Why some OFWs remain poor despite working abroad

Published by rudy Date posted on September 20, 2015

While most Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) earn better in other countries, some of them still experience financial problems despite years of hard work due to inefficient money management.

The Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) has identified over-dependency of families and relatives of OFWs as one of the common causes why workers abroad struggle with their finances, despite their higher pay.

“People tend to think that once you go abroad, it seems that you get a higher income and that will solve all your problems,” said Andrea Anolin, CFO executive assistant for joint migration and development initiative.

Anolin added that an OFW may already have financial problems even before leaving the Philippines, such as the accumulation of debts due to over-borrowing in the belief that the money can be returned once hired overseas.

“The families who are left behind and also the migrants themselves have very unrealistic expectations. They equate going overseas with an automatic improvement in the quality of their lives,” she said.

In addition, some OFWs are said to easily give in to the requests of their families and relatives for remittances and gifts from abroad, thus the failure to save sufficient money for the future.

“We don’t really save for the rainy days. We don’t really think long term. Our plans, our objectives are vague and we don’t really know how to get from one place to the next. So it’s easy to be lured by commercial spending,” Anolin said.

According to Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), eight out of 10 Filipinos don’t have bank accounts — an indication that financial literacy among Filipinos is not high, as CFO pointed out.

While it is not that bad for OFWs to spend for their families with imported commodities, CFO stressed that they should not let themselves end up without savings and should not forget to save more than they spend in order to achieve a common goal of creating a sustainable income in their homeland.

“It’s not the lack of money to save eh. It’s the lack of the will to save,” said Warner Dawal, senior emigrant services officer for Peso Sense Program.

“The most common misconception is the families here in the Philippines think that the remittance they receive is forever,” he added. -ABS-CBNnews.com

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