9 Sobering Pieces of Advice for Pinoy OFW’s

9 Sobering Pieces of Advice for Pinoy OFW's


We’ve heard many rather pitiful stories about overseas foreign workers who, after years of working abroad, are living very sorry lives.


I have worked overseas myself, so I know a bit of that story first hand.  I wish I had been a bit smarter back then, but as they say, there’s no use dwelling in the past.


In my own humble opinion, every OFW should be smart especially with money matters from the very start.  I had some people who told me that, too,  enough times actually. I guess, I just didn’t listen to them. I hope you read what I am going to say below and really keep those in mind.




Make savings the first item right after your fixed monthly expenses. Cover all the necessary bills to pay and then set aside money for savings. Deposit it in a separate bank account if necessary, then LEAVE it there.




Start investing the soonest you can. The best bet is always buying a piece of land or a house and lot for yourself. There are properties that you can pay in monthly installments of less than 10k, on your own or with Pag-ibig.  Having a land of your own should be your very first investment. It’s a sound investment for many reasons.  The value of land always appreciates. It is also more affordable.  When you no longer have money, you can build a nipa hut on it and grow vegetables, and you’ll still survive.



There are many other investing options for OFW’s now, and I’m gonna write about them in my next post. But the very first real estate properties you start looking for should be land.




While treating ourselves to a nice dress, some pampering, and a nice meal once in a while is also encouraged, when you’re overseas and starting to earn a lot more money all of a sudden, it’s actually very easy for your strong resolve to go bust. Suddenly, you may feel the urge to try posh restaurants and shop till you drop. The very moment you start feeling this kind of dizzy, you should give yourself a real good shake.




It’s normal to want to make our family happy all the time. Apart from the monthly remittance that we send to them, we can also get extra generous on every birthday, anniversary, and fiesta. There’s nothing wrong with giving, but the sad thing is sometimes because they get so used to comfort and not having to earn for their own things, they don’t get the concept of hard work. Worse, they won’t even see the value of what you’ve given them. Worst, they totally don’t realize the sacrifice you’re making for them. So, when you’re old and can no longer give them things, you’ll be the very first one to be let out the  door. And this is really sad: Sometimes, you will be shooed out of the very house you helped build. By your very own family. So, the lesson here is to set limits and set proper expectations for them.




It’s good to have extra cash in case of emergencies. The sad thing though is many struggle against themselves with credit cards. Not many have an unwieldy self-control. Speaking from experience? Yes. The stories of those who get ridden with debt they can’t possibly repay is real. It’s best not to have them at all.




Undertake one realistic project at a time. My story, as with those of many others’, was I was too impatient to see improvement in my family’s life. In short, I took life improvement projects left and right, which led to my financial ruin. So, if you’re already investing in a land or a house and lot while providing for your family’s needs and sending some family members to school, etc., check your finances and see if there’s still enough money for another life improvement project. It is more likely that your other life projects will have to wait. Temper your impatience.




Don’t underestimate the pull of peer pressure. It can get really strong. These are people who forget that their good fortune may not last forever.




Medical costs are rising now anywhere in the world. Minimize the drinking and the eating.  Eat healthy and manage everyday stress. Exercise. Meditate. Listen to your favorite music. Read. These are healthier pastimes.




I didn’t realize how helpful Philhealth and SSS were before a brother got sick. Thanks  to his Philhealth coverage, a part of the cost of his dialysis for a reasonable number of sessions is covered, and thanks to his previous SSS contributions, he’s now receiving a monthly pension. Not so big  but definitely better than nothing.


Coming up next is a post on Affordable Investment Opportunities for Pinoy OFW’s. Please wait for it!

November 5, 2017
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  • Reply Amelie yap

    Thanks for sharing this. Its indeed useful. My bf is currently working in Australia. And i think he should really read this up.

    November 6, 2017 at 6:36 am
  • Reply cindyrina

    It is good to save up and think about future and unfortunate event . This is indeed a reminded for all of us.

    November 6, 2017 at 6:38 am
    • Reply melbetinol672@gmail.com

      Hi Cindyrina! Thanks for paying my website a visit and for the nice comment. I couldn’t agree with you more. I just thought that we sure could use some reminders now and then!

      November 6, 2017 at 7:02 am
  • Reply Linda

    Good advice for everyone. The most important is to stay healthy by eating healthy food and exercise.

    November 6, 2017 at 8:24 am
    • Reply melbetinol672@gmail.com

      I’m glad that you agree, Linda. When we’re overseas and family are not close by, we also can’t afford to be sickly!

      November 6, 2017 at 8:31 am
  • Reply Lamees

    Thank you for this blog. I am an expat and I can understand each and everything you have said

    November 6, 2017 at 10:56 am
    • Reply melbetinol672@gmail.com

      I’m glad to hear that. Your situation may be a little different from ours (in the developing countries), but the idea is the same – to prepare for our future when we’re already old and no longer able to work.

      November 6, 2017 at 11:28 am
  • Reply Rawlins GLAM

    You know what, the advice also applies to me too, even though I am not overseas. Thanks for the reminder.

    November 6, 2017 at 11:31 pm
    • Reply melbetinol672@gmail.com

      I should say you’re right, Rawlins. Save, Invest, Get covered. For old age, especially!

      November 6, 2017 at 11:58 pm
  • Reply Racheal Loh

    great advice sharing here and it has been another round of reminder to me. Ya.. live your life with fullest…

    November 7, 2017 at 9:15 am
    • Reply melbetinol672@gmail.com

      Hey there, Racheal! I’m all for living life to fullest…on the cheap… Is it ever possible? Hahaha.

      November 7, 2017 at 9:21 am
  • Reply Emily

    A very helpful article, which I think a lot of foreign workers will appreciate, not only from the Philippines. People will only appreciate the sacrifices when they have been in these shoes, too!

    November 7, 2017 at 2:00 pm
    • Reply melbetinol672@gmail.com

      Hi Emily! Thanks for the heartwarming comment.That’s true. I guess it’s the reason why overseas foreign workers have to live modest or sensible lives. When their family sees them seeming to have a grand life, they might think they have a lot of money and that they didn’t work hard for it.

      November 7, 2017 at 10:38 pm
  • Reply Miera Nadhirah Tan Abdullah

    this is great.. I agree it can be sad when some employers do not know how to treat their employees well and think they are slaves instead…

    November 8, 2017 at 2:31 am
    • Reply melbetinol672@gmail.com

      Oh, that’s another unfortunate story. Just goes to show how much overseas foreign workers have to sacrifice.

      November 8, 2017 at 4:57 am
  • Reply Sebrinah Yeo

    I agree with especially with no credit cards! Don’t spend the money that you don’t possess

    November 8, 2017 at 3:25 am
    • Reply melbetinol672@gmail.com

      Exactly, Sebrinah! Having credit cards indeed can do something to our brain. Definitely not for the spendthrift!

      November 8, 2017 at 4:59 am
  • Reply Sin Yee

    Thanks for sharing and the advice. Shared to my friends. 🙂

    November 8, 2017 at 4:08 am
  • Reply Ajay chander

    very good advise and lovely explanation

    November 8, 2017 at 7:25 am
    • Reply melbetinol672@gmail.com

      Hi Ajay! It’s good to have you on my website for some time. I appreciate the nice comment, too!

      November 8, 2017 at 7:34 am
  • Reply Reginald

    Wow….this is a wonderful advice and it is very important for one to always have something to show for his or her work. When you work and don’t have savings…it is as good as not doing anything because at the end one ends up regretting.
    Thank you for sharing this with us your fans.

    November 8, 2017 at 7:50 am
    • Reply melbetinol672@gmail.com

      True. As they say, regret always comes late. Sometimes, way too late. Maybe when we’re already old, and penniless and sickly. Thank you for gracing my website with your witty presence!

      November 8, 2017 at 7:59 am
  • Reply Ivy Kam

    Interesting topic, I enjoy reading your story, thanks for sharing 🙂

    November 11, 2017 at 2:19 am
    • Reply melbetinol672@gmail.com

      Thanks for reading my blog. I’m relieved to know that you enjoyed it. Until the next story!

      November 11, 2017 at 3:06 am
  • Reply Zayani Zulkiffli

    I do agree that experience teach us all. I always plan on working oversea, but I also know that saving is really important.

    November 11, 2017 at 5:37 pm
    • Reply melbetinol672@gmail.com

      Great realization. We don’t really have a strong savings mindset where I’m from. Thanks for dropping by!

      November 11, 2017 at 10:38 pm
  • Reply Sharon Lee

    I am sure your post has been really helpful to those in the same position as you! Thanks for the writeups, Really inspiring!

    November 12, 2017 at 9:58 am
    • Reply melbetinol672@gmail.com

      Thanks for the lovely comment, Sharon. I hope so many more will get inspired by this post. Have a nice day!

      November 12, 2017 at 11:17 pm

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