Updated: August 21, 2020
Where can an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) invest in the Philippines? What are the best investment opportunities available for Pinoys working abroad?
There are currently more than 1.8 million OFWs, who send around 800 Billion Pesos every year to the Philippines.
How is all this money spent? Most go to living expenses — theirs and to their families. And according to the Philippine Statistics Authority, only 2 out of 5 OFWs are able to save for their future.
If you’re an OFW who wants to go back home as soon as possible, then learning how to save and invest is the best way to do it.
Below are six possible places where you can put your money, while you’re still working abroad. And how you can invest in them.
1. Stock Market
Investing in stocks is risky. But if you buy growth companies with a long-term horizon, you can manage your risk and ride through the ups and downs of the market.
Fortunately, there are now several stockbrokers who cater to OFWs. COL Financial, for example, allows Filipinos based abroad to open an account without going to their office.
Moreover, various stockbrokers already have facilities where you can buy and sell stocks online. And you can add more funds to your account through electronic bank transfers and remittance services.
And you can also invest in the global market and buy companies in the U.S. stock market, thanks to eToro. Sign up for a FREE practice account on eToro here.
2. Mutual Funds
If you want instant diversification, you can invest in mutual funds. You can manage your investment risk by choosing among several low, moderate, and high-risk mutual funds.
Thankfully, there are also mutual fund companies that accommodate OFWs today. If you already have a COL Financial account, then you can immediately invest in mutual funds through their COL Fund Source facility.
Related to this, you can also invest in the Home Development Mutual Fund, or more specifically the Modified Pag-IBIG Fund 2, which has been a favorite among OFWs in recent years.
3. Unit Investment Trust Funds
Just like mutual funds, UITFs offer instant diversification for your money. The range of choices is also wide, with different levels of risk that can cater to your preference.
If you have a Philippine bank account, then you could be just a couple of steps away from investing in UITFs. Ask your bank how you can open a UITF investment.
You can also log-in to your bank’s website or mobile app, and check if there’s already an option available for you to open a UITF investment account without the need to visit your branch.
A good alternative to the time deposit is bond investments. They generally have higher interest rates than cash deposit accounts and lower risk than stocks investments.
Your access to corporate bonds might be limited. But you can always ask your Philippine-based bank for government or retail treasury bonds that you can invest in. Again, this option might already be available for you through their website.
Alternatively, if you already have mutual fund and/or unit investment trust fund investments, then you can choose to invest in bond funds instead.
5. Real Estate
From personal observation, Overseas Filipino Workers usually lean towards real estate investments. However, most of them fall into the trap of buying a property that only becomes an idle asset.
If you want to invest in real estate, then promise yourself that you would either: (1) have the property rented out or; (2) sell the property when its value goes up.
In my book, you’re not investing in real estate if what you’re buying is a future home or a place where your family would relocate and live. If you do this, then you’re just increasing your net worth.
If you want to come home as soon as possible, then business investments are the best option, in my opinion. Having one can eventually create enough cash flow for you to replace your OFW income.
Unfortunately, putting up a traditional business has always been a challenge for OFWs. Their absence in the day-to-day operations creates trust issues towards the one managing the business.
On the other hand, they may have family members, friends, or business partners who are honest and trustworthy, but that doesn’t mean they can manage the business well enough for it to succeed.
In recent years, online business opportunities and e-commerce sites have grown significantly. Fortunately, there’s still a lot of room for new ventures. This can be a good alternative for OFWs who want to become entrepreneurs.
Alternatively, they can also choose to join a network marketing business. With products, systems, and processes already in place, OFWs can just focus on growing their downline and not worry much about anything else.
If neither is your cup of tea, then franchising is another option if you want to invest in a business. Again, just be sure that you have someone hardworking, willing to learn, and trustworthy who can run the franchise back in the Philippines.
A few reminders before you invest…
It’s good that you’re thinking about investing. But before you put any amount on anything, be sure that you’re financially protected first.
This means having an accessible emergency fund both for you abroad, and your family at home. That you and your family have health insurance coverage. And more importantly, that you have life insurance coverage.
Lastly, never invest in something that you don’t understand. OFWs are a common target of scammers. So always do your due diligence. And study it first, before investing your hard-earned money.
Photo credit: KC Wong