not a lost cause. Out of a group of misguided ones, there are those who live life of discipline without sacrificing his or her welfare.

1. He/She keeps track of monthly expenses
Given the fixed income he or she receives, the OFW is aware of spending limits and carefully allocates a portion for savings, daily expenses, entertainment and personal development. He or she knows when to spend and when not to without resorting to being a penny pincher at the expense of colleagues or friends around him or her. So you may not see him or her on your next outing or movie get together saying he or she isn’t feeling well. Whether that reason is true or just an alibi, one thing’s for sure — your friend will not be spending and that’s good news on his or her finances.

2. He/She educates family on fiscal management
Without being too selfish for his or her own gain (especially for unmarried OFWs), he or she is transparent with family on how much he or she earns, shares how much money is allocated for which purpose and sets limits on expenditures without being too harsh in words and not lacking in educating fellow family members in being frugal. When he or she visits on vacation, expenses are pre-calculated: how much to spend on family outings, where to go, what to buy, what pasalubongs to give to friends and who don’t deserve to receive anything.

3. He/She buys insurance or educational plans
One of the common reasons OFWs max out their finances and retreat to loan companies or loan sharks is that a family member is sick or entering college and this requires substantial amount of money. As one-time expenditure throws plans wayward with little or no recovery, it’s difficult to keep back on track especially when loans are on onerous terms such as high interest rates and exorbitant surcharges for failed payments. Getting an accident or medical insurance plan helps cushion such times. Getting a stable educational plan also protects him or her from big one-off payments during enrollment period.

4. He/She builds friendships not collect gadgets
Being alone abroad without family to lean on, he or she builds good relationships with employers, colleagues, friends and the community. He or she joins volunteer work, serves the church and other charity services for the benefit of others. With exclusion on monetary affairs, he or she is a trusted friend who lends time and effort and gives advice when necessary. He or she does not hold grudge and deals with everyone with a smile, often influencing others to take the high road at times of conflict and influence others to think positively.

5. He/She is a big fan of lifelong learning
Even with fixed tasks in the job as OFW, he or she does not limit himself/herself to the skills currently on hand. He or she might enroll in an online course in management, pick up guitar or learn how to paint, learn a new language or master a certain skill like chess or make money through blogging. He or she believes that learning does not end in the classroom but need to be acquired even at senior age. With such mentality, this OFW indeed becomes wiser by the day.

6. He/She has eyes on investment
While others brag about escapades, bags or shoes, he or she nods in approval but does not feel envious not attempt to emulate them. Instead he or she spends time to evaluate where money can be spent better. He or she is well-versed in mutual funds, stock markets, futures, commodities and currency trading. He or she is also a cunning investor who sees the big picture and ready to pounce on opportunities such as buying undervalued properties. He or she is also good at gauging which investments are better and does not join the bandwagon without studying an opportunity in a thorough manner.

7. He/She takes a positive spin on negative experiences.
Despite his or her best efforts, she makes occasional mistakes. However, instead of getting stuck in the realm of failure, he or she treats such experience as something to learn from and simply cross out in the next attempt. He or she does not easily blame others nor circumstances but interpret adversities as teacher that help him or her succeed in similar endeavours in the future.

Can you add to the list? Please feel free to comment or send is feedback at [email protected]



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