How often do you send money to the Philippines?
For skilled migrants in Australia, the frequency varies. Some send money regularly, especially for those whose families rely on their support for food, utilities, and other important expenses.
Some only send money occasionally, especially for those who have not been required by their families to extend support.
Some do not do so at all, especially if their families back home have their own jobs and businesses and require no assistance.
If you’re part of the first group however, the question of whether you are sending money too often is often neglected.
Is it possible that some workers have been sending money too often to their loved ones, causing too much dependence on their financial help and a dwindling sense of responsibility?
Important Things to Consider
Before sending money to your family back home, there are a number of things that you have to think about first.
What will the money be used for?
Make a list of the expenses back home. List down everything from tuition fees to groceries, from budgets for movies to funds for new toys.
This way, you have a clear overview of where your money really is going.
How necessary are these expenses?
Now that you have a list of expenses, rank them according to priority. This is something that you would probably have to discuss thoroughly with your family back home, as you may have entirely different priorities.
For example, your family may see the cable and internet bills to be more important over your monthly life insurance premiums, while you believe otherwise.
Once you have a clear set of priorities listed, it is easier to see which expenses you can forego the moment money becomes a little tighter.
How often are these costs?
Find out how often these expenses would have to be paid. Utilities are often paid on a monthly basis, but what about tuition fees? Insurance premiums? Payments on your housing loan?
Once you have a clear picture of how often payments would have to be made, you can easily plan how much money you’re supposed to be sending on a monthly or quarterly basis.
Might as well check if there is a way to adjust payment schemes as well. If your wife opted for the monthly tuition scheme for example, you could check if this could be switched to a semi-annual or a quarterly payment plan as this would also mean less interest and more savings.
What are the other costs that come with sending money back home?
Check on remittance fees and other costs that could be incurred each time you send money back home. This way, you can easily see how much you are losing on a regular basis.
Once you know how much the total additional costs are with each remittance, you can plan your remittance schedule more efficiently and in a more cost-effective manner.
So what’s the point to all this?
Why do you even have to consider how often you’re supposed to send money?
Why Bother Planning?
A lot of skilled workers abroad neglect to think about other important things, such as their own expenses and long-term investments.
Sadly, a lot of Filipinos working abroad send money as often as they can because they believe that this is the best way to help their families out. But in reality, this could prove to do more harm than good.
How does the frequency of sending money affect the way a skilled worker in Australia and the rest of their families back home live?
They become over-dependent.
When you send money to the Philippines too often, there is a huge tendency for the entire family to depend too much on the money you are sending. This could have disastrous results, and a lot of people do not realize this until it’s too late.
They know that the money’s coming soon, so they begin to rely on the fact that money is going to come into their bank accounts whether they move or not.
They fail to plan ahead.
It’s funny because a lot of Filipino families that expect regular remittances from their loved ones in Australia actually believe that they plan ahead. Sometimes, they have long lists to prove this fact.
However, that’s not the kind of planning that we mean.
Families plan their expenses ahead of time, and that’s not a healthy way of planning. Most of the time, they have spent all the money in their minds even before the money is sent.
When we say planning ahead, we mean actual budgeting that involves trying to stretch the money for as long as they can.
Planning ahead also means having a Plan B or a Plan C in case you suddenly fail to send them any money.
With money coming in too often, this could become an impossible task.
They fail to spend wisely.
This is another sad fact.
You would always hear kids of skilled workers abroad bragging about expensive things that they would be buying the moment their mom or dad sends them money. Yes, this means that if their parents send money every month, then that’s another expensive (and often useless) thing bought on a monthly basis.
The more often you send money, the less they appreciate what the value of that money really is. They start seeing it as a means to get all the things that they want, and not as a means to start investing for the future.
You fail to think about yourself.
Come on, you may be hailed as a Filipino hero because of the sacrifices you’re making, as well as the huge contribution you are making to the country’s economy. But this does not mean that you’re going to have to place yourself last in your hierarchy of priorities.
You have your own needs.
You have your own wants.
You have your own bills to pay.
If you send money anytime your family demands for it, you start to neglect your own expenses.
You start to forget YOU, the person responsible for bringing the money into the family.
So the next time you give in to every call for you to send money back home, start thinking twice or thrice about it. Have a practical plan in place that would allow everybody to have enough for the real necessities and the long-term investments.
Think about the more important life lessons that you’re teaching each time you say no when you are asked to send money for something that’s not even important.
More importantly, encourage your family to help you in your goal to give them better lives by becoming more financially responsible and learning how to make the most out of the money you work hard for.
Special thanks to Adam Cohn for the main image.