So, you’ve been working as an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) for years, right?
Let me ask you this: If you will be given an opportunity to visit the Philippines, will you opt to stay for good or will you leave the country for another year?
I’ve been an OFW in Thailand for over a decade now. I remember three significant transitions of my life as an OFW—I came here being single, got married and have now children.
Despite of being together as a family there are times I miss the bonding moments with family members, old friends and neighbors back home.
But the question that most OFWs have asked is: When will I be ready to settle down in the Philippines permanently? How will I know I am fully prepared?
Before you pack up your clothes and buy a plane ticket, consider these seven practical signs to determine if you can come back home for good.
1. When you are emotionally and psychologically ready
For overseas Filipinos who have been away for a long time, adjusting to life back home is not an easy task. Aside from the environment the cost of living in the Philippines is expected to be different. In addition, you may unconsciously use a foreign phrase or words even at your own country.
I remember there are occasions I went back to the Philippines and still speak Thai language instead. I used Thai baht instead of pesos when buying something in the market. Another big adjustment you may experience is dealing with your grown up children. Hence, it’s necessary to speak with your loved ones about your future plan of moving so both of you will be emotionally and psychologically onboard.
2. When you are debt-free
Most OFWs have debts. In fact, they’ve started borrowing money even if they have not started working abroad—from passport application, to applying for visa, to attending training and seminars and buying airfare. On top of that, it’s also quite common for most OFWs to have housing and car loans.
A good indicator that you can settle in the Philippines for good is when you already have paid your outstanding balance from any financial institutions or from someone who lends you money.
3. When you have a house you call your own
We all want to live a comfortable life and one of the main goals of most OFWs is to have a decent house to live. Unfortunately, a significant number of OFWs have no house and lot and they usually reside in one roof with parents and relatives. Unfortunately, you can’t forever rely from your families to support you financially and you need to stand up and make our decision.
On the other hand, some family members of OFWs are renting a house or residence unit. No wonder most OFWs have included building a house as one of their goals. Having a house you call your own is a good sign you are now ready to go back home.
4. When you have built an education fund of your children
Education fund is necessary for OFWs who have dependents. While you have no control over the rising cost of tuition fees in our colleges and universities, you still have control how you will secure an education fund and manage your finances wisely.
You want to have enough to cover your children’s tuition for the next school year, to ensure that there is no disruption. Take advantage of keeping a reasonable amount of money for education fund of your children while you still have a decent job abroad.
When you have secured the education fund of your children or when they already finish college and can afford to find a job, it means it’s time to retire and go back home.
5. When you have sufficient capital to start a business
Before you decide to quit as an OFW, you might want to consider and ask yourself how you will be able to support your family. A good option is to seek out business opportunities that can generate income once you return to the Philippines.
However, to start a business is easier said than done. Make sure you have saved enough capital for a target business. As a new entrepreneur you need to develop skills and have mentors to guide you before going into any business.
6. When you have a diversified investment portfolio
The challenge for most OFWs is how to diversify your investment portfolio or where to put your hard-earned money that will generate reasonable returns in the future.
You can invest in the stock market, mutual funds, real estate and other investment vehicles that are legitimate and recognized by the government. After all, you don’t want to lose you hard-money.
7. When you taught your loved ones to be financially independent
There is wisdom in a saying, “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” Instead of over-remitting teach your loved ones how to fish and not to be too financially dependent on you.
Teaching a person a useful skill can be more beneficial in the long run than filling a need temporarily. A good example is to have a business that would generate income and help them to be more self-sufficient or financially stable.
The ultimate goal of most Filipino migrants is to achieve financial freedom. For highly skilled professionals who receive better pay, it may take only a few years provided they are smart enough to manage their finances. But for OFWs with low income and dependents, it may take some time.
Nevertheless, don’t be discouraged. Set goals and give yourself a deadline. Setting a time frame will give you the direction and keeps you inspired about the progress you’re making.
So, are you now ready to return home for good?
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.– Jeremiah 29:11
To read more financial tips from the author, visit his blog RichlyBlessedToday.
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