Financial Planning Philippines — You Talking To Me?
Well actually, yes I am talking to you about Financial Planning Philippines. Nobody looks forward to planning life’s “end game”, but the one thing more certain than the tides themselves is, we all have to die, someday. (You might like 3900 Marbles and Government Health Care for a little insight on my ‘take’ on the end game issue).
I’ve been involved in a number of cases where expats have passed on here in the Philippines with no plan for how their wives and families will continue living, and not even a care for their own funeral arrangements. Not a fun thing for weekend reading I know, but something worthy of your attention, IMO.
Financial Planning Philippines — General Advice
I believe I have recommended articles from the good folks at www.getrichslowly.org in the past. An excellent site, chi=ock-a-block full of great advice and written by a team of writers who live in the real world and now some financial planning dream world as some still seem to be living today.
Yesterday morning I noticed an excellent article there, contributed by Sierra Black. Sierra writes about frugality, sustainable living, and raising children at Childwild.com. Also recommended.
Financial Planning Philippines — Singleness Can Be A Blessing Or A Curse
In particular, Sierra’s article caught my attention because I am familiar with many expats here in the Philippines who are as “partnered up” with Philippine partners as they can possibly be, but for one reason or another are not married. This one is definitely for you.
Money is one of the biggest issues couples fight about. It’s also one of the most important areas for clear communication. After all, money touches every aspect of our lives…
Obviously, these guys didn’t have much planning and communication before entering the intersection. Many people seem to plan life with their partner using just about the same amount of care.
…I’ve written before about the importance of having good financial communication with your spouse. It’s doubly important to communicate well with your partner if you’re not married. Many of the financial advantages married couples enjoy are available to unmarried partners — but they’re not automatic. For unmarried partners, it takes careful planning and legal documentation to create the kind of benefits married couples get the moment they say, “I do.”…
Here in the Philippines there are three main groups of people who choose unmarried partnerships:
- Same-sex couples who can’t legally marry. Even though many US states have some provision for same-sex marriage, and others also are making progress in allowing life partners some of the same rights and privileges as conventional marriage partners, it’s not legal in the Philippines and it is very, very unlikely to be legal for a long time, if ever.
- May/December couples who don’t feel ready for marriage or aren’t interested in marrying. Some guys feel a little strange bringing a new wife into a marriage when the wife will be much younger than their daughters. In addition to the obvious age disparity, they may want to avoid complicating benefits and rights their grown children already have.
- Older couples (especially those with previous marriages/divorce settlements) who have financial disincentives to marry because of their existing benefits.
Five Keys to Unmarried Partnership Financial Success
- Document. Put your wishes in writing. This means all the basic estate planning documents. If you die without a will, or fall ill without a health care proxy, your unmarried is legally a stranger to you. Your loved one will have no rights to care for you or inherit from you. See a lawyer now, before something happens which makes seeing a lawyer impossible.
- Insure. Some federal protections don’t apply to unmarried couples, such as social security benefits. Unmarried couples should at the least carry enough term life insurance to replace some income streams, such as the social security benefits they don’t qualify for.
- Instruct. Instruct your trustees as to your wishes. If you are providing for each other in the event of something happening, make sure that you list your partner as beneficiary. Be sure you’ve done all the appropriate paperwork for this, since — as mentioned above — it won’t happen automatically.
- Ownership. Make sure that assets are owned properly. I particular here in the Philippines, where non-Filipinos can not own land, think this through with your partner before rather than after death do you part. See a lawyer for proper advice and get the right names on titles and other ownership documents. You need to realize that because the Philippine Family Code is so strict and indeed, convoluted regarding property survivorship, if you don’t get things arranged and documented properly, your partner will have virtually zero chance of getting it right after you pass on.
- Inform. Inform family members of your intentions or wishes. Neiman says this is especially important if you expect family members to be difficult about choices you’ve made. If your family doesn’t approve of your relationship, they may resist your wishes to provide for your partner. Better to have your plans known ahead of time than to have them mount a surprise contest against your will after you’re gone.
And even for you single guys … please, document your burial wishes. It’s fantastically expensive and tragic to make some friend feel responsible for keeping you in cold storage while distant relations are searched out and then have your ‘disposal’ problem dumped in their lap. Be kind enough to those who don’t die before you to help then know your wishes.
Well, there’s a thousand words or so, give or take on Philippine financial and estate planning. What parts didn’t I cover, or what did I get wrong? let me know, but whatever you decide to do … don’t neglect your Financial Planning Philippines, married or single!