In September 2019, cash remittances sent home by overseas Filipino workers grew to $2.379 billion, at least 6.24 percent higher than the total posted in the same month in 2018. These remittances are a key driver of real property demand and household spending in the Philippines.
This growth hides a disquieting figure: only 3 out of 10 workers and their families are able to set aside a portion of their funds for savings, a recent analysis by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) found.
“As remittances consistently account for 10% of the Philippine GDP, OFWS are indeed modern-day heroes,” explained the late BSP Governor Nestor Espenilla Jr. “Yet we continue to hear stories of OFWs facing financial struggles.”
Less than 10 percent of our bagong bayani are able to invest their money, Espenilla said, as the majority of total expenses of all overseas Filipino workers and their families still go to food and personal consumption. If OFWs can just save 10 percent of their income regularly, the Central Bank official said this would translate to a total potential annual savings of at least $2.6 billion.
According to Gemmy Lontoc, a member of Registered Financial Planners (RFP) Philippines, OFWs must have a clear financial goal that can be achieved in three key steps: Save. Invest. Insure.