There are some horror stories shared in the OFW circle. I want to share them with you to scare you in a good way to prepare for the future by taking stock of where you are, ensuring proper protection (through insurance and emergency fund) and ensuring a good retirement (through investments and business pursuits).
Eric worked as a seaman while Ana, his wife, is a plain housewife. They employed a maid so Ana doesn’t need to do household chores but instead of taking care of the 3 children she was busy making herself pretty and frequently goes to the beauty parlor to have her hair and nails done. When she was not in the beauty parlor, she can be found in one of the neighbor’s house playing poker or mahjong. The eldest child is the only one who finished schooling and followed the footsteps of Eric in working overseas as an OFW. The second child became a drug addict. Eric sent his monthly salary thinking that all the children are going to school and that Ana is saving money in anticipation and preparation for his retirement. One day, he got very sick so he was sent home to the Philippines and he had to do an early retirement. His illness wiped out the minimal savings he had & had to rely on his eldest son even for basic necessities like food.
John worked in Saudi Arabia. His wife was busy spending his money on beautifying herself, gambling alcohol & her boyfriend. The man lost his money, his wife and most of his kids, as they chose to stay with the mom, and started from scratch as a farmer.
Peter was working in Singapore and was earning big bucks as he was in the oil & gas industry. He bought properties, vehicles and put up a supermarket. He would call home daily raking up a huge amount of mobile phone bills. He realized that his supermarket was mismanaged so he decided to resign and manage it himself but it was too late. He owed a lot of suppliers’ money and he ended up losing everything. Now he earns money driving a tricycle. What is more heartbreaking is that the tricycle is not even his. He borrows it from a friend who lends it to him when not in use.
Maria is a domestic helper in Hong Kong for at least 10 years. She has 2 children who are 15 years apart. Maria always dreamed that after her eldest child graduates from school and finds a job, she will be able to retire. But even before being able to find work, the eldest child got pregnant. Now, Maria is still working in Hong Kong to send her younger child to elementary school and support her eldest child and her granddaughter.
Heartbreaking stories of people who went overseas for greener pastures sacrificing being far from their families only to end up with nothing and worse ending up being bankrupt or going back overseas again to continue working. This is one of my greatest fears – working hard and earning a lot in my younger years but ending up with nothing in my twilight years. I admire my Papa and Mama who planned for my Papa’s retirement from being an OFW in Saudi Arabia and invested in tricycles. This not only gives them income but also is a source of livelihood for a few of our neighbors.
I am thankful to have been introduced to financial literacy by one of my friends. I feel that it was the greatest gift she has given me and in turn I am sharing this precious gift to my family and friends.
I feel sad when one of my friends has been investing in the stock market for quite some time but never shared this information with his friends. If we are true friends we would want our friends to prosper & be abundant as well. Being rich alone is sad. It’s happier if you and all your friends are rich so you can travel together, put up businesses together & set up outreach programs together even maybe set up foundations or NGOs together. Let’s all make our dreams a reality to be financially secure, achieve financial freedom and retire in style (based on your plan). 🙂