What do I mean by talking about Mini-Retirement Philippines.? Well hang in here for a few meinutes and I’ll tell you.
I’ve written a number of times about “Economy Birding” in the Philippines, similar to the idea of “Snowbirding in the Philippines” but focusing on the economics of things. I also wrote a recent article that addressed moving to the Philippines to improve your standard of living called Can Moving to the Philippines Improve Your Bottom Line?
In many cases these are just “voice in the wilderness” sort of articles, only a few seem to read them, especially because only a few of my readers are of retirement age. Of course, really, who the heck has the authority to tell anyone just what their “Retirement Age” is supposed to be?
But I came across a very interesting article by Michael Manville about “Mini Retirements” that I thought was very interesting in today’s economy … even for those of you “too young” for retirement, and particularly of interest to those of you who “Don’t Have Enough Money” to retire.
How Audacious IS “Early” Retirement?
- 1 Economy Birding Philippines — Prove It!
- 1.1 Economy Birding Philippines — But How Can I Earn Enough To Do This?
- 1.1.1 Mini-Retirement Philippines — But How Can I Earn Enough To Do This?
- 1.1.2 Mini-Retirement Philippines — But I Don’t Know How
- 1.1.3 Guess what, even if you are not in a calling which requires earning CEU’s, you owe it to yourself, and especially those who depend upon you, to continue your education.
- 1.1.4 Learning is Good For Your Health as Well as Your Pocketbook
- 1.1.5 Distance. Another example might be related to a wood-carver in Vietnam, who has no idea how to promote his beautiful work to the international marketplace. You may find his products to be very valuable and create a web site to promote his work. So long as you have skills, knowledge, and passion for the product, you can use the Internet or your contacts back home to access buyers that he never could. The fact that he is not able to travel distances like you are gives you an opportunity to help his business grow and thus creates an opportunity for you.
- 1.1.6 Opportunities Are ALL Over the Philippines
- 1.1.7 You Already Have a Storefront in these Cities
- 1.1.8 Yep, sounds like it. Or, then again, is it really an impractical dream? What if I told you the “high-end shops”, and all the marketing and retail sales infrastructure was already in place. Just no one has the imagination or courage to think beyond the limitations of selling handicraft items in the Philippines itself.
- 1.1.9 The Internet Is So Much More Than Killing Time on Facebook!
- 1.1.10 So What About It?
- 1.2 Related Posts
- 1.3 Readers who viewed this page, also viewed:
- 1.4 Share this Article:
- 1.1 Economy Birding Philippines — But How Can I Earn Enough To Do This?
I recommend you read Michael’s article … especially if you are one of the thousands and thousands of folks unemployed or “under-employed” and most particularly if you are facing foreclosure or struggling fruitlessly with an upside down mortgage in the USA. (you might also enjoy my “Jingle Mail” article if you are in that leaky boat.
Then be sure to come back, because while Michael’s points are good, the misses the boat completely with some of his cost figures. It’s way better in the Philippines than Michael’s estimates
Economy Birding Philippines — A Retirement Plan?
While some people plan to “retire” after decades of hard work at age 65 so they can “live the good life”, a growing number of us like the idea of living the good life now.
This article shows how your mini-retirement can not only save you money, but how you can create a new stream of income that might just turn into the money-making venture of a lifetime.
Exactly my point, Michael. I’ve been trying to teach this for some years now. I’m a retiree. I am blessed with a generous pension … so
generous you can’t get one like mine today, no matter how many years you work. (I put in over 38 of service to earn mine, but Congress changed the law since I started mine. Screw the employees, we have to cut costs somewhere ….).
Even with this blessing and advantage, my income from entitlements is going nowhere but down. 2008 was my highest year, it’s been lower each year since, and there’s certainly little chance that anyone’s “Entitlement” payments are going UP any time soon. Down would be the most likely trend … especially if some of the “do away with Social Security” candidates reach office.
My advice to everyone reading this, whether you are 18 or 88, is, today is the day you need to take action to start empowering your life … especially your retirement, however many years away that may be.
And if your in grave financial difficulty right now, it’s even more imperative you get a grip and start empowering your life. No candidate running in 2012 is going to do anything for you .. hell, none of them, of either party even gives a crap about you. They might bail out Wall Street blunders, they sure as hell aren’t going to bail out John Q. American…. mere “flyover people”.
OK, I hear you saying, I’m listening, but Philly, there’s just no way I could afford a time out in the Philippines. That’s crazy.
Well, maybe not as crazy as it seems. Follow me through here …
‘How Can You Afford It?’
How could “retirement” abroad – even semi-permanently – be cheaper than staying home?
People often assume that any kind of travel expense must be incurred in addition to all of the normal expenses of life. So, for them, to take a few months away would be nearly impossible to afford. They are stuck in the mentality that to travel is “expensive”.
Part of the reason for this is lost income. Most people cannot take their jobs with them – so even though they may be able to live in a place like Argentina, Ecuador, or Thailand for 50% less than living at home – the lost income makes it impossible for them to afford.
Also submitted for consideration are to factors many folks haven’t considered.
- It may well be possible to “take your job with you”, at least temporarily. How much of what you do today, at work could be done online .. especially on a reduced or part-time basis?
- A job costs money as well as paying it. How much would you save by not commuting, not dressing for work, not having the second car you need for work, (or even the first car, that you won’t need in the Philippines) not paying into a retirement fund, union dues, licensing fees, state and local employment and income taxes and other incidentals. When I was a Federal employee, for example, I found it took more than 15% of my salary just to “work”, so the “cost” of not working may be lower than you think.
- And this article is aimed specifically at those who have lost their jobs or know the end is coming. You can’t lose what you no longer have…
‘Five Star Travel’
Another big reason people find travel abroad expensive is because they like to stay in five star hotels and plush resorts while overseas instead of simply renting a home or apartment comparable to the one they normally live in. If you ignore the idea of staying in a hotel and simply rent a place comparable to the one you live in now, the potential savings is enormous. Staying in your new found home for 3-6 months will often be more affordable on a daily basis then staying for two weeks at a five star resort.
This is a “biggte” I notice with people coming to the Philippines for visits. They spend like crazy (one of the reasons the country promotes tourism so heavily). I chuckle at the number of folks over the years who have asked me questions about tourist destinations here in the Philippines … like Boracay as one frequent example.
I have no idea. I don’t go to tourist destinations and don’t spend money at places like that. I don’t stay in hotels in Metro Manila and ride taxis, either. The difference between an 8 Pesos Jeepney fare and the average taxi ride is huge.
A third reason people find travel expensive is because most of their ongoing expenses back home continue to accrue amid their absence. For example, when most people travel, they don’t cancel their cable bill, they don’t rent out their place to cover their mortgage (or cancel their lease), and they don’t suspend their car insurance, etc.
Exactly, Michael. When I look at what the average American family is shelling out every month just to “keep the lights turned on” it amazes me.
One lady wrote me once time and told me her family had no less than 55 medical providers that she juggled appointments, transportation, payments and reimbursements with. She was concerned with how she could find an equivalent cohort of medical practitioners here in the Philippines.
I immediately jumped to the conclusion there must be a number of family members with special needs or rare medical conditions … but no, indeed, the mother’s own estimation they were a family of 5 with what the mom considered, totally normal medical requirements. 55 providers? Eleven providers for each family member … and no special health concerns?
My only careful and considered assessment of that situation is, YGBSM! (Google is your friend if you don’t understand).
Netflix, cell phone plans, auto insurance, house insurance, car insurance, medical insurance, life insurance, disability insurance, pet insurance, errors and omissions insurance, professional malpractice insurance … OMG the list just goes on and on and on. Are any of you folks back there in the USA living your own life, or are you all on a treadmill slaving away for 50 or more doctors and 20-od insurance companies?
How much would you have each month if you DIDN’T have to pay all those leaches?
This, of course, doesn’t even take into consideration the outrageous, government-sanctioned robbery that some mortgages have become, local property taxes and then all the service plans and other insurance-related costs of owning that home that you are going to lose anyway.
And now that you’ve read those thoughts, close your eyes and think about what you are paying for now that you wouldn’t have to pay for in the Philippines.
‘Recipe For A Mini-Retirement’
So the three most important components for actualizing a mini-retirement are:
1. Find a way to earn income while abroad
2. Rent a home or apartment in a local neighborhood instead of staying in a hotel
3. Cut most or all of your ongoing expenses back home
Economy Birding Philippines — Prove It!
Here’s a quick example of the approximate expenses of staying home vs. taking a “min-retirement” abroad for six months:
- Rent or mortgage payment in a major North American city, including utilities: $1500/month x 6 months = $9000.
- Grocery/food bill: $500/month x 6 months = $3000
- Car insurance, gas, repairs and maintenance: $250/month x 6 months = $1500
Six Months Basic Expenses = $13,500
- Rent in a comparable home or apartment in an interesting and exciting place like Cuenca, Ecuador; Buenos Aires Argentina; Hanoi, Vietnam; or Las Tablas, Panama: $500/month x 6 months = $3000
- Grocery/food bill: $200/month x 6 months = $1200
- Taxi/transport (no car necessary): $50/month = $300
- Round trip flight to get there: $1500
Six Months Basic Expenses = $6000
That’s a savings of $7,500 over six months or $1250/month.
So you can see, by leaving home, you are already “earning” $1250 per month. Stated differently, you only need to earn $1000 per month to live comfortably abroad whereas you need to earn $2250/month to get by back home.
Of course, there are many other potential expenses apart from the basic expenses outlined above (health care, entertainment, cell phone, just to mention a few), all of which are likely to be higher back home. Notice that this example includes a fairly expensive $1500 round trip flight – many locations would be much cheaper to reach.
The point is, you can look at a mini-retirement abroad not as an expense, but as a savings.
Actually, based on the info I get from a lot of readers, and based on my own expenses living in the Philippines (for 5 years now) in the greater metro Manila area, I think Michael’s figure are way conservative. Here’s my thumbnail budget:
- Rent in a comparable home or apartment in an interesting and decent (but non-touristy area) in the greater Metro Area: $200 USD per month = $1200
- Grocery/food bill: $200/month x 6 months = $1200
- Taxi/transport (no car necessary): $50/month = $300
- Round trip flight to get there: $1500 (you can typically do better on this, look at some of my preferred providers like Ed Mabunga or Manny Paez, who are specialists in travel to and from the Philippines. But I’ll leave the $1500 figure there as it stands just to stay conservative)
Six Months Basic Expenses = $4200 … about a $1550 a month savings, at least, for simply leaving the US and making a life here in the Philippines.
Economy Birding Philippines — But How Can I Earn Enough To Do This?
I’m starting again with a quote from Michael. You really should read his stuff. He’s not “Philippine oriented” but he’s got a lot on the ball about inventive ways to make through today’s hard times … and enjoy yourself while you do so.
‘Earning Income Abroad’
“This is all fine and dandy”, you might say, “but how am I going to make any money abroad if I quit my job back home?”
You have a couple of options:
1. Find temporary work in your new “home”.
2. Create a business you can do from anywhere.
Option number two is preferable because you may sow the seeds for a new hobby or business you can continue long after you return back home.
Mini-Retirement Philippines — But How Can I Earn Enough To Do This?
Couldn’t say it better myself, Michael. Every day I get questions and even pleas for help from foreigners trying to find ways to “Earn a living in the Philippines”, find foreigner jobs in the Philippines, learn how to start a business in the Philippines, etc.
Sometimes I actually want to tear my hair out (I can’t. because I don’t have any, anymore). I write, they read (apparently) and then they write back asking me advice in how to do the complete opposite of what I guided them, even warned them NOT to do.
Folks, if you’re a foreigner, forget about the idea of a ‘good paying job” in the Philippines. You know how bad everyone says the US economy is, and how hard it is to find a job?
Well the Philippine unemployment rate is roughly double that of the US … in what is one of the worst periods for unemployment since the Great Depression. So what makes you so “special” that you figure there’s a J*O*B (stands for Just Over Broke) waiting for you here in the Philippines?
You are, of course, entitled to dream, but my advice, based on 70= years tenure in the school of hard knocks is, stop wasting your time.
And stop asking me to enable your addiction to that “last century” human icon, a J*OB. You’ll be money ahead deciding now to start making progress toward a real goal …living in the Philippines but making your money OUTSIDE the Philippines.
And if your argument is, “But I don’t want a job in the Philippines, I want to start a business there”, then I say you are perilously close to just chasing your tail as well.
I get the queries all the time about little “nickel-dime” businesses like Internet café’s, sari-sari stores, one-man taxi operations, etc. The problem with setting your sights this low is, even those who succeed still lose. Again, it’s wheel spinning when you could be succeeding.
Mini-Retirement Philippines — But I Don’t Know How
That’s the easiest issue to solve. Simple. Just learn. Your schooling did not stop (or it shouldn’t have, anyway), when you graduated from your highest level of school. If you are, say, a doctor, a lawyer, a teacher, a nurse, or one of dozens of other professions I could dig up, you are required by law and basic pressures of competition to continually learn. We even formally call it CE, Continuing Education in many fields.
Guess what, even if you are not in a calling which requires earning CEU’s, you owe it to yourself, and especially those who depend upon you, to continue your education.
Learning is Good For Your Health as Well as Your Pocketbook
Actually, earning can be fun, as well as profitable. And if you are, like me, a bit older than the average reader here, it will pay you great dividends in health and longevity, far in excess of any money you may make.
I don’t find jobs in the Philippines for people.
I particularly advise against it for foreigners. Even if you were to be one of the infinitesimally small group who actually finds one, the working conditions , the commutes, and especially the TAXES here are a bitch.
I point out the ways you can succeed, why on earth do so many insist on beating their head against the wall.
- I want to live in the Philippines. OK, fine, that’s a worthy goal. It worked for me.
- I know I need an income to be able to live in the Philippines. Correct, this puts you head and shoulders above a number of aimless dreamers. Therefore
- Therefore, I need to find a job or open a Philippine-based business there. WRONG. Point one and point two do NOT lead logically to conclusion three.
This is a common logically fallacy. Arguments of this kind, arguments that aren’t deductively valid, are said to commit a “formal fallacy”.
What else can you do aside from “Wishing”and “Hoping”, and, particularly if you are a Filipino, wistfully murmuring “If Only”?
(the two-word phrase that is the curse of Filipino progress, in my view).
Well here’s some thoughts:
Problems That Create Opportunity
Taking a mini-retirement abroad opens up a variety of business and work opportunities that do not exist at home. Two of the main opportunities are related to solving the problems of distance and language.
Language. Language is a problem and so it is also an opportunity. A woman from the U.S. wanted to learn Spanish prior to her trip to Ecuador. However, there were no instructors near her home or existing classes were too expensive. So she searched the Internet and found an Ecuadorian English teacher who gave her instructive lessons over the Internet. Rather than paying a private tutor $50 per hour in the U.S. she paid her Ecuadorian teacher $5 per hour and received the same or better instruction. Someone could easily make a business out of promoting language tutors abroad, because not every language tutor knows how to promote themselves on the Internet.
(my emphasis… you might also like to read a post of mine about Earning a Living Teaching Languages here. The “heroine” of that post, Violeta Reed, makes substantially more than $5 an hour teaching Spanish from her home. It’s seriously NOT that hard folks, if you truly want to take action rather than talk about what you can’t do))
… Opportunities to make money overseas are easier to find than you might think
Who says you can’t create a business from exporting beautiful hand-made silk textiles from Vietnam? (ed. … just replace everything Michael is saying here about his Vietnam example with ones from the Philippines.)
Opportunities Are ALL Over the Philippines
Not long ago I watched a documentary on a Philippine TV channel about a wonderful “Livelihood Project” in the Visayas region.
There are a LOT of mini-Livelihood projects in the Philippines, local governments are often quite progressive in sponsoring them so that people in their districts have some opportunity to earn an honest living, and especially so they would not run off to that horrid “family killer” that so many Filipinos fall victim to, Overseas Filipino Worker jobs, where the wealth of the Philippines (it’s people) are “gifted” to other countries for mediocre wages.
Anyway, this project involved 50 or more ladies, many of them from a local indigenous group, who had been trained and coached in wonderfully skilled and very artistic lace making. The program had actually been in place for several hundred years, originally sponsored by Spanish priests and nuns when the area was first colonized by the Spanish.
The ladies all had decent, clean working conditions, child care facilities on site and they learned basic language skills and domestic management skills as well as the lace making. They were paid a fair, living wage for that area as well, and most were supporting their families on this small income.
So where was the “fly in the ointment” here, Philly?
The lady’s work was being sold at cheap, wholesale prices to dealers in Manila who then sold it somewhere, but this process yielded very small profits to the ladies themselves. The “middlemen made all the profit, not the workers (artisans). Isn’t that what I have been trying to teach you is the outcome of the J*O*B treadmill?
Why not sell these beautiful items direct to high-income buyers in Singapore, New York, Paris,San Francisco, even Tokyo,where art products like this are highly sought after?
I hear the negative feedback coming in already. “But Dave, you’re so impractical,we can’t set up shops in all those cities”. Well last century this was true, but today it’s dead wrong
You Already Have a Storefront in these Cities
An impossible dream? Setting up a chain of shops to compete with high-end stores in high-rent shopping districts across the globe? Wild and crazy dream, Philly. It would take millions and month or years of coordination and business negotiations. Totally impractical dream.
Yep, sounds like it. Or, then again, is it really an impractical dream? What if I told you the “high-end shops”, and all the marketing and retail sales infrastructure was already in place. Just no one has the imagination or courage to think beyond the limitations of selling handicraft items in the Philippines itself.
The Internet Is So Much More Than Killing Time on Facebook!
Yes, you knew this was coming I know ..,. it’s called the Internet, folks. These high quality items could be marketed to the world, today, right now, with virtually zero investment.
Marketing (by free means, like social media (Facebook and Twitter anyone), online money processing (PayPal, as one example), world-wide very high value, precisely targeted low-cost advertising (AdWords), perhaps … it’s all sitting there for the “doing”, my friends … “if only” we could get people’s minds of “bottom feeder” little low-profit, high man-hour “copycat” ideas like Internet café’s, sari-sari stores and taxicabs.
It’s totally amazing to me how many people come here, read my articles, and then completely ignore them because they involve “online earning”. I’m doing my part here. I’m thinking and advising in the here and now 21st century. Are you sure yourself that you aren’t still in the last century with your thoughts?
Many people let fear paralyze them and keep them from doing what they want to do. Most of these people end up with a life full of regrets and “should haves”. If you think that holding on to your 9-5 job is a secure option, think again. Being mobile and flexible in today’s global economy is one of the most secure traits you can develop because you can learn to seize opportunities as they appear and adapt to changes as they occur.
For those of us who live and work where we please, commuting in traffic to an office for a 9-5 job is so 1990s. For those of us who have broken free from the drudgery of corporate America , we can only smile as the ocean laps our toes while we poke away on our laptop “working for a living”.
So What About It?
How are you thinking about earning a living in the Philippines? Full time or for a few years of Mini-Retirement Philippines.