• (L)Earning Wealth: A book with social agenda

    Need help in learning how to manage your money? This book shows readers how

    LEARNING AND EARNING. For every book purchased, the SEDPI Foundation donates another book to a marginalized community. Photo by Lou Gepuela / Rappler

    MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines is known as one of the world’s most vulnerable countries when it comes to hazards and natural disasters, but what not many realize are the other concerns arising from this.

    In times of disaster and emergency, 8 out of 10 poor families will access a loan to tide things over. This is not adviseable for one’s financial health. Low financial literacy often results in loans being used for consumption purposes, such as purchases of medicine, food, or the repair of housing.

    Take the case of school teachers. Research conducted in 2015 shows that while teachers are well aware of how to prepare budgets as a part of their profession, a significant portion of them – around 68% – are also heavily indebted, without savings for emergencies, leaving them prey to loan sharks.

    Vince Rapisura knows this, and wants to do something about it.

    His is a unique perspective, having grown up in a small rural neighborhood in the province of Quirino, and teaching social entrepreneurship and microfinance at the Ateneo de Manila University for the past 13 years. Through Social Enterprise Development Partnerships or SEDPI, he has provided financial literacy training to overseas Filipino workers in 15 countries, helping more than 30,000 individuals get back on their feet and learn how to develop stronger financial management skills.

    FINANCIAL LITERACY. Vince Rapisura has been teaching microfinance and entrepreneurship at the Ateneo de Manila University for the past 13 years. Photo by Lou Gepuela / Rappler


    “What we found out was that a lot of the poor are financially excluded, and with a low financial literacy level,” said Rapisura in a Rappler Talk, noting that the same characteristics were also evident among many overseas Filipino workers. (READ:Rappler, SEDPI partner to empower OFWs)

    “That’s where the opportunity came in. Maybe we should go into financial literacy for overseas Filipino workers, because they send a lot of remittances to the Philippines,” observed Rapisura.

    Practical, relevant, effective

    (L)Earning Wealth is the first book from the SEDPI Foundation. Unlike other books, however, for every book purchased, the SEDPI Foundation donates another book to marginalized communities. This “One-for-One’ model not only benefits the book purchaser by learning about money management, but also has a direct impact on helping poor communities.

    (L)Earning Wealth is a personal finance guidebook that contains proven methods, expert counsel, and practical advice on how to better manage one’s finances, explaining in simple terms the language of money - assets, budgeting, insurance, investments, liabilities, loans, loss, profit, and savings.

    It is not just a financial dictionary, but also dwells on typical Filipino practices, attitudes, and behaviors that prevent effective money management.

    Real-life experiences and examples are shown to illustrate lessons learned the hard and painful way, and will hopefully inspire more Filipinos to begin the journey not just towards financial literacy, but to take the necessary steps to secure their own financial freedom - and that of their friends, families, and communities.

    “This (book) is very relevant if you’re looking for ways to start your financial plan, how to get out of debt, what insurance product is right for you, how to invest, how to avoid investment scams,” says Rapisura.

    The book is available in major bookstores in the Philippines. - Rappler.com

    If you know of a community that will benefit from financial literacy training, please refer them by going to http://learningwealth.org/contact


    SOURCE: http://www.rappler.com/move-ph/balikbayan/142633-learning-earning-wealth-vince-rapisura-sedpi

  • Farmers train on microfinance


    Farmers belonging to Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Organizations (ARBOs) in Batangas were recently trained on microfinance to improve their organizations’ social and financial performance.

    The training entitled Fundamentals and Methodologies of Microfinance and Character and Capacity-Based Lending, was conducted by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) in partnership with the Social Enterprise Development Partnerships Incorporated (SEDPI).

    DAR Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer Merle H. Manalo said objective of the training is “to enhance the capacity of our ARBOs in managing their microfinance services.”

    She said the knowledge that the ARBOs acquired from the training should translate into a more effective and efficient microfinance services to its members, increased outreach of members served, and better incomes for the ARBOs and the member-borrowers.

    “As a follow-through or post-training activity, the ARBOs will be assisted by the DARPO in improving their existing processes, systems and procedures utilizing the methodologies and tools imparted by SEDPI,” Manalo said.

    During the training, SEDPI provided a compressed version of its Technical and Monitoring Assistance (TAMA), which closely supervised and monitored DAR assisted ARBOs progress towards financial and organizational sustainability.news regional 1 pix 2 july 28 2016.


    SEDPI Chief Operations Officer Emilenn Kate Sacdalan said “TAMA seeks to deliver capacity building interventions to ARBOs. This will help them develop a capable management team which would guide them in the delivery of agri-products, access to credit and financial services to their clients.”

    The ARBOs who participated in the training were the SAPAGLAYA MPC, Mountainside MPC, Dayapan MPC, Mayuro MPC, PIFADECO, KAMAHARI ABMPC, Lucban MPC, Magahis MPC, Haybanga MPC and Prenza MPC.

    The three-day training was held on July 13-15, 2016. (J.C. Maralit)

    Photo 1: Development facilitators and representatives from different ARBOs during the training on microfinance with Chief Operations Officer Emilenn Kate Sacdalan (lady in white/standing).

    Photo 2: Farmer-participants listening attentively to the discussion.

    SOURCE: http://www.dar.gov.ph/region-iv-a/47-news/2194-farmers-train-on-microfinance

  • Financial planning for overseas Filipinos 

    image 1For many Filipinos, the lure of working overseas is plain and simple: money. A higher take home pay enables them to provide their family with a better life.

    Earning in terms of a stronger currency allows the overseas Filipino to buy more pesos.

    In 2015, the number of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) was estimated at 2.4 million. Remittances reached $22 billion as of end-November 2015.

    But not all is well in the land of OFWs, wherever it may be.

    A 2011 study by Social Enterprise Development Partnerships Inc. sounded the alarm bell.

    One out of 10 OFWs is  financially broke. Eight out of 10 of those who return to the Philippines have no savings.

    Despite a higher earning power compared to working the same job in the Philippines, why are they coming bank without any savings or investment?

    The primary reason Filipinos aim to work abroad is the higher pay which enables them to provide a better life for their families, whether in the Philippines or abroad. For OFWs working in developed countries such as the USA, the UAE, and Singapore to name a few, they are earning in stronger currencies which allow them to buy (and save) more pesos.

    Obviously, it’s not how much you earn, it’s how much you save.

    Financial planning is not only about increasing your income.

    Here is a guide to financial planning for those who live and work abroad.

    OFWs are sometimes tagged as modern-day heroes. They sacrifice the time with their family for a better life. Behind the pictures and the social media posts lies the truth –being an OFW isn’t easy.

    OFWs move their lives to settle into a country they know little about and immerse themselves in a whole new culture, language, traditions, and people. Such challenges may be rewarded with a better income.

    Obviously, best thing to do is to maximize your earning capacity. Saving and investing are keys to when the time comes, you can go back home to the Philippines with wealth both in terms of finances and experience.

    View original article here.

  • Changing mindsets: Teaching financial literacy to OFWs in HK

    Many overseas Filipino workers face problems with loans. A program for OFWs in Hong Kong is helping change that.

    By: David Lozada

    LOANS. Overseas Filipino workers flock a street in Hong Kong known to host a number of loaning agencies and pawnshops. Photo by David Lozada/ Rappler
    LOANS. Overseas Filipino workers flock a street in Hong Kong known to host a number of loaning agencies and pawnshops. Photo by David Lozada/ Rappler

    HONG KONG – In a crowded street in central Hong Kong, overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) line up in front of pawnshops and loan agencies. The crowd starts to thicken even before the offices open.

    For domestic helper Maria Wilma Padura, the scene is all too familiar.

    The 43-year-old has been an OFW in the city for 18 years, working multiple jobs to raise her family back in the Philippines.

    “It’s a common problem among OFWs. Many of us are neck-deep in loans. I’ve been taking loans for years before I learned to manage my finances,” Padura said.

    According to her, the problem starts even before OFWs leave the Philippines.

    “When you leave the country, you take a loan to pay for the placement fee. You pawn your properties just to pay. When you get here, you have to adjust to the living expenses,” Padura said.

    She added: “Aside from paying off the loans, you have to pay for your children’s education and the expenses of your family. When an emergency comes up, you really have no choice but to take another loan.”

    Many OFWs in different countries face problems with loans. Many fall victim to loan sharks while some are forced to run away. Some end up using their passport as a collateral so they end up overstaying their visa and forced to go home. Some even end up in prison. (READ: Debt bondage: The scourge of OFWs)

    Statistics from Hong Kong's Immigration Department show that, as of February 2015, there were a total of 173,726 Filipino domestic workers in Hong Kong. This was an increase of nearly 7,000 for the same period in 2014, when a total number of 166,743 Filipino domestics were recorded.

    OFW problems

    This problem is what the Social Enterprise Development Partnerships Inc (SEDPI), in partnership with the Ateneo School of Government (ASOG), wants to solve in their Financial Literacy, Leadership, and Social Entrepreneurship (FLSE) workshop for OFWs on Sunday, May 29.

    “OFWs need to manage scarce resources. They need to focus on making their hard earned money productive,” Vince Rapisura, president and chief executive officer of SEDPI.

    Some OFWs present in the workshop have been working in the city for 20 to 30 years. Before leaving for Hong Kong, the participants admitted that they only wanted to work abroad for up to 10 years so they can be with their families back home.

    “This is the case for many OFWs. They end up staying too long abroad because they mismanage their finances,” Rapisura said.

    According to a study conducted by SEDPI, around 57% of OFWs who attend their workshops struggle to meet their daily needs. Some 33% struggle to find funds to finance businesses or sources of income back in the Philippines while 14% struggle to fulfill their financial obligation to their nuclear family.

    The same study found out that despite the challenges, OFWs’ top financial goals and dreams are to achieve the following:

    • Permanent work or source of income (72%)
    • House and lot (31%)
    • Happy and prosperous family life (28%)
    • Education (27%)
    • Help nuclear family (13%)
    • Retirement (13%)
    • Move out of poverty (3%)

    “It’s interesting to note that most OFWs want to create permanent work or sources of income in the Philippines. Their end goal is still to go home and live in the country,” Rapisura said.

    SEDPI is a capacity-building institution that trains provides training, research and consulting services in micro finance, social entrepreneurship, and financial literacy for OFWs and locals organizations in 27 countries. From an initial capital of P45,000 (US$1,027), the financing company now has P268 million ($5.737 million) based on audited financial statements in 2015.

    Active vs passive income

    FINANCIAL LITERACY. SEDPI President and CEO Vince Rapisura teach overseas Filipino workers how to manage their finances. Photo by David Lozada/ Rappler
    FINANCIAL LITERACY. SEDPI President and CEO Vince Rapisura teach overseas Filipino workers how to manage their finances. Photo by David Lozada/ Rappler

    Rapisura encouraged OFWs to increase their investments to achieve eventual financial independence.

    Active income are earnings gained through work and employment while passive income are received on a regular basis with little effort required to maintain it, like stocks, mutual funds, and real estate rentals.

    “As a rule, you should use your active income to pay for your needs while you use your passive income for your wants,” he said.

    Most OFWs, Rapisura noted, barely differentiate between needs and wants. This becomes the root of their and their families financial problems.

    “You need to change your perspective. You should encourage your family back home that their expenses on needs must come from them and expenses on wants/ goals must come from income abroad,” Rapisura said.

    He added: “If you don’t have control over their spendings and your own income, you’ll end up staying here in Hong Kong for a long time.”

    Road to financial independence

    NO MORE DEBT. Domestic helper Maria Wilma Padura achieved financial independence after joining the LSE program. Photo by David Lozada/ Rappler
    NO MORE DEBT. Domestic helper Maria Wilma Padura achieved financial independence after joining the LSE program. Photo by David Lozada/ Rappler

    Padura was part of the FLSE in 2013. She said the program helped her achieve financial independence.

    “When I became part of the program, I was still neck-deep in loans. I didn’t know how to manage and budget my resources. I applied what I learned about financial literacy and before I finished the course, I was able to pay off all my loans,” she said.

    Aside from paying off her debts and helping her sister finish her education, Padura is paying forward and want to help other OFWs currently in debt. She founded the Passi City, Iloilo Association of OFWs in Hong Kong in 2003. In 2015, she organized the Passi City Balik sa Bayan Incorporated to help OFWs who come home start their own businesses and investments. The Iloilo organization is currently undergoing the same FLSE program.

    Padura was awarded in Outstanding Community Leader Award in 2015 and a finalist of Bayaning Pilipino sa Asia Pacific in ABS-CBN’s Gawad Geny Lopez. The local government of Passi City also gave her a Golden Heart Award and Outstanding Passino Award in March 2016.

    “I taught my family how to manage their finances properly. I still help them but I don’t pay for all their needs anymore. I learned to say no when needed, which is very difficult for us OFWs,” Padura said.

    While many OFWs struggle to become financially independent, Padura said it is possible with the right mindset on saving and budgeting.

    For Rapisura, the training is a service to the country’s modern heroes, who seldom end up broke after spending decades working abroad.

    “SEDPI would like to harness the power of OFW remittances to contribute to nation building. We need to teach them how to become responsible consumers for their families and themselves,” Rapisura said.

    He added: “Remember, your most valuable asset is you. This is more relevant if you’re the sole breadwinner for your families.” - Rappler.com

    View original article here.

  • Emotions preventing OFWs from financial success

    By: David Lozada

    A financial expert says many overseas Filipino workers send most of their earnings to their families – and fail to save for themselves – because they feel emotions such as guilt and shame

    HONG KONG – What emotions are preventing overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) from achieving financial success? What needs to change?

    For Analyn Regulacion, a domestic helper in Hong Kong for more than 5 years, it was guilt.

    “My relatives would blackmail me emotionally, especially my siblings, to give them financial support. If I don’t give them money, they would make me feel guilty. I would cry by myself because I couldn’t help them,” a teary-eyed Regulacion recalled. (READ: Changing mindsets: Teaching financial literacy to OFWs in HK)

    She added: “I left the Philippines when my child was only 3 months old to work abroad. I was able to send all my siblings to school but I realized I was left behind. I wasn’t saving for myself.”

    This is common for many OFWs, who usually send most of their earnings to their families back home. In March 2016 alone, OFW remittances hit a record-high $2.7 billion.

    According to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) in 2012, the Philippine economy cannot do without cash remittances from its overseas workers. Cash sent to the country, the World Bank also noted, is a “key factor” for the Philippines’ resilience.

    Emotions blocking financial success

    Aside from guilt, Social Enterprise Development Partnerships Inc (SEDPI) president and CEO Vince Rapisura said fear, anger, envy, and shame also prevent OFWs from being financially independent.

    “Because of shame, for example, we tend to cover up reality with luxuries we cannot afford. We want to save our family name by tolerating bad financial habits and solving other members’ financial problems,” Rapisura said during a Financial Literacy, Leadership, and Social Entrepreneurship (FLSE) workshop for OFWs on Sunday, May 29.

    Envy is another problem, according to Rapisura, as OFWs may feel discontent with their achievements and compare these with other OFWs’ accomplishments.

    “Focus on how people achieve things and not what they achieve. Take time to also recognize and congratulate yourself,” he said. (READ: What you need to know about overseas Filipino workers)

    To help counter bad financial habits, Rapisura encouraged OFWs to focus on positive emotions – courage, joy, and contentment.

    Financial stages

    EYE-OPENER. Domestic helper Analyn Regulacion says learning financial literacy will help her end her stint as an OFW in Hong Kong. Photo by David Lozada/Rappler

    EYE-OPENER. Domestic helper Analyn Regulacion says learning financial literacy will help her end her stint as an OFW in Hong Kong. Photo by David Lozada/Rappler

    During the workshop, Rapisura showed OFWs a guide to help them monitor their resources – the so-called financial life stages.

    “The financial life stages provide a guide for people to assess their financial health. It provides a framework for people to understand what to prepare financially to enjoy a full and meaningful life,” he said.

    Based on the framework, workers are encouraged to start saving from 21 to 22 years old, when most people enter the workforce.

    The financial independence stage, when passive income is expected to increase to up to 10%, comes at 23 to 25 years old.

    The growth stage, from 26 to 45 years old, is when passive income is expected to grow from 11% to 50%.

    The stabilization stage, when the highest income is enjoyed and expenses start to decrease, is from 46 to 60 years old.

    The ultimate goal is to achieve financial freedom at the age of retirement or 60 years old.

    Many of the 60 OFWs who attended the workshop expressed disappointment over their savings while working abroad.

    “I was able to help my relatives while I was the one feeling miserable away from them. I realized I should be helping myself [attain financial independence] first,” Regulacion said.

    Most important asset

    Rapisura emphasized that while OFWs need to support their immediate families, they should, first and foremost, take care of themselves.

    “Remember that your most important asset is yourself. Build your courage and gain the confidence to be self-sufficient and self-reliant,” Rapisura said.

    He added: “At our age, money management is a life skill that we should be able to master to gain financial freedom in the shortest possible time.”

    For OFWs like Regulacion, the workshop was an eye-opener.

    “There are so many things I should have been doing the past years. I did not have any financial plans before this session but now I know how much I should be saving. I now have a target of when I will end my work here in Hong Kong and go back home,” she said.

    The event was held in partnership with the Ateneo School of Government (ASoG), Wimler Foundation, UGAT Foundation, and the Overseas Filipinos’ Society for the Promotion of Economic Security (OFSPES). After completing tasks in other online courses and modules, OFW participants will be awarded a diploma on FLSE by ASoG. – Rappler.com

    View Original Article here.

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