Significantly Revised and Updated – Dec 2012
Well, if that’s true, my friend, my heart goes out to you, because you’re dead, you just don’t know it yet.
A huge percentage of my readers are from the USA. And if you have enough money to retire in the USA, then you certainly have more than enough to retire in the Philippines … if you manage it properly.
If not, you better stay in the USA where there are literally thousands of “entitlement” programs that keep people’s heads above water no matter what.
What I think people really mean about not having enough money to retire in the Philippines is that they are currently deep into the quagmire of uncontrolled, illogical and frankly idiotic spending that has somehow become the “American Nightmare”, rather than the “American Dream”.
A colleague of mine, Fred Reed, a man about my age and thought patterns recently wrote a very useful and sensible article regarding this sad phenomena which has perverted, literally, my once proud and self-reliant country.
(By the way, Fred is an Expat also, he chooses to live in Mexico, but many of his decisions in living there are very closely parallel to living in the Philippines … even his cost of living figures are strikingly similar)
…. I am sitting here in central Mexico, drinking Padre Kino red, which is thirty-nine cents a trainload Messican wine, and pondering life and economics. I may not be entirely coherent. Coherence is an overrated virtue. Anyway, I cannot understand people in the Unites States. Help me.
The American Dream, the American Dream, the American Dream. Politicians keep saying it. What is it, for God’s sake? Apparently it’s twenty grand on the Visa, upside down on the mortgage on a shoddily built oversize McMansion in a remote sterile suburb where you don’t know your neighbors, living paycheck to paycheck, no savings, forty-five minute commute to a job you hate in with gas prices rising. If that’s a dream, better to stay awake.
Why this? I will now enunciate Fred’s Principle which, if adopted, would bring the United States down in about a week and a half.
If you can’t pay for it, don’t buy it. … (my emphasis)
… I live in Mexico, on Lake Chapala, almost an hour south of Guadalajara. The town is Ajijic, Google it. I have friends who live on $1K a month. This is below optimal, but they do it with $350 for rent in a genuinely decent residential hotel, internet and pool included, and eat and read and listen well. These are people of intelligence. They are not suffering.
For this American, that’s a dream. But doable. … (my emphasis)
I hear from people in the US all the time who make me just shake my head. They are paying for all sorts of outlandish ‘services’ that literally confuse me … and some of the ones I understand just make my head swim.
Many of you within the sound of my voice (or the words of my typing) are where you are today for one simple reason. You refuse to change.
You agree and agree again, over and over to have your pocket picked by ‘toys’ and ‘services’ that you really can’t afford and that are doing absolutely nothing to help get ready for a successful retirement, either in the USA, or in the Philippines or anywhere else you might have in mind.
Do you know how many emails I get with the useless, bandwidth wasting (but ego-stroking) little tag line “Sent From My iPhone”? Answer? A LOT.
And a significant portion of the time, that person is writing to tell me how they have no savings and they want to, but they just can’t afford t move to the Philippines. As Mr. Spock has been known to say more than once, “Does not compute, Jim”.
Are you stuck forever in an over-priced, underbuilt house that you can’t afford and can’t sell?
“Jingle mail” the son of a bitch, cut your losses and make your move. Let the crooked banksters who got you into this mess take a ‘haircut’ on the damn lemon. See Jingle Mail Philippines for a little insight on this. There are no idiotic “Credit Scores” in the Philippines. Move here and you don’t have to spend your days chasing something you can’t control.
Got two gas-guzzling behemoths in the garage, wit monthly payments as well as registration, personal property taxes, rapacious insurance premiums, etc. on both of them?
Simple as anything, just get rid of one of them. If you can’t sell it, let it get re-poed (you can do a voluntary repossession on a car same as with a house). The money you save in the first year alone is enough to move to the Philippines. Let the banksters eat the loss, do you think they give a shit?
A friend in Canada is self-employed, he’s a carpenter. He had an expensive mini-van for his wife and kids to ride to all the ‘soccer mom’ things during the day and a huge ‘manly’ FWD pickup to carry his tools. (and suck up huge portions of his paycheck into it’s massive, dual fuel tanks).
He bought a Toyota hybrid … 60 plus miles per gallon, cut back to just one tool box full of tools he could carry between job sites, and got rid of both his gas guzzlers.
Even though he had to pay a penalty to turn in his leased truck early, he saves thousands per year. His wife drops him off at job sites in the AM, just like mom’s used to do when one car families were the norm.
For six month he even had a work site that was on a bus route. Guess what, he rode the bus back and forth … what a concept, just like he was one of those low-life, smelly people who can’t afford a car … he found out the bus company allowed employed people on board too. Amazing.
Got two or more cell phones at $100 plus a month rates?
Get rid of both of them. You can buy a cheap, prepay phone there in the US as cheap as you can in the Philippines and pay as you go monthly, for as cheap as I do here in the Philippines (I spend about $5 a month for my cell phone, all-in. Of course I don’t have an iPhone. Poor me. Of course you’re stuck with a massive debt load and hating your job and I live in the Philippines 100% debt free, so maybe that should be poor you. ( have nothing to play Angry Birds on, though … what an underprivileged citizen).
How many insurance plans do you have for medical reasons alone? A relative, who is an accountant and who I always though was smart (until she told me about this), confessed to me that between herself and her husband they are paying for three different plans. She really didn’t even know what one of them covered or how each of them worked with each o
ther … and they are close to retirement age, they will have Medicare soon.
When I comment as to how this seemed a bit boneheaded to me, she replied, “Well, we never know we might get sick.” True. The world might also end late this year when the Mayan Calendar runs out. Have you bought insurance for that, too?
You know hat a lot of Americans have now I find? “Legal Insurance” … in case they need a lawyer.
Wow, how kewl is that. You’re broke, all your assets are in the toilet, you work all the hours you can just to pay the interest on all those credit cards you thought you needed and you are worried about getting sued? What the hell can anyone sue you for, the only asset you own free and clear is debt for God’s sake.
Enough ranting? OK. I’ll shut up. Mostly, what you do is none of my business anyway.
But when you write and tell me how you can’t move to the Philippines because you are stuck in the US dream “hamster wheel”, make sure you are using the proper contraction in your sentence. According to what I know about math (which ain’t much), “can’t is not equal to won’t.
You can make the changes you need, it is a matter of will you or will you not.