For many Filipinos, 2023 is a new year faced with the same economic challenges from 2022. Continuous inflation has unfortunately made many Filipinos familiar with food and job insecurity issues by now.
While the record-high peso to US dollar exchange rate has benefitted remittance flows from Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), the increase has been offset by the rising cost of living for recipient families in the Philippines.
Despite this, experts are hopeful that recent developments could still favor OFWs and remittances. Labor shortages around the world have led host countries to reopen their borders and express more demand for migrant workers, particularly in the healthcare and recreational industries. From January to September 2022, 760,000 OFWs were deployed, marking a 40 percent jump from 2021. The increased demand, along with recent deals with destination countries like Singapore and the United Kingdom aimed at improving OFWs’ working conditions, is expected to boost remittances to the Philippines by 4 percent for 2023.
However, the global economy remains volatile. This makes it the perfect time to create and maintain better money habits for a better financial future in 2023.
“The financial landscape has been anything but stable over the last few years. Filipinos, especially OFW families, should ideally still exercise ‘cautious optimism’ when planning their finances for the coming year,” said Earl Melivo, Interim APAC Managing Director.
For OFWs, there is the added challenge of helping their families maximize remittances back home while also budgeting for themselves abroad. Most times, the feasible way through is for workers to make the most of their hard-earned income as they work towards better opportunities.
In the meantime, here are three ways OFW families can save and do more amidst inflation and other economic challenges in 2023:
- Avail special benefits or privileges for OFW families
There are many programs that look out for the welfare of migrant workers and their families. In the Philippines, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) is an attached arm of the Department of Migrant Workers which provides comprehensive benefits for its active members and their beneficiaries. These include medical insurance, livelihood assistance, and scholarships for dependents.
- Maximize value out of sending money
Sending the right amount of money can make a difference. Sending big or small amounts at a time each has its pros and cons. Smaller and more regular transfers are often easier to budget. On the other hand, transferring larger amounts once in a while could be maximized when foreign exchange rates are high.
You can keep track of the latest rates to know when it’s best to send money, such as through the WorldRemit app.
- Set financial goals as a family
A recent trend on social media is forecasting and setting goals for the year. OFW families can ride on the same trend and discuss what they want to achieve together, and as individuals, over a meal and/or a video call. While everyone has personal goals, having specific financial goals for the family in mind, like saving for a downpayment on a house or paying off debt, can help motivate each member to make their own adjustments in working towards this common goal. This is not only a productive start to the year but also a good way to build stronger family connections.
“Budgeting and realigning our individual and family priorities to achieve financial goals may not be easy, but it is not impossible. Services like WorldRemit can help OFWs and their families achieve these goals quicker and support the foundations of a financially secure future in the long run,” said Melivo.
With the projected increase in both deployed workers and remittances, WorldRemit maintains its commitment to champion OFWs—reaching workers wherever they are deployed and staying at the forefront of digital transformation in order to continuously bridge them with their loved ones.
To learn more about creating and maintaining positive financial goals, visit: https://www.worldremit.com/en/blog/