How can an OFW return home and not work abroad anymore

The Philippines is one of the countries who rely on overseas worker remittances to fuel its economy. I am an OFW myself and it is true that working abroad gives one a better chance at having a better life due to the bigger pay. In addition, with that, most people look at an OFW as rich but in reality, the foreign exchange rate makes the difference.
Comparing one’s salary in the Philippines against the one overseas may look like that the overseas pay is bigger than your pay here. However, most do not factor in cost of living overseas. Also, the lifestyle one has overseas affects one’s saving power. An OFW might have bigger pay and thus has a better capacity to save but when one’s lifestyle overseas is that of a spender there is no difference from an employee here in the Philippines worst yet when that OFW who spends while working abroad overspends he or she might go home penniless. A lot of OFW go home without even having their own home and end up bum in their sibling’s house because they are accustomed to that lifestyle that they have overseas.
On my way to the NAIA Terminal 1, the taxi driver is an OFWwaiting for his Visa for Australia. We are able to share stories about the hardship of being an OFW and all his regrets why he didn’t save while he is able. He has two kids to send to school so while waiting he drives taxi for a living. He now has a plan and that is to save up once he gets the work in Australia and start with one taxi. Probably by the time he gets enough money, he can send it to his wife who will buy and start their taxi business, thus two sources of income that is his employment and his one taxi operation at home.
The week before I was claiming my money that was in a closed bank in Pangasinan. Unfortunately, I was not able to get it on time and the bank directed me to go to the main PDIC and request a re-issue. While waiting for the certification the bank manager ask me if I knew of the OWWA loan. She said that I could loan a certain amount and have my wife start a business here in the Philippines. I am still in the process of planning my marriage with my beloved who works here in the Philippines. And with that we have decided to save up for our dream businesses and we will be able to get married soon and I will be able to go back here in the Philippines and either start business, get employed, or practice as a CPA.
OFW‘s can actually make a big difference in the Philippine economy if only they can wisely use their money. The problem of being an OFW is that a lot of family members will have expectation if one is an OFW. A good example is that when a mother or a father becomes an OFW they send money, toys, and other things to their children to compensate their absence. If the husband is the OFW the wife request money for house remodeling, money to buy her personal beauty stuff, and others. This are normal and OK but most of the time instead of saving and using money wisely family members begin to want a higher lifestyle like your daughter wanting the latest phone so that she would be in her schools elite group, your son wanting a 42″ flat screen TV and the latest gaming hardware to play games every day and so many more.
But what if just l like the taxi driver I met would save up and established a business? Probably a small sari-sari store, a small rice retailing shop, a unit of taxi, a small food kiosk in the corner of the barangay where tricycle line up, or even yet an investment in the stock market, UITF, or real estate. As Bob Procter’s teaching money should not be kept under one’s bed… it should be circulated in a way that gives a return. Yes at first of course it’s hard to see your hard earned money be put into an investment and you can’t even enjoy it but the time you get returns from such investment it will be a very sweet reward or even you would rather re-invest such returns to grow your money and eventually go back home permanently and spend more time with your family.
So how can an OFW like me and the taxi driver start so that we won’t be working away from our love ones?
The answer to this question is to ALLOCATE, SAVE, and INVEST.
It is a fact that we need to eat to live. So an OFW should first establish an allocation for his or her salary. At first, this would be very hard but as you get use to it, you can manage to live with it and be able to go to the next step. As always, one has to list down what he or she is spending on right now. List all the things you are currently paying off like loans, debt, mortgage etc. Then also list down you daily living expenses like food, housing/rent in your overseas work, and the money you send back to the Philippines for your love one’s daily living expenses as well. From there you should categories whether such expenses or cash outlay is a need or a want (yup the classic categorization). Try to scrap the wants little by little. This way you won’t be traumatized from the sudden absence of such need.
Whatever is left you can now allocate your earnings to it. At first, you will end up short but as time goes, you will be able to discern what are really are important and from there you can start contribute to your savings.
Make it a point that from now on you will contribute to your savings fund. This is the very first priority. This savings fund is different from the savings fund (click here)I put money in since that one is an allocation for something I want but would rather save up first before buying it. The savings fund here I am talking about is a catch basin for whatever is left after you have allocated some funds for your needs.  I know some of our local banks have branches all over the world and you can deposit your money in there. Your goal is to increase your savings fund so that you can eventually invest it.
After saving a considerable amount, you can now start looking into possible investment vehicle where you can grow this savings fund while you are working. Always ask; that is the key to success. Ask those who have actually gone from nothing to richness. These people have found the answer to how to make money work for them instead of them working for money. From time to time, engage these people to a simple chat and learn from their experience. Also, you can always search the Internet how to start business or how to open some accounts for investments back in the Philippines. A reminder as well that you should do your due diligence to protect your savings from fraud or frauds.
I guess with these knowledge an OFW like me will soon  be able to go back home and spend more time with love ones and make money work for them. Lets dream and lets achieve our dreams.
Financial Freedom Advocate About the blogger

Louis Delos Angeles is a Certified Public Accountant, blogger behind Investing in Philippines, and author of Investing in Stocks: Preparing for the future small amount at a time. Check him out in Google+ Learn more about Louis and his financial freedom advocacy here.

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16 comments for “How can an OFW return home and not work abroad anymore

  1. January 19, 2012 at 12:50 am

    I agree to your formula: Allocate, Save and Invest. For the sake of simplification, OFWs can follow this, Income minus Savings equals Expenses. this is to make sure to have a monthly savings. Then invest what you save. If you want a long term investment, the Phil Stock Market is your best option. Your investments will grow over time through the principle of compounding interest! To make sure that your money grows to its maximum growth potential, know the right stocks to buy and when to sell them. For those who are new to Stock Market investments, I may suggest that you find a stock mentor to guide you. With the trend of the market today, one can say that It more fun investing in the Philippines!

    junorchids is a truly rich club member by Bo. Sanches.

  2. January 19, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    Thank you Junorchids for your input. Lets share to our kababayan this idea so that we can prevent OFWs from returning to overseas work but instead stay in our country and contribute to its growth by being an investor and entrepreneur.

  3. Jhun Inojosa
    March 14, 2014 at 8:10 am

    Do you know A Government Memo that if I don’t want to work abroad anymore and going back to my previous employment in the Philippines, do i have the chance to be hired again as a priority candidate? ( but of course if there is available slot to me on that company )

    • March 16, 2014 at 1:50 pm

      I don’t think so there is such in the Philippines. Once you resigned from your employment that’s it. If you come back in the Philippines and wish to work with your previous company you have to go to the process they have, unless may backer ka.

  4. Jedd Dukiw
    May 2, 2014 at 12:28 am

    Good input! I spent many years jumping from one country to another, but until now I’m still trying to figure out the best possible way I could make a decent living in Philippines without leaving my family. A lot of people and writers say the best business to start, are the ones we are very familiar with. For example; if you’re a taxi driver, it’s best to think about taxi business; if you’re a carpenter, think about putting up a small carpentry shop; if you’re a welder, think about putting up a small welding shop.

    Truly, there’s no other thing sweeter than being able to make a living in our very own hometown while watching or kids grow up. Mabuhay OFW!

    • May 2, 2014 at 11:49 pm

      Thank you very much Jedd. We need to educate our kababayans out there in the world that yes we need to go out and sacrifice just for a few years to save up money to be able to start some business or venture that would support their family in the long run and not suffer more years being far away. They got to ask themselves why sacrifice so many years when a few years could really make a difference if the money they earned was properly use to start that business or venture that would give them not only food on the table but also the love of your true treasures. As what great mentors said we are not the slave of money, we don’t work for money…. rather money works for us. So all our OFW friends out there make your hard earned money work for you from here on.

  5. Anonymous
    July 8, 2014 at 10:41 am

    Working overseas doesn’t mean to homesickness when one gets married. Being an OFW while young and single is still the best solution to combat long term poverty and broken family relationship.

    Time is most important asset when it comes to investing. An overseas worker who invest $300 monthly in the stock market could generate a portfolio of about $100,000 or more than Php 4 million at a return of 15-20% p.a. Given the lower cost of living here as compared overseas, the OFW can now afford to go back here for good after 10-15 years and get married here without having to leave spouse and children.

  6. shelly
    August 3, 2014 at 12:11 am

    Hi Louis, thanks for this briliiant suggestion, I am an OFW and as I browse here for possible investment in the Philippines a lot of suggestions focused on Stocks….Im sorry… I am zero when it comes to this matter….how could you help me understand better on this? Thank you and more power!

    • August 5, 2014 at 10:43 pm

      Hi Shelly!

      The best advice I can give you in order for you to start with stocks is to read the business section of a newspaper. Why the business section? You need to understand the language and how companies actually work in order to fully grasp investment in stocks. You got to get use to terms and economic situations so that you don’t get confuse when you start actually investing. SO many would be investors retreated because they don’t understand a single thing about companies and stocks. Some friends I talk to at times are shocked when the company they keep on hearing in the news or in commercials are actually not good to invest into at that particular time period. Understanding the nature and the business of the company will give you insight of its profitability and stability thus making a sound investment. That is why some investment guru have this mantra ” Aral muna bago maginvest”

    • Jose Acuna
      August 5, 2014 at 11:42 pm

      Hi Shelly,

      I have been doing lots of research regarding stocks and I came across Bo Sanchez’s Truly Rich Club, I found it really helpful and I’m really convinced about his explanation and tips. I think Bo Sanchez can help you understand more about stocks. You may open and read this; it’s truly inspiring:

      Good luck, please don’t forget to share any good information to help inspire others too.

      Jose Acuna

      • Shey
        August 13, 2014 at 3:11 pm

        Hi there! thank you po sa reply…yes! maybe i should educate myself more on this bago mag invest…thank you po and please continue your advocacy! God bless!

  7. August 15, 2014 at 10:57 am

    Having been an OFW myself, I would have to agree that OFW should learn to save and invest while they are working abroad but they must also learn to invest in the right business and learn to leverage their income.

    Its easy to say to invest in stocks or real estate but these are long term investments. There are other investment models that can actually help OFW to save more money that they can allocate and invest into real estate and stocks thus creating a multiple source of income for them.

    Work Very Hard for 4 years. Harder than you can imagine. Then do whatever you want for the rest of your life.

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  8. Anneth Bustos
    August 29, 2014 at 4:54 pm

    Hi Louis, thanks for your blog. I am an OFW for 6 years now. And I know this is just temporary. I want to go home in the philippines but with a lot of things I need to consider. I came accross your blog, because as an OFW, I have a dream to have my own business and invest in the stock market. But the problem is, how to start the move.

    • August 30, 2014 at 12:00 am

      Hi Anneth,

      You can check some of my previous post that talks about starting check them out below:

      Ang dami noh lolz.

      But anyways, the fact that you read and search the internet about business and investing is itself a good start. Coming home from and overseas work you might get traumatized specially when you worked at a place where everything seems to be fine and all your financial needs are met by your employment there. The moment you come back you again come to a different culture. At times the culture of people that is the culture of lacking causes most to feel that it is so hard to live here in the Philippines. Like everybody expects you to fill in their need and even your co-workers think that you are super-rich(yup speaking from experience… been back here in the Philippines for almost a year now form my overseas work).

      But we(yup you and me and other former OFWs who are hopeful for a better Philippines) must continue and push the change of our kababayans mentality of lack. There are so many opportunities here in the Philippines and also we must not think that good things are only for the super and filthy rich. Common Pinoys can enjoy a peaceful and abundant life if only we know how to handle our finances. The bad thing about our family members is that when one works abroad they expect to finally have a savior or an answer to all their personal wants… such attitude forces OFWs to sacrifice for things of no value like gadgets and other unnecessary stuff.

      But again to start you need to have that courage both to fail and to go above and beyond that feeling of people around you taking advantage of you when you come back home. To start your business ideas or even your stock investment you need to learn things so that you know how things work.

      Read, ask, and ask more. Don’t be shy. If the person you keep on asking can’t answer you anymore asks somebody else but be sure to asks someone who knows what they are doing.

      Hope this helps Anneth! Good luck with your investing and business endeavors!

  9. October 4, 2014 at 12:19 am

    Converting yourself into an entrepreneur is the best way to leave abroad for good and start living with your family in the Philippines. Just be prepared before engaging in any business since this will be a new career. Try observing food businesses like lechon franchise, lechon business Everybody eats lechon :)

    • October 5, 2014 at 4:58 pm

      Thanks Lembest Pao, I could have charge you for advertising for your link but its something for our kababayans so its ok :) but next time I will charge lolz.

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