From rags to riches: How a poor Filipina immigrant became a millionaire in the US

By , on June 30, 2014


Mila Ferrer (Screengrab from video posted to abs-cbnnews.com)
Mila Ferrer (Screengrab from video posted to abs-cbnnews.com)

PLANO, Illinois – Filipina Mila Ferrer, who hails from Alcala, Pangasinan, migrated to the United States 40 years ago, with no more than $20 in her pocket, and the determination to succeed.

Ferrer, now 60-years-old, recently recounted her story to a US-based correspondent of ABS-CBN News.

She shared that she was one of four siblings, orphaned and struggling to survive. She vowed to herself that her own family would not know the suffering and hardship she had to endure.

“I will never have my kids go through the life that I went through as a kid,” she said.

The stalwart migrant was fresh out of college upon landing on American soil. She was financially broke, and her English was broken; but her spirit, not so. Living out of a mobile home, she pursued her American Dream with persistence.

The job hunt, however, proved an uphill climb: 17 job interviews later and still jobless. She did not let this bring her down; instead, she cleaned houses to eke out a living.

Eventually, her luck began to turn, and she landed a job which would help her maximize her potential. She took on a clerical post at a financial company, and later on transferred from one banking institution to another. Ferrer became a loan manager, thanks to her hard work.

She recalled the early years of living in America: “I learned how to make my own money. I was cleaning houses, working in the bank, doing real estate, working as personal assistant to doctors, and being a mom,” she said.

The fact that she was a single mom to five children did not bring her down, either, in the land of opportunity.

“I don’t believe that you can be poor in America. If you want to work hard, there is work,” she said.

“You have to find a mentor. Kasi yung pera mo kung pagulungan mo you’ll be able to make it,” she pointed out.

Four decades later, Mila’s hard work has paid off.

This once impoverished orphan is now worth millions. She owns 52 land properties in America, including one of the houses she used to clean. From her meager trailer home, she presently lives in a 6,000 square-foot house on a three-acre lot.

From struggling employee, she holds the title of regional vice-president for an international investment company.

Ferrer credits hard work and passion as the secrets to her incredible success story. She has not only succeeded, in a tremendous way, but now finds herself in a position to help others succeed, as well.

“I love what I do; I help people. I can do this wherever I go,” she said.