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OFW guide: How to make every remittance count

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VERA Files | 13 November 2016



Overseas Filipino workers are considered to be some of the hardest-working people in the country. But as unfortunate as it sounds, most of the fruits of their hard work are not put into something that can possibly gain great rewards – which in return, if managed properly, can give them the option to stop working abroad and go back to the Philippines and be with their loved ones.

Based on statistics, the remittances most of them send home are poorly managed by their families. In some cases, they are spent on unnecessary things, like buying the latest gadgets, and dining at expensive restaurants.

And this unnecessary spending can be avoided with proper financial education for both the OFW and their families.

“In order to make a big difference in the lives of OFWs and their families, there has to be a comprehensive, extensive and sustainable personal finance program nationwide. There has to be a program [that] will teach the spouses of OFWs  how to manage their money,” said registered financial planner Alvin Tabañag.

The starting point of the personal finance journey should come from the OFWs themselves.

“An OFW, or anybody for that matter, should not be too busy to make sure that his/her family’s financial future is secured,” Tabañag stressed.

He also added that financial education should be adopted by the entire family, not just the overseas worker. And the most crucial part of the journey is to teach basic money management to OFWs before they are deployed, so they can also teach it to their families before they leave.

Currently, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration offers Pre-Departure Orientation Seminars (PDOS) to would-be OFWs.

“The PDOS is only five to ten minutes, and the topics do not cover much on the subject  of money management,” Tabañag said, “and if you bombard them with too much information, they will just shut down.”

So he proposed to make it an hour-long orientation, wherein the basics of money management will be discussed. He pointed out that it would only be effective if the families of the OFWs would also participate and make the effort to learn personal finance.

“Ultimately, it’s the OFW’s responsibility to teach his/her family how to better manage its finances. Responsible money management is more about attitude and discipline, rather than knowledge and skills,” Tabañag explained.

He also gave initial steps on how OFWs can educate their families when it comes to money management, as follows:

1) First, overseas workers should sit down with their families and talk about the importance of a secure financial future. They should ask them about their goals. After hearing their answers, the OFWs should explain what is required to achieve such goals.

2) Next is to paint a picture of the negative consequences if the families left behind do not manage the money responsibly.

“The problem with a lot of Filipinos, not just OFWs, is they do not look far enough into the future. That’s why they don’t realize or see the long-term consequences of the money decisions that they make today. But if you plan ahead and try to create a vision of the future, then probably, you would think twice about how to spend your money wisely,” Tabañag stressed.

On the part of the OFWs’ spouses, they need to realize and keep in mind that their husbands or wives who are abroad will not be working there for life. The OFWs will eventually return home and the money coming in will stop at some point. And if they do not take care of what was being earned right now, they might suffer later.

“OFWs and their families need to master budgeting and spending wisely, so they can secure their financial future. Just follow a budget which will tell you how much you need to spend for a certain period and then exercise discipline. Make every peso count. Do not spend on impulse,” Tabañag ended.



(Founded in March 2008, VERA Files is published by veteran Filipino journalists taking a deeper look into current Philippine issues. Vera is Latin for “true.”)



Tips from experts on how to achieve financial stability

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VERA Files and Yahoo Philippines | 22 January 2014



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In life, it takes more than just talent and skill to succeed.

As important as physical and emotional health is financial stability.

ABS-CBN News Channel’s, On The Money (airs on ABS-CBN News Channel every day at 3:30pm ) recently gathered a group of financial planners to share their expertise in managing personal finances.

Online definition of personal financial planning is “a process of determining an individual’s financial goals, purposes in life and life’s priorities, and after considering his resources, risk profile and current lifestyle, to detail a balanced and realistic plan to meet those goals.”

Registered financial planner Alvin Tabañag advises to start with the children. It’s like hitting two birds with one stone because teaching children about managing their money properly will also force parents to be also more responsible when it comes to their finances.

“Even if you can afford it as a parent, do not give in to their every demand. If it’s something that they can really live without, then it’s not important, then do not give it right away. You can ask your children to save for it and just wait, instead of just buying on impulse. It’s a life lesson kids should learn,” Tabañag said.

Book author Marvin Germo, who is also a registered financial planner came up with an acronym for his personal finance tip: S.T.O.C.K.S.

Spending on a budgetGermo said that setting a budget before you spend on something can help you control your finances.

Throwback. Don’t be ashamed to recycle the gifts that were given to you, especially if it will not be useful for you.

Opportunities. Take any and all opportunities that will come your way because it’s always a way to increase your cash flow.

Cash is king. Cash gives you the position to invest and even save you in times of emergencies.

Knock off debt. Debt is a big killer. It’s always better to pay off your debt in full before you save, invest or go into anything else.

Start planning. Start out your year, 2014, with a goal. You need to put a name to every peso; is it for your retirement, is it for your investment, is it for you?

Another registered financial planner, Rienzie Biolena, stressed the importance of investing in one’s self.

“It’s the most overlooked, in terms of investments,” Biolena said adding that, “When you invest in yourself, you increase your knowledge, your capability, to earn and expand your resources, and also, you will be able to manage your assets properly.”

Attending seminars and conferences, reading personal finance books, searching the web, and watching personal finance programs are examples of investing in one’s self, Biolena said.

“Nowadays, people are spending like 30-40,000 for a gadget. My question for them is, how much are they spending on themselves to develop themselves?” Biolena asked.

Seasoned financial planner and ANC’s On The Money resident financial advisor, Salve Duplito, stressed the importance of a personal financial plan.

Duplito said making a financial plan is one of the best things you can do for yourself. “It doesn’t have to be all these very highfaluting financial plans. Just make sure all the details are there; your investment goals, your goals for yourselves, what you will do from now until that time when you need to retire, etc.,” she explained.

Duplito also said that having a financial plan helps you track your expenses and keeps you focused. Without a plan, it’s easy to get sidetracked by all the unnecessary things one wants to buy.

“Financial planning involves cash management, investment planning and estate planning. It should start with your goals and steps (created by you) to help you reach your goals,” Duplito said.




(The author is executive producer of “On The Money.” VERA Files is put out by veteran journalists taking a deeper look at current issues. Vera is Latin for “true.”


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