Updated 18 August 2018
How To Retire in the Philippines With No Money.
OK, just on the face of things this is a really silly title for an article. You can’t retire in the Philippines (or anywhere else) with no money.
But since more than 150 people a month come here searching for that exact phrase, I figured I better say something about it.
Actually, my blogging colleague Dave Dewall said some more about it, word for word. Two sandwiches shy of a whole picnic I think was one of his expressions. Made me laugh. Go read what Dave had to say here, it’s good stuff:
Now you might think that Dave’s article upset me.
Not in the least. We’ve both been in the Philippines a lot of years now, and we’re both US retired men married to wonderful Filipina wives.
In other words, Dave knows whereof he speaks and so do I.
There are a number of prices and techniques he brings.. out in his article that I haven’t covered.
Well worth a read if you really want to know just how “low you can go” with monthly costs of retiring in the Philippines.
How Low Do I Think You Can Go?
I’ve seen articles quoting figures as low a $770 USD per month. Since I am currently debt free, I could live on that amount, but I’m surely not going to try.
I certainly wouldn’t recommend any other foreigner try it either.
In the year 2018, I would recommend no less than $1500 USD per month. In today’s world that would translate to about 80,00 Philippine Pesos (php) per month, and most Americans could live her decently on that.
But You Can Forget All The “Live Like a King” Nonsense
You would need to send conservatively and sensibly … something many of the “I don’t have money” folks out there haven’t learned yet, no matter where they live.
To put things in perspective, even the $770 USD notional figure (about 41,000 php) is the salary of a well-paid junior executive … say an assistant manager at a bank branch or a supervisor in a call center.
Am I then trying to say that low-level junior executive pay isn’t enough for a foreigner to live on here?
Actually, Yes I Am.
Here’s a chart that shows recent salary figures for a number of jobs in the Metro Manila area. (bear in mind the Metro (often referred to as the National Capital Region (NCR) is typically 20 to 25% higher than the other Philippines cities.
Thousands and thousands of Filipinos earn these sort f wages and do well on them … owning or renting a decent home, maybe having a car, sending their children to private schools and colleges.
Certainly, any American could live on an annual income in this range.
But There’s a Big Difference Between Could and Would.
Very few of you reading this are going to happily live on the proverbial $770 USD per month … although you certainly could, if you had to.
If you go out to eat at American style places just a few days a week. Or if you decide to buy a car. Or live in a halfway decent high-rise building or a gated subdivision, you are going to blow that budget your started with right out of the water.
Anyone who has ever seen my waistline knows I like to eat and I like mostly American style cooking.
Therefore my weekly food costs (eating out and grocery spending) is easily twice what most Filipinos would spend.
I also run a car. It’s a little Mitsubishi Adventure AUV (Asian Utility Vehicle), sort of an SUV that’s been washed in very hot water).
It’s 12 years old, fully paid for and runs well. Got plenty of parking lot style dents and scratches, but the air conditioner is still cold.
It costs a lot to keep that little wagon on the road.
It’s Hot Here, No Getting Around That.
I don’t like sweating very much, so I have three good sized air conditioners in my house.
One in the TV room/den where I spend most of my waking hours.
One in the master bedroom, and one in the guest bedroom … normally unoccupied.
The one in the TV room or the one in the master bedroom, or both tend to be on almost all day, every day.
This means I spend anywhere from $100 USD to as much as $140 USD every month or electricity.
Very, very few of my Filipino neighbors spend that much.
I Could Go On, But I Think You Get The Drift.
The difference between “could” live on $770 a month and “would” live on $770 USD a month is pretty clear. I’m not planning to give up my extra grocery money or my car or my air conditioners.
This is the place in my article where I planned to laboriously enter in whole columns of actual costs and give you the happy labor of sorting out the costs for yourself.
But I’m not going to do that. It’s boring.
And almost as soon as I entered all the figures and added them up, they’d be out of date.
Fortunately, someone else takes great joy at juggling these figures around and provides the information for you, updated on a daily basis by the people who are actually spending their own money to live here in the Philippines.
Here’s One Great (always free and no obligation) source
And Here’s Another, an Old, Trusted Friend Of Mine.
So, now you know almost as much as I do about …
How To Retire in the Philippines With No Money.