5 Simple Ways for OFWs to Invest in the Philippines

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OFWs are generally the kind of people who leave home because they want to provide for their respective families, others still are looking to broaden their life experiences by working abroad for a time. With their time working abroad comes the idea of eventually putting the money they’ve worked hard for to good use.

Most will find themselves putting that money towards small businesses that their families can run in their stead; others will start a savings account and allow the money they deposit to incur interest. There are other ways to grow one’s hard-earned money, such as investing.

Many people find the idea of investing somewhat daunting – the most common reaction is usually “don’t you have to study the stock market to get anything done?” There is a certain amount of study that comes with investing, but there are a number of accessible investment platforms available to the average OFW, and are usually tailored to one’s Risk Profile.

A Risk Profile basically determines how aggressive someone is when it comes to making an investment, or one’s Risk Appetite. The first thing anyone wanting to start an investment portfolio is to take a client suitability assessment questionnaire, which will allow you to see exactly what kind of investment vehicle best applies.

Of course, the kind of investment vehicle you choose depends on the amount of money you choose to risk, hence the need for one to take the assessment.

There are several ways to start your investment portfolio, and here’s five:

Mutual Funds

By far, investing in a Mutual Fund appears to be the simplest of the options when it comes to investment vehicles. This type of investment takes most of the work out of your hands and places it in the very capable ones 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 that you can access online:

Stock Investments

Arguably, investing in publicly traded stocks requires a certain kind of aggression in terms of your risk appetite, and some research. Buying stocks basically means becoming a shareholder in a publicly traded company. Being a shareholder means you own a 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 stock brokers accredited by the Philippine Stock Exchange:

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 to 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 because they revolve per unit investment, as opposed to the shares in a mutual fund.

Here’s a partial list of banks that offer UITFs:

  • Metrobank
  • BDO
  • Union Bank
  • BPI
  • PNB
  • Chinabank
  • Security Bank
  • EastWest Bank

Bonds

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 or essentially borrowing from the public. They have a fixed maturity date.

Here’s a few banks that also act as gateways to purchasing Bonds

  • PNB
  • BDO Unibank
  • BPI
  • Metrobank

Real Estate

This type of investment isn’t necessarily unusual, but leans more towards preparing for a future home, or somewhere 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 into real estate generally means having enough to make the payments to the land that you have purchased, and the lower the interest rate, the better.

What may eventually earn money from investing in real estate is the way land use changes over the years. One can acquire property through the Register of Deeds, but make sure to check the land title for encumbrances (mortgage, debts, and the like).

These are just some of the ways that OFWs can invest in the Philippines. It mostly takes a certain amount of patience and research before you pick your investment gateway.

(Randell Tiongson, RFP is an advocate of Life & Personal Finance. With nearly 30 years of experience in the Financial Service Industry – Banking, Mutual Funds, Insurance and Financial Planning, and Management Consultancy – he has become one of today’s most respected personal finance coaches in the country. Check out his website for more financial advice www.randelltiongson.com)

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