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“I hate it when Filipinos think it’s easy to make money abroad.”

“I hate it when Filipinos think it’s easy to make money abroad.”

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In Filipino Expat Budget, we ask our kababayans about their income and expenses. Farrah G. (35) is a hedge fund analyst for one of the biggest European banks. She sends 40% of her earnings as remittance to the Philippines.

Filipina banker budget remittance
In a Filipino expat budget, remittance is unmissable.

Wow! €7000 net income is very high. You must be very satisfied with your salary?

It is relatively high but the cost of living here is also high. Almost half of it is sent home to the Philippines.

Higher salary equals higher taxes. How do you feel about paying high taxes?

I don’t mind paying taxes if I see where they go e.g. social services, unemployment allowance, pension, etc. and they’re not exorbitant. Sa Pinas kasi questionable kung saan napupunta e.g. waiting shed, pa-relief goods ni Mayor, etc. In general, I know people who are really affluent but don’t mind paying high taxes. In fact they want to be taxed. But I guess, this is quite rare because the perception is if a government raises taxes, it’s anti-business or anti-rich people who create jobs.

You send almost half of your salary to your family in the Philippines. How do you feel about this?

It’s family. I share what I have. If I can be generous with complete strangers, why can’t I be with my own family? I will send them money for as long as I live. In fact, I bought life insurance so there’s something for them when I am gone.

Do you ever get tired of sending remittances? 

Sometimes. I’m not required to send though. What I hate is when they think back home that it’s easy to earn money abroad. It sometimes costs one’s mental and physical health but for some of our kababayans, you’re just a walking balikbayan box or an ATM machine.

What do you say when Filipinos back home tells you “Mayaman ka na siguro, malaki ang kita sa abroad”?

If I were rich, then I would not have become an OFW.

How long do you plan to work abroad?

Until the age of retirement. I don’t have any sugar daddy, I was not born with a silver spoon, and I haven’t won the big lottery win so far, so I don’t have much choice. That’s basically the life of someone from the working class.

You spend €360 on insurance. What kind of insurance are these and why are they expensive? 

This is mandatory as health insurance and health coverage here are predominantly privatized.

Are you financially planning for the future?

I am saving for an emergency fund at the moment. My savings are all going to pay for my mortgage. My ultimate financial goal is a comfortable life for me and my family.

No budget for holidays?

I would take it from my expenses or savings.

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Does money make you happy?

Of course. I don’t have to depend on anyone and I can help others.

What is the best thing money has given you?

Money gave me independence. I don’t need to sacrifice my values in life and take the sh*t of people around me in exchange for money.

What’s the one thing money can’t buy?

Two things. Integrity and class or how you treat others.

If you won €1 million, where would you spend it? 

Pay off my mortgage andtravel with the whole family. It would be also nice to put
up a business, more of social entrepreneurship with the goal of creating jobs either for a community or a specific marginalized sector.

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