6 Best Money Management Apps You Should Have on Your Phone

How many times have you heard of the terms “budgeting,” “money management,” or “saving?” Even here in Balikbayad, we always stress the importance of these terms because we want to see every OFW succeed even after your contract.

To help you with that dream, we listed money management apps you might find useful to help you achieve financial freedom.

Your Bank’s App

Banks like BDO, BPI, and Metrobank have their own app that allows you to access your account anytime, anywhere. Make sure you download your bank’s app because aside from being free, you can easily check how much you have and if there were withdrawals made.

You can check this POST to learn about banks with online banking facilities.

Ipon: 52 Weeks Challenge

52 weeks challenge is popular every start of the year. It gives you an idea of how much you can have at the end of the year when you set aside a specific amount every week. In case you are having a hard time sticking to your saving commitment, then this app could help.

Available to Android users, this app helps you set your financial goal and make sure you stick to a schedule. It also helps you keep track of how much you have, shows you a progress record, and sends you reminders in case it’s time to set aside the amount you promised to save. Don’t worry. This one is free as well.

You Need a Budget

From the name itself, you can easily tell that this app is designed for people who, well, need a budget. Apparently, budgeting is not that easy. This is why this app promises to make budgeting easier for you by providing features such as Goal Tracking, Debt Paydown, and Bank Syncing among others.

You Need a Budget is also free and available for both Android and iOS users.

Splitwise

Are you sharing a house with fellow Filipinos? This can be a good way to augment rental expenses, but how sure are you that everyone is paying their dues?

The good news is Splitwise can help you with that. Available for both iOS and Android users, this app track a particular expense shared by multiple individuals to ensure that everyone pays equally and on time. You can even keep track of those who owe you money and you can also note how much you owe someone.

Home Budget

Every OFW spouse must have this app. Home Budget is designed to track bills, expenses, account balances, and everything else related to home budgeting. There are also graphs and charts to show you whether or not your spouse is exceeding the monthly budget you set.

Similar to other apps, Home Budget is also free and available to iOS and Android users.

Daily Expenses

Let’s face it: keeping track of your daily expenses is challenging. Nonetheless, you have to do it because you need to see where your money goes and make necessary adjustments in your budget for bigger savings. The good news is this app can help to help you become smarter with your money.

The key here is to update the app as soon as you spend, otherwise, it won’t be much useful to you. Unfortunately, Daily Expenses app is only available to Android users.

What are you waiting for? Start downloading these apps as your first step towards financial freedom.

OFW’s Guide to Getting Your First Credit Card

Credit card can be essential these days. Instead of bringing cash, you can pay for your purchases using a credit card (and promise to pay them in full!). Apparently, not everyone can be given a credit card. Credit card companies are closely looking at your background and credit score to make sure that they will get paid no matter what happens. Some companies have even stricter requirements.

Still, this doesn’t mean you won’t be given a credit card. All you need to do is to ensure these three things to boost your chances of approval:

Have a stable source of income. 

This is a must. For credit card companies, it’s not enough that you have a job. What they need is a credit card holder whose income is both stable and steady.

How can you show that?

Your Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) is enough proof since most overseas work requires two years. Present your employment contract as well since it will show how much you will earn every month. Presenting your remittances can also help you get a credit card approval.

If you have other sources of income such as business or earnings from your investment, then go ahead and present it. Credit card companies will appreciate that.

Open a deposit account.

 

It’s not just enough that you opened a deposit account. Credit card companies need to see that there is regular deposit going on in your account and preferably, with minimum withdrawal.

What you can do is to have a deposit account dedicated for remittances and another account, which could serve as your Emergency Fund. Present your Emergency Fund account since this is always increasing and with little withdrawal happening. Consequently, go beyond the maintaining balance through regular deposit. It is a sign of being financially responsible, which is a big plus. If you can, don’t go below P20,000. Don’t worry. You can do it.

Go for secured credit card. 

You have the option to prove yourself to credit card companies through your income and deposits. If you want the easier way, you can always go for a secured credit card. Mind you, this requires more money because a credit card company will require you to open an account (savings, checking, or time deposit account) and pledged deposit. This pledged deposit will serve as a guarantee for the credit card. The credit line will also depend on your deposits.

Whether you go for secured credit card or just the regular one, you will still be required to comply with the following:

  • Between 21 and 65 years of age
  • Billing statement reflecting your Philippine address
  • Overseas Employment Certificate
  • Certificate or Contract of Employment
  • Work permit or work visa

Tips in finding the right credit card:

  • Go for the bank where you course through your remittances. This will make it easier for you to get approved.
  • Look for a credit card that you can use overseas.
  • Compare annual fees. This could eat up your savings since some credit card companies charge higher annual fees. If you can go for free annual fee, then go for it.
  • Ask for and compare credit card interest rates. There are instances when you won’t be able to pay in full (although this is not advisable!), and high interest rates can be heavy on your budget.
  • Learn about the credit card’s special features such as reward points or rebate.

Despite the convenience and features, handling a credit card requires discipline and responsibility. Take it easy on credit card usage. If you use it, make sure you can pay in full. Remember that a credit card is not an extension of your salary. If you can’t afford to pay the item in cash, then it is best to leave your plastic card behind.

Interested in Franchising? Read this First Before You Invest in One

Let’s say you have a one million in your bank account. How do you plan to use it?

Shopping for your family might be the first thing on your mind, but have you ever considered investing it? Stocks or UITF is a good option, but what about having a business that your family can manage even if you are away? While this is a good idea, starting something from scratch can be overwhelming.

This is where franchising comes into play. Before you say yes to the idea, read this post first to help you decide if this is the right one for you.

What is franchising? 

Franchising is where an individual (like you) or small companies practice and use other people’s perfected business concept. In a franchising relationship, the franchisor or owner of the business concept gives the franchisee the right to use the brand, distribute and sell his products, and implement business techniques in exchange for a franchise fee.

The franchise fee is usually good for one to three years and can be renewed thereafter after payment of renewal fee.

Why franchise?

  • Higher success rate – This is because a franchise is already a proven business model at minimal risk.
  • Recognized brand – The target market is already identified and the brand is recognized by the public.
  • Support is provided – Franchisors have perfected not just the business concept but also techniques and practices that will make the business model effective and profitable. Most franchisors also offer strategies and advice, which they can pass on to their franchisees. Training is also included to help you prepare on how to handle a business.
  • Advertising is included – When you franchise, you also get to purchase, or at least have the right to use the franchisor’s advertising capabilities in order to market the brand. This is essential because most start-up entrepreneurs have no enough money to afford extensive advertising techniques.

In other words, you get to save time and your own money building a business since all you need to do is to follow the already proven business concept. There are no more trial and error, thereby reducing the risk and failure in handling a business.

Any risks or downsides of franchising? 

  • No full control – You need to follow the business model and cannot divert from this anytime you want to. You also cannot easily introduce “gimmicks” to induce more customers, unless your franchisor allows you.
  • Costs to maintain franchise privileges – Apart from the franchise fee that you have to pay, there are franchisors who require payment of additional fees such as royalty fees or a certain percentage from your monthly sales. There are also franchisors who require payment of advertising costs.
  • Success is not guaranteed  – Yes, there is a proven business model, but once it is handed to you, it doesn’t mean you’re all set. The likelihood of success still remains in your own hands and in the amount of time and effort you put into it. Commitment is important, so you have to be prepared.

Despite the benefits of franchising, you still need to be ready since success is not automatic. You have to be prepared because a business is still a business.

Tips on How to Franchise:

1. Choose a franchise. Similar to starting your own business, find something that you are passionate about and suits you best. Identify the kind of product or service you want to offer, check your possible competition, and find out the franchisors offering such product or service you are eyeing for.

2. Go for a brand. Name recall is important in business. This will make it easier for you to market the franchise without paying for expensive advertising costs. Still, more is not always better since you might have a hard time penetrating the market.

3. Legitimacy is important. It is imperative that the franchise is registered with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). There are also legitimate franchise groups around, so check if your chosen franchisor is a member of one.

4. Look into the business model. This is important. You are buying the rights to use an established business model. Therefore, ask about support, research and development, and training schedules, and whether these are included in the business model.

Now that you finally decided to franchise, make sure you provide the following documents upon application:

  • Franchising application form
  • Letter of Intent to franchise
  • Site location proposal
  • Business documents like Business Name Registration (from DTI), barangay clearance, and business or Mayor’s permit
  • Payment for Franchise fee, which varies per franchisor

With this information in mind, are you ready to get into franchising? Give it a try. Don’t worry. Balikbayad is here to help.

Get to Know Debt a Little Bit Better

Debt – how much do you know about it?

For many, debt is evil. It restricts you, prevents you from growing your money, and leaves you under financial obligation for many years. Some even call it as “multo” because it haunts you even during your sleep. For others, debt can be good – as long as you used it for the right purpose.

So, what exactly is debt? What situations led you to being in debt?

Debt, defined. 

According to online website Investopedia, debt is the amount of money you borrowed from another person or entity. Individuals, small business, and even large corporations borrow money from banks or other lending entities to finance bigger purchases they can’t normally afford given the existing cashflow.

There are many kinds of debt:

  • Credit card debt
  • Consumer debt or money your borrowed to purchase or pay off items that depreciate or with no substantial resale value. Examples are buying a new phone or payment of medical expenses.
  • Mortgage debt, which is secured by any type of asset such as house, car, or deposits.
  • Investment debt or a type of financial obligation that you take in order to generate cash flow, free up funds, and build wealth. For instance, you borrow money to purchase stocks or renovate a property that you will put up for rent.
  • Business debt, which is money you borrowed to start a business.

Regardless of the kind of debt, one thing is for sure: you will pay for a specific amount plus interest on a given date. In case you are unable to pay, the lender can foreclose the mortgages asset or worse, file a collection case against you and garnish whatever asset is under your name – which you don’t want to happen.

On a simpler level, why are you in debt? What attitude led you to being in debt?

Sources of Debt

Source No. 1: You spend tomorrow’s income today. 

“May sweldo naman sa katapusan,” you might say. In fact, you feel confident that you can get by every month because you know that you will get your salary. In case you fell short before the end of the month, you decided to borrow money since you can pay it by the 30th anyway.

That is a wrong mindset. Spending money you don’t have yet – even if you will get them at the end of the month – is the reason why you and many other people are in debt. Advancing tomorrow’s income is a big no-no.

Source No. 2: You and your family keep up too much with the trend.

 Many OFW families are guilty of this. Earning in dollars allows you to earn more, which means you can now afford the things you say no to before. Since you are away from your family, the way you could think of to make your presence felt is to send them things they asked you to buy.

What if you can no longer afford it? You take a second (or even third) job. Or you apply for a loan and promise to pay for it by the end of the month. See, it’s a never-ending cycle.

Source No. 3: Sudden change in lifestyle. 

This is in relation to source no. 2. The sudden change in lifestyle allows you and your family to live the life. Apparently, the problem lies when your contract ended and there is no immediate job waiting for you. The bigger problem is you and your family refuse to change your lifestyle and live simply. To afford the things you were used to, you resorted to borrowing – one of the bad reasons for getting a loan.

Source No. 4: You don’t have a defined long-term goals. 

Long-term goals are crucial in attaining financial freedom. It keeps you focused and grounded because you are saving up for something. You become more hardworking as well because you know that after all the sacrifices, you will be able to afford a new house or car. Without these long-term goals, you will continuously live in the present and not worry about the future. This creates a vicious cycle of borrowing and before you know it, you are buried in debt.

Build Your Wealth with These 5 Simple Steps

Every person in the planet wants to live a comfortable life – a decent place you can call your home, provide quality education for your kids, a stable job or business that provides sufficient money, and food on the table. If budget permits, it would be great if you have investments for added cashflow.

Still, all of these will be possible if you start building your wealth as early as now.

Here’s what you can do:

Step 1: Know your financial standing. 

This is the first step in building your wealth. Before you think about investment and retirement, you need to know where you are first, at least in terms of financial standing.

How can you do this? List down your assets, investments, and source/s of income. And then, divide them into two columns: passive and active income. Active income is something you are working hard for like your monthly income and side jobs. On the other hand, passive income means you don’t necessarily give your 100 percent attention but it is still income-generating. This includes investments (stocks, mutual fund, etc) or property for rent.

Once you established where you stand in the financial scale, it will be easier for you to identify what areas you need to focus on to build wealth.

Step No. 2: Determine your financial goals. 

This is another tricky part. You keep saying that you’ll work hard for your family to buy a house or earn at least a million, but how soon do you plan to achieve it?

To build wealth, it is imperative to determine and define your financial goals and keep it as specific as possible. In line with this, you need to establish how much money you are willing to risk for investment and other methods of income that could help boost your fund. You also need to decide how much percentage of your income are you willing to place in a fund. These tricks will help you determine your financial goals in a quantifiable manner.

Step No. 3: Learn to invest wisely. 

Do you really want to grow your money? Apparently, saving is just one of the many things you can do to build your wealth. You also need to consider investing because it helps increase your wealth.

There are many investment options available, so make sure you explore your options. You can also start for as low as P5,000 to P10,000, which is a good amount to experiment on.

READ: Investment Mistakes You Need to Avoid

Ask if you don’t understand anything since investment can be overwhelming especially for first timers. Avoid borrowing money for the sake of investing since it will take time for you to enjoy your investment and getting buried in debt is the last thing you need. More importantly, diversify. Don’t just limit on one investment option or one stock alone. You’ll never know what could happen, so better be safe and sure.

Step No. 4: Avoid committing financial mistakes.

 

To be able to build your wealth, you need to avoid these common financial mistakes:

  • Living an extravagant lifestyle just because you are earning in dollars.
  • Not setting aside a portion of your income for savings or emergency fund.
  • Giving in to every demand of your family and relatives.
  • Premature acquisition of assets or buying properties without clear and sure payment plan.
  • Falling for investment scams.
  • Practicing pasikat mentality.

Step No. 5: Be wise when borrowing money. 

Loans are not bad. In fact, there are situations where it’s okay to borrow money. It’s how you use the proceeds that puts borrowing in a negative light.

Therefore, be careful in submitting a loan application without thinking twice and evaluating the need for such loan. The purpose must be legitimate such as acquisition of property to be converted into an income-generating asset or to finance a start-up business for additional income. This way, even if you borrowed money, it will be compensated by the income you will earn from the business or property.

Speaking of loan, Balikbayad offers loan facility for OFWs to help you finance your cashflow needs. We understand your situation, which is why we are here to help and make borrowing easier and convenient for you.

To Buy a House or Rent First? That is the Question

Why do you want to work overseas? To earn more money? To provide a better future for your family? To help you pay the bills? OFWs will come up with hundreds of reasons on why they want to go overseas, but surely, you will find a common answer. One of them is to buy a house they can call their home.

The idea of owning a house is exciting. It also encourages you to work harder because of the goal you want to achieve. Apparently, owning a house is not that simple. You have to consider other options such as renting as you save for this house goal.

The question now is this: when should you rent first and when is the right time to buy a house? Read on to find out.

Rent if ….

  • The rent is low and you can afford to pay for it every month.
  • You still don’t have sufficient budget to buy your own house and cover all the expenses attached to it such as additional repair or renovation and buying furniture.
  • You don’t have additional source of income that could help cover the expenses. Check out this post to see some of the side jobs you can do.
  • There is no plan of retiring in that particular area and you can’t even commit to staying there for the next 10 years. This means you set a deadline for yourself and your family that you will only stay there for a maximum of five years, which is enough time to help you save for a new and own home.
  • The place where your family in the Philippines is located is conveniently situated near establishments like school, market, and hospital. Again, the intention is only to live in that particular area for a short-term while saving up for your dream home.
  • There is an intent to relocate and retire in the province.
  • The responsible choice is to wait for a few more years because the cost of owning a house could leave you bankrupt, thereby jeopardizing the future of your family.

Buy if ….

  • You have sufficient income stream that will cover the cost and expenses of buying a home. This means aside from the purchase price of the house and lot, you can also afford to pay new furnishings, appliances, and some minor repairs in your new home.
  • You can afford and keep up with monthly amortization. Take note that this must be paid religiously every month, otherwise there is a risk that the property might be foreclosed and taken away from you.
  • There is willingness to pay for real property taxes every year.
  • There is an intention to live in a particular area for good.
  • You and your family want to be in control of the home, with no landlord limiting you of what you can do in the house, which includes repainting the walls.
  • Privacy and the comfort of your family is among the biggest considerations.

Here’s a tip:

Surely, you want a place you can call your own. To help you save money for your dream home, anticipate the costs that come with owning a new home. Add monthly amortization fee, insurance, property tax, and cost of maintenance, and then set aside an amount equivalent to or at least close to it every month. If possible, open an account specifically for it so you don’t have to use it. This gives you enough time to save up for the house while reducing the risk of availing for a Home Loan.

Savings Account versus Current Account: What’s the Difference?

One of the basic things you need to do before you leave for overseas work is to open a bank account, preferably with remittance feature. This way, it will be easier for your to transfer money at the cheapest cost. Plus, you get to have a savings account as well, thereby making it easier for you to save.

Apparently, there are two types of deposit accounts: savings and current account. Learn about the difference between the two and find out the best one for you.

Savings Account

Savings account is the most common deposit account opened not just by OFWs but by many people. This type of account is often used to save and safekeep your hard-earned money to help meet both short- and long-term financial needs. You can also choose between passbook or ATM (or both, depending on the bank).

Advantages of Savings Account

The good thing about opening a savings account is that it is cheaper to open, with some banks allowing P500 to open an account. For OFWs, banks do not have initial deposit requirement (except for BDO, which requires you to deposit P100), which means you can easily and conveniently open an account.

Savings account is also cheaper to maintain, with a required maintaining balance of P2,000 or P3,000. If you plan to get a savings account with remittance facility, maintaining balance is waived by banks, which is an advantage for you since you get

READ: Savings Account for OFWs

Aside from this, savings account, whether a regular savings account or account intended for OFWs, has the ability to earn interest, which ranges from 0.1 to 1.5 percent, depending on the bank. It may not be that big compared to other investment options, but it’s better than nothing, don’t you think? Nonetheless, banks require a maintaining balance to earn interest, so it’s best to take note of that.

Disadvantages of Savings Account 

Apparently, there is a limitation imposed on savings account. Daily transaction limit is strictly imposed, so make sure to ask about it and take note of it.

Also, the medium of payment is limited when you have savings account. In fact, you are only allowed to use ATM or debit card (ideal when making purchases) and over-the-counter payments.

Checking Account

A current or checking account is a type of deposit account used to pay frequent money transactions like payment of tuition fee and bills. This type of account is also required to repay loans by issuing post-dated checks.

Advantages of Checking or Current Account

Having a checking account is ideal for payment of financial transactions since check payment is still the preferred method, especially in business. There is also no limitation as to how many checks you can issue and the amount you can withdraw from the account. Compared to cash, check is safer to carry around. There is also an overdraft facility, which is helpful in case of emergency and you have limited cash with you.

One of the biggest advantages of having a current account is it allows you to separate business transactions and expenses from your personal ones, especially if you have your own business.

Disadvantages of Current Account 

On the other hand, don’t expect to grow you money in checking accounts since this is typically zero interest. Some banks offer interest, but you need to meet their maintaining balance required to earn interest. It is also expensive to open and even more expensive to maintain since the required amount is minimum of P5,000.

You also have to be careful when issuing checks since bounced checks come with penalty fees and worse, imprisonment. It could also cause a negative effect on your credit score, so make sure not to issue checks when your account has low value.

Which one should you get? 

It depends on your needs and financial goals. If your aim to have an account dedicated for savings and remittance, then a savings account will do. In case you plan to put up a business, having a checking account is a must to facilitate transactions more conveniently.

Every OFW’s Guide to Investing in the Stock Market

Have you invested your money already? No, this does not include savings account. By investment, this means you place your hard-earned money in a certain financial product for a specific time, thereby allowing your money to earn more than what you initially placed.

READ: Best Investment Options for OFWs

There are tons of investment options available that you can try. In case you are willing to take that risk in exchange of higher returns, then you might want to consider putting your money in the stock market.

Below are things you should know about the stock market plus tips on how to get you started:

Facts about the Stock Market

1. A stock market is a place that allows you to buy and sell stocks from Philippine-listed companies, which represents your “ownership” in a particular company.

2. There is only one stock market that facilitates transactions and is called Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE).

3. There are two ways on how to earn from the stock market: price appreciation and through dividends. Price appreciation is the increase in value per share of stock, thereby translating such increase as profit. On the other hand, dividend is the distribution of earnings (stocks owned x amount of dividend) to every shareholder in the form of cash or additional stocks. Dividend is given at least once a year but some companies could give as much as twice or thrice a year.

4. You don’t need a big amount to start investing in the stock market. Believe it or not, you can have as little as P5,000, which is already a good amount to familiarize yourself with how the stock market works. Eventually, you can increase your investment to allow you to buy more stocks.

Tips in Investing in the Stock Market

  • Educate yourself about how the stock market works. Know the companies worth investing (also known as blue chips), check the price per share of the companies you are eyeing for (preferably for the last three months)), and keep yourself informed with what’s happening in the Philippines since this will likely affect the prices of stocks.
  • Establish how long do you plan to put your money in the stock market. Stock market can be addicting, especially if you see that you are already earning, so make sure to put a limit on it.
  • Choose a licensed firm and/or stock broker, particularly accredited by the PSE. This is a must because it is through them wherein you will course your stock transactions.
  • Register your account online. Unless years ago where every transaction is done over the phone, you now have the ability to decide and do things on your own (and instantly too!) because of the online tool. This is convenient since you are working overseas and you don’t need a “middleman” to do the buying and selling for you.
  • Think long-term when investing in the stock market. Keep in mind that the price per share appreciates (or depreciates) in a matter of days to years. Hold on to that number of shares you have if you want bigger returns.
  • Do NOT put all of your money in the stock market. The returns may be higher, but the stock market can be risky as well. The key here is to invest a certain amount that will not cripple you and at the same time, willing to lose.

Don’t worry, there are more posts related to investing in the stock market, so stay tuned. 

3 Reasons Why Many OFWs Don’t Have Savings and What to Do about It

Do you have a savings account? If yes, do you regularly (which means every month) deposit a fixed amount in it? If yes again, then congratulations. You are in the right track toward achieving financial freedom.

If not, then what went wrong? What’s stopping you from having a savings account or at least regularly depositing from that account?

Perhaps, below are the reasons:

Procrastination

Dictionary defines “procrastination” as the “act of delaying or postponing something.” 

In other words, you promised to save or open a savings account but constantly delays it and find tons of excuses not to do so (like a sale of your kids’ favorite shoe brand, so you promise to start saving next month and forget about it for the nth time).

What can you do? It’s about having the right and committed mindset. You will never run out of excuses just to delay saving, but if you start teaching your mind that you really need to do it NOW, then you could have a shot of at least depositing something on that particular month until it becomes a habit. The more committed and disciplined you are, the higher the chance of making saving happen.

Lack of Self Control 

You promised to save 10 percent of your monthly earnings and put it in a fund. Unfortunately, you passed by a department store on your way home and saw that big “Sale” sign on the front door. Instead of walking away, you decided to go inside and that “10 percent per month for savings” is gone for good.

What can you do? It’s hard to deny that spending feels better than saving – for now. Consequently, you also feel discouraged every time you see a not-so-big amount reflecting on your bank account. It may be cliche, but all good things come to those who wait.

Keep in mind that achieving financial freedom doesn’t happen overnight. At the same time, it is a combination of commitment, discipline, and (a lot of) self-control to keep you focused on your financial priorities. It’s hard at first, but resisting the habit of spending will help you achieve your financial goals.

Twisted View on Saving 

Have you heard of the term “loss aversion?” This means you prefer to avoid losses to acquire equivalent gains. For instance, you prefer holding on to your P1,000 instead of saving or investing it in order to grow the said amount.

This is where the twisted view on saving comes in. There are people who will hold on to that getting a portion in their monthly salary is equivalent to loss because something is being taken away. If you look at saving as a form of loss, then saving is and will have a hard time being part of your system.

What can you do? Start thinking of saving (or even investing) as a form of gain. Look at saving as a value and understand its value. Once you start recognizing the value of setting aside money, then it will come to you naturally.

The truth is you’re not alone in the No Savings Department. There are thousands of OFWs who are struggling when it comes to saving, thereby causing them financial distress in the long run. The good news is it’s not too late to start saving for your and your family’s future. Start now and don’t wait for that “emergency” to happen. You can do it.

4 Tips on How OFWs Can Protect Themselves against Investment Scam

There are many ways on how you can grow your money. Having a savings account is safe and won’t let you down, although this will yield lower return. If you are willing to experiment, getting a time deposit could be another option. Apparently, savings and time deposit are not the only investment options you can avail of. You can turn to bonds, mutual funds, or even stocks to make your money grow double (or triple).

“Hindi ko naman naiintindihan yan,” you might say.

Sadly, many people are taking advantage of OFW’s lack of understanding when it comes to various investment options. These people will lure you to get this and that and promise higher return of investment – only to realize in the end that it is a scam and your hard-earned money is gone.

The good news is you can do something about it to avoid falling into the trap. Here’s what you can do:

Learn everything there is to learn about investment options. 

It’s not enough that you want to grow your money to live comfortably eventually. Before you invest your hard-earned money, you need to educate yourself first about the investment options out there.

In other words, read up. Use the Internet to learn more about UITF, mutual fund, bonds, and stocks among others. If time (and budget) permits, attend seminars. Read financial blogs because you will find tons of information there. Join Facebook groups that are specifically for financial purposes and don’t be shy to ask questions. The more informed you are, the lesser the chances of becoming an investment scam victim because you know what you’re getting into.

Choose a company with good reputation and proven track record. 

It’s not enough that you know what you want. You need to find the right partner to make sure that they will help you in making those financial goals happen.

Therefore, choose an investment company with proven track record. The company must not be involved in unethical and illegal practices and at the same time, its leaders must be of people with integrity. Learn more about your chosen company by reading news and reviews about them before giving them your money.

Aside from the company reputation, your preferred investment partner must also be accredited by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and/or Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). This way, you are sure that the company is regulated and recognized by appropriate government entities. Consequently, it gives you a form of guarantee since you know that you – and your money – is protected.

There is no such thing as high return in short period of time. 

“Double your money in 10 days” or “Get your first million in a month.”

Sounds tempting, don’t you think? Since you are serious about growing your money, you decided to give in. Unfortunately, this is a perfect example of scam – and there is a chance you might not get your money back.

Keep in mind that earning from your investment won’t happen in days. It takes time for money to grow and even years to make sure that you meet your target amount. If the offer sounds too good to be true, then think twice before investing. All good things need time to grow.

Everything will be overwhelming at first, but don’t let it stop you from learning and eventually investing. Think about your goals and plans for the family to keep you going.