Working overseas is not something that is for everyone. It takes a lot of courage, patience, and determination to survive and thrive in a foreign place with little to no reassurance of success, even.
However, this fact of life is something that Filipinos have come to embrace for the sake of their children and loved ones back home. It is for this reason that OFWs must learn how to properly manage their finances to ensure that their families back home are receiving their hard-earned money overseas.
Bank Account Management: 4 Tips for OFWs
Some, if not all Filipinos, like to open various bank accounts to make sure that their “projects” are well-attended to – may it be a future home, the children’s schooling, or an emergency fund.
This is well and good so long as all the accounts we keep are equally maintained and replenished regularly and effectively. For those who are trying to do that or want to know more about how to do it, continue to read below…
- Pick a bank that best suits your (personal/family) needs.
Every bank, just like every product in the market, has something unique to offer. It is our responsibility, then, as consumers to figure out which ones we want to use and to keep. This speaks about value and relevance in reference to our needs as an individual, family, or group.
Also having several accounts in one bank will make it easier to transfer funds across accounts to meet our unique goals.
In choosing the right bank for you, remember to check if the bank offers competitive and friendly rates. In order to figure this out, you will need to compare and evaluate each bank’s accounts facility. Meanwhile, those who are based overseas can also check if the bank has overseas branches, as well.
Here are some things you need to take note of when shopping for a bank:
- The interest rate earned,
- Minimum maintaining balance,
- Penalty charges, and
- Perks for OFWs
It would also be good to note that the government imposes taxes, so be sure to look out for that, as well.
The benefit of having funds across several banks is that your funds benefit from different perks offered by each bank. Also, the PDIC has set a PHP 500,000 maximum coverage per depositor in case the affiliated bank goes bankrupt, which may or may not happen.
Note: If any of these features are negligible and wouldn’t make a difference in terms of your fund safety and growth, then it would be best to work with one or two banks, at the very least.
- Prioritize the funds or accounts that you need to keep.
Generally speaking, the basic accounts that we need to have are for: savings and an emergency fund. These accounts are the most basic ones that you need to keep to cover your regular expenses, as well as to secure yourself and family in the event of any unforeseen incidents.
However, those who have lenders who prefer cheques as a mode of payment, you may also consider getting a checking. Meanwhile, those who are paying a loan in the bank via Automatic Debit Arrangement (ADA) can get a separate bank account to settle their dues. However, before getting a separate bank account for this, remember to explore your payment options with the bank so that you won’t open a different account for this purpose.
- Maximize your bank’s online facilities.
Modern technology enables us to effectively manage almost every aspect of our life – from time management and work processes to our funds management and banking activities, even.
As most banks now have online banking facilities, it’s easier for people to check their balance, transfer cash from one account to another, and make payments. Also, through online banking, we can also see every transaction made when we use our bank’s online facility.
These features are particularly beneficial for those working overseas because it will make it easier and more convenient for them to check which account needs to be prioritized or funded in real-time.
- Regularly fund your priority accounts.
Of course, having bank accounts won’t be of any benefit if we do not regularly replenish each of these with funds to meet the need it was created for.
Even if you could transfer money online, the purpose of having multiple accounts is to enable you to budget and allocate your expenses accordingly based on your financial needs and goals.
The important thing with account management is to keep us focused on our priorities and to address our financial goals as efficiently and conveniently as we can. To do this, few need to set a purpose for every bank account we’re opening. If we stick with this plan, no financial challenge can derail us from achieving our goals, especially if we practice consistency in saving and spreading our funds across appropriate investment vehicles.