It’s a topic covered in my book, The Philippines Expat Advisor: 2016 Edition, now available in paperback. (The revised 2016 digital copy will be out this March and available on this website and other affiliates.) I listed the primary five factors for my retirement in this Southeast Asian archipelago in my book, but after living here for over six years, I’ve decided to publish a ” Top 10 Reasons to Move to the Philippines” post.
1. Cheaper Cost of Living.
Back in 2009 when my lovely Filipina wife and I pulled up our stakes in Central Illinois, the cheaper cost of living in the Philippines played a significant role in our decision to retire in “paradise.”
Though back in 2013 the Philippines received a top score of 100 in the cost of living category from International Living, it still commands a ranking of 85 in this category, but ranks 17th overall in IL’s 2016 Annual Global Retirement Index as one of the world’s best places to retire.
With a better exchange rate for Americans, currently hovering above 1 USD to 47 PHP, it’s certainly more inexpensive for this American expat and his extended family to live a comfortable lifestyle.
But while exchange rates do fluctuate, it’s probably wise to consider building in a 10% buffer in your own budget for the currency you plan to base your retirement on. Better to make your move prepared for all foreseeable contingencies.
2. “It Was Time for a Change!”
While it might be popular for some politicians to call for change, especially during a presidential election year, some folks resist the notion. I was diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, OCD, many years ago and always followed a rigid schedule. I detested any variation in my conventional Midwestern lifestyle.
But one day I had an epiphany, a realization that I was not content to life out my retirement years in a small town in Central Illinois, mowing my lawn in the summer and shoveling snow in the winter; watching the same mindless reality shows every evening while munching on a Tombstone pizza (though I do miss those Tombstones.)
So when I had the opportunity to retire at the age of 57 after almost 30 years at Ma Bell, AT&T, I seized it. And if I wanted to really retire and not work full-time or part-time anywhere else, I knew a move to the Philippines was the best way to accomplish that goal.
My loving Filipina bride, who had been with me in the States for nine years already, agreed to the move, stating to me “that wherever I go, she will go,” we retired to the Philippines. (Well, my wife has been taking care of our household as well as the construction of our new home here but I manage to do very little of anything and have been quite proficient at that.)
I was finally willing to change and go on an adventure of a lifetime in the Philippines.
3. MY FILIPINA WIFE’S RELATIVES WERE ALL IN THE PHILIPPINES
The third reason why we decided to move to the Philippines was that I wanted to have the peace of mind that someone would take care of my wife after I had left this world. I am 13 years older than my loving asawa and, odds are, will probably be the first to go.
My spouse has no relatives in the United States as is the case with some Filipinos living there. Without me around she would have had no one to take care of her, not that she couldn’t take care of herself. My wife is amazingly self-reliant and runs our household smoother than a baby’s butt. She also handles the payroll for the crew working on our new swimming pool in the Philippines and orders all the necessary construction supplies that are needed for that project.
But I did not want her to end up in a nursing home in the States where she might only get visits from close friends on Christmas.
You don’t know what life will bring. I wanted her back in her home country. I know she will be watched over and cared for when I’m gone by the countless nieces and nephews we have in the Philippines.
4. I WANTED TO RETIRE NOW!
Why make the move to the Philippines? Well, my Filipina wife and I had been discussing the possibility of a move to the Philippines about a year or so before we actually moved.
I knew we could live cheaper in the Philippines than we could in our small town in Central Illinois, although compared to other parts of the United States our cost of living was not as high.
My job at AT&T had changed, and I was extremely displeased, bored, and frustrated with the new work we had which was in the billing department.
I was thinking more and more of collecting a lump sum retirement payment from the company and taking an early retirement ASAP.
I had enough years of service (ended up with almost 30) and was old enough so I could retire with full benefits which included health care for my wife and myself.
Fortunately after I turned 55 the money in my company retirement account more than doubled and the talk of selling our home and moving to the Philippines increased. We were able to invest our money in an IRA which provided the monthly income we needed before my Social Security kicked in.
5. MY WIFE ALREADY OWNED HER OWN HOUSE AND PROPERTY IN THE PHILIPPINES
The last major reason that I listed for moving to the Philippines in my book was the fact that my wife already owned a house and lot in a small town in Guimaras. My wife had spent years working overseas to pay for the construction of the home. The house and lot were entirely paid for.
Since I was not able to collect Social Security yet, and we had a fixed monthly income, I did not want the added expense of renting a house. Why do that when we had one already sitting in the Philippines?
However, we eventually moved out and headed over to Iloilo City due to problems with my mother-in-law who lived with us.
Now I know some of my readers that still live in the States have already built their dream home in the Philippines. If you have the funds to do that now and have a trusted crew on site to construct your new domicile by all means, consider that option. But keep in mind that I did state that you need a trusted crew and supervisor that can build you home even if you are not on site.
And no Pilgrim, a close relative is not always necessarily someone you can trust though we have been fortunate to have our brother-in-law Joery to lean on and is someone we can depend on 100%.
That covers the five major personal reasons why we made our move to the Philippines. Here are five other possibilities to round out my Top 10 Reasons to Move to the Philippines.
6. FIND THE LOVE OF YOUR LIFE IN THE PHILIPPINES
I recently did an article, Philippines ranks as 5th best country for expats to find love, in which a survey from InterNations polled 14,000 expats living in 195 countries
The survey revealed that single expats looking for love are mostly likely to hit the target in countries like Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines.
These countries posted the highest percentage of expats who reported meeting their partner in their new host country.
I was extremely blessed to find the love of my life in the Philippines. We’ve been married over 16 years now. The smartest thing I’ve even done in my life was to marry my Filipina wife, Melinda. The second smartest thing I’ve ever done was retire to the Philippines.
If you can’t find a loving, loyal wife or girlfriend in the Philippines, my friend, I sincerely suspect there might be something wrong with you.
7. THERE IS MORE FREEDOM IN THE PHILIPPINES
I don’t have to be politically correct in the Philippines. I don’t have to worry about “diversity” in the Oscars.
I can blow my nose, take a piss, burp and fart wherever and whenever I want to. I can, if I so desire, live like a “caveman” and pay no attention to the myriad of laws that are passed in the Philippines but never or rarely enforced.
Though I am not an anarchist, I do believe in personal freedom. Respect me and I will respect you.
I don’t need a government which tells me what size soda I can drink in public, and I don’t need a government which tells me when or where or even if I can burn my trash.
8. YOU ARE A CELEBRITY IN THE PHILIPPINES
While the “Red Carpet Treatment” might not be a primary motivation for moving to the Philippines, rest assured you will be treated like a celebrity or even rock star in this archipelago. If you don’t mind being mistaken for an American movie star at the tender age of 63, the Philippines might just be for you.
People who have never visited the Philippines think you’re joking or drunk on Red Horse beer, when you try to explain this phenomenon. But it’s true, and if you’ve ever spent any time here you know exactly what I mean.
9. ENJOY A LESS STRESSFUL LIFESTYLE IN THE PHILIPPINES
You can hang out at the beach just about 365 days a year if you like and enjoy a frosty bottle of San Miguel Pale Pilsen and watch the world go by in the Philippines. You can excel at doing absolutely nothing, as I do, live comfortably and worry about absolutely nothing.
Or, you can continue to have a stressful commute to work everyday and listen to your boss drone on and on about absolutely nothing while I sit back and take another sip of Pilsen.
10. THE WEATHER
OK, now if you enjoy cold weather and shoveling snow, then the weather conditions in the Philippines might not be for you. But if you don’t mind walking around in a tank top, cargo shorts and vinyl slippers all day, then you should consider living in the Philippines.
Sure, it’s hot in April and May, with temperatures approaching 100 degrees Fahrenheit, but once that rainy season kicks in, from late May to November, you’ll find life a lot more livable even with the constant high humidity. You get acclimated to it, however, and appreciate the fact you never have to scrape frost off your windshield ever again.
So there you have it, my “Top 10 Reasons to Move to the Philippines.”
Want to share your personal reasons for moving here? Just drop a comment.