Top reasons (excuses) expats give up on retirement in the Philippines.

I cant learn the language this in fact in its real translation is “ i cant be bothered to learn the language” as simply its down to taking time out and studying it like everything else in life. My Cebuano is still very rough but every time am in Cebu I learn new words and keep adding them to my vocabulary. Why don’t I learn it properly? Simply because its all to do with memory for me. If you look for example at your school years and what you learned in Maths for example how much of it do you know now? maybe 5%? The reason for that is the other 95% you may never come across in a lifetime. Cebuano for me is split into chunks for that reason I pick at the bits I need to know and because I’m in and out of the country I can only remember chunks because anything more and I’m likely to forget most of it before I arrive back in Cebu. Key to learning is finding what works for you and taking the time to learn. Start with the basics such as “how much?”, “that’s too expensive”, “good morning/evening/afternoon” etc. If you took around 10 – 20 words a month you can use in daily conversation it will slowly build over time and be things you can remember.

Its too expensive here now this has some truth in it with the exchange rates and the fact that prices are going up. BUT that’s based on the fact that people came to the Philippines on a fixed budget. I work on the basis that I need to increase my earnings by 30% on what i call my regular funds. Why? well for example the British pound collapsed from around the 90 mark to 69 there goes my first 20% the other 10% is based on food and fuel increases all of which has happened. Do the maths work? Simply yes.. because the 30% isn’t spending money its business money when you generate your 30% in good times you invest it to increase it and in bad times you batten down the hatches and get through the bad patches. So what does this mean to the average person? Well if your retired in the Philippines you need to look at ways to increase your earnings. The majority of guys seem to gain a partner in life from the Philippines yet your partner is likely to stop work and get a monthly allowance from you. That’s fine but the problem is you aren’t helping either of you. If your a retiree your not getting any younger and if your younger your likely to have limited funds. The way to look at things are from a business point of view if your a couple. Yes it may not be worth your partner going to her old job but maybe there is a business you can develop together. Remember your looking for around 30% a month upwards profit of your pension / liveable allowance. Don’t get caught up with working things in dollars work in Pesos. E.g. ok the business might be small and your rent is P5,000 a month so think ok by the end of the first week its the rent covered. Car expenses etc. rather than hard currency. You may not work in your home country for such low amounts but the reason you are likely to have moved to the Philippines in the first place is the cheap cost of living so being part of a sustainable business that helps cover fluctuations in exchange rates etc. not only helps to stabilise your income but also when you have passed on your wife/partner and maybe children will have an income for the future.

I have few friends this is something a lot of people seem to suffer with and mainly because the expat communities in areas are so diverse that people don’t seem to bond too well. I have to admit I’ve got a few close friends within the expat community the majority I meet now and again. Not because I’m some sort of hermit but a lot of things are very different I’m 35 and the majority of expats are 60+ we are from different eras and thoughts. Some of the guys get on my nerves and I get on others.. but realistically we all need some friends I have a pocket of friends in the expat community i enjoy spending time with. I can be me without the trails of gossip spilling out everywhere and we are on a similar channel of thought. The thing is its the same for everyone you go to a few expat meetings and you will find people you get on with and a lot you wont. In my ratio I would say around 20 bad for every 1 good. Sounds a bit steep I know but like I said I’m 35 not 65. Although I do have some friends who are a lot older than me but we have a lot of other things in common. The other barrier is nationality as many people don’t mix because of this the thing is just to cut it a break.. over the years you realise that most things in life don’t matter. Bar room politics are about as far as your thoughts will travel so why offend people with them? Most people outside the American camp don’t like Americans and its one of the things that causes splinters within the expat community. Everybody has to be flexible to a degree as the community is small not because there is not many expats but the fact a lot of expats don’t mix with others. The next issue is locals because very few expats integrate into the local community well. Some of this is family issues such as money being stolen in the passed etc. but in reality integration is part of being an expat. Your part of the community and one that many people are proud to have you involved in the local community. Could be helping with organise a fire team or simply just talking to people at your local sari-sari. Myself I’m pretty well known throughout Minglanilla. I play on the iSKALAWAG Airsoft team which has a rising membership and I’ve helped develop it from a none earning venture to now having its game site fully booked Saturdays and Sundays. We now have a website and a business is starting to develop which will hopefully offer the original members a chance to develop into a large business in the future. I have also spent time out with my neighbours and team mates. The big thing people don’t understand in the expat community is for example you don’t get a birthday invite to a Filipino friends house often this is because they feel shy as they don’t want to offend you as they know you have different standards and lifestyle to them and they don’t have much to offer. You have to be the one to break down those barriers because many Filipinos wont because they don’t want to cause offence. I know its complicated but you moved to the Philippines they haven’t moved to your country so learning a few new rules and dealing with minor issues become part of everyday life and soon enough everyone is happy.

These are the main reasons (excuses) people come up with although there are some instances I would tell people to get out quick. Corruption still plays a major part in society here in the Philippines and it wont be going anytime soon. But one thing you should always look to do is network within the expat community with people of the same standing as you may rely on each other at some point in the future. As you will no doubt have a strong network of friends and relatives from your area.