Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile once stated that OFWs are the country’s biggest export, hence his decision to vote against the Reproductive Health Bill. The fact remains that over 2.2 million Filipinos work abroad, many of whom have their respective families’ financial well-being in mind.
There is a difference between having a family member help you build a better financial path, and being completely dependent on them for your financial needs, which can be somewhat problematic.
Dependence on OFW relatives for every little financial aspect can create issues within the family, not to mention that it creates a financial problem for the family member working abroad.
If you’re looking to prevent dependence on OFW family members, here are a few tips.
It’s uncommon to hear how OFWs support their extended family members. Studies by the International Monetary Fund stated that many families with members working abroad tend to rely solely on remittances, refusing to find their own sources of income.
An important conversation that needs to happen in your nuclear family is the one regarding financial support. You need to discuss how and who receives support, to set clear boundaries between what your OFW family member will need to provide. Take note that they will have their own needs to contend with abroad, and cannot provide your family 100% financial support.
Your Own Finances
Think about your own finances, or how you can help bolster the remittances sent home by your OFW family member. There is a need for a family to discuss learning more about finances. It’s an uncomfortable conversation to have, but a necessary one. It’s not that your OFW can’t help, it’s that your family shouldn’t be wholly dependent on them.
The family member working abroad may have plans of their own for their future, something that may have been discussed prior to their departure.
Your family member may be there for some time, and it’s important to understand what their plans are for their future, and how their finances will be directed towards achieving that goal. After all, working abroad cannot last indefinitely.
An OFW doesn’t just punch the clock and blend in seamlessly. They must also contend with the racial and cultural differences, along with other social issues that can impact their financial well-being while abroad.
Depending on a family member abroad for every little financial need is a problem. Remember that the reason they left in the first place isn’t just for higher income, but for them to find growth as people.