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Financial Literacy Mentor Mercedes Macalalad during the Financial Literacy seminar at the Philippine Consulate on Friday. Image Credit:

Dubai: Seven out of 10 Filipinos end up becoming financially dependent upon charity and their families post retirement, and that’s a reality Dubai’s Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) are all too familiar with.

Financial advocates in Dubai are now aiming to buck the trend with the launch of a year-long Financial Literacy Seminar at the Philippine Consulate in Dubai, which started on Friday.

The free seminars aim to educate Filipino expatriates on how to manage their finances, while empowering them to become successful entrepreneurs.

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Deputy Consul-General Renato Duenas Jr during the Financial Literacy Seminar at the Philippine Consulate on Friday. Image Credit: Janice Ponce de Leon/Gulf News

Deputy Consul-General Renato Duenas Junior lauded the attendees for taking charge of their future by learning to handle their finances that will have a ripple effect in society as well as in the economy.

Mercedes Macalalad, Financial Literacy Mentor and speaker at the seminar, also reminded OFWs to include their families back home in their goal setting and financial planning. She stressed that they can only succeed in their financial journey by working together.

Those who fail to do this end up going home for good broke, she said.

According to the Social Security Service Statistical Planning Sampling in the Philippines, Filipinos can be divided into four categories after retirement at age 65.

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Deputy Consul-General Renato Duenas Jr during the Financial Literacy Seminar at the Philippine Consulate on Friday. PHOTO Janice Leon

“Some 45 per cent become dependent on their relatives while 30 per cent end up dependent on charities. Another 23 per cent are forced to continue working while only two per cent become financially independent. We can say that many Filipinos working abroad share the same predicament,” said Macalalad, a certified public accountant who has lived in the UAE for 30 years.

“Through these seminars, our aim is for all of us Filipinos to be part of the financially independent group and increase that two per cent dramatically. We can do that if we learn how to save, invest, and insure our future,” she added.

Macaladad taught the attendees the basics of saving and budgeting, including the envelope system, the 70-20-10 rule and the zero-based budget where you write a budget and assign every dirham of your money to do something and not leave it to “wander out”.

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In the Debt Elimination session, John Sherwin Chua, another financial literacy mentor, said the sessions aim to change the mindsets of Filipinos about money.

“Filipinos are known to be heavy users of credit cards not only in the Middle East but also in Asia,” said Chua, a personal banking adviser and certified associate financial planner. “We want you to develop critical thinking so you can discern if an offer being made to you is good or not. At the end of the day, you’re the one entering into the deal. So you have to arm yourselves so you can make informed financial choices.”

Chua discussed the issue of debt in a fun and light-hearted manner but with brutally honest real-life examples that resonated with the attendees.

“Most people borrow to travel citing the “YOLO or You Only Live Once” excuse. But those who know better have a reply to that as well, “YAGO or You Also Grow Old”. So you really have to strike a balance when it comes to your finances,” Chua urged the attendees.

Susan Francisco, another financial mentor, described the attendees this year as “hungry to learn” and “eager to change their financial future”. She encouraged them to attend the future sessions to help them become financially fit while working in the UAE.

Financial Literacy Programme 2019-2020

Where: Philippine Consulate-General

When: Fridays (Specific dates to be announced via Consulate’s website and social media)

Admission: Free (Pre-registration required)

Next session:

When: September 6, 2019

Where: Insurance and Investment (Social Security System, Pag-Ibig etc)

Future sessions:

September 2019: Basic Exporting of Lifestyle Products by the Philippine Trade and Investment Centre (PTIC)

October 2019: Franchising 101

November 2019: Agri-Business (marine)

January 2020: Government Reintegration Programme

February 2020: Basic Exporting of Food Products

March 2020: Agri-Business (land)

April 2020: Seminar on Innovation and the Philippine Startup Industry

May 2020: Basic Exporting of Personal Care Products