One common misconception about overseas Filipino workers is that once they start their employment abroad, they are free from debt mainly because they receive better wages, or start investing to maximize their income.
Although this is true for some OFWs who are paid well, many of them are blue collar workers who earn minimum wage or even below the prescribed government rates.
With children to send to school, aging parents to care for, and other family responsibilities, Filipinos abroad can only do so much to provide for the needs of loved ones in the Philippines. Borrowing money may not be their habit back home, but the financial need simply overwhelms what they can provide, even if they are paid higher in their employment abroad.
It should, therefore, not come as a surprise that overseas Filipino workers are likely to approach a lending institution to borrow money. Let’s examine the reasons why OFWs need to apply for financial loans.
OFWs need to repay costs of job placement.
To many Filipinos, going abroad is not just a risk, it’s also an investment. That’s because they not only give up their time with the family, they also need to set aside money to process their job application. This includes cost of medical exams, preparation of documents, visa fees, government fees and, in many occasions, airfares to their destination. Such experience can be physically and emotionally draining for someone who is uncertain what kind of life awaits them abroad.
The experience can likewise be financially debilitating. Some job applicants sell livestock, borrow money from loan sharks and pawn that small farmland in hopes of making that big break they are looking for. And once they’re abroad, OFWs realize it’s not possible to rely on their monthly wages to repay those costs. That’s where loan companies become their only option to break out from the vicious debt cycle that could determine the success or failure of their career abroad.
OFWs need to finance the education of their children.
One of the reasons Filipinos decide to work abroad is the soaring cost of education. But when budget is tight and it’s enrollment time, a month’s worth of salary is not enough to pay for registration, uniforms, books and miscellaneous costs that need to be settled. The decision to transfer a child from a public school to a private institution may be worth the struggle of a parent abroad. But when reality sets in, sending a child to school is more expensive than initially thought.
Nevertheless, an OFW continues to pursue this decision, with the help of a financial loan. Such loans may come from government agencies but private lenders are often more accessible and more willing to release money to borrowers, sometimes even with better deals.
OFWs need to fulfill a family dream.
Owning a dream house or buying that dream car are among the aspirations of Filipinos working abroad as well as their families. Having secured a contract to work abroad means gaining more financial power to fulfill this vision. Some may say that even if they fail to save up during their time overseas, the sight of their new house is already a testament to their success as OFWs.
The Philippines is experiencing a property boom, partly because of the demand from OFWs who can now afford condo units or apartments they can call their own. A loan is almost a necessary requirement to avail of housing programs offered by private developers or the government.
OFWs need emergency money in case of need.
In some cases, conservative OFWs who prefer not to borrow money and rely on their savings can sometimes be forced to rely on pawnshops and private loan companies in case of emergency such as medical conditions and accidents back home. They often stand by the statement that money can be found, but there is only one life, so in some cases OFWs are buried in debt, if relatives suffer prolonged health conditions and extended period of medication.
5. OFWs need to finance a business they plan to establish. Acknowledging that working abroad is a not a life-long career, OFWs have been more willing to plan ahead, thanks to better exposure to livelihood opportunities such as setting up their small business with the help of government agencies and non-profit organizations. Still, they need to apply for cash loan as seed money to start their business.
OFWs also look after the welfare of extended family.
Not only do overseas Filipino workers feel obligated to the needs of their parents, children and spouses, they also feel responsible in looking after extended family members such as cousins, aunts and uncles, even neighbors! Filipinos are known to have close family ties and this sometimes extends to receiving financial help especially if a certain family member close to them works abroad.
Often working as breadwinners, overseas Filipino workers have sacrificed a lot in many ways. From leaving their families to depriving themselves of little indulgences so they can repay their loans. That is why there has been a concerted effort to educate OFWs about the benefits of obtaining cash loan when managed properly, as well as its perils once a loan is misused.
While the intentions of OFWs borrowing money is unquestioned based on the above reasons, they also need to be mindful that the success or failure of their life abroad also depends on their fiscal discipline and responsibility. It is therefore our duty as fellow OFWs to remind our fellow Filipinos abroad to be responsible borrowers.
This article is published in partnership with Global Dominion Financing Incorporated, a lending institution in the Philippines that offer cash loans for land-based and sea-based OFWs at low interest rates. Visit their website at www.gdfi.com.ph or apply for a loan today by calling their hotline (0945) 132-8800.