Janice, an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) regularly sends an average of P 30,000.00 to P 40,000.00 (Almost a $1,000.00 U.S) a month to support her husband and two children. After several years of working abroad she comes home expecting a loving husband and two healthy children to greet her. Instead she finds her household in disarray, her children not in school for more than a year; her husband living with another woman, no food in the refrigerator, debts piled up at the neighborhood store, no money in the bank and worst their house is about to be foreclosed by the bank.
The scenario may be exaggerated and may even be fictional but this kind of situation is happening to thousands of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs). The Philippines is one of the largest foreign workers sending country. Statistics show that 1 out of 10 Filipinos are working abroad. Sadly, some OFWs and their families end up worse then what they were before financially then when they left to work abroad.
A study made by the Ateneo de Manila University’s Economic Policy Reform and Advocacy (EPRA), showed that there are quite a number of OFW families that depend solely on the earnings of the overseas worker. These families only focus on present consumption, without thinking about savings and insurance resulting to financial misery throwing away years of hard earned money.
Becoming more aware of this problem the Philippine Government and several nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) are campaigning hard to increase financial literacy among overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and their family members.
Of worthy notice are the efforts spearheaded by Ateneo de Manila University’s Economic Policy Reform and Advocacy (EPRA). EPRA has come up with a financial management primer entitled “Pagpahalaga sa Perang Kinita: A Pinoy Guide to Managing Finances,” in order to increase the financial literacy of OFWs. OFWs are also encouraged to answer a five-question survey to gauge their “financial literacy.”
The primer consists of 13 parts, and covers the basics of financial literacy. It starts with the basics of financial planning, budgeting, protection through insurance, and progresses to more complicated topics on investments. The material is well written and can easily be understood by most Filipinos. The principles found in the financial management primer are not just for Overseas Filipino workers, they can be used by anybody who is interested in learning financial management.
If you are interested to view the primer go to the OFW Journalism Consortium website. This site also contains several helpful topics relevant to Overseas Filipino Workers.