Philippine Retirement Living and putting your “Retired Brains” to work. This article was published a few months back and has been corrected, updated and added back into the article mix to help out those who want to know about earning a living in,the Philippines, doing business in the Philippines and earning money online in retirement. I also publishing a lot on this subject on my site about Empowering Your Retirement, which is of interest to all baby boomers, seniors and retirees. no matter what country they chose to reside in. For those particularly interested in the question in which country … Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand or any other, I have a whole series on that question, starting here.
Philippine Retirement — Right For You?
Recently I came across a pretty interesting site called “RetiredBrains”. Their major reason for being is to promote and provide a platform for retired folks to put their skills to use as consultants … extending their useful life and as I like to call it, “Empowering their retirement”. (I write often about these working from home and income in retirement issues on one of my other blogs, Retired Pay World.
Retired brains seems like a legit, useful operation. I haven’t yet explored all their services or signed up for anything they sell, but my “bullshit detector” hasn’t even been close to going into alarm and the main premise behind their work is sound and I salute their efforts. Recommended for the subset of my readers who have reached the Golden Years and those who plan to live that long as well.
One article I did notice while perusing their site, though, sort of caught my attention. The article was pointing up the advantages many seniors (and in today’s world, pre-seniors as well) have found in relocating overseas. Retiring abroad. Worth a read I think. See my comments in italics regarding the Philippine slant on the articles main points)
Philippine Retirement — Why Skip the Philippines?
There are many reasons to move away from the U.S. during your retirement years. One of the most important is that your money will buy you more. Another big reason is inexpensive health care and affordable prescription drugs.
The laws of various countries should influence those planning on living there as some penalize the wealthy and others make it difficult for those that are not wealthy. Other important factors to consider are the crime rate, the distance from your home in the U.S. if you plan to return often to visit friends and family and, of course, the lifestyle you are seeking.
List what is important to you as this should influence your decision:
- Climate: Hot, cold, temperate; do you want a beach or mountains or both? (Here you pretty much get hot)
- The arts: Museums, opera, symphony, ballet, theater. (Available, but not big in the Philippines at all)
- Sports: Do you wish to play golf, tennis, ski, run, bike and do you wish to be able to watch professional or amateur sporting events? (Don’t forget SCUBA diving, boating, flying, and Golf … cheap in the Philippines and many others for participation. Spectating? Not so much)
- Healthcare: Do you have medical problems that require you be near a hospital that can provide quality care? Do you need prescription drugs regularly? (Readily available in major cities, in the provinces … YMMV)
- Cost of living: What can you afford to pay for your monthly comfort? What kind of lifestyle do you plan? Luxurious, Simple, Moderate? (About 40% of US cost of living up to 100%, depending on your wants and needs … overall, much cheaper than the USA)
- Language: Are you comfortable in a country where English is not the native language and perhaps is not spoken or understood by many of the natives? (English is an official language and the language of the law, etc. It’s better to learn a local language too, but you can live for years in areas near major cities, as I do, and never need a word of any language except English. Also, consider this. Signs in the Philippines, even if written in a native language, use the standard Western alphabet, so it’s very easy to learn a word like “bawal” … forbidden … and get the idea of what you aren’t supposed to be doing. Try that with Thailand’s Sanskrit-style scrawl and see how well it works for you.)
- Can I bring my pet with me? Some countries have long quarantine times and some simply do not allow you to bring your pet with you. (No quarantine on pets into the Philippines. Simple permissions and vet certifications and you are good to go)
Below we cover some of the possible destinations that meet some or several of these criteria, but we urge you to do substantial research as well as spend time in the location you think you wish to retire to prior to your actual move. Every country has its pluses as well as its minuses.
Many U.S. Citizens are retiring to Central and South America. Housing as well as the cost of living is usually substantially less than in the states. …learned that deeds on their beachfront property were not valid as they did not meet certain provisions of a national-security statute that permits only citizens to own land on Mexico’s coasts
(Regular readers here can understand that, since the Philippines makes no secret of the fact that ownership of land in the Philippines is reserved for Filipinos … many Americans seem to want to ignore this fact, but you can’t fault the country for not being open and upfront)
Millions of Americans have retired to Mexico but depending on where you live the crime rate has risen to dangerous levels and some retirees have been forced to hire bodyguards for protection. ….
(I can’t imagine living in a country that made me feel I needed a bodyguard. Bodyguards in the Philippines, BTW are not uncommon, but in many cases they are much more of a status symbol for rich Filipinos than something really necessary because of crime.
And sad to say, in my view, at least 90% of the crimes of violence, involving foreigner or Filipino I have learned of over the past 10 years have a bodyguard component … often the bodyguards are the criminals … body guards are not necessary here in the Philippines and not recommended)
Belize, Panama, Honduras and Nicaragua also have a good-sized population of U.S. retirees and they actively court American retirees by offering tax-free status to anyone willing to buy or build a house there.
(Philippines does not tax your foreign-earned income .. no need to buy a house to get the tax advantage.)
Moving to Brazil is great choice as it is relatively inexpensive and has much to offer with regard to climate and amenities but Brazil’s murder rate is four times that of the U.S.
(This has been argued many times but in most people’s views, Philippines murder (and other violent crimes) rate is much lower, per capita, than the US (or Norway *sigh*))
Excellent an inexpensive health care is available in France. Insurance companies there are prohibited by law from dropping you or raising your premiums.
(Excellent that this is pointed out here, health care is often a huge decision factor for Americans. If you want the best health care in the world, without question, then move to France.
The US is stuck at 37th world-wide, France is a clear number one … best in the world, hands down. If health care were really as important as many older Americans _say_ it is, they’d move to France)
Thailand also has good quality and affordable hospitals and Thailand’s “O” visa is available to any American retiree with at least $24,000 in the bank and a minimum of $1,935 in monthly income.
(Equivalent Philippines SRRV requires as little as $10k in the bank and $800 a month income. Thailand and Malaysia get the press regarding their visa programs, but the Philippines provides the real benefits. You can also stay in the Philippines up to two years on a simple tourist visa .. Thailand has essentially eliminated the former “visa runs” for visa extensions now … you can basically only renew a tourist visa by leaving the country and returning just one time now … if the army hasn’t closed the borders, that is)
Australia is a particularly good choice for many Americans as it is relatively inexpensive, English is the native language and it offers most of the amenities retirees are seeking; however Australia’s “investment retirement visa” requires that an immigrant have at least $56,000 in annual income ($43,000 if you settle in a rural area) and you must be prepared to invest a minimum of $650,000 locally ($430,000 in a rural location).
(Wow! if I had that kind of income, I’d live in Pacific Heights in San Francisco … or on a yacht)
FORBES has created a list of ten top countries for Americans retiring abroad. They considered costs, safety, medical care, ease of obtaining a visa, political stability, public transportation and availability of flights home. Their winners: Austria, Thailand, Italy, Panama, Ireland, Australia, France, Malaysia, Spain and Canada.
(Again, no big surprises there except Canada … with their tax structure, cost of living and proximity to the US I can’t imagine an American retiring there … the retiree flow south rather than north is about 100 times higher than the south to north flow … but Canada is way too much like the US to me to consider moving there.
And no surprise about Austria either, I had the chance to meet regular reader John from Austria a few months back and got some interesting insider information on Austria … a nice place for retirement if you can stand the cold.
But my thought again is, why Malaysia and Thailand yet no Philippines on the list?
Thailand (when they aren’t burning Bangkok to the ground or warring with their neighbors) is a fine country … I’ve lived there two years myself, but for retirement, Thailand versus the Philippines? Philippines wins hands-down … peace and order, cost of living, ease of keeping a visa, driving, language and a whole lot more … and I say that being able to live in either country … I even still speak more Thai than I do Tagalong Retire in Thailand in today’s world? No way.
Malaysia I haven’t yet gotten to know, it’s reputedly a nice place for retirement, but from a practical standpoint, like visa availability, costs and such, the Philippines is much more retiree-oriented. One big difference often touted is, “You can own a house in Malaysia.” Well, actually, you can own a “villa” in government approved communities and the ownership is a form of condominium contract … a foreigner can not own the land in either country and in the Philippines I don’t have to be herded into “government approved” concentration camps compounds.
In my view, the Philippines BADLY needs a decent public relations/advertising agency firm when articles like this one are the norm. The advantages are here, the country is just not getting the word out.)
So, Philippine retirement. What do you think?
And just in case this economical talk made you think about how you could still afford to fly if you started living Dave’s Cheap Life, you might be interesting in this:
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So do you have comments, questions, pro, cons whatever on Philippine Retirement Living or the Retired Brain site?