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How Can Gambian Expat Workers Pay Off Their Debt and Achieve Financial Freedom?

24 Jan 2024

Do you know what is the core purpose of expatriating to another country?

Millions of people from developing countries travel to other countries to seek better employment opportunities, high-quality education, etc.

You can have any reason but don’t you think that the core purpose of expatriating is to become financially independent?

If you were faring better financially in your native country, would you be thinking of leaving your loved ones and traveling abroad?

This is exactly what happens to the Gambian expatriates.

According to a report by IOM UN Migration, about 118,000 Gambians live in foreign countries to earn a living. They send money to Gambia to give financial support to their families. The same report said that the Gambia is one of the smallest countries in Africa with a population of about 2.3 million, but their contribution through remittances they send accounts for over 20% of the country’s GDP.

A World Bank report said that the quantum of inward remittances to the Gambia in 2021 was about $547 million ($547,051,424, to be exact).

Imagine where the quantum of remittances to several countries remains consistently to the tune of billions; these are just over half a billion in the case of Gambia.

Where this points to the state of the country’s economy, it also talks amply about the financial woes of the Gambians who lay their hands on whatever opportunity they find abroad instead of trying to find some big opportunities, else, the volume of remittances would have been anything but what it is now.

A Brief Background And An Insight Into The Gambians’ Migration

A closer look at the middle-income group in any society, let alone a society like the Gambian, where poverty reigns supreme, will reveal that a large segment seeks loans towards the end of each month to make necessary expenses. They do so because they cannot manage their expenses within the given means they have.

So, each month more or less passes by seeking loans and paying off the sought ones. And this vicious cycle continues unabated.

Why not, then, you may wonder, seek a loan once to travel abroad to earn a living and support your family through a money transfer to Gambia in addition to paying off your debt and becoming independent financially?

But, paying your debt off and seeking financial independence is not easy and is rather rooted in the following few essential steps.

Before understanding these steps, a look at the Gambian economy is pertinent.

The Gambian Economy

  • In 2021, the World Bank said the Gambian nominal GDP was $2.04 billion.
  • According to the World Bank, the GDP per capita in the Gambia in 2021 was $772.2.

It is in the wake of such a suffocating economy, being depicted through these figures, that the Gambians travel to foreign countries to Find Jobs With Better Financial Prospects In A Few Booming Sectors.

How To Pay Your Debt Off?

You may get into the debt faster than you will likely get out of it. So, make sure to be patient while exercising the following.

The Debt Snowball Strategy

The first step is to note down all the debts you have sought in a manner that the smallest loans come atop the list. Pay the small loans first and gradually move towards the bigger amount. It is called a snowballing strategy.

The Debt Avalanche Strategy

It is similar to the snowball strategy, but in this approach, the difference is to jot down the debts with the highest interest rates and start paying them off first while making smaller payments alongside them.

Debt Consolidation Strategy

It is challenging to manage different debts with varying deadlines and disparate interest rates and to pay them singularly. It is better to combine all loans into one big amount and pay it off slowly at a lower interest rate.

These strategies will help you pay off your debts easily and also help you to send financial aid to your family back home through an online money transfer to Gambia at regular intervals.

Let’s now understand the steps you can take to become financially independent as a Gambian migrant working abroad.

Steps To Become Financially Independent

Remember that financial freedom is relative, and you cannot define it in definite terms. But broadly, it can be understood as the financial strength to fulfill life needs viably without having to seek loans.

Regardless of how you define it, the following few steps will help you attain it.

  • You must determine your financial goals and then inch towards achieving them!
  • Keep an eye on your current financial status and make sure not to be disillusioned by it. you must have the hard reality in sight instead of hopes rooted in the future and the unknown!
  • Make sure to open the right bank accounts. Never confuse a savings account with a checking account, and so on.
  • Make sure to create a schedule of depositing money in the respective accounts you have opened, and stick to the schedule.
  • Keep an eye on your spending and you can use many tools to this end or do so manually too.
  • Create a budget or a spending plan and follow it without fail.
  • Slash all the unnecessary expenses at once and spend on things that you need the most. You can do this by recording your expenses and by revisiting them between the end and start of each month.
  • Always be ready for emergencies and ‘surprise’ expenses.
  • Make a plan to pay your debts off, and it better be based on the three strategies explained above.
  • Create emergency funds and do not just forget about it, rather contribute to it regularly.
  • Keep an eye on your credit and make sure not to cross your credit limits.
  • Keep your options open even if you are working abroad. Evaluate your career options and stay alert.
  • Invest in your future by purchasing property or by, starting a side business, etc.
  • Seek advice from a trusted financial advisor, discuss your finances with them, and make tweaks where necessary.

These simple steps will help you attain financial freedom as a Gambian migrant.

The Way Forward

Another sure recipe for your financial relief is to send money to Gambia online with a service provider that offers you live and market-competitive exchange rates, speed, safety, and much more from one stop for a low fee. You can surely and safely bet on ACE Money Transfer for all of it.


How can Gambian expat workers start paying off their debt while working abroad?

Expatriate workers from The Gambia can begin by creating a budget to track their income and expenses. Allocate a portion of your income specifically for debt repayment, and consider prioritizing high-interest debts first. Additionally, explore opportunities to increase your income, such as part-time work or freelancing, to accelerate debt payoff.


What strategies can Gambian expats use to manage and reduce their debt more effectively?

Consolidating high-interest debts into a lower-interest loan, like a personal loan or balance transfer credit card, can help reduce the overall interest paid. Also, negotiating with creditors for lower interest rates or extended payment terms can make the debt more manageable.


Are there any financial tools or resources available to assist Gambian expats in managing debt and saving for financial freedom?

There are various budgeting apps and online tools that can help expats track their finances, like Mint or YNAB (You Need A Budget). Additionally, expats can seek guidance from financial advisors or online communities to gain insights into effective debt management and savings strategies.


How can Gambian expats balance paying off debt with saving for their future financial goals?

It's crucial to strike a balance between debt repayment and saving. Start by building an emergency fund to cover unexpected expenses, and then focus on paying off high-interest debt. Once the debt is under control, allocate a portion of your income towards long-term savings and investments, such as retirement accounts or a diversified portfolio.


What are some long-term financial strategies that Gambian expat workers can adopt to achieve financial freedom?

To achieve financial freedom, expat workers should prioritize saving and investing for the long term. This includes contributing regularly to retirement accounts, building a diversified investment portfolio, and considering real estate investments when feasible. Developing a financial plan and setting clear financial goals will also help pave the way to financial independence.

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