I am spending a few days in my house by the sea in Southern Italy, a house my father bought 50 years ago.
It is a big house situated on the top of a hill overlooking the sea and the famous Capri Island, a world-class tourist destination.
My parents’ village is situated somewhere between the towns of Sorrento and Amalfi and it is, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful places on earth, as beautiful as the Mediterranean at its peak can get.
Despite the beauty of the area, my wife and I live in Rome and so does my brother and his family, because work in this part of the country is only seasonal and can almost only be found in the tourist sector. Most people who have a house here live elsewhere, some live in Rome, many others live in the rich and industrialized Northern Italy or perhaps in Switzerland, Germany, Australia and other wealthier areas.
So, while having a house like this is great, the reality is that maintaining it is extremely difficult both for me and my brother, as we both have a wife and children and have a house and bills to pay hundreds of kilometers away.
Turning this house into a rental business is not easy either because it would entail spending huge amounts to do the necessary makeover and neither me nor my brother have that money. On top of that there are taxes to pay.
So, under many aspects, my situation is like the situation of many OFW who have a big house in the Philippines but they live and work somewhere else.
I know OFWs who share their apartment with another family or work live-in but they have a mansion in the Philippines that turns out to be a liability because it only takes money out of their pockets.
Because I am pretty much in the same situation as those OFW, I can understand why many OFW struggle financially: they work hard to maintain a huge liability in the Philippines.
Unfortunately having a mansion by the sea has nothing at all to do with being rich (if you live from paycheck to paycheck), actually it is the exact opposite and only creates the illusion that you are wealthy when, in fact, you are actually poorer than one who has a simple life and can certainly afford to travel more, save up more and has much less anxiety and concerns.