Why Choose The Philippines? Is Thailand a Better Choice?

Retire to the Philippines for No Momey
Why Choose the Philippines — Is Thailand a Better Choice?

7 thoughts on “Why Choose The Philippines? Is Thailand a Better Choice?”

  1. The original copy of these comments was lost, so I am republishing some of them … there are some very interesting “live in Asia” ideas expressed here.

  2. Originally from reader Joseph:

    I read with interest your articles comparing retiring in the Philippines with retiring in Thailand, Vietnam, and Malaysia, and additional input from your readers. What you say makes a lot of sense. I have never been to Thailand, Vietnam, or Malaysia, but I am planning to retire in the Philippines in a few years.My question is: Why do some of the most well-known organizations that promote living overseas seem to advance the other three countries and even China when they talk about opportunities in Asia to the exclusion of the Philippines?

    1. Hi Joseph. Thanks for dropping by. As for your question about organizations promoting retirement ignoring the Philippines, I really don’t know. Tell me what organizations you are talking about … frankly, I find very few people promoting retirement for Americans overseas at all. Mainly only real estate opportunists it seems. But your question certainly remains a mystery.

  3. From Joseph:

    I was referring specifically to International Living Magazine, one of the oldest and largest organizations promoting living overseas, and Live and Invest Overseas, a newer organization published by Kathleen Peddicord, “considered the world’s foremost authority on overseas retirement”, and her husband Lief Simon. Both these organizations occasionally mention the Philippines but heavily promote Thailand, Vietnam, and Malaysia, and sometimes China when they write of living in Asia.

    1. As to you original question about why the Philippines isn’t better thought of by the “overeats living” folks? Not really sure. Some reasons that come to mind is the difference between say, Panama and the Philippines. Panama goes out of their way to solicit foreign residents and investors, the Philippine is pretty much the opposite. The Philippines for Filipinos is pretty much the battle cry.Casting a more critical eye at the two organizations you mentioned, I was unfamiliar with Overseas Living Magazine. I signed up for their mailing service. Haven’t seen enough to form a real opinion yet. As to the Peddicord/Simon folks? They are way, way too heavy into high pressure, high-risk real estate deals to suit me. Lief has an almost religious cult-like following … don’t ever say anything even remotely anti-Lief to one of his disciples (found that out the hard way).I even contacted Kathleen’s office sometime back (she is too distant from readers/investors to answer emails personally, you see). I inquired why they seemed to completely miss the Philipines as a possible Asian destination. The response was an invitation to take a writing test and if I passed, I could write for them, for free, about the Philippines. My pay would be I could promote any real estae deals I brought to the table.Not saying there is anything wrong there, but it’s all not anything that I would care to be involved with.So there are my thoughts on that.

  4. From Zeke Axelrod:

    As to you original question about why the Philippines isn’t better thought of by the “overeats living” folks? Not really sure. Some reasons that come to mind is the difference between say, Panama and the Philippines. Panama goes out of their way to solicit foreign residents and investors, the Philippine is pretty much the opposite. The Philippines for Filipinos is pretty much the battle cry.Casting a more critical eye at the two organizations you mentioned, I was unfamiliar with Overseas Living Magazine. I signed up for their mailing service. Haven’t seen enough to form a real opinion yet. As to the Peddicord/Simon folks? They are way, way too heavy into high pressure, high-risk real estate deals to suit me. Lief has an almost religious cult-like following … don’t ever say anything even remotely anti-Lief to one of his disciples (found that out the hard way).I even contacted Kathleen’s office sometime back (she is too distant from readers/investors to answer emails personally, you see). I inquired why they seemed to completely miss the Philipines as a possible Asian destination. The response was an invitation to take a writing test and if I passed, I could write for them, for free, about the Philippines. My pay would be I could promote any real estae deals I brought to the table.Not saying there is anything wrong there, but it’s all not anything that I would care to be involved with.So there are my thoughts on that.

  5. some great info on Vietnam as apossible fi[oirigners base from reader John Miele:

    Dave:I’ve been there about ten times in the last three years (Ho Chi Minh / Saigon, Hanoi, Vung Tau, Da Nang, and Haiphong). Most of my colleagues there are Germans on employment visas, all affiliated with Western-owned businesses operating in the country, but some married to Vietnamese.Yes, it is exotic, and developing rapidly (at one point, around 23% per YEAR… Astounding!). Wages and local employment are largely on par with the Philippines (More people than jobs). Language is a VERY big issue… English is NOT generally pervasive and understood. SKILLED expats with SE Asian experience will have a much easier time finding work at Western wages, due to the rapid growth. By SKILLED, I mean degreed and with skills in demand, like engineering (most of my colleagues). I know there is big demand for English teachers, but I’m not certain how many expats make a living doing that… I think it is regulated pretty stringently, but out of my industry / knowledge. I am positive that shipbuilding and oil / gas are in big demand.Visas are an issue… Unless married to a Vietnamese national, you are returning Vietnamese, or with an employment contract, you enter on a tourist visa (extendable, but unsure of how long…I think I got 30 days. Most just go to Thailand or Cambodia for visa runs). NO retirement visas, but there are investor visas that require substantial investment. Westerners can get Visa on arrival, if sponsored by a Vietnamese travel agency (They normally charge about $50 to do it… otherwise, you go to the Embassy in advance). Multi-entry, one year may be possible if you can show enough reason to go)Big restrictions on land ownership (Judging by the Philippines gripes from Americans, some people will have an issue with this. In Vietnam, ain’t gonna happen). Big restrictions on business ownership unless in specific categories (Think technology and development and employment and big money… Starting an Internet cafe or little shop won’t cut it), and always require Vietnamese partners (If not the government, then ancillary government… Communist, remember?) Big restrictions on where foreigners can live (Though, to be fair, most of the restricted areas are not where most people who lived in the West would WANT to live). The nicer areas can get pricey, and many foreigners live in tower blocks (though usually pretty nice).I never experienced any anti-American / war hatred, etc… On the contrary, the Vietnamese whom I met were intensely proud of their country, wanting to practice English, and very friendly. Food was, in my opinion, some of the best in the world, especially if you stick to Vietnamese (Try Maxim’s in HCMC or the Furama Resort in DaNang).Traffic in every Vietnamese city is chaotic, at best. Official bureaucracy is pervasive, and I have personally experienced very expensive corruption in relation to government contracts there (Think seven figures, US$). That said, low-level corruption seemed to be less pervasive than the RP.Medical care is available at Western standards, but very expensive. Go into the sticks, and it gets spotty. Infrastructure is decent, and getting better every day (Especially in Hanoi, in my opinion… The new Ford campus is mighty impressive).Costs were higher than the RP and Thailand, in my opinion, but cheaper than the US or Europe. There was, most definitely, a foreigner “skin tax” just about everywhere except department stores or malls. As to vices, beer was cheap, tobacco cheap (and smoking EVERYWHERE), and nightlife with young ladies beautiful and probably much like it was during the war (Though illegal now, I don’t think it is enforced very much).Overall, my colleagues normally like living there, though education for kids is an issue (International schools… Local schools are full… MANY Vietnamese parents are forced to send their kids overseas to get educated beyond high school… Not enough slots for everyone domestically). In my opinion, it would be a wonderful vacation (Especially DaNang), but I’m not certain that I would want to live there unless under an employment contract. I can also say with absolute certainty that it would be much greater culture shock and difficulty adapting if living there.ReplyJohn Miele says2011/06/09 AT 04:33Dave:I also want to add that personal income tax in Vietnam ranges from 20% – 40%, depending on income. Corporate taxes are, however, low in order to encourage investment by the big players. Western wages would definitely be near the top end. Overseas remittances are also taxed locally, but I don’t know at what rate… It is a definite issue for those who wish to live there. My Western colleagues live and work there, and they tell me that the tax rate approaches European levels in their circumstances. As a retiree, I don’t know.Additionally, as to costs, inflation is definitely an issue with the rapid growth. My friends tell me (and I have noticed), that things have been getting really expensive, especially rents in Western areas. Something to consider

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