Saturday 28 April 2018

OFSI Regular Batch 14: Another Batch of Empowered OFWs

Another batch of OFWs complete the OFSI's Basic Financial Literacy series which had run from April 6 to 27 for 4 Fridays.

The sessions aim to empower OFWs to make better and smarter financial decisions with its power packed instructional, informational and inspirational modules.

This is a Modern Day Bayanihan of OFWs being facilitated by a group of OFW volunteers - independent from any business interests.

Tuesday 5 December 2017

Just Love - An OFSI Christmas Special

 As part of the 5th year celebration of OFSI, the Overseas Filipino Smart Investors, we decided to have a gala dinner inviting all members to join the core team. The preparation was only done for two weeks but the core team members pulled it through  - a gathering which filled both our hearts and minds.

The best part of the night is the turnout of attendance which became a reunion of like-minded friends with performances, games, Q&A and a buffet dinner.

In the last five and a half years, OFSI had conducted 18 financial literacy series composed of 16 hours of extensive sessions and 5 newbie marathon sessions for OFWs in Kuwait and UAE. Testimonials of the sessions can be found in the below link.

OFSI has remained a non-profit organization - independent from any vested interests except to promote Modern Day Bayanihan of OFWs empowering fellow OFWs to make better financial decisions.

The core team believes that we can help change lives by spreading financial literacy. Below is our interview to one of our attendees who agreed with our OFSI Interview - just one of the fruits of the advocacy.

1.     How long have you been OFW? 
Total 10 years of working abroad. I was 25 years old when I started. I already have 2 children who are both in school here abroad.

2.     How did financial literacy help you and your family?
Financial Literacy helped us to be realistic with our dreams and focus on what is really important to us. It also made us realize that money is only a tool and not the end goal.

3.     Were you always wise in your finances? What was your turning point in your financial journey? And what was typical investment for you?

No, I was never good with money. When we moved here, our income had quadruple and yet, we are still unable to save. We even had a negative net worth. This made us wonder why. 

One day, a friend who is a financial advocate came to visit and I was literally forced to listen to one of his talks as I wanted to be a good host to him. That ignited a spark of curiosity and thus became my turning point. Typical investment for me at the time was time deposit and real estate.

4.     Any regrets in your past financial decisions and lifestyle?

We made lots of financial mistakes. First was lifestyle inflation which is very common to OFWs. We spend more than we earn and never track our expenses. Then the realization of the huge opportunity lost for not investing in our younger years.

5.     What are your personal finance and investing tips for fellow OFWs?

My tips for fellow OFWs:
a)      Have clear and realistic goals.
b)      Your investment should be aligned with your goals.
c)      Resist lifestyle inflation and live below your means. Remember that you can afford anything but not everything.
d)      Pay yourself first
e)      Automate your savings as much as possible.
f)       Invest in yourself - read books and attend seminars.
g)      Keep Investment Simple. Study shows that index investing beats actively managed funds and individual stocks picking.
h)      Avoid high management fees on your investment portfolio. Fees are guaranteed but returns are not.
i)        Before buying a house, do the math. Remember that a house is not an asset unless you have plans to sell or rent it.
j)        Know the rule of thumb in investing before committing.

Tuesday 5 September 2017

OFSI Regular Batch 12 completes the OFSI's Basic Financial Literacy series

OFSI Regular Batch 12 with Founder Renz Leano
The regular batch 12 of the OFSI's Basic Financial Literacy series for OFWs completed the extensive 4 days session last September 1, 2017 which aims to empower fellow OFWs in making better financial decisions.

The core team continues to reach out to fellow OFWs. And it is such a huge blessing to be given the opportunity to be a blessing for others.

Below are just two of the testimonials shared by the attendees.

OFSI Regular Batch 12 with the Core Team
Testimonial from Ms. A Ismael-Francisco
"Transformed. Empowered. Challenged. These are what I strongly felt upon accomplishing the 4 Fridays of intensive financial literacy lectures made possible by the dynamic OFSI team. Career-wise, attending the OFSI is one of the major turning points in my life as a professional for I have long hoped for an institution that can provide me an easy and practical avenue for managing my finances. And personally, listening to Bro Renz is one of my so called up close and personal experiences with one of the few influential speakers I came to know. Having to endure 4 hours of speaking, without a hint of weariness, but only with passion and enthusiasm to give all his knowledge and skill to everyone, and with the same level of energy from start to finish of every session, there’s no denying that he is indeed a selfless and generous soul. And, this as well goes to the rest of the dedicated OFSI speakers who willingly imparted their wisdom and experiences.
Transformed. After the know-hows on the basic financial concepts (monitoring SALN, becoming debt-free, acquiring life and health insurance, having an emergency fund, proper budgeting, saving and investing) along with being the best in one’s job having discipline and with the right attitude, I no longer belong to the 75 % of Pinoys with zero financial literacy. I am now vigilant, open-minded and knowledgeable on how my hard-earned money has to be managed, kept and put into good investment for the future and when critical situations arise.
Empowered is the best way to describe myself NOW as an OFW. The several statistics and data presented to us made me realize how uplifting it is to be an OFW, whatever job and earnings one have, still one can do better to improve his/her finances. I appreciated my role better as a contributor to economic growth.  And, since I am capable of bringing more revenues for the well-being of my country, I am deemed never to settle for less, thus, I deserve to retire in a state of best health, happiness and prosperity along with my loved ones. OFSI made me become aware of that with full confidence and conviction.
Challenged. I believe that by attending OFSI, I have taken one step closer to achieving my financial goals, but I know that I have to put the lessons and strategies into practice to fully develop the skills. I will always remember the 2 best lessons OFSI has taught. Firstly, we should always nurture the good in us because it is only in doing so that everything else will be magnified – our actions, values and more so in doing good. Secondly, everything else belongs to God and that we are merely the stewards of our God-given wealth, thus, the major purpose of our wealth is to bless others. And as Bro Renz emphasized, the real challenge now is, while we progress financially, we are also given the privilege to uplift and empower others.

Lastly, a heartfelt thanks to the OFSI Team! May God bless you abundantly and reward your efforts as you continue this noble advocacy of educating more of our fellow OFWs in pursuing financial freedom."

Testimonial from Ms. S. Cagampang:
In Kuwait, it is as easy as a wink of an eye to get a loan worth of 1M and I did took in 2010. And because of the absence of knowledge on how to handle finances, that money was just gone also like a wink of an eye! Had I known, had I at least encountered you/OFSi prior to it, that money should have been very useful, invested and still rolling until now! This is how important to be financially literate! I'm not ashamed to let everyone know of my "kashungahan"😬 At least, I've learned my lessons well...

To our dearest mentor, Sir Renz, no act of kindness is ever wasted. You only lived your life fully the moment you made someone's life changed for the better. Obviously, you've been living life fully! Idol po kita with your advocacy. I started sharing the message to my friends so that I can hopefully help them to be financially literate as well. And they want to get registered na kahit wala pang schedule. 

Thank you is not even enough. I wish you can approximate how deep my gratefulness to you and of course the core team... I pray for good health to all and God bless us always!!!

Saturday 15 October 2016

OFWs into Farming...

Sir, maraning salamat sa inyong financial literacy. Eto po yung isa sa mga bunga!!!

This is the message I got tonight while stuck in the office with our team for a system maintenance activities.

Indeed, we never know what impact we can have on others. What was a low key financial literacy for OFW friends is now bearing fruits for others. A small act of sharing can do wonders if the recipient has a biased for action on whatever they learn.

This is also a testament that OFWs can grow our savings in so many ways and one of them is by investing directly into the agricultural sector.

And for someone who is a farmer at heart, I am so happy to see fellow OFWs who are getting into farming.

The same OFW who is now into farming also invests in financial instruments like stocks. In his last vacation, he also had his insurance needs reassessed and told me that he also stop his credit cards.

I am so excited what the future holds for these fellow OFWs who have become SMART investors - financially equipped and enabled to make better financial decisions...

Saturday 3 September 2016

OFSI Batch 11 of the Basic Financial Literacy Series for OFWs Begins

Yesterday is another well spent late afternoon with 26 fellow OFWs who attended the Module 1 of our Basic Financial Literacy series for OFWs. This is now our 16th batch to conduct including our special batches for nurses and online batch for UAE and yet, the excitement, joy and fulfillment to reach out to fellow OFWs despite my challenging schedule never wavered.

Module 1 is when we go through the foundation of investing, that is, practical tips and strategies on goal setting and saving as well as revisiting our beliefs about money and rich people.

OFSI will continue to contribute in Enabling and Empowering fellow OFWs to make better financial decisions in the hope that we can help in breaking the cycle of family separations just to earn a living.

OFSI - Overseas Filipino Smart Investors

Tuesday 23 August 2016

Is the Fund You Are Building for Retirement Enough

Is the Fund You Are Building for Retirement Enough? This is the question I posed to fellow OFW investors during our recent session.

In many instances, we are saving for our future goals without taking into account inflation. It is the same mistake I made 15 years ago when I started to save and invest.

It may sound basic but the reality is that many OFWs are not equipped with the enough information hence we end up retiring in poverty or barely surviving with our retirement fund. We should not forget that most OFWs do not have mandatory pension funds such as GSIS. And even we have SSS, it is barely enough for our basic needs.

Below is my suggested simple guidelines on how to calculate enough retirement fund.
1. Calculate years to retirement.
2. Get the current monthly lifestyle cost of your desired retirement. Apply CPI as inflation to get the future value of your desired retirement.
3. Get the number of years between your retirement and the usual life span of your family.
4. Determine how many months or years you want to save for it.
5. Calculate minimum monthly investment needed. Apply rule of 72 with the interest dependent on the financial instrument where you can invest your fund
6. Choose the best investment instrument for this goal. If more than 10 years, you may put in stocks - either direct or pooled funds (Mutual Fund or UITF).

This is just general guideline. You still need to sit down with someone who can help you calculate depending on your own circumstances.

Note that long term healthcare should be a separate fund from retirement fund. And we should not forget while building our retirement and long term healthcare that upon retirement, we will have more time for socials as well as become more sickly.

When I ask fellow OFSI members on the biggest challenges they face in building these funds - EXECUTION and CONSISTENCY come on top of the list....

So the key to success in building your funds lies in finding ways to be consistent and becoming biased for action!!!

Be Money Smart Everyone!!!

Friday 19 August 2016

OFSI conducts another Passive Investing for Newbies

OFSI Newbie Session Batch 2
Philippines is the fastest growing economy in Asia. But the big question is how can we feel this growth. While the government has to do more in bringing this growth to the sector where there are more poor Filipinos, i.e. Agriculture sector, we as individuals can make our own initiatives. We can help create small businesses especially for returning OFWs. Meanwhile, I strongly believe that our fellow OFWs can start to invest in paper assets as we prepare to go home for good. Invest in the country for our retirement fund, long term healthcare and children's educational fund. But before that, we need to make sure that the foundation of our finances is strong before we start investing.

Today, thirty fellow OFWs had attended our session for newbies. It is a 6.5 hours session but this did not deter our attendees to be glued from the start to finish. It is such a humbling experience to be in front of our fellow OFWs who are all committed to learn and excited to start working on their finances and investments.

The response for our session is another testament that our advocacy for a Modern Day Bayanihan of OFWs is slowly making a dent to the people around us. Our group is committed to continue reaching out to those who wants to partner with us to be empowered and enabled in making better financial decisions.

A toast to a great retirement for fellow OFWs!!! And Congratulations to our Newbie Session batch 2. Cheers to our journey towards Financial Freedom and Abundance...
OFSI Volunteers while sis Aiki is giving Insurance Tips
Feeling Model :)

Attentive Attendees

Traditional Selfie
OFSI Newbie Session Batch 2