One of the biggest hurdles an Overseas Filipino Worker must face is moving countries, if not continents. Aside from the emotional toll of leaving your country along with everything familiar, there is the practical problem of physically relocating, as well as setting up your finances in another country. This is not only true with OFWs but with other immigrants from the Philippines too.
It is a huge undertaking that takes months or years of preparation. You have to save up for your VISA, papers, residence, plane tickets and expenses that you will incur while you are still finding your footing abroad. Aside from your own needs, you also have to be financially ready for the obligations you’ll leave behind – be it for your family, property, or outstanding debts. The pressure can be too much that some resort to getting a loan for OFWs.
Although it is daunting, arranging your finances need not be an overwhelming task. It helps if you know the five crucial steps you can take when migrating overseas. The sooner you arrange your finances, the less stressful it will be for you and your loved ones.
Step 1: Avoid Double Fees for Travel Documents
Make sure to fill out all your forms properly and submit the correct and complete documents for your Passport, VISA, and other travel documents. A mistake can cost you time and money as it doubles your processing time and fees.
Even if your employer shoulders part of the cost, you’re still better off saving yourself from the headache of repeating the process.
Step 2: Plan Your Budget Abroad and OFW Remittance in Advance
Research on how much the cost of living is in your country of destination – including food, shelter, transportation, and utilities – and budget accordingly. One of the most common realizations of OFWs after being deployed is that their income, while significant in the Philippines due to the exchange rate, may be just enough for daily living overseas.
Make sure to budget for both your and your family’s (if you are a bread winner) living expenses. After all, taking care of yourself should be one of your primary goals especially if other people depend on you.
Aside from knowing how much you would send your family monthly, it will also help to already have an idea of what remittance service you will use. Research on the safest, most reliable, and cost-effective service.
Step 3: Bring Emergency Money
Being deployed to a foreign country to start a new job means that you won’t have any income coming in for at least a month. Keep in mind that the first few weeks may be challenging as you are establishing your income and finances abroad.
If it is not possible for your to allocate at least 2 months’ worth of emergency funds, you still have an option. Some OFWs seek loan assistance through Land-Based and Sea-Based OFW loans that you can avail before or in between your deployments.
Step 4: Make Arrangements for Your Current Financial Obligations in the Philippines
You would not want to leave your family in distress when you’re far away. Take care of as much financial obligations, debt, and other payables before you even board that plane. Some of these obligations include your children’s tuition fee, the bills for your home for the first month that you’re gone, taxes, among others.
If you find yourself in this situation, there is nothing wrong applying for a loan. It is better though if you get one from your home country, where you are more familiar with the lending laws and have a higher chance of loan approval from a legitimate lending institution.Just steer clear of payday or 5-6 loans, which take advantage of your situation and siphon all your hard-earned money. Loansolutions, the Philippines’ no. 1 loans marketplace, can help you find legitimate OFW financing as it only features with top banks and credible lending companies. Our expert loan agents will help you with the whole process, from application and documents submission all the way to approval.
Step 5: Maintain Bank Accounts in the Philippines and Overseas
Even if you will be staying overseas for a while, make sure to maintain a bank account in the Philippines. This will allow you to pay recurring bills as well as easily receive any income back home. You can ask the help of a family member you trust to help you manage your account.
One of the first things you should aim for as an OFW is to open an ATM or checking bank account in your host country. This will help facilitate money wire transfers to the Philippines. It will also help you with financial transactions (such as bills payment) abroad.