South Korea in the Perspective of a Filipino Expatriate

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Factors Why OFWs in Korea Can’t Save Money

OFW Financial Literacy Semunar in Busan

Working in Korea, or abroad in general, is one big opportunity for OFWs to save money. Why? Because most of the time, even the domestic helpers, could earn considerably bigger amount of money than in the Philippines. In Korea particularly, a migrant worker can possible earn 4 times bigger than the minimum wage earner in the Philippines. However, despite the fact that OFWs in Korea earn big every month, most could still find it hard to save money. Some even go home without a single peso in their savings account, that’s why some choose to stay as illegal worker because if they’ll go home, they could no longer support the lifestyle that they have established to their respective families.

But what exactly are the reasons why despite the big salary, OFWs in Korea could not commit to set aside part of their income for savings? I am sure there are a lot of reasons, some may say “Wala eh, kulang talaga kahit malaki ang sahod”, or “Isang barangay ang pinapakain ko sa pinas, do you think makapag ipon pa ako?”, or the classic “Kasi nung nasa pinas pa ako, kulang ang binibigay ko, pero ngayon nandito na sa Korea, kahit gaano pa kalaki ibibigay ko, kulang pa rin, kaya bigay ko na lahat”. And if there are no more hugot answers, some will just say “Kasalanan ni PNoy yan!!!”
My point is, the reasons will become endless. Unless otherwise na gusto mo talaga makapag ipon, makakahanap ka ng paraan kahit ano pa ang sitwasyon mo. Pero ano nga ba ang mga humahadlang sa bawat Juan Dela Cruz na makapag ipon? Here are some factors based on my experience as an OFW in Korea. Ito yong mga challenges na kakaharapin ng isang OFW na naghahangad makapag ipon para sa kinabukasan ng pamilya.

1. Homesickness

You maybe wondering, anong kinalaman ng pagiging homesick sa pagiipon??? . Malaki po!! Baka hindi nyo lang napansin, but for me, Homesickness is one hell of a termite eater. Maybe you refer to it as just an emotional feeling pero sobrang naapektuhan po ng homesickness  ang ating pagkatao lalong lalo na sa pinansyal na aspeto.

If you are homesick, marami kang gusting gawin na pwede mo ibaling ang atensyon mo. You can’t just watch movies the whole day to kill boredom and homesick, right? One of the many scapegoats for homesickness is……. SHOPPING!!! Aminin mo man o hindi, shopping can help subside our loneliness. Sino ba naman ang hindi magiging masaya pag nakabili ng bagong sapatos? Lalo pa dito sa Korea, you can buy adidas, Nike or Puma anytime you want. Sa pinas kasi sasabihin mo pa, “Pagiipunan ko yan.” Dito you can buy it using part of your one month salary.

Hindi lang yan, kumusta naman ang mga gadgets? Of course you feel lonely, kelangan mo may entertainment during rest hours para hindi malungkot, so bili ka ng iPad, bili ka ng laptop at bili ka ng bagong cellphone, yong maganda at mahal para swabe ang paglalaro ng COC.

How about clothes? Hello!!!, Korea is very fashionable. Bawat kanto may mga panindang damit. Subukan mo mag ikot sa mga market kung nalulungkot ka, siguradong ubos ang sip manwon mo.
You see? Pag lagi kang homesick, lagi kang naghahanap ng pwedeng mapaglibangan. And sometimes, the hobbies you found are expensive it would take you away from the potential of maximizing your savings.

Oh wait, I guess I need to buy a new DSLR. What do you recommend? Nikon or Canon? LOL

2. Remit All 

It’s salary day!!!

You’re happy, and you’re excited.

Tapos biglang nag PM si nanay sa Facebook. “Anak, kmusta ka na?”

Eto yong mga tanong na minsan ayaw mo sagutin, dahil pag sinagot mo yan, ALAM NA!!! hahaha
Magugulat ka na lang, from the hi and hello conversation, bigla na lang, “ay may utang pala akong babayaran kay Aleng Siona”

Minsan naman, “Anak, ang ganda ng sofa na nakita ko sa mall, sale 50 percent! Pangarap ko talaga yong ganong klaseng sofa, kaso wala ako pambili”

Sometimes you wish you don’t know how to read between the lines, pero pag ganyan na ang linya ni nanay o ni misis, alam mo na yan.

But of course, we love our family, and because we are earning and we have the capability to provide their needs and their wants, we send all the money we have and yes, sometimes including the allowance.

I really commend the Filipinos abroad who are willing to all out support the family, BUT, think again? Are we really helping them or spoiling them?

Hindi porket nasa abroad ka, hahayaan mo na sila kumain sa Jollibee araw araw. Be practical and teach your family to be practical by just sending them the amount they need. No need to elevate the lifestyle if it will compromise your savings.

Always remember that you have to pay yourself too. Pay yourself by setting aside part of your income for savings. 20 percent will do. And the remaining amount, teach your family na pagkasyahin kung ano lang meron.

The rule should be, DON’T SEND ALL YOUR MONEY for remittance. I’m sure kulang pa rin yan kahit gaano kalaki because they tend to also elevate their lifestyle a notch higher because of your money. Ok lang sana kung kaya mo imaintain yan all your life, but hey, your stay in Korea is limited. So think of the future too.

3. No Financial Goal

I remember ang sinabi ng isang pari during our PAOS, sabi nya pag wala ka daw goal, suntok sa buwan ang pagpunta mo dito sa Korea, and I super agreed to what he said.

Importante po na may goals tayo at importante din po na isusulat natin ang mga goals natin.
In terms of financial, how much do you want to save for the whole duration of your tenure? What are the things you want to accomplish or to buy and how much do you need to get it? Things like these are essential to ask so you could be able to plan out your financial goal.

Your goals will somehow prevent you from spending your money to unnecessary things or impulsive buying. You get to weigh if it is a need or a want and most of all, you become wise with your spending. So get a pen, write down your financial goals and put it in a place where you can see it everyday.

4. Lack of Financial Education

I believe that Financial Education is the key to financial freedom. Importante din po na mayroon tayong kaalaman kung paano nga ba pamamahalaan ang iyong mga finances. You can gain financial education by reading books and attending seminars. I suggest you read books of Robert Kiyosaki, Suze Orman and I recommend my personal favorite “The Richest Man in Babylon” by George Clason.

May mga local authors din na magagaling, I recommend Randell Tiongson’s “No Nonsense Personal Finance” and books of Brother Bo Sanchez.

If there are seminars in Korea, grab the opportunity to attend. We are so lucky there are several financial advocates here in Korea na nagtuturo ng personal finance and investments sa mga OFW. Isa na rito ay ang “Financial Literacy Advocates Network” or FLAN na nag coconduct ng mga coffee sessions at seminars on how to properly manage finances and to invest.

Saving is one simple word but very complicated process. However, if you get the hang of it, you’ll realize that saving money is as easy as 123 plus it will give you the confidence to move forward with your life because you know you have a safety net if everything falls down. Gawin nating lifestyle ang pag iipon, wag nating asahan ang tejikum and kukmin dahil iba pa rin ang may sarili kang ipon.

To all OFWs in Korea, God Bless on your financial journey.

17 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thanks din bro. Feel free to share. :)

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  2. Hi...how can reach the FLAN for the seminar?

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    Replies
    1. hi, join this FB group for announcements:

      https://www.facebook.com/groups/320293691443810/

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  3. Good day po... as OFW in So-Kor ano pung savings bank ang magandang gamitin BDO BPI or METRO BANK..

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    Replies
    1. Personally I use BPI kasi mas mataas ang interest nila for savings compared to others. Pero mas madali yata ang metrobank dito kasi they have offices here in SoKor. Kaya bago ako umalis ng pinas, nagpaopen na ako ng acct sa Bpi at pagdating dito sa korea, pinaconnect ko sa korean bank called WOORI bank so I can conveniently transfer mu savings from woori to bpi through atm. Meron din akomg savings acct dito, sa woori bank naman. So i have two, woori and bpi. Here's my tip: kung ok ang palitan ng won to dollar to peso, put your savings sa BPI. Kung hindi, put your savings sa woori.

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  4. Thank you po sa info.. God bless

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  5. Ilang hours ang trabaho ng mga factory workers sa Korea? Pag may trabaho ka na, pwede bang mag-part time? Thanks! ^_^

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  6. haha..parang ako sa mommy ko...mami mura ata jan ung celphone..pag nagsale pa, bili moko...hahaha...

    btw..nagwork ako sa call center for a year na... credited ba ang work experience na yun?? wala pa po kc akong physical work experience ee (e.g. sa fast food chain, etc.).. may chance po ba na makapag work ako sa factory??..willing to work nmn...(and not to boast,, mdli na cgro ung EPS kung sakali,,,,kc nkpg korean exam, topik lvl 3 na po ako)

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    Replies
    1. hindi naman required and work experience eh. pwede naman po kayo mag apply as factory worker.. pero just to remind you na 3d jobs po dito

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  7. Pag nakapasa ng exam ng POEA EPS, Sigurado kanaba na makakapasok bilang factory worker?

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    1. passing the exam does not guarantee job placement po. Passing the exam means ilalagay po kayo sa roster na pagpipilian ng mga factory owners. Pero most of the time naman nakakakuha naman ng work ang mga nakapasa..tiyaga at pasensya lang talaga kelangan

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  8. Very informative. It's a good thing you have shared na you opened an account right before flying to Korea.

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  9. Hi
    Ask ko lang if a E7 Visa requires to get OEC in POEA? Kasi hindi ako ma issuance ng POEA up to now ang sabi sakin it is special Visa hope may maka assist sakin about this paalis na kasi ako at hindi pa rin ako nakakakuha ng OEC

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  10. Hello,
    Ang ganda ng blog mo very informative and helpful. Planning to try my luck in Korea. Thanks, keep up!

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  11. Oh man, Thankyou so much for this Blog, very informative, lalo na sa mga may balak makipag-sapalaran dyan sa SoKor.

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