10 Tips to Become a Successful OFW in Dubai (or Anywhere)

These days, more and more Filipinos are going abroad to search for “greener pastures” and to provide for their families back home. Some of them are able to save and invest their money into buying a new house, a new car, and even starting their own business. In the UAE alone, there’s over 650,000 documented Pinoys.

However, not all overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) become successful. Despite many years of hard work overseas, some end up going back home with little or no savings. When money runs out, they soon find themselves in the same situation that led them to go abroad in the first place. Avoid being in this set-up.

Also Read: 10 Things You Should Know before Working in the UAE

how to become a successful ofw

OFW Guide: 10 Ways to Help You Achieve Success as an Expat Abroad

If you are an OFW or you are planning to work overseas, this doesn’t have to be the case. Through hard work, discipline, and determination, you can achieve your goals. What’s more, here are some tips on how you can succeed as an OFW in Dubai, or anywhere else, for that matter:

1. Set clear goals.

Before anything else, set clear goals for you and your family. Perhaps you would like to start a business after two years. Or maybe you want to begin building your dream home within five years. Ask yourself, what do you want to achieve? Your goal will serve as your motivation for going abroad.

Setting goals is the first step towards becoming a successful OFW.

2. Consider the cost.

We’ve all heard stories of people selling their house, land, or even their carabao just to go abroad. Yes, you need money to go overseas, but this should not come at the cost of losing your most valuable properties. Even if you get the job, your family’s livelihood could be at risk. You will need to send them a huge part of your earnings, making it hard for you to save. Also, understand what is the cost of living vs your projected salary in the country where you will be working so you can plan ahead.

3. Pay yourself first.

This principle applies not only to OFWs, but to everyone in general. Make it a point to “pay yourself first” by saving a portion of your monthly earnings. This could serve as your “emergency basket” in case something unexpected happens. You could also invest it into something that will benefit you and your family in the long run.

4. Invest wisely.

Speaking of investment, thinking carefully is a must before anything else. Starting a business, buying a new house, getting a new car – these things require careful planning. After all, you wouldn’t want your savings to go to waste. Make your money work for you by investing it into something that has lasting value.

Related Post: 3 Investment Opportunities for OFWs to Grow their Money

5. Start a business.

For business-minded OFWs, establishing a business is a good way to invest earnings. However, you should plan your ventures carefully and focus on you and your family’s strengths. For instance, is your mother a great cook? Perhaps she can manage a cafeteria. Is your younger brother good with computers? Then maybe he could help you run an Internet café. If you are not sure about what business to start, then it would be better to save your money first.

Saving or “paying yourself first” is a key towards successful financial management.

6. Educate your family on money matters.

Sadly, many people seem to think that OFWS make a lot of money easily. As a result, their families (and relatives) back home tend to spend their remittances as if there’s no tomorrow. Just as you are saving money yourself, your family should also do the same. Do not hesitate to ask your family to spend remittances wisely and save part of it for emergencies. With the right attitude and motivation, everyone can cooperate towards stretching the family budget.

7. Avoid extravagant spending.

While it may seem customary to give “pasalubong” when you’re on vacation, you shouldn’t feel obliged to spend too much. Some chocolates here, a simple gift there, should be enough. Who cares if some people say you are “too prudent”? Your family and (real) friends would appreciate anything you share. To them, your mere presence and safe return is more important than any gift.

Note: For OFWs who want to save money when going out, a UAE company is offering a discount card. Check out this Korooti discount card for Pinoys.

8. Get insured.

Nowadays, getting insured is very important, because you never know what could happen. Hence, even if you are overseas, you should still continue your SSS and Pag-IBIG contributions. It would also be wise to get health insurance, life insurance, and educational plans for your kids.

9. Learn something new.

Learning a new skill not only adds value to you as a worker; it also helps you grow as a person. For example, you could enroll in a short course such as baking or flower arranging. Consider your personal interests, and look for learning opportunities. Whether you sign up for actual classes or an online course, learning new skills is never a waste of time.

Building a new home is a wise investment that has a lasting value.

10. Reward yourself.

Keep this in mind: your most valuable investment is “you.” Many OFWs forego their own needs and wants, just to keep their families back home happy. In the end, they realize that they haven’t saved anything for themselves. Do not feel guilty about rewarding yourself every now and then. You worked hard for it, so you deserve it! Just make sure you stay within your reasonable budget.


By heeding these tips, you will find that working abroad is a challenging, yet fulfilling experience. Please never forget the reason why you worked overseas in the first place. Why you sacrificed your time and your location by being away from your family for a long period. Let us remind ourselves of our goals and ambitions.

Through setting goals, investing wisely, and enlisting the help of your family, you can become a successful OFW in Dubai or anywhere you go. Good luck to all OFWs, may we all reach our targets, dreams, and aspirations!


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