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My Personal Finance Journey: An Overview

For a long time, I had been wanting to include, talk in my blogs about my personal finances. After all, this is also about my journey at work and my travel which, needless to say, involve money.

Also, I want to record and be able to look back on what I have done (or have not) in the past years, especially that lots of things have happened and will happen in the coming months.  Let this be the first entry under the Personal Finance label.

I Started Earning

I started earning a very small amount when I tutored kids in a tutorial center. I was reviewing for the ECE board exam back then and I just needed to do something other than study. I did it for a very brief period only and actually, had very few chances to teach. It was the first time I earned something and receiving the cash in brown envelope felt so fulfilling!

I Got Employed: I Started Really Earning

I had my first job as an 'engineer' when I was 22. The income wasn't big but as a newly grad, I was after the experience.

it's not what you earn, it's what you save

It was a very tough time. I would commute to work everyday and almost all of my salary was spent in transportation and in food. I barely had anything to give to my family for household expenses.

I tried to be frugal as I could but still, the 'it's not what you earn, it's what you save' saying simply didn't apply. Kahit anong 'piga' ko (no matter how I 'wring'). At best, I would have a few hundreds of pesos as savings every month, and sometimes, I needed to borrow from my father. It was that difficult.

I Became an OFW: Opportunity to Really Really Earn

It took two years before I decided to start to apply for a new job. But before I could, in the same old company, an opportunity came; I was among the candidates for an overseas project in Saudi Arabia.

I still did try to apply for a different company and even went to the job interview while also preparing the requirements for the business trip to Saudi Arabia. (We were told that we were to stay there for only three months, six max, but here I am still, six years later.)

Obviously, I pursued the [career] path to the desert. I was already in Saudi Arabia when the company I applied in sent me the email inviting me for the job offer. I just can't imagine the life I'd have if I didn't decide to take this direction.

My total salary multiplied since then. I was able to give to my family monthly and also save for myself.

Later on, another decision had to made and led me to earn even more.

So, that was my background as an employee, just one of the millions of rats in their so called 'rat race'. (Though, I really hate that phrase. Imagine comparing people to rats.) I had to mention all of these to lay foundation as to why I am writing about personal finance.

OFW Finances

This is a topic I would like to write more about in the future, based on my experiences, observations from fellow expats, my mistakes, and the things that I learned. Personal finance is really a continuous process. You can't say, "Oh, I am earning a lot! I won't go broke! No need to think about this too much."

In general, a typical Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW), or simply a Filipino expat, here in Saudi Arabia could earn at least twice of what he could in the Philippines for the same industry.

This is a big opportunity for any Filipino to save and grow (and enjoy) their hard earned money.

If you're a Filipino, or even if not, you probably know somebody who braved the unknown lands and now works abroad, too. How are they doing? How do they look like (lifestyle-wise) compared to when they were still working in your homeland?

Others tend to upgrade their lifestyle (or of their family at home) along with the increase of their income, while some, remain simple and low-key.

Personally, my life is now different in some ways compared before. Financially, there's a lot to learn, correct, and adjust, and for me it's been a challenging and rewarding task.

For years of working as an OFW, I have read books, listened to audio books, podcasts, watched videos, etc., about personal finance. And it's a bit sad that it isn't the most popular topic that OFWs are willing to discuss openly. So instead, I am gonna write everything that I want to say about personal finance here and other related topics as if I am talking to a willing (non-existent) listener.

Also, it feels good to write something again after a long while.

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