Last year, a TFT study revealed that eight out of every 10 Filipinos in the UAE were not saving enough for retirement, explaining that their monthly income were mostly spent on remittances to loved ones back home.
Times have changed apparently as this time around, a new TFT survey showed that Pinoys in the UAE will be ushering in the New Year with a resolve to save money, keep a healthy lifestyle, start a business back home, buy property and bring relatives here to try their luck on getting a job.
Indeed, the survey paints a picture of today’s overseas Filipinos a lot different from those of some five or 10 years ago, who were lax with their finances and unmindful of their health.
According to the survey, four out of 10 Filipinos will save money for a host of reasons ranging from covering their parents’ medical expenses as they grow old to preparing for retirement and buying property.
Thirty-three percent said they will start a small business back home like a mom-and-pop street corner grocery store selling basic commodities or a shop selling ready-to-wear (RTW) clothes.
Nine of 10 said they’ll exercise regularly, eat right, and stop smoking and sleeping late. The survey had 2,000 respondents across UAE.
OFWs can plan to open a business in the Philippines as well as invest in real property with confidence owing to the continuous economic growth the country has been experiencing.
According to the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Philippine economy grew by almost seven percent in the first half of 2016.
The multilateral lending institution World Bank has forecast a 6.2-percent growth in the next two years, saying the Philippines has withstood the challenges of the global economy and grown at a fast pace in the past five years.
Colliers International, a global property think tank, said the buoyant Philippine economy is driving growth in the property sector, adding that it’s a buyer’s market where investing has not been as favorable in years.
Bank interest rates for housing loans never been so low – HSBC’s at 5.5 percent; Pag-IBIg at 4.5 percent; and PSBank at six percent, according to experts.
Franz Ramirez-Angeles, a certified associate financial planner with the advocacy group, Money Talks UAE, said the changing attitude of OFWs toward their money can be attributed to the spread of fiscal management organizations and their activities like workshops and seminars.
“I think the activities and events groups like ours are doing have been gaining grounds,” she said, adding that such organizations have now become “very, very visible.”
She also noted that OFWs with a sound fiscal plan are mostly those who have been in the UAE at least for the past three to five years. “Yung mga matatagal na, wala silang exposure sa mga financial advocacy groups. That’s probably one of the reasons why wala silang gaanong awareness,” Angeles said.
Money Talks UAE, for one, holds an annual conference regarding the matter.
‘This year, sarili ko naman’
After a year of sending money home for his loved ones, Joseph Karl Bensi will be saving in 2017 to reward himself – a holiday in mind.
“Buong taon pinapadala ko lahat ng extra ko, alay sa pamilya, kay mama at papa. Sa may birthday at kung anu-ano pa,” said Bensi, who works at a telecom company and lives in Al Rigga, Deira.
He added, “Normal lang ‘yun sa OFWs…nagpapadala kahit naghihirap. Kailangang magpadala kahit paano. Pero ngayong darating na taon, makasarili ako.”
Bensi explained he will be having his vacation and will be saving money “para may panggastos naman ako.”
Fatima Tan, a sales assistant at a company in Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC) and lives in Satwa said she intends to seriously save money in the coming year to buy herself a house and lot.
“Hindi ako makapag-ipon. Maraming bayarin,” Tan said, explaining that her son is with her and she’s been supporting him. “Kapag nagging stable na siguro sya. Lagi kasing hindi nabibisahan, nakakatatlo na,” she added.
Tan, who has been in Dubai for the past 12 years, said she plans to buy a property “kasi kailangan natin iyun sa ating pagtanda.”
“Pagtanda natin, hindi na natin kayang magtrabaho. Kailangang may matutuluyan. Di naman pwedeng tumunganga na lang,” she said.