As an OFW in Oman, we are generally the kind of people who leave home and our love ones because we want to provide them a better life and a stable future. Some of us may also have opted to work overseas to broaden our careers and gain more experiences abroad. This opportunity of working abroad comes with a responsibility on how to use the hard-earned money in a good way.
Most of us will surely use our money in small businesses that our family or relatives can run in their stead, others by default start to open a savings account to their chosen banks and allow the money to gain interest. There are also some OFWs who opt their earnings abroad grow by investing.
When it comes to ideas of investments, some people find it to be scary. Many questions may pop out on your minds as to how and where will you be able to invest your money. However, there are a number of investment platforms available to an average OFW that are tailored-fit to one’s risk profile.
A risk profile determines how aggressive someone is in making an investment, or one’s risk appetite. The first thing to consider before you start an investment portfolio is to answer a suitability assessment questionnaire. This will determine what kind of investment vehicle best applies to you.
Check out these possible options on how you can invest while you are still working abroad.
1. Mutual funds
Investing in a mutual fund appears to be the simplest of the options. This type of investment takes most of the work out of your hands and places it in the very capable hands of fund managers. Their job will be to grow the money you invested, without you having to monitor it constantly.
Here’s a list of mutual fund investments which you can try: ATRKE Alpha Opportunity Fund, ATRKE Equity Opportunity Fund, First Metro Save and Learn Equity Fund, Philam Strategic Growth Fund, Sun Life Prosperity Philippine Equity Fund, Soldivo Funds, ALFM.
2. Stock investments
Investing in publicly traded stocks requires a certain kind of aggression and some research. Buying stocks basically means becoming a shareholder in a publicly traded company. Being a shareholder means you own part of the company, but only so far as much stock that you own in said company. The bigger your stock, the more you can participate and the more you earn, depending on the company’s performance.
Getting started requires opening an account with a broker, and here’s a list of online stockbrokers accredited by the Philippine Stock Exchange: AB Capital Securities Inc., Abacus Securities Corp., Accord Capital Equities Corp., Angping & Associates Securities Inc., BPI Securities Corp., COL Financial Group Inc.,Yap Securities Inc., First Metro Securities Brokerage Corporation, RCBC Securities Inc. and Wealth Securities Inc.
3. Unit Investment Trust Fund (UITF)
This form of investment involves holding a certain amount of money in trust as part of the investment made. It shares a similar structure as that of mutual funds in the aspect that your money will be managed by fund managers. This is usually offered by banks and differs from mutual funds in the sense that it involves per unit investment, as opposed to shares in a mutual fund.
Here’s a partial list of banks who offer UITFs: Metrobank, BDO, Union Bank, BPI, PNB, Chinabank, Security Bank, EastWest Bank.
Given the propensity of OFWs to save their money in bank accounts, an investment vehicle that may also be available to them comes in the form of bonds. This form of investment is generally offered by large corporations and government offices (retail treasury bonds) as a means of raising funds by borrowing from the public. They have fixed maturity dates.
Here’s a few banks who also sell bonds: PNB, BDO, BPI and Metrobank
5. Real estate
This type of investment isn’t necessarily unusual, but leans more toward preparing for a future home, or a place where to put up a business. This form of investment requires a higher amount of money to start with as opposed to say, mutual funds. The money invested in real estate generally means having enough to make the payments for the land that you have purchased, and the lower the interest rate, the better.
6. Buy and Sell Goods
A great way to make some additional income while working as an OFW is to sell imported products to people back home in the Philippines. You do not have to have a lot of inventory to set up shop, rather simply sell products on a per-order basis. For instance, if you are stationed in the United States, you could sell authentic sports jerseys or makeup products to fellow Filipinos back home. You could advertise your storefront via social media, social media ads, and word of mouth from friends and family.
7. Online Store
Do you have a special talent? Do you love photography and art? If so, use your talents to generate some additional income while you are overseas. For instance, you can set up a storefront on Etsy and sell anything from clothing and accessories, to handcrafted jewelry, to create supplies and tools, to wedding décor. The possibilities are literally endless. If you have a passion, you might as well share it with others and will get paid to do so! If art is not your passion, consider opening an online storefront on Amazon or eBay, where you can sell almost anything imaginable.
8. Sari-Sari Store
If you have a spouse or family member back home who is eager to work, consider setting up a sari-sari store. A sari-sari store is a very common business venture for spouses of OFWs, and you can start one with very little up-front investment. In fact, your spouse or family member could even run this store from your home in the Philippines. To get additional business, consider selling imported items, and make sure your store is located in a place with heavy foot traffic. A sari-sari store is a great way to get your entire family involved, and even teach your children about business at a young age.
9. Food Cart Business
For many Filipinos, having a snack at any given time of the day is a common practice especially when you’re out and about on business or just for pleasure. A great way to capitalize on this is by going into a food cart business. There are many food cart franchises available so it would be best to perform substantial research on which would be your best option with regard to the location you’re targeting. It is also suggested that you go for a more established and well recognized brand, albeit higher priced, compared to an unfamiliar name that the public may not easily patronize.
One of the great things about food cart franchising is that they require minimal labor to operate, meaning you will not have to hire numerous staff members. For optimal results, consider placing your foot cart in a mall, grocery store, or other parking lot with high foot traffic.
And my best recommendation is…
10. Start Blogging
If you have a passion for writing, consider starting a professional blog. As a blogger, you will publish content targeted towards a specific audience on a regular basis. You will make money via advertising sponsorship and affiliate marketing. Many OFWs are highly successful within the blogging industry, and there are many online resources to help you get started on the road to success. Start with a topic you are passionate about, and promote your posts on your other social media networks to establish a strong following. Profiting from a blog will require up-front effort, and may take a while to get started; however, once you start making money it is a business venture that can prove to be highly profitable and enjoyable.
Just remember to always invest according to your investment objectives, time frame and risk tolerance. Make sure that you also diversify your investments.
At the end of the day, it will be you who can make things possible!