OFW’s, Are You Ready To Come Home Anytime?

If at this very moment your amo or employer told you that this will be your last day of work and you will be sent back to the Philippines immediately the next day, what will be your reaction?

Are you ready to say to your amo and to yourself, “It’s fine, I’m ready to go home anytime.”?

Or will you hear yourself say the any of the following:

“I’m not yet ready. Wala pa ‘kong ipon.

“My child is still in Grade 3! Hindi sya pwedeng tumigil ng pag-aaral!

“I just started paying for our house & lot amortization. Paano na ito?

How Ready Are You To Come Back Home, fellow OFW?


I’ve been advocating financial literacy and saving money among OFW’s since year 2000 as part of an NGO. Lack of knowledge about financial instruments was one of the common reasons that I’ve observed back then why most OFW’s come home without any savings. And if they did, all their savings would surely go down the drain in less than a year. A couple of months at least.

This is something that all OFW’s should think over. Working overseas isn’t forever. While it’s comforting to know that you’re receiving quite a good salary today, there’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to keep your job forever.

Saudization in Saudi Arabia, economic struggles in Europe and Americas, political conflicts between the Philippines and China/Taiwan, violence and unrest in Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Bahrain, etc.

Your company may close down shop. Anything can happen anytime that may bring us back home for good.

We can’t forever rely from the Philippine government to support us financially. We need to stand up and make our decision to lift our own financial conditions.

But we have to learn what we need to learn. We need to be financially-literate for us to be prepared for the the worst thing that could happen to any OFW.

Preparing Yourself for Re-integration Back Home

1) Pay yourself first. As early as now, upon receiving your salary, keep at least 20% as your monthly savings. Do this every month without excuse.

2) Pay all your debts slowly. From the 20% of your monthly savings, keep 1/3 of that to pay off little by little your debts.

3) Build up an emergency fund. Again, from the 20% of your monthly savings, take another 1/3 to keep as part of your emergency fund. The total emergency fund should be equal to at least 6 months of your monthly personal expenses and padala.

For example, if you are spending P5,000 worth of personal expenses every month, and you are sending to your family in the Philippines around P10,000 per month, then P5,000 + P10,000 = P15,000. That is your monthly expenses.

Multiply that P15,000 to 6 months (P15,000 x 6 = P90,000). That is the total emergency fund that you should slowly build up from now on.

4) Get a life insurance. It doesn’t matter for now whether it’s a VUL (variable unit-linked) insurance or a term life insurance. Just get one that could cover at least 10x of your annual expenses. That should be enough to leave your family in peace and security in case you die. Consider also insuring your health. It’s one of the greatest wealth that you should take good care of.

5) Invest in financial instruments. Most OFW’s only recognize savings accounts, time deposits, SSS or Pag-Ibig contributions, and paluwagan/pahulugan as investments. While these are either acceptable investments, they do not give maximum returns for the long-term. With the relatively small interests, an annual average inflation rate of 4% to 6% will only eat up what you will earn from these “investments”.

Others also invest in real estate. While this is a very good long-term investment vehicle, it won’t give you liquidity. What does a liquid investment mean? It means you can easily convert it into cash in times that you really need money. You can’t do that easily with real estate.

Learn how to grow your money in investment vehicles such as mutual funds, UITFs (unit investment trust funds, stocks, retail bonds, and other paper assets. Among these financial instruments, I highly advocate investing in stocks, mutual funds, and UITF’s. Not only do they beat the inflation, they also give bigger returns for your future.

These financial instruments are also not expensive to start investing in. Did you know that you can buy ten (10) Jollibee shares in stocks for less than P2,000? And that if you invested your P2,000 on Jollibee stocks in 2010, it would have grown up to around P4,000 today?

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Secure your children’s education and your retirement by following the steps above that I humbly recommend to you.

No one else can help you but yourself.

Oh sorry. Yes, I’m here to help you out how to start.

Follow my posts about saving, investing, and frugal living by subscribing to BurnGutierrez.Com.

Join the OFW UsapangPiso Facebook Group and Forum to learn how to plan your finances the right way and how to grow your money in various financial instruments and investment vehicles such as stocks, mutual funds, UITF’s, bonds, money market, real estate, and others.

P.S. 1. Bro. Bo Sanchez has appointed me as a coach for our young and new investors at the TrulyRichClub social site. It’s a fun, learning family with the purpose of “helping good people become rich”. I’m inviting you to join the TrulyRichClub too and email me at burngutierrezblog@yahoo.com.ph if you have any questions. Click here to join!

P.S. 2. Randell Tiongson goes back to Dubai on March 29, 2014 (tonight!!!) for another no non sense personal finance learning series entitled “How To Become Dirham-Wiser and Peso-Wealthier”.  Please get in touch with Cherry Murillo or Normie Pascua. For registration and payments details, go here.

P.S. 3. For those who based in Manila, you may attend our FREE Biblical finance seminar on July 27, 2013 at the Rufino Towers, Makati City. Keep posted here for details.

P.S. 4. If you are living in Dubai, join our FREE CashFlow 101 Game session this Saturday, July 13, 2013.  Select participants will be given a chance to win for their loved ones in the Philippines FREE movie tickets to watch Wolverine- 3D at Glorietta Cinema on July 25! Click the poster below for registration details.



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13 Responses to OFW’s, Are You Ready To Come Home Anytime?

  1. PINASforGOOD says:

    If my employer says that it’s my last day today and I will be sent home, I can proudly say “Sure”

    I don’t have tons of money to be able to go home and sit all day BUT I am frugal and saved enough to start my own business. I’m going home for good next year!

    Great blog!

    • Cheers and congrats to you for taking that decision to be financially independent back home. Hope to meet you for a possible stint to inspire OFW’s and would-be-OFW’s to save up and live frugal lifestyles.

  2. Sheryl Magallanes says:

    very nice article Burn. Good luck and more more blogs to go!!!!

  3. LandOfTheUnexpected says:

    My bond investments gives me a fixed income of about $2K a month. So if my employer asks me to go back to the Philippines the next day, I’ll will gladly comply.

  4. Joel says:

    Hi burn,
    It is possible to invest in mutual fund though I’m here in abroad? If it is, could you help me how?

  5. Bernard says:

    Thanks Burn, very inspiring article. I’ve been doing the UITF and Life insurance with investment at present and planning to start PSE this year..

  6. Jay Rada Rafol says:

    If in case I’d be the employee being told by my “amo” or employer that I’d be going home for good the next day – may it be because of company shutdown or other reasons – I’d be stunned if the year was 2010 – I don’t have enough savings that time. But now, I won’t shiver thinking where am I going to get my usual monthly salary – that is because I have slowly learned proper handling of finances and somehow had saved already and is continuing the routine of saving monthly. I hope more people may read this post especially those who aren’t financially literate. It pays to be one. Great article as always!

  7. paano po ba mag avail ng bond? monthly contribution po ba ito? pacnsya na I am totally no Idea about all this stuff..:(

  8. Nestor Reyes says:

    Hello Sir, I would like to buy shares from Jollibee. Can you help me on how to do it. And also I would like to invest at the Truly Rich Club by Bo Sanchez. Thank you. I will wait for your prompt response.

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