Saturday, February 21, 2015

Nurturing an investment mindset for OFWs


MANILA, Philippines – Every year, millions of Filipinos seek work aboard. The lure is irresistible: a chance to earn double or triple than what they’d typically receive back home.
But despite having bigger salaries, many Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) continue to feel anxious about never having enough. They want to generously provide for their families’ daily needs. But at the same time, they want to set aside enough for a comfortable retirement.
If you’re an OFW, you might ask: how can I start earning for the future as well?
Just like anyone who wants to be financially independent, OFWs need to nurture an investment mindset.
Here are some tips to get you started.
1. Prioritize paying for the future
For the first quarter of 2014, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas reported that OFW households used remittances for the following top items
Despite earning better, more OFWs are paying off debt rather than setting aside for savings. They are spending more for the present and the past.
OFWs should learn to pay for the future too. Money, just like employment, will not last forever. Savings should be a top priority.
2. Create a budget plan that includes savings and investments
The typical behavior of OFWs is to send most of their earnings to their beneficiaries. The head of the household then takes care of budgeting this amount between expenses and savings. This can be affected by the pressure back home depending on their immediate need and the thinking that more money will come next month anyway.
It is encouraged that OFWs actively decide how to allocate their hard-earned money. For example, they can open a separate savings account that cannot be touched for household expenses. Or, they can create a stock investment portfolio as another way of protecting the family’s future.
3. Take time learn about other forms of investment
In preparation for retirement, many OFWs invest in fixed assets like real estate in preparation for retirement. Most will look forward to coming home to their dream house, or using the house as a passive source of income through rent. On the flip side, investing in real estate also constitutes years of mortgage, followed by annual taxes. Calamity or accident can reduce this solid investment into rubble.
OFWs need to remember that every investment, tangible or not, comes with risks.
The “safest” or most advisable way to protect one’s earnings is to spread it out through different forms of investments.
4. Use online tools
The Internet is a blessing for overseas Filipinos – in the age of video calls, social networking sites, and web-based messaging, making communication with loved ones stress-free. Today, it can also help OFWs manage their finances as major local banks have facilities for monitoring accounts and facilitating fund transfers online.
In the same light, growing your money through stock investment has been made easy. Through online investment portals, like COL financial, OFWs can monitor and even trade their own stocks whenever and wherever they are. With COL’s newly released mobile app, you can get real-time market quotes and info and quickly make trades.
5. Set achievable goals
Early retirement is a common goal among OFWs as they want to enjoy the fruits of their labor and to make up for lost time with their families.
However, OFWs ought to not be satisfied with simply sending enough every month. Other than having a plain savings goal, it is encouraged that they capitalize on creating other forms of income to help achieve their targets.
Small sacrifices are more bearable once OFWs and their families understand that every day brings them one step closer to a better life. Spending wisely becomes easier when there are bigger dreams to look forward to.
How else can OFWs nurture an investment mindset? Research, attend seminars, and read about how other overseas workers have invested wisely. Use knowledge to gain inspiration. 
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