The usual reason given by Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in leaving the Philippines, and enduring the separation from their families, is the greener pasture at the other side of the fence, wherever in the world that may be. We’ve previously noted that perhaps it would help OFWs to become entrepreneurs. Invest or start a business, whether in the Philippines or abroad, and create a financial buffer in case they decide to “retire” from work abroad and return to the Philippines.
[See also 5 Most Inspiring OFW Entrepreneurs]
We got a pleasant surprise when we posted the article at our FaceBook page (do take a second to “like” our facebook page). Someone asked how to start a business in the Philippines. We’ll put ourselves in the shoes of our OFW brothers and sisters, then ask: what would we do?
Wean our relatives and friends
The very first thing we would do is to manage expectations among relatives and friends. It’s not uncommon for OFWs to complain about requests for money and pasalubong, as if money is easily plucked off trees abroad. Work abroad is very had work. Of course, this is easier said than done, but we have to make them understand that we are investing for the future, and so we cannot go on buying pasalubong and treating them left and right. It’s like treating an addiction, everyone in the family has to be involved.
Save and save some more
The usual reason given by OFWs in leaving the Philippines, and enduring the separation from their families, is the greener pasture at the other side of the fence, wherever in the world that may be. But we won’t be working forever, whether abroad or here in the Philippines. When the time comes that we can’t work, or when the inevitable emergencies come, we should be ready with enough money to tide us over.
Spending is different from investment
It’s nice to have a car, a condominium unit or a beachfront property. If there’s no other reason for buying these properties, other than as a reward for working hard abroad, then these properties will simply serve as a big drain in the pocket. These are expenses, plain and simple. Now, imagine if the condominium unit is to be used for leasing, or the vehicle in connection with a business like rent-a-car, or the beachfront property to be used as a mini-beach resort, then there’s a deeper purpose there. And that’s business and investment.
Business and investments
Savings is not enough. We’ve already noted this in a previous post. Money saved, even with a “generous” interest rate from banks, would soon be overtaken by inflation and personal consumption. Savings will grow only if there’s another source of income to add to it and fund personal consumption. This would be ok if OFWs want to work abroad forever.
[Read also Why Savings are Important but May Not be Enough]
Tap the market
A balikbayan should be more than a market for Philippine businesses. You see it everywhere. Condominium developers and franchising entities, among others, target OFWs because, to be blunt about it, they have the spending that the common Filipino back here in the Philippines. The balikbayan, however, should also attempt to create his/her business/investment and tap the market.