OFW Stories in Singapore (Part 1)

Have you tried spending P200,000 in a day? 

This was the first question my friend asked me during one of our lunch in a local hawker centre in Singapore. (OFW Stories in Singapore (Part 1))

 My friend went on and shared with me the story of his officemate, let’s just call  him Peter, a regular wager OFW in Singapore.


Peter went to a vacation in Manila and spent P200,000 for the birthday of his son in a prime location where rich people do gatherings.

He spent all his money and savings on that vacation and asks friends to loan him money when he then returned to Singapore.

P200,000 expense for the birthday of his son alone, it excludes the pasalubongs for his kapitbahays at pati mga ka-barangay kasama pa.

I know a lot of “Peter” not only in Singapore. They are the type of OFW who spends money just to impress people, spending on things which they cannot afford.

Working on a foreign land is not easy. The culture and homesickness is really hard but as per Peter:

syempre 1st birthday ng anak ko dapat magarbo ang party. Ano na lang sasabihin ng mga ka-barangay at mga friends ko, wala akong pera?”

“Dpat may pasalubong din lahat pati kapit-bahay at ka-barangay. Ano nlang iisipin nila? Nakakahiya masabihan pa akong kuripot.”

So to impress people he reasoned out that he has to have extravagant birthday party for his son. He also  bought new clothes, new gadgets just to impress people. Dapat imported lahat ng gamit and updated mga gadgets.

Pasikat ika nga. Then upon returning to Singapore, He now has to borrow money for food, transpo and for rent.

My friend told me that he tried many times to invite him to attend financial seminars, but Peter has all the reasons not attend seminar.

He asks the following questions:

Peter: May bayad ba yang seminar na yan?

My friend: $35 lang

Peter: ang mahal nmn nyan, wla akong pera.May libre bang pagkain jan sa seminar na yan?

My friend: wlang free food, pero for sure you’ll learn about stuffs that will help you regarding financial literacy.

Peter: may lakad ako nyang date na yan, next time nlang

According to Will Smith

Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 9.04.01 PM

If Peter knows only how to Invest, he could have grown his money by at least a minimum of 12% when he put his money on an Investment vehicle.

Year 1: 12% of 200,000 = 24000+ 200,000                     =       224,000
Year 2: 12% of 224,000 = 26,880 + 224,000                  =       250,880
Year 3: 12% of 250,880 = 30,105.6 + 250,880                =       280,985.6
Year 4: 12% of 280,985.6 = 33718.272 + 280,985.6      =     314,703.87
Year 5: 12% of 314,703.87 = 37,764.46 + 314,703.87   =     P 352,468

His P200,000 becomes P352, 468
That is the power of Investing and Compound Interest.

This is a real story of an OFW here in SG, Peter is not the real name of the person. I shared this story not to humiliate; my only objective is to share to people so we can get the lesson of the story.

1. Practice Frugality

(Remember your main reason on why you decided to leave your family and work abroad, diba para mag-ipon?)

2. Only spend what you can afford  

(It’s okay to spend for your family but As for Peter’s case, he spent all his money, pagbalik ng Singapore, nangutang sya sa mga friends nya to pay off the rent, food and transpo)

3.Learn how to Save and Invest

(So you can grow your money and make money work for you instead of you working for money.

If you want to know more about OFW’s and Investing then subscribe to my blog Super OFW Investor and feel free to share and comment below.

(Visited 2,821 times, 1 visits today)
Nolan Lazaro
[email protected]
  • Fritzie
    Posted at 21:10h, 03 July Reply

    Very imformative.

    • nolanray
      Posted at 21:44h, 26 August Reply

      Welcome to my blog Fritzie! thank you

  • Miguel
    Posted at 13:43h, 25 August Reply

    12% compound interest rate, aren’t you a little bit optimistic? Where can you get that kind of return safely?

    • nolanray
      Posted at 21:45h, 25 August Reply

      Hi! Miguel!
      Thank you for your inquiry.
      There are lots of investment vehicles to choose from depending on your risk appetite, 12% is very attainable when you invest in equity. For newbie investors I suggest investing in UITF (Unit Investment Trust Fund) or Mutufal Funds.
      You can read my blog post regarding UITF http://www.nolanlazaro.com/what-is-uitf-or-unit-investment-trust-funds/
      If you’d like to know more regarding financial vehicles you can subscribe to my blog.

      • parekoy
        Posted at 01:45h, 14 September Reply

        If he parked his 200k last year in UITF, did he able to achieved the 12% after 1 year?

        • nolanray
          Posted at 02:18h, 14 September Reply

          hi parekoy! That’s a very good question. Yes, 12% is very possible and achievable. You just have to know which financial vehicle you will ride on to. You can subscribe to my blog to know more regarding financial literacy. Xie xie to you there in Singapore

  • Gemma Rodrin
    Posted at 18:27h, 25 August Reply

    Were?when how much po yung seminar

    • nolanray
      Posted at 19:22h, 25 August Reply

      hi Gemma!

      there are a lot of seminars to attend to depending on which topic you’d like to focus on.

      I do meet ups with friends or anyone who want to learn financial education. My goal is to turn them from Spenders to investors. like them, i too know how hard it is to work abroad and I decided to made this blog to further connect with wider audience and help OFW’s and Pinoys around the globe about financial literacy.
      You can subscribe to my blog to further receive emails from me regarding investments and financial literacy.

  • Mike
    Posted at 21:23h, 26 August Reply

    Nice read! Informative, realistic.

    • nolanray
      Posted at 21:43h, 26 August Reply

      Hi Mike!
      Thanks for your comment and welcome to my blog!
      I’m glad to know that you liked my article regarding OFW Stories in Singapore (Part 1).

  • Charmy
    Posted at 07:29h, 27 August Reply

    Hi, this is very true. And as a matter of fact, many Filipinos who work both locally and abroad needs a financial literacy.

    • nolanray
      Posted at 10:04h, 27 August Reply

      Hi Charmy!
      Welcome to my blog “Super OFW Investor: Stories about financial freedom ”
      I called my blog Super OFW Investor: Stories about financial freedom because I really believe all OFW’s are Super Heroes 🙂

      I agree with you Charmy, Filipinos really needs to be more aware about financial literacy. Till now only 1% of Filipinos invest in the Stock Market, MF and UITF. A lot are plainly spenders.

  • warren
    Posted at 05:27h, 14 September Reply

    hi nolan, base on your example of 12% per year interest… what type of UITF is it?

    • nolanray
      Posted at 12:12h, 14 September Reply

      Hi Warren!
      Nice to see you here.
      Okay, just to clarify, there is no fixed guaranteed rate of return of on any investment.

      For example:
      If you invested in UITF Equity funds
      It means the “Fund Manager” invest your money in the stock market.
      Investing in Equity is high risk but high return. Stock market is very volatile, But I can say not worry If you are a Long Term Investor for atleast a minimum of 5 years and for sure there will be big gains already.
      Now, there are different kinds of UITF like money market, bonds, balanced funds and equity funds.

      Before choosing which type of UITF or MF you have to consider your risk appetite, investment objective and time horizon (are you investing for the short term or for long term?)

      Pls visit the links below:

      Feel free to comment if you have any questions and our team here will be very happy to answer your queries. 🙂

  • Eric
    Posted at 09:04h, 14 September Reply

    Nice article.

    Last time I was a saver and sometimes spender, now I’m an investor. 12% compounding interest is very attainable. You just have to invest first on knowledge. I started last Jul 30, 2014 in stock market and was able to gain 3-4% in my portfolio already. I’m continuously studying the chart indicators, market movement and my stock picks movement. If you want to earn more, you must need to learn more.

    • nolanray
      Posted at 11:32h, 14 September Reply

      Hi Eric!
      Congratulations! You became an Investor from a saver and sometimes a spender.
      Yes you are right, as what we always recommend, invest in knowledge. Aral muna before investing.
      I’ll be happy to know more your story regarding financial literacy. You can email me directly.

  • Bryan
    Posted at 13:50h, 15 September Reply

    Very good article. Let us help ourselves to get rich..

    • nolanray
      Posted at 13:56h, 15 September Reply

      HI Bryan! Welcome to Super OFW investor!
      Thanks for your comment 🙂

  • Jane
    Posted at 16:20h, 04 November Reply

    Just browsed your blog. Na curious naman ako how much Pinoy expats are earning in SG. My family is based here in Tokyo (7 years and counting). Hubby is an electronic engr while I’m an English teacher. I have family and friends in SG but they don’t spend like those guys in your stories (good for them!). They don’t buy a lot of STUFF and are wisely saving/investing their money.

    • nolanray
      Posted at 22:21h, 05 November Reply

      Hi Jane! Thanks for sharing. By the way I’m happy that your family and friends in SG are wisely saving and investing for their future.
      I wrote this article few months ago because I really want to help fellow OFWs to remember on why they decided to leave their loved ones to be an OFW. We just can’t work overseas forever. btw I hope you are into investing too

  • anne
    Posted at 00:46h, 03 December Reply

    just like the others na curious din ako sa story mo na a man spend 200,000 for his sons bday..graveh naman, but ganyan talaga ang pinoy . buti nalang naisipan ko rin mag invest , been working in abroad from sg to italy and belgium. sana maging aral yan sa mga OFW dapat din mag save for raining days…..

    • nolanray
      Posted at 01:22h, 03 December Reply

      Hi Anne! Thank you for reading the post. How’s Belgium?
      Minsan people have a tendency to overspend.
      Like sa story, gusto nyang maging maganda ang 1st birthday party ng son nya. Pero nasobrahan sa pagka elegante ung bday party. I think pde naman syang magpa-birthday party na afford nya, ung pasok sa budget nya.

      Nangyari kasi pagbalik nya ng Singapore, nangutang na sya sa mga friends nya pang bayad ng rent pra sa food at pati transpo expenses. He spent more than he can afford. P200,000 pesos is just to much. I think mas ma-appreciate ng anak nya kung sa jollibee ang birthday party or sa house nlng nla and cook some good food. Ang importante nka paghanda sya at masaya silang pamilya sa birthday ng anak nya.

      Or mas maganda sana kung inipon nya na lng ung pera na 200k, pra after ilang years mkauwi na sya ng Pinas and spend his time with his family pag may business na sya at investments.

      I write true stories not to humiliate anyone,my only intention is makuha ng readers ang lesson and to improve the attitude towards money.
      I’m happy Anne, that you appreciated this article and I’m happy that you are into investing and you are saving for the rainy days.
      If you have a story to share since you are an ofw from sg to italy to belgium maybe you can send me an email and maybe i can post it here on this blog 🙂
      Happy investing!

  • Cristy
    Posted at 09:46h, 03 December Reply

    I agree and know a lot of Peter. Hoping to have financial freecom someday. Thanks for the info Nolan. It’s a wake up call to all OFW. Cheers! 🙂

    • nolanray
      Posted at 16:14h, 03 December Reply

      Hi ate Crizty!
      Thank you, I’m sure you will be financially free!
      If you want to talk anything about financial literacy, I’m here lng, we can talk anytime you want, team attitude! 🙂
      Save and Invest and Be Financially Free!

  • Ten
    Posted at 15:25h, 30 January Reply

    May mga pinoy na walang pakialam sa investment at iisipin pa nila Scam lang yan ahaha Pero ang inde nila alam sila ang nasscam ng mga malalaking company. XD

    • Ten
      Posted at 15:26h, 30 January Reply

      bili dito, bili dyan.
      gadget dito, gadget dyan.

  • Karl Marty Balingit
    Posted at 15:43h, 30 January Reply

    As sad as that Peter story is it is actually very true and I know a few who are like that as well. I think its because of the lack of financial education we (most) Filipinos get or don’t get at all. Personally hindi rin ako natuto sa mga investments before luckily I got read a few books. Lessons learned, thanks for the story!

  • Jess
    Posted at 15:44h, 30 January Reply


  • Jexx Hinggo
    Posted at 16:54h, 30 January Reply

    Very good article. Thanks for sharing 🙂


  • Channel Imperial
    Posted at 14:57h, 01 February Reply

    A lot of Filipinos, OFW or not, are a lot like Peter. Most of us want to impress our family and friends at the expense of our pockets. I agree with you Nolan. Filipinos should learn how to invest their money. ^_^

  • Yvonne Bertoldo
    Posted at 22:41h, 01 February Reply

    I know someone like “Peter”. They don’t have the budget for a celebration but they really wanted to have a party so they decided to borrow money from their relatives, and same with Peter, they owe a big amount of money that they couldn’t pay afterwards. Nakakainis lang yung mga ganung tao.

  • Jojo Vito
    Posted at 11:40h, 02 February Reply

    Very helpful tips you’ve got here. Indeed ,people must learn on how how to managed their hard earned money, not only for OFW 🙂

  • Kim Kaylan
    Posted at 08:48h, 05 February Reply

    Thanks for sharing. Filipinos indeed need to learn how to spend money wisely and not for some stupid reasons 🙂

  • Ace Paragoyo
    Posted at 20:59h, 06 February Reply

    Thanks for sharing the story of a friend, thanks for trying to invite your friend for this financial seminar even though he always declined at least you give him a chance.

  • edel
    Posted at 23:08h, 06 February Reply

    I agree that there are a lot of Peters and Petras in our country. I can’t imagine the hardship of working abroad and being separated from your family. But I guess spending (a lot) for your love ones lessen the loneliness and the guilt of being away from them especially for the children. These Peters and Petras show their love by showering their love ones with expensive gifts, gadgets, and other trinkets. On the other hand, had their spouses know how to handle their finances well, then I don’t think this will be a problem.

    • Arlo
      Posted at 21:19h, 21 October Reply

      You’re right! Their spouses must be financially literate and know how to budget. Every OFW should also consider that time is more precious than any expensive gifts and trinkets. Giving time and bonding with them even in the simplest way is more than enough.

  • Star
    Posted at 09:38h, 26 March Reply

    Isn’t 12% for 5 consecutive years more of a wishful thinking? I thought even long-term equity averaged lower than that this past decade. Granting there might have been a year or two where it peaked at 12-13%, but considering annual inflation of 3%, maybe around 7% might be more realistic…

    • Administrator
      Posted at 13:13h, 26 March Reply

      HI Star!

      12% return for long term – 5years is very attainable in equity funds, but again, it also depends on where you put it,,is it in stocks? or pooled funds such as MF our UITF? and the skills of the fund manager 🙂

      *although We really need to consider inflation and I estimate it to be atleast 5% average

  • Arlo
    Posted at 21:16h, 21 October Reply

    Thank you for this post! I know a lot of people like Peter. Some of my cousins do make a loan just to have a grand celebration for their kids. Whenever I see them, I just shake my head and thanking God I was born ‘kuripot’.

    • Administrator
      Posted at 08:50h, 26 October Reply

      hi Arlo, buti na lang we’re both Frugal. There are a lot of Peter tlga na OFWs, YOLO – you only live once kaya ubos biyaya din. They have this term – Work hard – party harder kaya they don’t think long term.

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