Philippine Retirement — A Good Thing?
Since I am an American retiree in the Philippines, it’s not very surprising that I write a lot about Philippine Retirement. I have a number of online friends who are retired in the Philippines as well (and one who is a younger than retirement-age entrepreneur who will probably never ‘retire’ from earning a living here in the Philippines). There’s an old saying about loving your work makes it not work at all … and that’s how I feel about all the hours I put in, learning and telling folks about the pluses (and minuses) of living here in the Philippines, before or after that magic ‘retirement day’.
But I’m just a “little guy”. One person who just happened to stick it out long enough in a government job to retire with a degree of financial independence. I’m not learned, I never ran a huge business, I’m obviously no diplomat and my writing is enough to make an English professor cry at times. (If Discovery Channel wanted to do a show on me, they’d probably call it, Language Murdering Confidential’ … not suitable for viewers under 16, may contain disturbing words, spelling and sentence structure) 😉
My dear wife, the Unofficial Cook, sent me a link to this article a few hours ago, and it really caught my attention.
Philippine Retirement — Official Views
I’ve long known of the Chambers of Commerce represented here, but frankly I never thought they had much interest in retirees. Not the first time I’ve been wrong. Here’s an interesting excerpt:
…. The mushrooming call centers and planned tourism business expansions are obvious avenues. But the sleeping giant is the potential sunshine industry of Philippine retirement. For every retiree, we create at least two jobs. (my emphasis) This means hundreds of thousands of jobs if we promote retirement correctly.
At the summit, the RHC stated: “One of the largest English-speaking countries in Asia, 7,107 beautiful islands with a coastline twice the length of that of the United States, pristine white beaches, world-class medical care and wellness, Asia’s most hospitable people, excellent price performance ratio, and a good infrastructure for domestic and international travel are just some of the attributes why the Philippines is an ideal second home and retirement destination.”
We must move now. (my emphasis) In industrialized countries, people over 65 years old already constitute about 15 percent of the population. In 20 years, this will become 30 percent. (my emphasis) Even today, many of the retirees do not have pensions large enough to support a comfortable lifestyle in their own country. They are therefore looking for less expensive places to spend their retirement years. The Philippines is suited to meet this need….
be sure to read the full article, I believe it is worth your time.
One of the biggest drawbacks and frustrations I deal with, as a foreigner living as a retiree here in the Philippines is inactivity. Talk, talk, talk, plans, press releases, and then more talk, talk, talk. So seldom any action.
People, even influential people with “horsepower” behind them know what the problem is, but the pace of anyone taking action is, to put it as kindly as I know how, glacial, at best.
Philippine Retirement — How We Miss The Boat
Let me give you a simple, concrete example. The Internet is the number one place that companies and organizations wanting to promote retirement in the Philippines needs to be focussing. Potential Philippine retirees world-wide are going to look at the Internet for information first. Even Philippine emigrees who are reaching retirement age and thinking about moving back to their homeland … an important target market if there ever was one … will goto the Internet as a primary source.
How do I know this? Simple. I get a lot of them searching for information here, on what is basically a foreigner-oriented site … and not even a specific Philippines retirement-related site, at that. Why would thousands and thousands of potential Philippine retirees per month land here?
Simple. The really important retirement resources are not using the Internet to their best advantage. And companies who stand to profit greatly from retirees moving to the Philippines are almost exclusively ignoring the Internet and advertising.
Here’s a good example, illustrated by my article’s graphic. Type “Retire Philippines” (without the quotes) into Google. You’ll almost assuredly get the Google AdSense ad which appears (above) as (usually) the only paid ad. Notice it’s suggesting potential Philippine retirement candidates change their destination to Malaysia. Strange? Not at all … the perception is that the Philippines doesn’t really want retirees, while Malaysia does, so entrepreneurs simply follow the flow of folks.
More than 40,000 Google searches a month probably consider it strange as well … since that’s how many people search monthly on the term, or terms closely related (those that have retire or retirement and “Philippines” as part of the search. That’s more than thousand prospective new retires per day who think the Philippines isn’t a retirement location. Sad.
Now that ad costs the person paying for it about $0.30 to $0.40 USD whenever someone clicks on it? How many people click on it per month … well only Google and the advertiser know for sure, but it must be worthwhile, because virtually the same ad has run for years (it sometimes appears right here on PhilFAQS.com as well as in the search results pages.
In advertising terms (compared to say, printing brochures, buying magazine ad space, buying TV commercials, etc., this is dirt-cheap, grass-roots advertising. And it’s highly “targeted” advertising. No one types in a phrase like that at random, the people who see that ad are ones who actually typed their intention to “buy” into Google. The price of a postage stamp in order to reach live, ready to buy prospects. Why is this being ignored?
The boring, ever-present excuse we hear day after day, week after week, month after month in the Philippines is a continual dirge … “There’s no money”.
I say, in my opinion, of course, it’s time to call “bullshit” on this time-worn excuse. Advertising and properly promoting the Philippines can be done cheaply and effectively. But modern, cheap, effective 21st century methods should be used. And we need leadership who can focus on what can be done instead of looking for excuse as to why it can’t.
“If Only” (God, how I hate that hackneyed, ‘excuse for everything” phrase), we, foreigners and Filipinos alike, would adopt the tactic of “no damn, time-worn excuses, let’s just make Philippine Retirement happen”.