Saturday, October 6, 2018

Why Move to the Philippines?

I know it would seem strange that I would encourage you to move to the Philippines, considering I am right now in the USA.  I still consider going back to the Philippines, mainly because I have "retired" there and will begin receiving my pension when I turn 60.  So after I potentially work here for ten years, I can go back to the Philippines and potentially draw 2 pensions.  But since I am younger than my husband and I have a young son who has never known his US heritage, for the mean time, I can see the wisdom of staying here.

But if you are older, like my husband, with limited income (pension), moving to the Philippines may be an option for you.  But, just like him, you have to consider things that may sway your moving to the Philippines:

1) Healthcare
 If you are above 65, you have to seriously consider if living in the Philippines vis-a-vis living in the US with Medicare is a better option for you.  It may be true that Medicare doesn't pay for everything but you also have to ask if the 20% you have to pay above what Medicare covers will just equal the cost out-of-pocket that you have to make in the Philippines.  In the Philippines, there is no, absolutely NO government-sponsored healthcare.  In the US, for low income families, even if you already have Medicare you can also have Medicaid.  In addition, you can look into the Medicare Advantage Plans. So ask yourself how everything will weigh over all.  When my husband was in the Philippines, it appeared that we were spending between P50,000 to P100,000 for diagnostic expenses that is fully covered here as he is a disabled veteran.  On top of medicines that you have to pay also out-of-pocket.  Being an elderly American with potentially a lot of health problems, maintenance medicine can be quite cost prohibitive.

2) Security
Where do you live? How familiar is your wife with the area? How potentially dangerous is it for you a foreigner to live too far away from areas where the police regularly monitor.  Are there Communist Party of the Philippines - National People's Army militants known to roam your area? Unless your wife is quite aware of the present situation in the country, it might be wise to do the research yourself.

Additionally, right now, there are a lot of vigilante killings in the country.  If you irked someone, you may not know what hit you if you get gunned down by a vigilante or hired killer.  Of course, you can try to always lie-low and not be loud and aggressive.  That can also work.  But if you are hard-headed and opinionated, I suggest you stay in your country.  Because this is not the time to be opinionated in the Philippines, right now.

After I virtually ran down your "dreamy" idea of staying in the Philippines, what would make you stay in the Philippines:

1) Low cost-of-living when you consider the present value of the dollar to the peso.

2) Rent is low, unless you buy a house in which case it can be costly.  But unless you are leaving your house to your wife, I suggest not to buy a house because as a foreigner you cannot own land.

3) Utilities are also low.  Our water bill here in the "tainted-water" of Flint is about $80 to $100 compare that with the P300 I used to pay for water bill. But of course, even in Manila, you cannot drink the tap water.  Better just get a water filter or like what we used to do, buy jugs of purified water, which was only about P25 per jug.

As for electricity, the $130 (non-winter) we pay here in the US is almost comparable to the P5,000++ we paid in the Philippines, when we used our air conditioner 24-hours.  But of course, we just air-conditioned a small room 24 hours so that probably accounts for that.

4) Groceries if you don't keep buying things at SnR , can also potentially be low.  If you keep buying those imported American products, it is clear that your groceries can be high.

5) College for children is still more reasonable, than the cost of college here in the US.

For me, the only reason I want to go back to the Philippines is that it is my home.  I am sure your wife may feel the same way about the Philippines and it can be a place you can consider for yourself when you retire.

The winter weather is not something I like, myself, but then again my husband didn't like the constant rain in the Philippines. Moving to the Philippines should be planned carefully and thoughtfully because you can potentially die there already if you are much older, and you should ask yourself if you are at peace with that.

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