Returning home for a vacation or during a holiday is a much-awaited event for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and they want to make the most out of their short vacation – meet their loved ones, eat out in their favorite restaurants, go on a shopping frenzy, go to a local vacation spots or throw parties for friends and relatives. But, many OFWs forget to add in their to-do list some of the most important things that they should do during their vacation – managing their finances.
Here are some money must dos for OFWs that will help you enjoy your vacation while keeping your finances in check.
#1 Have a Vacation Spending Plan
When you arrive in the Philippines, many will most likely become one-day-millionaires by splurging and spending their money on things they might regret later. So, it is best to make a list of what you will be planning to use your money for. You can categorize them accordingly (eg savings/investments, insurance, dining out, shopping, visiting resorts, etc.) Having a budget will allow you to limit your expenses and help you avoid careless spending. Spend your money wisely! Also, bear in mind to have some spare for last-minute and emergency expenses or to pay the fees needed for you to go back to work. You don’t want to resort to taking a new loan to pay for your fees so you can go abroad again.
#2 Apply for a TIN Number
If you don’t have one yet, make sure to have your TIN Number. Apply for a TIN from the nearest Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) office in your area. You would most likely need it when opening a bank savings account or starting an investment account (mutual funds, stock market account, UITF).
#3 Open an Online Savings Account
If you don’t have one yet, open a savings account in an established bank and enroll that account to its online Internet banking facility. It is very important to have your own savings account because it is where you can put your hard-earned money or use when sending money to the Philippines. Before you go back abroad, make sure to activate the online banking facility and learn how to use the service.
There are many benefits to having online access to your savings account- (1) you can monitor your balances and remittances through the internet from anywhere in the world, (2) you can pay for bills (eg utilities, insurance payments, schools, investments, etc.), and (3) you can transfer funds to another person’s account from your bank account. For ease of access, enroll any third party account numbers (Mutual Fund Account Numbers, Stock Market Account Numbers, Insurance Account Numbers, and your family account number online in your online account while you are still in the Philippines. I also suggest having at least 2 online accounts (one for yourself and one for your family in the Philippines.)
Personally, I use Bank of the Philippine Islands or BPI because their online banking is very easy to use. Banco de Oro and MetroBank also offers online banking services.
#4 Avail of Insurance
Getting a life insurance policy is must-do for every OFW – purchase health and life insurance for yourself and your family members. This ensures that the OFW can immediately protect the financial future of his or her loved ones should he or she meet an untoward incident. However, due to regulatory restrictions, Filipinos are only able to avail of insurance when they are able to sign the insurance policy in the Philippines. Talk to a licensed financial adviser/life insurance agent and make sure that they are from a life insurance company authorized by the Insurance Commission and sign the insurance contract while in the Philippines.
#5 Learn How to Save and Invest.
Attend seminars conducted by stockbrokers, banks, and mutual fund companies so that while working abroad, you could start investing so your money will also work for you. You may begin investing in low-risk or high-risk investments such as UITFs, mutual funds, stocks, real estate, and other types of business. While you are here, open an investment account to start you off. You can open a mutual fund account with an investment company or a UITF account with a bank or a stock market account with an online broker.
#6 Manage local accounts
Before you go back to your country of employment, it’s best to manage all other local accounts and financial tasks, like the following below:
- Getting OEC (Overseas Employment Certificate) or any other documents. OFWs are exempted in paying travel tax and terminal fee provided they have an OEC, and these fees are not cheap, so, getting an OEC is a must.
- Renew IDs and professional licenses.
- Current loan payments are paid on time.
- Making sure your SSS, Pag-ibig and PhilHealth are paid for in time.
- If applicable, pay for real property taxes of your house or lot.
Anyways, don’t forget to enjoy your time back home. As time draws near that you have to go back abroad to work, remember that working abroad is an amazing opportunity. Make the most of it by working hard, saving and investing harder. Soon enough, you’ll be back home with your family and living the life you always dreamed of.
photo credit: Tribal mountain chic at the airport souvenir shop via photopin (license)