There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God. -Ecclesiastes 2:24 KJV

There will come a time when OFWs’ earnings will stop. Mapapansin natin halos dating at alis lang palagi ang mga Filipinos to work abroad. But according to a research that only 3 out 10 OFWs comes home after many years of working abroad successfully.

…people are destroyed for lack knowledge. Hosea 4:6

There are four thieves or magnanakaw sa buhay ng mga OFWs. I believe that by knowing how to combat these thieves, we will all have a wonderful life ahead of us. Hindi sila uuwi ng talunan at luhaan. But remember that you are the child of the Most High God. Tandaan na hindi habang buhay nasa abroad sila, their children miss them, their spouses love them.

I will bless you with a future filled with hope—a future of success, not of suffering. Jeremiah 29:11 CEV

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Firstly, the inflation happens where there is rising prices of our commodities that weakens the purchasing power of money. Eto yung pagtaas ng presyo ng mga bilihin kaya yung pera natin konte na lang yung mabibili. Noong bata pa ako mga 1980, ang pandesal ay kaseng laki ng kamao ng isang normal na tao, pero ngayon sa parehong halaga, ang pandesal na mabibili mo ay “mini-pandesal” na lang. Yan yung magandang example that money is losing its purchasing power. Hindi mo din naman masisi ang tindera kase tumaas din ang renta nila sa tindahan, overhead costs pa: kuryente, tubig, labor costs, ingredients ng pandesal. Kaya kung hindi taasan ang presyo, then end up to cut the size of pandesal just to break even and earn a bit. These costs are passed on the consumers like us. Eto yung ‘domino effect‘ ng inflation.

 

"Actually, can I have it in Tesco vouchers?"

Secondly, the exchange rate can affect OFWs earnings too. Imagine, if $1 is equivalent to P40, then bumaba ang exchange rate ng P25 na lang, it will massively affect the amount of money OFWs. The problem, pag bumababa ang palitan,  ang sweldo ganoon pa din naman at walang pagbabago, so the OFWs lose out. Exchange rate goes down, salary remains constant.

 

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Photo from GMA Network

But remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you the ability to produce wealth… Deuteronomy 8:18

There is no logic if He gave us the ability of priduce wealth and will be condemned of enjoying it. God wants us to be wealthy! Yes. Why not? Why do some Christians glamorise poverty? This is an irony of what God wants. We are the people of the Most High God, the Creator of the universe, of gold and silver, the King of kings.

Third, OFWs reliance on physical capacity to earn money. What I mean is their full dependency to become a worker up to their old age. Aging is also a thief to OFWs’ lives. Marami nga kanila ay gumagamit ng ibang pangalan at kelangan magpabata ng edad para lang makapagtrabaho. Eh sa bilis ng panahon ngayon, di na nila namamalayan na naka 10, 15, or 20 years na pala sa abroad. Kahit baby face pa yan dahil sa daming kolorete sa mukha, but they cannot deny that they got older,  colder and weaker. Kaya nga sabi ko sa mga nag-aabroad, dapat magaling mag-ipon, mag-invest at mag-business. Hindi pwedeng palaging pa selfie-selfie ng mga bagong gadgets na hindi naman kelangan para lang maipost sa instagram or facebook.

We buy things we do not need, with money we do not have, to impress people we do not like. – anonymous

One time to one of my seminars I told my audience in London, UK: “Please do not get broke trying to look rich. You are not. Why did I know? Because if you are rich, dapat wala ka na sa abroad para mag trabaho. Ang mayayaman, hindi na employee, dapat employer na or investor. OFWs should think of going into business or investments. The fact na wala ka sa level na iyon, mas malamang sa hindi, you are not yet rich. We need to know that our body is like an engine: one day overheat na ang makina natin, kelangan ng mag overhaul. Pero matanda na tayo kaya ang mangyayari hihinto na tayo sa pag work. The problem as we know: “no work, no pay.”

 

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Fourthly, ignorance is also big thief to OFWs lives. There will come a point in their lives where the money will stop coming because they will stop working. Minsan most of them live a life with a “one day millionaire” mentality. Eto ay kawalan ng kaalaman. Kahit nga yung marami sa kanila na nakabili ng malaking bahay, tapos nag retire na, hindi nila alam malaki pa din pala ang maintenance, ang taxes, ang tubig, kuryente, groceries, daily allowance. Nakalimutan nila na marami palang bayarin na akala nila wala iyon. Noong nasa abroad pa sila, syempre puro padala yan sa Pinas. Eh hindi naman sila nakaipon doon sa Pinas. Sila din na OFW hindi din naman nakaipon. In the end, walang nakaipon! One day uuwi na si OFW, matanda na, mahina na, walang ipon. Ang kawalan ng karunungan ay isang magnanakaw sa buhay ng OFW at maliban magawan eto ng remedyo, hindi matatapos ang kahirapan. OFW must intend to say: “I will make poverty a history. I will not pass it on to my children.” Dapat merong ganitong pagnanais na makaahon sa hirap.

The problem is also the lifestyle of OFWs family. Isinasabay kase nila ang luho kase lumaki ang kita. This is ignorance. Noong nasa Pilipinas, doon lang sa turo-turo kumakain, at abaniko lang gamit na pamaypay. Aba noong nag abroad, palaging nasa jolibee at Starbucks sila doon sa pinas, pag uwi busog then tulog at maghapon magdamag ang aircon.

Ignorance also means making uninformed decisions. Nakaipon na sana, pero dahil walang alam sa pinasok na negosyo, madaling naloloko ng iba, usually pa nga pamilya at kamag-anak.

Kelangan sa OFWs must have a plan and monitoring. For example, you wanted to go Baguio, you must check if you are heading there. So yourself where are you now? In Tarlac? Or baka  naman napunta pala sa Bicol which is opposite direction. OFWs also must have other of income through various sources such as business or investment.

The only way to combat these thieves is to keep the money coming from other or different sources even after income stops coming. Kaya hindi pwede na isang source lang ang income. We must remind ourselves na kelan man hindi lagi sapat ang pera because we spend more than what we earn. Ugali na ng mga Filipino iyan. Aminin man natin o hindi, pero most OFWs do not have savings. Hindi sila financial literate. Without financial literacy, they fail to enjoy a better quality of life in the latter part of lives. Without money or having a little amount and insufficient amount of money, no one can enjoy life.

When money flies out the window, love flies out the door.

Tama ang kanta ng Black Eyed Peas: “Where is the love?” Magtatanong ang mga OFWs kung nasaan na yung mga pamangkin, pinsan at kamag-anak na tinulungan nila noon? They are all gone to attend to their personal errands. Pero sila, naiwanan nag-iisa. Kaya nga dapat, wake-up call na magkaroon din sila ng sariling pera sa pagtanda para maging self-sufficient sila without the need to depend on others, and that include their children. Hindi sila pwede laging umasa sa kanilang mga anak na alagaan or tulungan sila pagtanda. Iba na ang panahon ngayon. Kahit mabait ang anak nila pero kung nakapag asawa sila ng hindi mabait, malaking problema.

The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender. Proverbs 22:7

We also love taking out loans at credit cards. Kaya maraming mga matatanda na OFWs na dapat sana retireable na, kelangan pa din mag work. Wala pa ding “k” mag retire sa dami ng babayaran.

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Kelangan sa OFWs must have a plan and monitoring. Plan to be financially stable and monitor their finances. For example, if you wanted to go Baguio, you must check if you are heading there. Baka naman nasa Tarlac ka na lang? Or baka  naman napunta ka pala sa Bicol which is the opposite direction. Again, OFWs also must have other income through various sources such as business or investment. By being engaged on these two “soldiers” OFWs are better positioned for a happier and more secure life in the future. When you are wealthy, you have something to transfer to your generation. God wants us to give some inheritance to our children too.

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A good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children, but a sinner’s wealth is stored up for the righteous. Proverbs 13:22

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