Friday, December 1, 2023

Peniless OFW: 4 Reasons Why Some OFWs Return Home Without Savings

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Contrary to many expectations that once a Filipino goes abroad and gets paid a salary higher than back home, many overseas Filipino workers go home barely able to save money.

Why is it so?

In ideal situations, a Filipino spends a considerable amount of money on relocation expenses or paying agency fees on his first few months at work. After a few months, he begins to save money for the future. But in many cases, it’s far from being ideal.

Unfair working contracts, exorbitant fees, or even illegal recruitment sometimes hound our OFWs abroad. They struggle at work, are unable to find sufficient rest time, enough food, and lack protection when getting sick. So when his contract expires, he may not have enough savings even to pay for airfare. Worse, he may be in deep debt as loan sharks take advantage of his vulnerability.

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Table of Contents

High placement fees

Going abroad is sometimes like a gamble, where an OFW has to bet through expensive agency fees, deal with multiple levels of bureaucracy, and sometimes unpredictable health conditions. Once the OFW gets the clearance to work, she starts to think how much she can save monthly after considering debt payments and initial expenses.

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However, once she arrives at the workplace, she realizes it is more expensive to live there and she, therefore, has to adjust her budget that her meager income is barely able to support. Other significant expenses include monthly long-distance calls and money remittances. She could easily think that while she couldn’t save in the first few months because of necessary payments, she may not realize that until the last day of her contract, she barely saved at all.

Spending above financial means

One problem of some OFWs is the lack of fiscal discipline. Thinking that they have higher salaries abroad made them think they can buy anything they want. Expensive phone, check. Unnecessary laptop, check. Designer bags, check. Ridiculously priced jewelry, check.

It is NOT a bad idea to buy them, but only if they can afford them or have set aside an amount — no matter how small — for savings. These expenses are not investments that they can make money of. The mobile phone breaks down and needs to be repaired. Laptop gets infected with spyware and rendered irreparable. Owners end up spending more to maintain these devices. Hence, the savings accounts are sacrificed.

Overspending by beneficiaries

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Sometimes family members of OFWs think that their brother or sister or son or aunt receives lots of money while working abroad that they spend remittance money like there’s no tomorrow.

In the end, they end up asking for more to finance their necessities. Sometimes it is thought that remittance will be an automated monthly bank transfer that when it does not arrive at the usual date, family members borrow money from loan sharks, assuming that the money sent to them from overseas will be used to pay the debts.

Infidelity and extra responsibility

When an OFW gets involved in an extramarital affair to address his or her homesickness, he or she is also adding more to the list of people to support. Additional responsibilities often entail additional expenses. If the forbidden love bears a love child, money will also be spent on caring for the baby. Not to mention the trouble and scandal to expect when the OFW returns to a legitimate family someday.

OFWs must be able to set ground rules for themselves and follow them religiously. This includes practices on saving money. If one can save a certain amount consistently in a month (ideally set aside this amount right after receiving salary) to a bank account, SSS, or other retirement contribution, this will definitely be helpful especially when times got rough.

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  1. thats the answer of the problem,,ofw sometimes had no choice,, coz all ofw are not the same in situation,,,sometimes the families recieving remittances,, thinks that we have so much salary ,,the truth we are recieving salary only once a month,,so we must survive for one month,,sometimes no money left on our hands,,after sending them,,

  2. Root Cause: They Lost Track of Real Reason why they went abroad…..

    Ako sabi ko noon mag abroad ako para makaipon ng pang business ko
    went to passenger ship for 2 years; invest in business laglag
    balik abroad, for 3 years; bought a proeprty and set up my own gas station.and a modest hotel

    Now im helping other ofws do the same… STICK TO YOUR PRIME OBJECTIVE and work on it. Lastly, dont make excuses; for the one who will suffer is you and your family and thats the greater part of you….

    Kudos mga OFWs….You are a living hero now, whats next??? Strive to be the same even when you’re dead…..

  3. our experience is different. my husband went abroad with our family in mind. as his wife, i know how hard it is to ba far from your loved ones. so i really tried hard to save the hard earned money he is sending for us. mas lalo pa nga akong nagtipid, for everytime i spend, i always think that of the sacrifices he is enduring while away from us. it is because i love him, kaya pinapahalagahn ko din ang pinaghirapan nya.

  4. dagdag pa ang inuman kada linggo, kada day-off, na kala mo andaming pera pambili ng mga mamahal na alak, posing posing kasama ang alak para lang i-post sa FB at isipin ng mga kaibigan sa Pinas na napakagaan ng buhay dito sa abroad.

    hindi nila alam ang tinitirhan ng kanilang kapamilya dito eh yung iba, sa isang 20 sqm na kwarto, sardinas ang sampu katao sa loob.

  5. Pero.minsan din kya d nkakaipon.dhil tinutulongan mga kapatid pra mktpos ng pagka college.example nlng skn.i have 1 kid.peo dq pinbayaan ang mga pamily ko.3 pinatapos ko.11yrs n me dito sa abroad.pero ngaun.nag invest na aq pra sa amin ng anak ko.kya lhat tau mga ofw nsa tao ang pag control ng pera ata paano mg saving.pra sa hinaharap.hirap ang buhay ntin dito sa abroad dayuhan lng tau.unlike now ang economy at sa buo mundo ka man nasaan.icipin din ntin ang mga sarili ntin pera at ilagay sa tama.alm ko sa atin nkararanas ng palungkot.kya minsan iniicip nila cge mgpaligaya ka sa gusto mo at mkalimot sa lungkot.pero pag dating ng arw na umuwi kna ng pinas.magtataka ka nlang asan ang pera pinaghirapan mo sa ilang taon na ngpakahirap sa abroad.dba icip icip din mga kababayan kya yan hangat kya at idulog sa panginoon lhat ng bagay my mgnda kapalit na blessing.may god bless sa atin ofw.

  6. To kill homesickness, Many OFWs spend and gamble their money on card games, They do not know how to recreate themselves by getting into a constructive hobby like playing a musical instrument, doing various arts and crafts work, cooking, sewing- some of which are even lucrative while entertaining.

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