Stop Yourself from Becoming an Investment Scam Victim with these Tips

Sometime in February 2019, the PNP Anti-Cybercrime Group, together with SEC’s Enforcement and Investigation Division, raided the offices of ROSES4U Inc., a company that target foreigners into investing in an online investment scheme. In fact, they lure people into investing by showing a fake bank account.

On that same month, SEC issued a cease-and-desist notice to Kapa-Community Ministry International (KAPA). This organization is a religious group that solicits investments from its members in exchange of a “guaranteed return.” Although KAPA is registered as an independent religious organization, it cannot solicit funds for investment.

These are just examples of the many investment scams happening today. Despite the warnings, there are still many who fall for this. In fact, there are companies who target OFWs into get-rich-quick scams because let’s face it, you surely want to grow your money fast.

You can avoid that from happening to you by remembering these tips:

Always watch out for SEC advisories. 

The good news is the government is taking steps to ensure that the public is protected against investment scams. It may be a tedious task for some, but it won’t hurt if you check SEC advisories every now and then, say once a week.

The agency releases reports that inform public about dubious companies, which you need to watch out for. Take some time to read and make a list out of it as your guide to prevent you from becoming a victim of an investment scam.

There’s no such thing as “easy, quick, and risk-free” investment. 

All investments, regardless of their nature comes with a risk. The market is volatile and dependent on what is happening in the society; hence the changes in interest rate or policies. As a result, you will see the return of your investments after some time and NEVER the following week.

If someone approaches you and promises you 30 percent return next month, then walk away. No legitimate investment company offers that kind of return. It’s not worth your time and hard-earned money.

Remember, if it’s too good to be true, then it’s not true at all.

Check with SEC if the company is authorized to ask investments from people. 

It’s easy to say that a company is registered with the SEC. Anyone can easily put up a corporation as long as all the requirements are complied with. On the other hand, not all companies are authorized to solicit or offer investment schemes.

What you can do is to go to the SEC website and type the name of the company in the search bar. If you see “cease and desist order” on the search page, then forget about that and turn to banks instead for investment.

Another way to check the legitimacy of a company to issue investments is by visiting the PIFA website. A legitimate investment company must be registered under the Philippine Investment Funds Association to offer investment options. If you can’t see the name of the company on the website, then don’t push through with the investment.

If everyone is doing it, then it doesn’t mean that it is “legit.” 

Don’t be impressed by phrases saying “a lot of people joined us” or “your friends joined us already.” These are merely sales pitches to lure you to join. The truth is even if a lot of people are getting into a particular investment scheme, it doesn’t automatically follow that it is a legitimate one.

Be skeptical and don’t be easily fooled.

They’re always in a hurry. 

Sadly, the “hurry while supplies last” does not apply to investments. Some investment options like Retail Treasury Bonds are time sensitive but generally, there is no deadline when it comes to investment. In fact, you can invest anytime you want, preferably while you’re in the Philippines.

If someone constantly nags you to “invest now before you leave out of the country,” then don’t mind them. Investing your money should be at your own pace.

Take these tips in mind when you’re ready to invest your money. You worked hard for that money and you need to make sure that you will place it in something that matters.

Money Management Strategies for OFW Couples

No one said that OFW life is easy. In fact and in spite of the money you are earning, it is going to be one of the toughest parts of your life because you are in a foreign land and away from your family. What makes it even more challenging is making sure that your hard-earned money is spent properly.

This is where money management strategies comes in. This is crucial because this could dictate the financial future of your family such as budgeting your daily household expenses, paying off loans, or the amount of savings you have.

Here comes the challenge: what type of strategy should you follow considering that you are thousands of miles away from home?

Here are some options:

Money Strategy No. 1: “It’s On Me” or Relying on One Income

This is the most common setup among OFW families wherein one works abroad while the other one stays at home and takes care of the kids. In this setup, the main income earner, which is YOU, pays for all expenses at home. You set up an account, transfer money online, and your spouse will withdraw from the said account in the Philippines, On the other hand, the other spouse is responsible for budgeting the money you send – utility expenses, grocery, kids’ allowance, tuition, and so on.

The not-so-good aspect of this setup: it could cause misunderstanding and financial woes to the couples, especially when the money is not well-accounted for. You might tend to question where the money goes and constantly remind your spouse the sacrifices you have to make just to make sure that every expense will be paid. On the other hand, the non-earning spouse feels less dignified and may accuse you of not trusting him/her.

To fix this, both must do your best to be transparent and accountable as to where the money goes. Be clear that the money you sent is for a specific expense only and must not be used for unnecessary purchases. You should also encourage your spouse to look for additional ways to earn such as getting a freelance job or putting up a small business. Additional income could mean a lot in helping you manage expenses back home.

Money Strategy No. 2: What’s Mine is Yours, What’s Yours is Mine 

This is another common setup among families, including OFW families. In this set-up, money earned is pooled in a common fund and said fund will be used to cover all expenses at home. This works especially when both spouses are earning since you don’t need to keep track of each other’s contribution in the family as long as you know how much each other is earning.

Here comes the not-so-good part: in case you have trust issues, then this setup won’t work for you. This is because both will constantly nag about where the money goes and whether or not the money you deposited on the said account is used for the said purpose. There is also a tendency to compare since naturally, you will be earning more, which could also cause resentment.

How can you address these issues? Start by enumerating the expenses you have to pay for every month, set up a specific budget for each, and agree on a spending limit. It is also important to consult with each other before making a purchase, regardless of the amount. This way, you can keep your spending in check.

Money Strategy No. 3: One Works, The Other One Saves 

Let’s say your spouse has work but income is irregular. On the other hand, you are sure that you are getting this amount every month.

How do you strike a balance? The spouse with a stable income is in charge of expenses while the other one takes care of savings and investment. This is an ideal setup because there is a higher chance that you will be meeting your financial goals since both parties are contributing, regardless of the amount.

The issue would be when one loses her income. Thankfully, there are tons of ways to help the other spouse earn money. If saving is consistent, then the money saved may act as a buffer to help one get back on its working feet.

The Bottom Line

These three money strategies will work but at the end of the day, it will all depend on you and your spouse. Before you leave the country, sit down and discuss how BOTH will handle the expenses and the strategies you will use to ensure that nobody goes home hungry.

More importantly, be committed and disciplined. Any of these strategies won’t work if you are not serious with how you will handle your money.

So, which one is your money strategy?

OFW e-Card: What You Need to Know and How to Get One

Sometime last year, the government released the iDOLE OFW card, which OFWs can use to avail of various government benefits. Unfortunately, there were tons of issues such as confusing guidelines and the photo of President Duterte in the card.

The government decided to change that and issue a new OFW card – the OFW e-Card.

What is the OFW e-Card? 

The OFW e-Card is the new card issued to OFWs. It serves as a proof of membership to OWWA as well as an Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) for legitimate OFWs.

To avail of OWWA benefits, all you need to do is to present the card at OWWA Regional Welfare Office, POEA, Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO). Department of Foreign Affairs, Bureau of Immigration, and the Philippine Embassy in your respective employment country among others.

Why should you get an OFW e-Card? 

There are several benefits that come with it. This includes:

  • Serves as a valid government issued ID
  • Also serves as an OEC or exit clearance, thereby proving the legitimacy of your status as an Overseas Filipino Worker
  • Makes OWWA programs and services easier to access for OFWs
  • Entitles you to waived airport fees like terminal fees and travel tax
  • Comes with security features like QR code and unique OFW membership number for proper verification. This also prevents data breach as well.

The best part is unlike the iDOLE OFW Card, the e-Card application is easy since physical documents are no longer required. There is also now an OWWA mobile app so you can easily keep track of your information.

How to Apply for OFW e-Card: 

You need to meet the following requirements:

  • Active OWWA membership of at least 90 days from the time of card application
  • Passport with at least six months validity
  • Valid OEC or exemption number

In other words, a Balik Manggagawa may apply for OFW e-Card. Per POEA, a Balik-Manggagawa is an OFW who has completed or is completing his or her employment contract and has an intention to return to the same employer, regardless of the job site.

If you meet the requirements above, here’s how you can get an OFW e-Card:

  1. Visit the OFW e-Card application form site from the OWWA website. You can also click this link to load the online application form.
  2. Fill out the online application form.
  3. Choose the OWWA Regional Office where you plan to pick up your card.
  4. Check the box that says “I accept the Data Privacy Policy.”
  5. Click Submit Application button.
  6. At this point, a Confirmation page will appear. Make sure you take a screenshot or list the tracking number. The tracking number will be used to check the status of the card. Don’t forget to input your email address or Facebook profile name for the status of your card.
  7. Use this link (Delivery Status page) to track the status of your card.
  8. Once the card is ready for pickup, claim your e-Card at the place you designated.

Take note that OFW e-Card is FREE of charge. You can also apply for one even while you’re abroad. Apparently, you can only claim this in the Philippines, which means you can get this while on vacation or assign someone to get it for you.

If you want someone to claim the card on your behalf, make sure your representative will submit original Authorization Letter with your signature and a photocopy of your passport.

For further concerns, you may contact OWWA through the following numbers:

  • Landline: (02) 804-0639 / 833-0244 / 551-3647
  • Globe: (0977) 396-2809 / (0977) 3962-819 / (0977) 396-2818 / (0977) 396-2804
  • Smart: (0918) 605-3017 / (0918) 605-3026 / (0918) 605-3037 / (0918) 6053-046

There are also OWWA and POEA Assistance Desks in the airport to help you address e-Card issues.

What are you waiting for? Get your OFW e-Card ID now.

5 Non-Negotiable Qualities of OFWs to Succeed in the Workplace

What does it take to succeed in your job? The truth is A LOT.

When you apply for a job, recruitment agencies only see what you want them to see – your educational background, employment history, certifications and trainings, and references among others. You need to look good on paper so you could proceed to the next step of job employment.

Apparently, your resume is just a portion of who you are and does not define how you are in the workplace. Trainings and technical skills are helpful and considered by employers, but there are certain qualities you need to have or develop in order to keep ahead of the curve and succeed.

These non-negotiable qualities are:

Ability to Work in a Diverse Environment

Working overseas means working with people who came from different countries like you. This also means you will be dealing with people who grew up in a different culture. Can you handle that?

One of the important qualities employer looks for is one’s ability to work in a diverse environment. Instead of doing things your way, you must be willing to adjust, cooperate, collaborate, and work well with a team, regardless of where you all came from. If you could do that and get along with others, then you could survive and go a long way.

Adaptability

Let’s say you got accepted as a caregiver. It turns out that one of your patients is looking for English tutor for her granddaughter. Since you know the language well, you decided to sign up for it, for additional pay, of course. Who knows, this could pave into something bigger.

Working overseas means you need to be able to adapt to whatever situation is thrown at you, good or bad. You must be willing to make adjustments and accept new roles – as long as you are compensated accordingly. For you, it’s about additional income but for your employer, they could see something positive in you.

Speaking of English, you should also have this next skill.

Good Communication Skills

English is considered as a universal language for a reason – majority of the people can at least understand it. This is why Filipinos often have the edge because speaking and learning English is part of our culture. This will make it easier to communicate with people in the workplace and avoid work barriers like confusion or misunderstanding.

Still, don’t limit yourself to learning English. You should also make an effort to learn the language of the country where you’re working. You can check YouTube videos for language tutorials or apply in TESDA for specific language course. Don’t worry. It’s free.

Visionary 

OFW life is not forever. This is why you are advised to make the most out of your stay while you still can. While you are there, you need to have a vision.

What does this mean?

You need to have an ambition not just for yourself but also for your family. You need to envision financial stability and security, and use it as a motivation to work harder and persevere more. Keep in mind that even if employers are not saying positive things out loud, they do notice your perseverance and effort – and having a vision in life could help you.

Effective Time Management

Do you want someone working for you who is always late or cannot meet deadlines? Definitely not.

To succeed in the workplace, you need to have proper and effective time management skills. There is no room for tardiness or procrastination, especially if you want your employers to notice you.

Prioritize your time and avoid making side jobs that could affect your performance in your main job.

Do you possess these qualities?

7 Practical Graduation Gift Ideas to Give to Your Kids

Few days left until March. This means it’s graduation season again. This also means you are obligated to give something to your kid as a reward for all the effort and hard work done not just during the school year but for the entire time s/he is in school.

Apparently, giving gifts means you need to spend (again). Surely, your kids will ask you things like new phone, or a tablet, or a trip somewhere they haven’t been before. If you’re on a tight budget, giving them what they want could hurt your wallet.

What’s your alternative? You can still give your kid a gift, but instead of giving in to their demands, you give them something more practical and useful.

Here are some practical graduation gift ideas you can give:

Your Child’s Own Bank Account

Saving for the future is not solely your responsibility. In fact, it is everyone in the family’s responsibility. For your graduation gift, why not open a bank account under your child’s name? This could be her personal savings account, which she can use for whatever purpose, hopefully, something useful. Giving your kid a bank account too also teaches the importance of saving and becoming more responsible with money.

Is there anything more practical than this?

A Nice, Durable Bag 

Bag will always be a staple in everyone’s life. Whether your kid is heading to college or on his way to look for a job, he will need a durable bag to bring with him. As much as possible, keep it simple and could easily adapt to any given situation.

Does it have to be branded? It depends since not all signature bags automatically mean they are durable. More than the brand, look closely into the material and how it was made. Check the size and if there is enough room for all of your kid’s stuff. .

Journal 

In this digital age, there are only few people who print pictures and actually write about what happened to them. Bring it back by giving your son or daughter a journal. Plain journal is recommended so they could personalize it according to their own liking.

Laptop 

Speaking of digital age, kids these days can practically do anything after making clicks on the keyboard. As your graduation gift, consider giving your son or daughter his or her own laptop.

Before you say “ang mahal naman,” you should know that there are laptops that are within the budget. In fact, you can get a new laptop without shelling more than P20,000. Simply settle for basic laptops especially if s/he will use it for school or work.

If budget permits, you can buy a laptop bag too.

A Nice Watch 

Mobile phone will tell you what time it is, but does your child have to get the phone all the time to check the clock?

It could be tempting to buy a smart watch, but we know how technology is these days and how fast it involves. Sure, you can do a lot with it, but nothing beats the classics. We suggest that you go for a timeless, classic piece that your son or daughter can use at any occasion.

Coffee Maker

Who doesn’t like coffee? If you noticed that your son or daughter loves coffee, give him/her a coffee maker for a cup of fresh brew every morning. 3-in-1 coffee is packed with sugar and going to Starbucks or any other coffee shops for a cup of Joe is not recommended and costly.

Don’t forget to add the beans.

Investment

Aside from his/her own bank account, starting an investment portfolio for your kid is also recommended.

Compared to savings account, investment options like mutual funds or stocks earn more. In a few years, you could already double or triple your money. This could also be a good start for your kids to consider investing as early as now.

So, what are you planning to give to your graduating kid?

6 Excuses that Stop You from Saving More

Before you leave for your job overseas, you promised yourself and your family that savings, among many others, will be on top priority. After all, you need to save for the rainy days and having a dedicated account for savings will really help a lot.

Let’s face it: saving money can be challenging. Even if that is your goal, you always come up with tons of excuses that stop you from saving. These excuses echoed by many OFWs include:

Excuse No. 1: My family needs money. 

Whatever happens, you will always be responsible for the finances back home. You feel that it is your responsibility being the family member who earns more. Blame it on the family culture as well wherein members of the clan feel responsible and obligated to help everyone, even if they are your extended relatives.

Unfortunately, this excuse is the most common and most abused excuse uttered by many OFWs. No matter how much you feel the urge to save, it’s just too hard to say no to your family. Still, there is something you can do about it. It will only take a lot of courage and commitment to say NO to all their demands.

Excuse No. 2: It’s still to early to save. 

You’re only down to your first month overseas. Since your contract is for two years, you still have 23 months more to save, which means you still have time. The next thing you know, your contract ended and you barely have money on your account to help you and your family sustain for at least three months.

There’s no such thing as “too early to save.” The best time to save is now and only now. As soon as you stepped into foreign soil, saving should be on top of your mind.

Excuse No. 3: “My kids / spouse will love this.” 

Being overseas can be tempting. Apart from earning in dollars, you have access to beautiful things that you can’t find back home – most of the time, sold at a cheaper price. You want to share a piece of your life to your family so you always end up buying tons of stuff for them.

It’s okay to spend, but do you always need to send balikbayan boxes every quarter? Limit your spending on material things since these won’t last anyway.

Excuse No. 4: Enrolment Season

Apparently, education in the Philippines is not cheap, especially if you are aiming to send your kids to reputable schools. Once the enrolment season starts, your commitment to savings is forgotten because this “expense” must be paid first.

This is why it is important to save early. You give yourself enough buffer when the time comes and you need money. You don’t need to take tons of jobs in between just to cover tuition expenses since you were able to save early.

Excuse No. 5: Calamity happened back home. 

The latter half of the year is when the Philippines is plagued with tons of typhoons. If your family lives in low-lying, typhoon-prone areas, then it’s not surprising when you always have to send money back home to help with the repairs.

Believe it or not, you can avoid this. Buying a house in a better location may be the best solution, but we know how heavy this is on the pocket. The best you can do for now is to set aside a Calamity Fund that will cover expenses back home. Government agencies like PAG-IBIG also offers Calamity Loan, which you can avail of – in the meantime.

Excuse No. 6: “I need to start Christmas shopping.” 

In the Philippines, Christmas starts as early as September – and this is something you brought with you abroad. You started filling out those boxes just in time for Christmas. While there is nothing wrong with this, do you always have to splurge just because it’s the Season of Giving?

One or two gifts for every member of the family is fine. More than material things, the best gift that you can give them is the gift of stability. Don’t let this take a backseat and constantly give in to your family’s needs and demands. You need to prepare for everyone’s future and the best time to start it is now.

Savings Account for Your Kids You Should Apply For – Now

There’s no such thing as “too early” when it comes to saving for your kids’ future. In fact, the earlier you prepare, the better because you can get ahead. By the time your kids start school or in the event of an emergency, you already have sufficient amount to cover for these expenses. This is why it is also important that you make the most out of your time overseas where you can earn more money.

Aside from preparing for their future, having a bank account for your kids teaches them the importance of responsibility. At an early age, you are also able to instill the value for money on them and how starting early in savings could benefit them later in life.

Thankfully, banks recognize this demand and came up with facilities that cater to children. That being said, here are the best savings account for your kids:

BPI Jumpstart Savings 

This is ideal for kids between 10 and 17 years old. With initial deposit of P100, you can get a savings account for your child in BPI and BPI Family. If you want the account to start earning interest at 0.25 percent, then make sure the account has at least P1,000 for BPI Family and P2,000 for BPI accounts.

Why BPI Jumpstart Savings?

  • Low maintaining balance of P500 and P1,000 for BPI Family and BPI, respectively.
  • Comes with Guaranteed Savings feature, which protects the funds from unplanned withdrawal.
  • The Allowance Transfer facility allows you to deposit money for allowance according to your schedule.
  • Cellphone reloading is available.

BDO Junior Savers Account

If you really want to start early on savings, then BDO Junior Savers Account might be of help. This can be availed of kids between zero and 12 years old. Similar to BPI, the minimum initial deposit is P100 – and you only need this amount to maintain the account as well. To ensure that you will earn interest at 0.25 percent, P2,000 is required.

Why BDO Junior Savers Account?

  • Comes with ATM card and passbook.
  • In case you have an existing BDO account, you can easily transfer money to your child’s account through online banking.
  • In case your child is seven and above, s/he can already request for a personalized EMV debit card as long as the balance is P2,000.

Metrobank Fun Savers Club

Many savings account for kids are limited to a particular age and will require you to “upgrade” or change by the time your child reaches the maximum age limit. If you want something longer, then Metrobank’s Fun Savers Club is ideal for you. Age limit is between zero and 18 years old and minimum initial deposit is P100. The minimum maintaining balance is at P500 but if you want the account to earn interest at 0.25 percent, then the account must have at least P4,000.

Nonetheless, this account only comes with a passbook and has no ATM option.

Why Metrobank Fun Savers Club?

  • Welcome gift for kids
  • Discounts and privileges from partner establishments like Active Fun and Tom’s World
  • May come with free educational trust benefit worth P50,000 IF you met minimum ADB requirement

Security Bank Junior One Account 

Similar to Metrobank, Security Bank’s Junior Savers facility for kids can also be extended up to 18 years old. Initial deposit is also P100, but minimum maintaining balance is P5,000. The best part is this P5,000 could already start earning interest at 0.5 percent, which is twice higher than the other savings account for kids.

Why Security Bank Junior One Account?

  • It comes with a passbook.
  • Debit card option is available.
  • Easy and convenient account opening since you can get the card and apply for online access on the same day.

PS Bank Kiddie and Teen Savers Account

Kiddie Savers Account is available for kids between zero and 12 years old while the Teen Savers Account is for those between 12 and 18 years old. Maintaining balance is at P2,000 to allow you to earn at 0.25 percent.

Why PS Bank Kiddie and Teen Savers Account? 

  • There is no minimum initial deposit and maintaining balance, thereby giving you more flexibility on the account.
  • It comes with passbook and ATM for In-Trust-For account.
  • Free Personal Accident Insurance equivalent to five time the account’s monthly average daily balance.

Did you notice anything? Savings account for kids are easy and convenient to avail. Go to your trusted bank now to apply – and give your child the gift of security.

PiTaKa: A Financial Literacy Program for Overseas Filipino Workers

Did you know that OFW remittances is accountable for 10 percent of the country’s GDP? In 2018 alone, OFW remittances were as high as USD 26 billion. This is why OFWs like you are considered as modern day heroes because of what you can do for the country and as among the huge economic driving force.

Here’s the surprising part: despite earning in dollars, many OFWs are still struggling financially – and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas noticed that. In fact, some still go home with little to empty pockets, thereby forcing them to look for another job abroad.

To address this issue, BSP, in partnership with BDO Foundation and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), launched PiTaKa, a financial literacy program for OFWs that will, hopefully, give them a happy ending – at least in the financial aspect.

What is PiTaKa? 

PiTaKa, which stands for Pinansyal na Talino at Kaalaman, is a forged partnership with OWWA and BDO Foundation, which aims to improve financial literacy of OFWs as well as their families. According to BSP Governor Nestor Espenilla, Jr., the PiTaKa program “aims to change sad stories” of financial struggles into “happy endings.”

For OWWA Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac, the PiTaKa program also aims to change “cultural perspectives about money” as well as “improve the financial standing Filipinos and contribute to the country’s economic growth.”

This program helps OFWs on financial issues such as:

  • Better management of remittance
  • Effective savings techniques
  • How to get out of debt
  • Where to invest your money
  • How to become a business owner

Consequently, the program will emphasize on values formation, which helps in the development of better behavior and positive attitude towards money to improve one’s financial standing.

Unlike other financial programs, PiTaKa helps not just the OFW but also extends its training to OFW families. In fact, they will be taught and encourage how to spend and save wisely and the things they could do to help augment OFW’s income.

What is the mode of teaching? 

Videos will be used as tools, which will be shown during financial literacy lessons. Since the program is intended for OFWs, PiTaKa will be part of the mandatory Pre-Departure Orientation Seminar (PDOS) and Post-Arrival Orientation Seminar (PAOS). The videos will also be used and shown during the General Orientation for OFW families.

PDOS/PAOS and OWWA training providers will also undercover necessary training to ensure that financial literacy will be taught effectively and efficiently to all OFWs.

Why include financial literacy in the list of programs for OFWs? 

The purpose is clear: to properly educate OFWs and their families on how to be regular savers and investors as well as how to handle money wisely and effectively. This way, every OFW will be able to enjoy financial freedom as well the fruits of their labor.

More so, not all understood terms like bonds, investment, or dividends mean. Through PiTaKa, OFWs and their families will have a better understanding of the concepts and be better equipped with knowledge they need to help them improve their financial condition without a family member going away.

When you attend PDOS, make sure you pay attention to this as well. Take notes and don’t hesitate to ask questions in case something is unclear to you. The more financially knowledgeable you are, the better it will be for you in making financial decisions.

How to Get that Dream Home this 2019

One of the many things OFWs save up for is their dream home. After all, who wouldn’t want to have a house they can call their own, right? Plus, shelter is a basic human need and your family deserves it.

Apparently, buying a house is not the same as buying a shirt. For starters, house is more expensive and will entail you to spend at least a million. Second, buying a house means you need to take a lot of adjustments to accommodate this additional expense. Third, don’t even get started with maintenance and real estate taxes.

More than that, at least you have a place you can call your own, no matter what happens. If you intend to make that dream happen this 2019, then you can and you will.

Here are tips to help you buy that dream home this year:

Tip No. 1: Determine the logistics for your new home.

This is the first thing you need to do. Sure, it is the people who makes a house a home, but what kind of house do you plan to buy?

At this point, you need to narrow your choices as to whether you’ll get a house and lot, condominium unit, or a land where you can build your house. Is previously-owned house okay for you as well? Do you want to live in a gated subdivision or non-guarded locations will do?

Consequently, you need to establish the location of your dream home. The price of houses in Metro Manila is expensive compared to settling in nearby provinces. Scout for locations that are near schools or hospitals for added accessibility. Ask around whether the location you are eyeing for is prone to flood or within the fault line, which are important factors to consider.

Also, outline your plans on how you can save and earn more so you could buy your dream home by the end of the year. This way, you can make necessary adjustments and avoid falling short off cash.

Tip No. 2: Create a budget. 

This is a must. You may find the perfect location and the perfect size for your dream home but can you afford it?

This is why it is important to create a budget. This should outline how much are your expenses as well as the money you earn every month. The expenses column is crucial, so look into it closely and see which ones you could forego, say weekly shopping for your family or eating out every Friday night. This way, you could make room for expenses like amortization, especially if you plan to borrow money.

Keep in mind that good saving and wise spending habits are important in making your dreams happen. Set up a budget now and make sure you stick to it.

Tip No. 3: Make those tiny sacrifices. 

It’s okay if you won’t be able to send money every three days or a balikbayan box every other month. That doesn’t mean you love your family less.

It’s okay if you just cook meals at home or refuse to go out with friends every Friday night. You simply know your priorities and that’s what matters.

The point is everyone in the family must do something and contribute to help maximize savings. A little sacrifice goes a long way, which means you might be able to buy that dream home by the end of the year.

Tip No. 4: Look for additional sources of income. 

Your job overseas may be paying you well but don’t just rely on that, especially now that you’re planning to buy a house. At this point, you need to look for additional sources of income to help you fill the Dream House fund.

Your family back home should take responsibility as well. There are tons of businesses they could try without shelling out too much money. This way, raising money for your dream house won’t just be on your shoulders.

Tip No. 5: Try financing. 

Despite the changes in your lifestyle and cooperation of your family back home, the fund doesn’t seem enough.

This is where financing comes in. Banks offer Housing Loan with priority given to Overseas Filipino Workers. Government agencies like SSS and PAG-IBIG also offer housing programs, who have lower interest rates.

The point is explore your financing options, compare rates and other features of the housing loan program, and ask for recommendation before you say yes to one.

Are you ready to get that dream home? Yes you are – and you will.

5 Reasons Why OFWs Borrow Money

You heard it countless times already – save, save, and always save. OFW life is uncertain and there is always a risk that you might be forced to go home due to unforeseen events. There could also be issues back home that could force you to take three or four jobs to cover the expenses.

No matter how hard you budget and save, your account doesn’t seem to grow. Yet, needs (and wants, which should not always be prioritized) never seem to end. You will always need a house, a new car that will replaced the decades old you have on the garage, prepare for your kids’ education, and the list goes on.

What do you do when your funds are not enough? You borrow money.

Check out the common reasons why OFWs borrow money:

Your family back home needs it. 

This is the most common reason why many OFWs borrow money, sometimes even resorting to loan sharks. As harsh as it sounds, OFWs became the instant ATMs for their family – and even extended family – back in the Philippines. They assume that since you are earning in dollars, you earn a lot. Little do they know the sacrifices you need to make just to fulfill their needs and capriciousness. After all, this is your way of making up to them and the time lost.

Education

Tuition fee doesn’t come cheap. When it comes to your kids’ education, you are willing to make necessary sacrifices, including borrowing money, to ensure that they will get quality education.

The good news is you can prepare for this early. The earlier you save up for your child’s education, the easier for you once your child starts schooling.

Medical Emergencies

Nobody wants to get sick. No one wants to get into an accident. Even if your hospital expenses will be covered by your employer, that benefit does not extend to your family members. There is also a chance that the expenses will not be fully covered, which means you need to shell out your own money as well. In case one of your family members are sick, you have to pay for the expenses straight from your pocket.

In case you don’t have enough funds to cover for the expenses, you tend to resort to lenders. It could be a good way to augment expenses,

In other words, applying for a loan is not all that bad, especially if there is a legitimate reason to borrow. When you do, make sure you could pay on time. Otherwise, it could destroy your credit score, thereby affecting future loan applications.

Purchase of Home, Vehicle, or Any Other Asset

A decent house in Metro Manila will cost you millions. Depending on the model you chose, a car will also have a tag price of millions. In other words, buying possible assets will cost you a lot of money – and applying for a loan is a good way to get that.

You have to be careful on this. Since this involves millions, you have to prepare yourself in paying monthly amortization. It is advisable that you make a bigger down payment so you could reduce the costs every month.

Business 

One of the best products of your hard work overseas is by having your own business. Regardless if you go back overseas or not, having a business, no matter how small it is, gives additional income to your family. You can use the earnings to cover monthly expenses.

Apparently, putting up your own business means you need funds to make it happen. If you don’t have sufficient amount yet and you believe that your product or service could help make the world, then getting a loan would be feasible to make that entrepreneurial dream happen.

Speaking of loan, Balikbayad is here to help with your cash needs. Simply fill out our online application form or download the Balikbayad app on Google Play Store to apply.