OFWs told: Look beyond balikbayan boxes–invest
MANILA, Philippines–Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz has urged overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to rise above the “balikbayan box” mentality and think about venturing into business instead.
“OFWs should not be blinded by the fact that they are earning good money. I have heard so many stories of OFWs and their painful struggles abroad to earn for their families but who had forgotten to save and invest for the rainy days. And they come home for good only to realize that they have to start all over again. This is a vicious cycle that OFWs themselves can put an end to by saving and investing their hard-earned income,” Baldoz said in a statement.
Baldoz said OFWs must learn to resist the urge to spend too much to fill balikbayan boxes with goods for their loved ones back home but instead save the money and use it to invest.
“They should open their eyes to the reality that when they come home, they should have a substitute or alternative source of income for their families. They should think of ways their hard-earned savings from long years of working abroad could be put to good and profitable use. That’s what financial literacy is all about,” she said.
Ricardo Casco, International Organization for Migration mission coordinator, said enabling OFWs toward financial literacy entails changing their behavior.
“Our task is to make OFWs realize that they have an option. That they do not have to spend their lives working abroad with nothing left when they reach their retirement,” Casco said.
He said OFWs should set aside at least 10 to 20 percent of their monthly income for savings, and use the rest for expenses.
He explained that nongovernment organizations, in sharing the burden of making OFWs financially literate, should look to resources and institutions in their areas to build a support network for OFWs to use to become financially stable, such as by channeling their savings to investments that would spur growth in the local economy or by going into business themselves.–Tina G. Santos
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