Let me start this article by throwing out a vote of thanks to all those who helped me out by filling out the comprehensive PhilFAQS survey I was promoting recently. You have been a great help to me, and the survey is still open, there’s a link to it in the side bar.
One of the things that really caught my attention was the age range of my valued visitors here. I thought most folks here were “matured” gentlemen, like myself. Turns out that is why surveying your readers is very worthwhile. I actually have readers as young as 18 and as old as 76. Wow. I better “level up” and not write only for my geriatric colleagues.
You may have noticed I published a great article earlier today on the reality of doing business here in the Philippines, written by a man with more than 8 years experience at earning an honest living from honest businesses here in the Philippines .. and he’s only 28.
Yes, indeed, you don’t have to be old (and retired, on a pension) to move here to the Philippines. What you do, however, have to be (at any age) is willing to learn . that’s the chief obstacle I see when I review readers continual ‘;road blocking’ reasons, telling me the same old sad stories about why other people can but the6y can’t … because they “Don’t Know How’”. My message back? Then learn how, dammit. Those of use fro age 20 to age 76 (and countring0 have learned, so can you.
One thing to remember about a potential move here, even if you don’t intend to get involved with any sort of business or work is, you had best enjoy learning new things and finding out how to do things that you do not know how to do today.
Life here in the Philippines is a “learning experience” for a foreigner, and those who want to hide behind the “I Don’t Know” excuse are not going to have nearly as good a time as those who enjoy learning.
You can’t refuse to learn, have people do everything for you and not know the reason behind doing things the way things are done here in the Philippines and still expect to have a good life.
Learning new things keeps me (and many others) young and engaged. If you don’t like learning new things and changing some of the ways you have “Always Done Things”, staying home in the USA may be a much better option.
Okay, now that that particular rant is over, back to the title of this article.
How does a single man (US citizen, by the way) come to
live in the Philippines, and be happy about it?
Well, he needs three things off the top of my head in order to do so:
Well that’s where the older age group has him covered. Unlike so many in today’s world who think the US military is a ‘dead end” or is somehow beneath them, my reader here …let’s call him Joe, did 20 plus years in the US marine Corp and this has a modest pension to live on for the rest of his days. “Need” number one is thus satisfied.
A Roof Over His Head:
Now this is one of those items that so many of my fellow Americans get all wrapped around the axle about. “Everyone Knows” that foreigners can’t own property here in the Philippines, and this just seems to piss some people off to the max.
After all, if the tables are turned, a Filipino can come to the USA and buy as much land as she or he can afford.
(actually under the zany, crooked real estate economy there in the US, she or he can actually buy way more than she or he can afford, but we’ll save that for another rant).
So yes, indeed, this seems unfair, and as an American I am going to rant and rave and wave banners and “occupy” some place or another because this that or the other thing is unfair. Right?
Wrong, dude, at least so far as this American (and also my friend Joe is concerned). Unfair or not, the law here is the law here and I personally have been through way too much of ‘life’s experiences”, including service in combat zones, to spend my time off on “occupational” pursuits.
The law in the Philippines doesn’t allow foreigners to own land. But, it does, with 100% legality, allow us to lease land. As many as 25 years at a time with virtual automatic 25 year extension to the original lease.
But Dave I hear you yammering already … at the end of the lease the property reverts back to the actual land owner … I can’t get into something like that. That’s crazy!
Is it really? My friend “Joe” is 67, same as I am, coincidentally. at the end of 50 years that means he will be a “very” seasoned 117 years of age. Do you think the fact that he doesn’t own the land is going to matter much when he reaches 117? Do you think he is going to REACH 117? Heck the 10 oldest (verified) men ever top out at 115 … http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oldest_people
So my friend is actually going to build a modest little two bedroom bungalow on a piece of leased land for a maximum price of P1,000,000 … a million Pesos or $24752 USD at today’s rate. He’s building his own because he wants the electrical and plumbing (and things like the width of the bathroom doors and such, to be made the way he wants them made, rather than settling for what he can get in the average Philippine rental.
And yes. In 25 or 50 years, the land owner will then actually own the house Joe is having built.
“Joe is crazy”!. I can hear a number of you saying this now.
Is Joe really crazy? Maybe you think that … you’re entitled to your opinion, but in my case, I think Joe is “Crazy Like a Fox. Why? read on.
The third major essential Joe needs is the right to live as long as he wants to live in the Philippines.
Remember, Joe is single, so he can not avail of the many different permanent resident visa options us folk who are married to Filipinos or former-Filipinos can use.
And unlike quite a few Americans I have heard from in the past, Joe is not crazy enough to run off after some woman 30 or 40 years younger than he just to marry her in order to get a visa.
Many guys who rushed into marriage for the sake of a visa have found that it becomes the most expensive visa they could ever have imagined. Marrying some near stranger (and her family, when you marry, you marry into a family … understand that and never forget it, guys) is what sounds crazy to me.
No, Joe is going to avail of one of the Philippine’s little undervalued assets for foreigners, the SRRV. (Special Resident Retirement Visa). Any foreigner old enough can avail of this visa and get lifetime permanent residency in the Philippines … along with a few little privileges and perqs that other permanent resid4ent visas do not have … such as being exempt from the once a year reporting requirements, some advantages in travel, etc. Full info is here: http://www.pra.gov.ph/main/srrv_program?page=1
But that visa requires putting at least $10,000 USD in the bank … I hear that compliant coming.
Umm, actually it does not. For a foreigner over 50 y4ears of age, and with a verifiable pension income of $800 a month or more (Joe meets both these requirements) It requires a qualified deposit of US $10,000 in an approved bank, or “the purchase of a condominium unit or a long term lease (20 years or more) of a house and lot”.
Bingo. Needs two and three are now satisfied. For a one time investment, Joe has a place to live, rent already paid and a retirement visa, good for life.
Yes he is making an investment. But how much? He’s paying for the house, he’s paying (in advance) the 25 year lease payment, and the SRRV is not free, there is a $360 a year fee included.
But if you add that all up, and divide it out over the first 25 years, (300 months), Joe will be paying less than P 6000 a month .. less than $144 a month for 25 years of living here in the Philippines.
Now do you see why I called this “Crazy Like a Fox”?
Also, for those concerned with the dollar to peso exchange rates and such, Joe will be ‘locked in … his payments are already made at today’s rates, inflation or deflation of the US dollar against the Peso can’t hurt him in the future, he’s above all that … only the price of SMB to worry about
Joe is using a good attorney to write the lease, Joe’s son and/or other heirs will have the right of survivorship if Joe passes away before the end of 25 years, and they will also have the right to sell or transfer the lease … it is very much like a piece of property itself, except that unlike the actual land, foreigners have full rights under the law.
And the landlord? He’s pretty happy, too. He gives up a little corner of a piece of his land for 25 years, and in return gets over 400,000 pesos, cash, to invest in his current business ventures and long term, another house for he or his heirs to use, rent or sell years down the road.
Sounds pretty win-win to me. Do you still think (as so many who really don’t understand seem to) that the Philippine SRRV is a “rip off”?