I know, you’ve likely hear this question a time or two before.
For some who are going to read this who can’t separate the image of old men drinking themselves to death in bars while “ladies of the evening” (very young ladies at that) pick their pockets) from the many other ways to spend a retired life, then it’s likely that the answer to the Retirement Destination question is “NO”.
I always attempt to give you the straight answers to questions here on PhilFAQS, the site that answers your Frequently Asked Questions about the Philippines. I don’t “sugar coat” anything. If I tried to tell you that there are old men making a fool of themselves in girly bars here, you’d know I was lying, and where would my credibility be then?
But I can also tell you that the “old men” (and even the not so old ones) who see the Philippines as nothing more than a place to act out immature fantasies are far, far from the only foreigners living here in the Philippines by choice.
In order to form your own answer to the title question properly, you have to look at things in balance … because those of you who think there is, for example, no “sex trade” or “foolish old men” in their own country must be looking at the world with blinders on.
Now I’d propose that one of many decision factors that should be thought through is, does the government of the Philippines make it relatively easy and affordable for folks to retire here in the Philippines. Some of you may recall I haven’t delivered (yet) on a promised series I started some months back which was going to answer the question “Why Chose the Philippines”.
You can consider this article as an ongoing installment in that series.
Is it relatively inexpensive for folks of retirement age to relocate to the Philippines? Yes, indeed. In common with two other notable retirement destinations we are going to talk more about … Thailand and Malaysia, the Philippines has a very flexible and affordable long-term visa system in place … it’s called the SRRV … Special Residents Retirement Visa.
I’ve mentioned the SRRV many times before here on PhiFAQS but today I came across a neat resource that actually is brand new.
Some weeks back I met (online only, so far) a fascinating lady named Susan Dudley. Ms. Dudley has lived and worked in the Philippines for years, and even though she is officially retired, she’s taken on a new role … marketing the SRRV via the excellent resources of the Subic Bay Freeport Chamber of Commerce. Ms. Dudley, welcome to the PhilFAQS “club”, and let me be the first of I am sure many from this site in the future who thank you for helping sort out the information in this many faceted program and offering yourself as a resource for people who want to learn how to do retirement “right” in the Philippines.
Now before I close let me be quick to emphasize a could things that people always seem to breeze past … and then prove by their comments that the never actually read the article itself. (I know that doesn’t apply to “you) but you’d be surprised how many people do just ‘scan’ rather than read and then let go with both barrels restating a lot of inaccurate, or at best, semi-accurate statements that have been floating around since before even I started reading and writing about the Philippines.
First of all the SRRV is for people of retirement age. Although some “flavors” of the program allow visa holders to work here in the Philippines, a lot of opportunities don’t exists for younger, actively working folks who might well be better served with a Foreigner Working Visa.
Secondly, the SRRV is not a program for those who are penniless. Some versions of the visa require a substantial investment, all require some investment and financial responsibility. I always advise people not to come to the Philippines without at least a modest cash reserve as well as a proven way to earn more income. The SRRV will not be for you if you’re broke .. for rather obvious reasons.
Third, the SRRV is not needed for folks who qualify for a “13” series visa .. married to a Filipino or former Filipino citizen. There are some special cases where even those who qualify for a marriage-based visa might benefit from the SRRV, but in the vast majority of cases the SRRV offers a similar path to retirement as the 13(a) and 13(g) permanent resident visas for those not married, or not married to someone who can sponsor them in the 13-series programs.
Lastly, the most glaring inaccuracy I hear all the time is, “The Philippine government is selling you a visa and once you get in the program you have lost all your savings.” Stated simply, that is just not true. The money you invest to qualify for the SRRV program is always yours. You decide where to place it (within approved programs), and if you decide the SRRV program is not for you, you can pack up and move somewhere else, taking your investment back with you.
Note: An expert weighed in here and pointed out a couple of things in the preceding paragraph that could be more clear:
…. folks should be aware that, if they DO utilize their investment for any of the authorized purposes, (house, condo, etc) they will be subject to paying PRA a hefty annual “visitorial fee” .
The other point is, they are not compelled to use the invested $. In my case, I bought my house some time ago … the SRRV $ just sits in the bank and I collect the monthly interest … As long as it remains, I get to keep my SRRV – no additional fees, charges or complications.. no annotations against my property.…Maintaining the SRRV $ intact is almost like placing a surety bond…
The SRRV … is it for you? Only you can make that decision, but a big vote of thanks and a tip of the blog hat to the folks at the Subic Bay Freeport Chamber of Commerce for providing some extra help in making that decision.