An OFW from Dubai and her 7 year Retirement Plan - Marvin Germo

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An OFW from Dubai and her 7 year Retirement Plan

By: Marvin Germo | September 11, 2014

I had the honor to meet this very inspiring OFW, Janice Quisido, a couple of months ago in one of my trips to the middle east.  She had such an inspiring mindset on how one should save and invest for the future and how one should prepare and build a nest egg of investments while working overseas.

My desire for this article is that you be inspired by her story and you get valuable principles that may help you as you run this race towards financail freedom.  It is one of my greatest desires to see more OFWs come home, start businesses and investments and walk towards financial freedom.

Check out Janice Quisido’s story and her 7 year retirement plan!  Enjoy!


I started working abroad last 2003.  Just a year after i graduated college I knew that it was the right time to explore opportunities and venture on various training grounds.  On my first flight out of the country I was with 20 hopeful and excited ofws-to-be.  All of us knew for sure that one day well be coming back home once our contracts are over.


True enough I did finish my contract and went back home with a bit of savings and pride that I was able to help my parents send my sister to college.  After a week of staying at home I found myself seeking another opportunity to work abroad.  While waiting to be hired abroad I worked in manila to support my expenses. After working for night shift, by 7am I was already on queue for interviews and assessments in different recruitment agencies. Everyone I met in the agency wanted to leave at the soonest time. Most of us had the same reason. That is , to earn better income and provide better future for our loved ones.

After a decade of being an OFW there is only one thing where I’d like to see myself 7 years from now. 7 years because I would like to retire at the age of 40. Retire from being an employee and having to work for someone. I have been blessed to have met people from different walks of life both on a challenging and rewarding circumstances. Along with supportive family and friends i was able to identify and focus my goals in trying to achieve a long sought retirement.

Indeed theres no place like home.  And like most of us, I too want my share of happiness in having to settle back home and grow old in a place I have never wanted to leave anyway (if not for better opportunities).

Cashflow 101

Here are five of reasons why I want to retire in the Philippines:

1) Cost of Living- I  feel, the Philippines is still cheaper than anywhere else.  Regardless of inflation, the cost of commodities, transportation and healthcare are still inexpensive enough that even filipinos who do not earn as much as we do abroad can survive and be comfortable. The local retailers dont practice overpricing and if there is, we can always find a lot of options so our needs can fit in to our budget.

2) Food and weather – there is no need to adjust to different weather types all year since we are a tropical country. Who would want to trade their filipino meal with any cuisine?. We  filipinos continue to evolve into creative cooks with a belief that the goodness of our hearts and hospitality are manifested in the food that we prepare. Most of all, nothing compares to being able to buy a few sticks of your favorite barbecue at the street corners and savoring your favorite pandesal at the nearby bakery whenever you are craving for food.

3) Private healthcare is inexpensive – although we do not have the luxury to enjoy a free healthcare from our country, the cost is relatively low. Not to mention we have the best doctors, nurses, practitioners and even volunteers around.

4) Thousands of places to explore – everyone dreams to travel the world but I do not plan to do not when I retire. The philippines is rich with natural resources other countries wished they have.  And yes our 7107 islands are waiting to be explored. We dont need visas or passport to see beautiful beaches or climb stunning mountains. All we need is few hours of travel and a sensibly cheap pocket money for a quick vacation.

5) Filipinos are the happiest people on earth – I would never trade my nationality with anything else in this world. Id rather grow old in a country that is challenged but with a filipino spirit that cannot be beaten. As you grow old , what would matter are the happy faces you see around and a hope that tomorrow will always be better.

Cashflow game

Paired with these wonderful reasons to retire back home are significant responsibilities and the reality that these are all associated with a cost. Thus, there was a need to specify the steps to take and the financial plans I needed to prepare so one day I can fully embrace the fruits of my labor.

The first and most important factor I have considered was to set timeline.  I know for a fact that it wasn’t enough to just be certain that I would like to settle in the Philippines. It is vital to establish time frames into your goals so you can benchmark how far you need to work or identify those variables that hinder your objectives. There might also be a need to realign your targets since our day to day situations change.

So generally I have identified a major time frame which is 7 years for me to accomplish everything before going back home.  Along with this timeline, I needed entrench specific goals and distinguish major with minor ones.  To mention some of what I had identified were to classify different funds required when I get home and set target amounts for such.

For example I wanted to increase our emergency fund thus I have reassessed our monthly expenses and other “savings” objectives so i can set a specific amount to commit for each of those.    Another goal was I wanted to focus on self development trainings and share best practices.  So I specified what type of trainings I wanted to attend, how many can I attend in a month or a year , how much does it cost and on how I can apply or share them.  Since life cant be all about savings so I also made sure that I set a goal to reward myself.  Mine for example was to travel. So I have my own version of world map where I plan to travel in the next seven years and ensure that I have enough sources (of course) to fund it. If one of your goals is to clear your debt, then do not just tell yourself you will clear it one day. Start with small steps in identifying which ones can you initially afford to clear.


Each living day I wake up for the purpose of my long and short term plans. So some of the goals I have achieved and are working on are:

1) To secure a home
2) To invest in mutual fund and stocks (all paired with specific purpose)
3) To start a small business that gives passive income (no matter how small it is)
4) To get protected (life and medical insurance)
5) To increase Cashflow (additional income other than salary
6) To increase my emergency fund

The bottom line in all of this is to face the fact that there is a need to spend. Thus, you cannot just rely on your current income if you would like to achieve more of what you have now. The constant and challenging aspect of self discipline will be truly difficult but achievable.


I recognize the fact that we all have our own set of goals and have the determination to reach them. At times though we are all so overwhelmed with day to day challenges, surprises and even life’s tiny niches that either changes our perspectives in focusing to the goals we have initially set, be contented of not attaining your goals (because no one says life is going to be easy anyway), forget (because dreams are meant to be let go) or change your plans (because its all about testing-trying). I was once trapped in these beliefs, but I realized time is essential in everything we do. We all grow old and at the age of 50 or 60 it will be difficult to set another goal again because the first few ones did not work out.

After all, we set these goals because we want to enjoy and savor them. And the best way to embrace the taste of success is not to enjoy it for just a few days, weeks or months but to live with it throughout our lifetime.


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