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.

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?

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.

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.

7 Simple but Effective Ways to Increase Your Savings

Imagine working overseas for 10 years. By now, you should have your own house, sufficient savings to keep you covered during rainy days, and started investing your money to make it grow. Like most Filipinos and despite earning in dollars, you haven’t reached your P100,000 mark yet.

That is not a good sign.

You might argue that a big chunk of your money goes to your family back home and their never-ending expenses. Sure, you want to provide for them and ensure that all their needs (and demands) are met, but this doesn’t mean you should not set aside at least five or 10 percent of your monthly earnings.

Don’t worry. You still have time to fix this situation. Here are simple and effective ways to help you boost your savings:

Tip No. 1: Train your self to be in Saving Mode. 

Saving is about discipline and commitment. If you want to be successful in boosting your savings, then you need to train yourself and your mind to make saving part of your system. It’s difficult at first, especially when your family calls you because they need this and that, but you need to be firm in your decision to embrace saving as part of your lifestyle.

Tip: Immediately set aside five to 10 percent of your monthly income every month. Place it in a container that is difficult to open. This will serve as your savings or Emergency Fund.

Tip No. 2: Know where your money goes. 

This is also important. Your commitment to savings is the first step, but you also need to know where your money goes so you can make necessary adjustments.

Everyday for the rest of the month, make a list of where your money goes, regardless of the amount. By the end of the month, review your list of expenses and see which ones you can get rid of and what expenses are non-negotiable.

By doing this, it will be easier for you to make adjustments in your lifestyle, which eventually leads to bigger savings. This also leads you to this next tip.

Tip No. 3: Live within your means.

We understand that you want to give the best to your family. Does this mean ending up with zero every month to fulfill their wants? Definitely not.

Therefore, live within your means. It’s normal to feel jealous every time you see fellow Filipinos making it big or showering their loved ones with material things. Instead of trying to keep up with them, use this as your motivation to work harder. Don’t let envy get over your system and think long-term.

Tip No. 4: Involve your family in saving. 

Savings should not solely be the responsibility of the OFW. If you want to increase your savings, then this must be a collective effort.

That being said, talk to your family about your financial goals and make sure everyone will do their part to contribute. Explain to them that not being able to send balikbayan box every month or saying no to their request of having a grand birthday party does not necessarily mean that you don’t love them. There are more important things than material possessions and short-term happiness. When you make saving a collective effort, it will be easier for you to increase your savings and reach your goals faster.

Tip No. 5: Monetize your skills. 

Are you good at something, say baking, cooking, or photography? Take advantage of those skills by monetizing them.

Offer your services, sell your works online, or ask your friends to refer you to those who might need. Who knows, this could be a start of something big for you.

Tip No. 6: Learn more about investments. 

Sadly, many Filipinos are not financially literate. Apparently, lack of access is no longer an excuse. Now that you can find information online, make use of it to educate yourself more about investments, especially during downtime. If there are free seminars about investments, then try attending one.

The more informed you are, the better you will be in making sound financial decisions, which could lead to bigger savings as well.

Tip No. 7: Don’t always resort to loans. 

Applying for a loan will make things easier for you. Apparently, there are loans that you don’t really need and push you in the debt pool.

Before you resort to loans, ask yourself if you really need it. Make sure you identify the purpose of the loan. If the money will be used to start a new business or for investment, then that is a good deal. Otherwise, borrowing money to buy new gadgets or so your family could afford shopping is a big no-no.

Speaking of loans, Balikbayad is here to help. Submit your online application now and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible. In case you are an Android phone user, Balikbayad now has an app, which you can download at Google Play Store. The app is a more convenient way to apply for a loan when you really need it.

5 Things OFWs Wish Their Families Know about Their Life Overseas

We said this several times and we’ll say it again – OFW life is not easy. Yes, earning money is easier, but this means you will be thousands of miles away from your family, staying in a country you’re not familiar with, learning a new language for the first time, and embracing a new culture. Plus, there is always a risk of abuse or getting an unreasonable employer that could make “running away” impossible.

Of course, your family back home are not aware of the sacrifices you make. As much as possible, you try to sugarcoat your situation and make it seem that you’re doing fine when in fact, you are eating twice a day and scrimp on almost everything so you could send them more money.

That being said, here are some of the things OFWs wish their families know about their lives abroad:

It’s a Lonely Life 

Yes, OFWs are in a foreign land and see places they once saw on pictures and postcards. Yes, they earn in dollars, which is way more than what they earn in the Philippines. Amidst all these, it’s usually a lonely life for OFWs.

For starters, being in a foreign land means they don’t know anyone. They have to get used to being invisible since finding a “friend” they could count on all the time. Second, even if there is a strong Filipino community, they don’t get to see them as much as they can, except on scheduled day offs. Most Filipinos they’ll bump into are rushing on their way to their job number two (or three).

This is why it is important to maintain constant communication with their loved ones back home. Somehow, it eases the feeling of homesickness and loneliness.

It’s Not All Glitter and Gold 

Sure, you receive tons of balikbayan boxes as often as you can. Apparently, what you don’t know is the sacrifices OFWs need to make just to fill those boxes.

OFW life is not a glamorous life, unless they’re really lucky with their employer. There are many who are abused and treated inhumanely by their employers. There are many who are considered as professionals and board passers in the Philippines but work as factory workers or household service workers overseas. OFWs won’t tell you that they ate once or twice a day or that they have to endure the heat at night so they could save on electricity. You won’t hear them complaining that much because what matters to them is to provide for the family.

Money Doesn’t Grow in Trees 

The advantage of working overseas is earning in dollars or any other currency. With how the peso is doing, it’s safe to say that OFWs are earning big and earning more.

Still, this money is a product of their hard work. This money is a result of two or more jobs they have to take to ensure that you get to pay the bills on time, kids go to school, and make everyone happy.

That being said, avoid asking them to spend on unnecessary things. Don’t force OFWs to sponsor your every baptism, birthday, and whatever celebration in the family. There are more important things OFWs have to worry about and they’ll do that by making the most out of their stay there, which leads you to this next concern.

They Don’t Prioritize Themselves

Every OFW you will meet have different reasons why they want to work overseas. Still, the most common answer is they’re doing it for their family. This is why when it comes to their Priority List, their own selves are on the last.

Most OFWs will do whatever it takes to earn more money that they could send back home – even if it means sacrificing their selves. This includes still coming to work despite being sick or take multiple jobs even if their body could no longer handle it.

There’s No Place Like Home

There are countries that are way better than the Philippines in terms of government services, roads, and overall way of living. Still, OFWs would forget about that in exchange of being back home. Like what many always say, iba parin sa Pilipinas.

What’s the bottom line? Recognize the efforts of OFW family members and be more reasonable. They’re doing their part in ensuring your family’s future. Do your part as well.

Heads Up and Say Hello to Balikbayad App

Smartphones are important these days. Aside from making calls and texts, you can do almost everything on your phone – send emails, take pictures or videos and upload them on your social media accounts, communicate with other people outside the Philippines, and even apply for a loan.

Yes, you read that right. With the increasing number of smartphone users in the Philippines, First Digital Finance Corporation, the company behind Balikbayad, decided to launch its very own Balikbayad app.

What’s Balikbayad app? 

Not everyone has immediate access to computer. This is why the Balikbayad app was launched on end of January of 2019 to help address financing needs of OFW.

By downloading the app, you can easily apply for a loan from us even without being in front of the computer. The app is also for pre-approval, which means as soon as you completed the online application form, your details will be submitted for review. Thereafter, you will be contacted by Balikbayad representatives within 24 hours and ask you to submit additional documents.

Why download Balikbayad app?

  1. Minimum Processing Time – You will be contacted within 24 hours from the time you submitted your loan application form.
  2. Easy and Convenient to Use – All you need is to download the app from Google Play Store and you’re good to go. There’s no need to upload documents on the app as well.
  3. App is Free – Yes it is and it will stay that way.

How to Apply:

Step 1: Download the app from Google Play Store (Android devices). Don’t worry. It’s free.

Note: The app is not yet available in App Store (for iPhone users).

Step 2: Open the app. Navigate the arrows for the amount you plan to borrow as well as the term of the loan. Click Apply Now. 

Step 3: The app will ask for your permission to access your mobile phone such as contacts and location. The data gathered will be used to compute your score and will determine whether or not you will get past the pre-approval stage. Click Agree. 

Note: Balikbayad values security and privacy of our borrowers. The information you shared is strictly confidential.

Step 4: Input Employment Information by choosing appropriate details from the drop down arrow. Once completed, click Next. 

Step 5: Input your Personal Information.

Step 6: Click and input your current employment status.

Step 7: Complete the details required for Loan Information.

Step 8: Choose a Balikbayad branch – Cebu, Adriatico, Kalaw, and Makati. This is the branch where you will submit your loan documents.

Once you’re done, Balikbayad will check and review your information within 24 hours from submission. If approved, you will be contacted and asked to submit additional loan documents in your chosen Balikbayad branch.

Tips in Using Balikbayad App:

  • Complete all the details needed, particularly those with asterisk.
  • Make sure to allow Balikbayad app to access your mobile phone. Otherwise, the app won’t be able to check and compute your score properly.
  • Apply for an amount that you can pay on time.
  • Be honest. Don’t put information that does not reflect who you are or your current employment status.

What are you waiting for? Download the app now and apply for a loan with just a few clicks.

First Time OFWs: 6 Tips in Applying for a Job Abroad

Do you plan on working overseas? You’re not alone.

Every year, hundreds of thousands of Filipinos are seeking greener pastures for bigger earnings that will help secure their family’s future. If you’re new in this kind of world, then you need to be careful. There are a lot of fly-by-night recruitment agencies who take advantage of first-timers like you for their own gain – and you don’t want to be part of their victims list.

Don’t worry. In this post, we will enumerate tips and things to remember to ensure smooth sailing application for your first job abroad:

Tip No. 1: Three Words – Reputable Recruitment Agency 

This is the first thing you need to remember when applying for a job overseas.

The good news is POEA is active in going after unlicensed recruitment agencies and ensuring that the same people won’t operate again. There are several agencies who entice people to apply to them by placing high salary rate or compensation package, which could be tempting for ordinary Filipinos. When you pass your application form and requirements, they will ask you to pay the placement fee upfront, which is not allowed. Do not easily fall for that.

Before you apply, start by checking whether or not the agency is licensed or among those who are blacklisted in the POEA website. This way, you are sure that all of your efforts and money won’t go to waste.

Tip No. 2: Apply on Jobs Approved by POEA

This is why it is important to apply to reputable recruitment agencies. Every job order is approved by POEA, which means the government is aware that such job is needed overseas.

Since you are already browsing through the POEA website, you might also want to check their latest job offerings. From time-to-time, POEA posts job vacancies for certain countries and you might want to try that.

Tip No. 3: Transact Directly with the Agency 

You saw this job ad on Facebook and decided to apply. When you contacted the agency who posted the ad, you were told that you’ll just meet somewhere, say Starbucks or fast food restaurant. That is a red flag.

Reputable recruitment agencies don’t send out a representative to meet a prospective client somewhere outside the office. If you were told to meet somewhere, then there is a higher possibility that the job ad is a sham.

Tip No. 4: Tourist Visa is a No-No 

You apply because you want to work overseas. If you were told that you will be given a “Tourist Visa first” and then they’ll fix it “once you’re there in the country of destination,” then don’t push through with your job application.

There is a higher chance that the agency is not licensed. There is also a higher possibility that Immigration won’t allow you to leave the country. Even if you got past through Philippine Immigration, there is a risk that you will be deported in the country where you’ll be working.

Tip No. 5: Placement Fee is Worth One Month of Your Salary 

One of the expenses you need to pay for when you apply for a job overseas is the placement fee. It’s how recruitment agencies make their money, so this expense is inevitable.

How much, you might ask. One month salary and should not go beyond that. Some countries like Canada don’t even require you to pay placement fee, so make sure you are aware of that.

You might ask when should you pay the placement fee. You can pay only when there is a valid employment contract. There must also be a corresponding receipt that indicates the amount you paid for.

Tip No. 6: Say No to Fixers

Admit it. Sometimes, you are tempted to go to fixers to get tickets or for “faster transaction” when dealing with government agencies. Don’t even think about it when you plan to work abroad.

Processing of documents does take time. This is why it is important to prepare all necessary documents needed and ensure that these are complete before submitting your documents. This could minimize waiting time too.

Applying for a job overseas is similar to looking for a job in the Philippines. The difference is that there are more documents you need to secure, which could take time. Just be patient, remember these tips, and soon, you’ll be flying to a different country to help you secure your family’s future.

5 Money Habits to Embrace Now Even on a Low Budget

OFWs earn in dollars. With the current exchange rate, you are earning more than what you can earn in the Philippines.

Here’s the thing: expenses never end. Even if you are earning in dollars, you end up living paycheck to paycheck because of the many financial responsibilities back home. The challenge now is how to infuse savings and investment when you are working on a low budget.

Don’t worry. Achieving your financial dreams is still possible. What you need to do is to embrace the following money habits:

Spend Within Your Means 

Admit it. You’re always tempted to buy the latest gadget or new shoes for your family back home even if it leaves you with almost nothing. You always feel the urge to give them something because you believe that this is your way of showing how much you love them. Plus, you want people to think that you are ahead in life because you can afford expensive things.

Stop that mentality and always spend within your means. Spending more than what you have is a dangerous habit because you might not notice how much money you are losing – even if the intention of those purchases were good.

Stick to the basics to help you save as much as you can.

Know How Much You Spend

Yes, you are spending within your means, but that doesn’t stop there. You need to know how much money is going out of your pocket and the best way to do that is to track your spending.

Every month, plot a starting balance based on the amount of your salary. Then, deduct every expense, regardless of the amount. At the end of the month, the ending balance should not be negative, otherwise, you are spending more than what you actually have.

Make it a habit to check the list and see what expenses you can get rid of. If you want to prioritize saving and investing money, then make necessary adjustments to your lifestyle – and tracking your spending will help you with that.

Schedule Your Shopping 

It’s understandable that you want to send balikbayan boxes regularly to your family back home. How often should you do it?

As much as possible, limit your padala to maximum of twice a year. Set aside a specific time and BUDGET to do shopping – and it should NOT be every week. Watch out for sales or promos and take advantage of it so you could slowly fill your boxes. Buying items anytime you want won’t help you financially. Plus, there are other ways to show your love for your family without showering them with material things.

Again, if you will do your shopping, then make sure you stick to a budget. This is important, otherwise, you might end up spending all (or a big chunk of it) of your hard-earned money.

Use Your Time to Do Something Productive

Surely, you have off or rest days. Instead of using that day, take advantage of that time to do something productive.

Perhaps, your off days is the perfect time to start your own retail online store, look for job opportunities for extra cash, or replenish your inventory for your business back home. You can also use this opportunity to learn something new or catch up with past lessons you took online.

The bottom line is don’t put that rest day to waste.

Cook Your Own Meals 

It’s tempting to just buy food and make your life easier. If you have a lot of expenses on your plate, then you need to make necessary adjustments starting with food.

Instead of buying food, consider cooking your own meals. Plan your meals at the start of the week. If you don’t mind eating the same viand over and over. cook in bulk to make your life easier.

Any other tips you have in mind? Let us know in the comments section.