Paris, France – In a workshop I conducted in Paris over the weekend, I asked participants to share their financial practices that help them achieve their financial goals. I often hear generic statements but this group was different because they gave very specific and creative ways in handling money.
I got excited with their answers and decided to write about it so other OFWs can benefit from these effective money management practices.
Income in PH for Needs; Income abroad for Financial goals
Farida Juanday, 43, works as a domestic worker in Paris for the past five years. She shared that the budget her family uses to purchase needs such as food, electricity and transportation come from income derived from the Philippines.
“My husband used the remittance I sent him to establish a business. We agreed that the income from his business will be used to pay for our needs while the income I earn abroad will be used to pay for our financial goals, such as sending our children to school.”
In my book, (L)Earning Wealth: Successful Strategies in Money Management, I also gave the same advice. However, Juanday, raised it to a higher level. She made sure that she enabled her husband to also create income so that the family is not dependent on her.
“This strategy helped us to decide better because it is an easy rule to follow,” she added.
Passive income: Help beyond ones’ financial responsibilities
Ofelia Agaid, 33, is also a domestic worker in Paris. She has been an OFW for six now.
As the eldest sibling, Agaid took it upon herself to send all her six siblings to school.
The family code of the Philippines identified our compulsory heirs. I use the same as guideline on how we should be responsible for financially – children and parents.
I do not include your spouse as a financial responsibility. Your spouse is your co-obligor for your financial responsibilities.
In this case, Agaid’s siblings were beyond her financial responsibilities.
“Instead of consuming all my salary in sending my siblings to school, I created passive income. I got engaged in financing farmers in our town and the interest I earned was used to pay for education expenses.”
Agaid also gave a very effective and innovative agreement with her siblings.
“I gave them an agreement that if they will not be able to graduate, my siblings are obliged to pay back whatever I already spent for them. But if they can finish their education, then they do not have to pay me back,” Agaid said.
This agreement proved to be effective because all her siblings were able to graduate.
Post reality in social media
We use social media to constantly communicate with our family and friends. In fact, this is a very affordable means to keep each other up to date.
While it has its advantages, if social media is not used properly, it could be a source of misinformation or perception.
Remember that people usually ask for financial assistance from people who they perceive as someone who has the means. If you post only the times when you are on vacation, eating out in restaurants or showcasing the new gadget or appliance you bought, you become their target.
Be careful with what you post online, you might unintentionally paint the wrong picture in their heads. Try posting pictures of you at work as well to give a balanced view of your financial standing.
In most Filipino households, budgeting for expenses is usually the responsibility of the wife. According to Agaid, she has a friend who enforces dual responsibility in managing household income and expenses.
“In terms of using credit cards, I have a friend who enrolled in online banking so that both she and her husband can monitor their spending. If one is overspending, the other has the power to block the card,” she shared.
The burden of money management should not be lodged to one person alone. In fact, the best way to manage money is to do it collectively as a family. Everyone, even children, should play a role and should be able to contribute to increase household income and expenses.
Road to financial freedom
There are a lot of good practices in money management. The four tips above are practical, easily applicable and proven methods to improve ones’ financial behavior.
For Juanday and Agaid, their experiences proved to be effective. Try what they did, who knows, these may also work to your advantage.