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How to be a Smarter OFW

Applying for a work abroad has become more difficult nowadays because of the government’s implementation of tighter measures and stricter immigration policies being imposed on overseas Filipino workers or OFWs.

Then again, the number of Filipinos leaving to work in other countries continue to increase. Some even go as far as risking their lives to stay in war-ravaged places, only to provide for their families back home.

Being an OFW is tough. You go through bouts of homesickness and loneliness in ways you’ve never imagined, which is why you need to stay focused and learn to work smarter—not harder.

Here are some tips on what you can do to make the most of your earnings and retire comfortably in the future:

Become Tech-Savvy

The Internet and technology can play a huge role in helping you accomplish your long-term goals successfully. So, it is important to become tech-savvy and explore the web for options.

You may begin by creating a professional profile online and look for legitimate job listings posted on the Internet. This can help you save up on travelling and other costs when you’re looking for new employment opportunities.

You can double-check if an available work abroad is POEA-approved as well. Take necessary measures to verify that you’re not being scammed by an illegal recruiter or agency, since many people have already lost huge amounts of money because of people taking advantage of their eagerness to find work in another country.

Join online forums and participate in web communities for OFWs, as OFWs tend to look out for each other. They can help you when it comes to looking for new jobs, sharing their money management experiences, and warning you about potential risks—if there are any.  

How to be a Smarter OFW
credit: Wikimedia Commons

Become a Global Citizen

Learn a different language other than English, considering that language can be a barrier in obtaining a better-paying job in countries where people are culturally more dutiful to their language.

Aside from learning a new language, make the initiative to improve your skills and be open in taking on new ones. The better-paying your job is, the easier it is for you to put your plans into action.

The Internet is a great place to stock up on knowledge. It is rich with information in all forms of media such as webinars, blog series, and videos. There are also many free courses that you can take online. There’s Coursera and MIT Open Courseware. Even TESDA is now offering online courses that range from Community Development to Information Technology. 

It is also important to keep yourself updated with political news that directly or indirectly affects employment and regulations for overseas workers.

Plan for the Future

Make the most out of your opportunity to earn, save up, and invest for your future.

OFW’s have the tendency to splurge on their loved ones while they’re earning, only to realize too late that they have not been able to set aside any money for themselves for when they retire.

Even before you leave the country, create a plan that includes your monthly spending and how much money you will put away for your family. Make sure that your family is in the plan and understands how important this step is for all of you. Teach them how to manage remittances wisely.

Become a finance literate. Read books or attend workshops and seminars to learn how to create a financial strategy that is suitable for you. Take advantage of auto-debit programs, mutual funds and unit investment trust funds (UITF) for your initial investment.

If you’re planning to start a business, take whatever free time you have abroad to study the market and learn more about it. Make sure that you are confident about your business plans before putting your hard-earned money in it. Avoid being impulsive and be responsible for your finances.

Stick to the plan!

The work opportunities that you have right now may only be temporary. Therefore, you need to make long-term plans and work for long-term goals. Don’t lose sight of your priorities!

You don’t need to be away from the people you love dearly all your life. You can plan for your retirement and make it work so you can finally rest and be with your family.

It will be challenging to stick to your list of goals when you’re around strangers in foreign soil, but bear in mind that the goal in the end is worth all the effort and commitment you put into it. Being smart about it can reap you good returns.

Jonathan is the Head Business Development of, a job listing website for OFWs. On his free time, he likes to read the news especially those that concerns OFWs. 

He publishes articles that guide OFWs in their work abroad, from finding a job and adapting to diverse cultures, to stories about the ups and downs that OFWs go through in their life overseas.

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