Moving to the Philippines to Retire

Moving to the Philippines to Retire

Are you thinking of Moving to the Philippines to Retire?

(Updated 8 January 2019)

Moving to the Philippines to RetireAre you one of those folks who is thinking about moving to the Philippines to retire?

Perhaps to stretch that ever-shrinking fixed retirement income.

Perhaps to get away from ice and snow and cold forever.

Perhaps just for a change of pace, escaping the treadmill and rat race of the USA to relax in your golden years.

There are many other potential reasons.  But the big question in many people’s mind is,

Does Retiring in the Philippine Even Make Sense?

Well, the answer to that question is going to be different for almost everyone who asks it.

First of all, it is important to remember that there s almost never a definite, for sure and positive yes or no answer.

There are only pluses and minuses which will be different for almost everyone.

All an individual can do is to decide if the pluses or the minuses add up in favor of making the move or not … and specifically for that individual only.

Some Plus Factors Regarding Retiring In The Philippines

  1.  It’s easy to do.  Unlike most countries, the Philippines has a number of different visa options for retirees.
  2.  It’s age independent.  You do not have to wait, impatient and wishing and hoping until you reach old age.
  3.  Life in the Philippines can be just about as easy as you choose to make it.
  4.  Housing can be substantially less costly than in the USA.
  5.  If you stick to city metro areas medical care can be astoundingly cheap, and after my first 12 years here, I say it is pretty good care as well.
  6.  No need to have an expensive car and the hassles of driving everywhere.  Public transportation is everywhere and very cheap.
  7.  If you are retired from the US military (as many of my readers are), you can actually afford to retire on your pension.  You don’t need to slave away for some secondary job for another 20 or 30 years just to feed your children.
  8.  If you’re a US citizen you of course still have to pay taxes to the USA on any income, but the Philippines does not tax you on income earned from outside the Philippines … for example your pension.
  9.  If you are a US citizen and decide to supplement your income with an online business (earning in Dollars but spending in Pesos), you can legally exclude the first $104,100 USD earned income from your US taxes.
  10.  It’s fun.

Some Minus Factors Regarding Retiring In The Philippines

  1. No matter how long you live here you will always be a “foreigner”.  You can make friends easily but you will never truly be “one of the guys”.
  2.  You can come here to live at any age, but you can’t come here and live decently without an income.  There are basically no “safety net” organizations here, no Catholic soup kitchens, food stamps, government programs to pay your electric bill, etc.  The Philippines is a darn poor country to be poor in.  Trust me on that.
  3.  An “easy” life is something which is defined differently for different people.  Many things, especially in government services work differently … or not at all.   An “easy” life is not always a “good” life.  It depends.
  4.  It’s relatively easy to find adequate housing, but to many Americans, what you can find on the rental market is a step down from US rentals.  But way cheaper, LoL.
  5.  Medical care in areas like Metro Manila, Metro Cebu, Metro Davao and the like is quite good.,  (not necessary to live in the crowded city itself, in the suburbs is fine).  But if you go to remote provinces and especially small islands because life is cheap there?  Well, not much medical care is available at all.
  6.  Domestic air travel can be dirt cheap.  There are also abundant long-distance buses.  Local transportation is mainly taxis, Jeepneys, passenger vans and tricycles (motorcycles with covered sidecars).  Usually very cheap.
  7.  Cost of living can be substantially cheaper than USA living.  But this is really tied to individual tastes.  You can easily spend as much or more as in the USA if you try to replicate the US lifestyle.
  8.  In addition to your standard US tax liability, the Philippines has a strict, almost totally inclusive 12% VAT (Value Added Tax) on almost everything you buy.  Makes the sales tax in most US states look puny by comparison.
  9.  Jobs in the Philippines are difficult if not impossible for foreigners in most cases.  Also, they don’t pay very well at all.  If you can’t or don’t want to learn how to earn money via some type of online business, do NOT expect to earn much here.
  10.  It’s fun.  For a while.  After a long time in the Philippines, you may find it hard to cope with the fact that a great many things just don’t work the way they do in the USA.  Also, there s a pervasive attitude of hopelessness, where the people believe life will always be hard for them and there’s no sense trying to improve things.  This can drive you crazy, if you let it.

OK, there you have some of my thoughts on the pluses and minuses of retiring in the Philippines.

Anyone else have any thoughts or questions about. Moving to the Philippines to Retire?

2 thoughts on “Moving to the Philippines to Retire”

  1. Food is exempt of the 12% sales tax and many stores in the provinces don’t apply it to their sales or services at all. but at the big malls it is applied ,ost surely. Be aware of the jeepneys, they are cheap, yes, but if you are tall or old and overweight it can be an issue to get in and out! Also many of the covered sidecars of the tricycles in some places are so small that only made for filipino body sizes!
    One can shop at the mall or big supermarkets groceries stores and get almost anything you need, but many of the same products can be purchased at local stores too. The vegetable and fruit sections there are overpriced, so it’s better to go to the wet marked for that and they are more fresh. Nice big tomatoes are not available at wet marked in many places only the small sour types as filipinos mainly don’t eat tomatoes in salads! Lettuce isn’t seen everywhere either and when there is they are extreme priced!
    Being a foreigner is almost the same everywhere you go, you are a foreigner! If you are still young and can learn the local dialect, then that’s an advantage so you can know what they are talking about as they always prefer to use their dialect between themselves even if they do speak fairly good English. The Philippines is not the poorest country in the world, just take a look around you and see how many new cars they drive! And that they can afford to eat out! And extreme poverty is on the way out! But, still much poorer than western countries, even though they have many resources and if they work hard they can become much richer, but then the prices will rise and then not so attractive to retire if you are an expat.

    1. @ Timothy Jan Thürmer

      Thanks for contributing.

      This is such a “meaty” comment I am going to expand my answers into a whole article. Thanks again.

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