Yesterday, give or take a few hours, I promised you some thoughts on the questions:
- Do you want to retire in the Philippines?
- Do you want to move to the Philippines and earn a living here?
- Are you undecided about either of those first two questions?
- Are you searching for a job in the Philippines?
- What is the single, most insurmountable obstacle that is holding you back, right now. today?
Let’s get started:
Do You Want to Retire in the Philippines?:
You might be really surprised to know how many people have more or less asked me to make this decision for them. They don’t really ask me questions regarding specific advantages or disadvantages, they ask me (sometimes even in so many words), “Do you think I should?”
Now if you ask me some detailed question about plugging in an appliance, or how to apply for certain visas, or how you get a driver’s license, I can probably do a workmanlike job of getting to an answer. Worst case, I can refer you to someone who does know, because on of the great things about living here in the Philippines is, I have a pretty broad network of resource people … “foreign and domestic” … how can help with the supposedly “tough answers”.
But those sample questions aren’t tough at all. The hard part is, I have no way of knowing what is going inside your head, and I certainly can’t decide how your immediate family will react … or even more mysteriously, how your extended family, your friends and even your coworkers are going to respond. For me, the decision has been easy. I like it here (even on days when things make me cuss a time or two), and I have no plans to go back to the USA. At least not to live there. I do have days I feel like jumping on a plane, flying to LA, betting two balikbayan boxes and taking one to Frye’s and filling it with lap tops, netbooks and other electronic gear, taking the other box to a Von’s or a Shaw’s or even a Super target, filling the second box, shipping both of them off to my address here and getting back on a plane to home … here in the Philippines.
I would submit, though, that those are more material needs than physiological or spiritual. What about you? only you can answer that question. remember one thing I have said many times. Overall, you can live much more cheaply here in the Philippines than you can most anywhere in the US. People niggle with me constantly with me over the difference in costs down to the penny … unable to just accept the fact it can be cheaper here and then move on to the important question that transcends money … it is not “can” you live here, you can. The question only you can answer is, “will” you … and there, my friend, the ball is strictly in your court.
Do you want to move to the Philippines and earn a living here?
Okay, this question is pretty much for the “too young to retire” crowd. because I am “leaning hard” on 65 years old, and because I sucked it up and worked some jobs I often disliked, I have adequate pension income. So in some ways, my advice is of little use to those who don’t have a nest egg to see them through.
But if you asked me would I trade my current pensions for the chance to be, say, 35 or 40 again? The answer is, in a heart beat. In today’s world, if you gave me the chance to be 40 again, by the time I worked my way back to 65, I would have a hell of a lot more going for me than I do today. never, ever, underestimate the power of youth.
So am I advocating you start tying to find a job in the Philippines then, as a foreigner? No. In fact I heartily dis-reccommend this to virtually all of you who are reading these words. Just search this blog for some of the many articles I have written on jobs in the Philippines for foreigners, or do your own research on jobs for Americans in the Philippines.
Jobs here are few and far between, and jobs in the pay range wand with the working conditions most Americans would find acceptable are even far fewer on the ground. Not saying it can’t be done, mind you, but I think if you try that route you are automatically stacking the deck against yourself.
What I do recommend,especially if you are young, with all your productive years ahead of you, is to start your own business … ideally in parallel with your existing job, if you have one. I have also written dozens of articles on ways you can start a business online, build it up slowly from virtually nothing, and when you have it at a state where you can feel confident in making it your sole means of support, then just ‘quit your day job’ and make the move. You can operate virtually any business I can think of here in the Philippines exactly as you can in the US … and with the savings in cost of living here, it will be like getting a big boost in pay, just by making the move.
OK, I’m getting close to my self-imposed ‘length limit’ already and there are still a lot of answers to come, so I think I will head off to my in-law’s house right now, join in the noise and excitement of all seven siblings, their children and the other “outlaw” in-laws like me, and finish up some last-minute Christmas preparations. More to follow tomorrow, about the blessings and curses and the good points and bad points about moving to and living in the Philippines.