Investments for OFWs
Question: I have been an OFW for many years and I think I am now ready to invest. There have been offers for me to invest in the country where I work but I prefer investing back home. Can you suggest investment options that are good for an OFW like me? —David S.
Answer: OFWs are generally those who leave home because they want to provide for their families. Others are looking to broaden their life experiences by working abroad. With their time working abroad comes the idea of putting the money they’ve worked hard for to good use.
Most will find themselves putting their money in small businesses that their families can run in their stead; others will start savings accounts and allow the money they deposit to earn interest.
Still, some people find the idea of investing daunting. The most common reaction is: “Don’t you have to study the stock market to get anything done?” There is a certain degree of studying that comes with investing, but there are a number of investment platforms available to the average OFW that are tailored to one’s risk profile.
A risk profile determines how aggressive someone is in making an investment. The first thing anyone wanting to start an investment portfolio should do is to answer a suitability assessment questionnaire.
The kind of investment vehicle you choose depends on the amount of money you are willing to risk.
There are several ways to start your investment portfolio. Here are five:
Investing in a mutual fund appears to be the simplest of the options. This type of investment takes most of the work out of your hands and places it in the very capable hands of fund managers. Their job will be to grow the money without you having to monitor constantly.
Here’s a list of mutual fund investments: ATRKE Alpha Opportunity Fund, ATRKE Equity Opportunity Fund, First Metro Save and Learn Equity Fund, Philam Strategic Growth Fund, Sun Life Prosperity Philippine Equity Fund, Soldivo Funds, ALFM.
Investing in publicly traded stocks requires a certain kind of aggression and some research. Buying stocks basically means becoming a shareholder and owning part of the 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. Here’s a list of online stockbrokers accredited by the Philippine Stock Exchange: AB Capital Securities Inc., Abacus Securities Corp., Accord Capital Equities Corp., Angping & Associates Securities Inc., BPI Securities Corp., COL Financial Group Inc., Yap Securities Inc., First Metro Securities Brokerage Corporation, RCBC Securities Inc. and Wealth Securities Inc.
Unit investment trust fund (UITF)
This investment involves holding a certain amount of money in trust. It shares a similar structure as that of mutual funds such that your money will be managed by fund managers. This is usually offered by banks and differs from mutual funds in the sense that it involves a per unit investment, as opposed to shares in a mutual fund.
Here are some banks offering UITFs: Metrobank, BDO, Union Bank, BPI, PNB, Chinabank, Security Bank, EastWest Bank.
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 investment is generally offered by large corporations and the government (retail treasury bonds) as a means of raising funds by borrowing from the public. They have fixed maturity dates.
Banks that sell bonds include: PNB, BDO, BPI, Metrobank
This investment leans more toward preparing for a future home, or a place where to put up a business. It requires a higher amount of money to start with. The money invested in real estate generally means having enough to make the payments for 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).
Remember to always invest according to your investment objectives, time frame and risk tolerance. Make sure that you also diversify your investments.
Catch my finance seminars for OFWs in Doha, Dubai and Tokyo. Follow me on Facebook (@randelltiongson) for details.
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