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!!!