If my wife and I retire in the Philippines, I can come up with some things that would be exciting to ponder, however I might be able to come up with just as many things that concern me. I need to think this through and of course I will need my Filipina wife’s opinions, because I think it will be a clean break from the United States if/when that happens, perhaps in 2023 when I am 62.
Please subscribe to Love Beyond The Sea for videos and longer live streams concerning what a foreigner would need to know about having a good relationship with a Filipina. I married one in May of 2015. Get notifications for upcoming videos and leave comments here or in the Community Corner chat rooms, there is a link to that in the description box. This video is part of a playlist called expat trial run. Here are the dirty dozen, the twelve concerns I have about retirement in the Philippines.
Second thoughts-I certainly don’t want to fly just under 10,000 miles away, settle into our new home with some of my wife’s family, only to get a feeling of dread, that I shouldn’t have made that move with my wife. I don’t want to go there and then wonder what I was thinking.
This wouldn’t happen, if it even does, until late 2023 or early 2024, so there is plenty of time to get mentally and emotionally ready for that big change. I know my wife will be overjoyed to live in the Philippines, and that is good motivation for me to think about retirement because I always want what is best for her. If I still have a channel at that time, I can see doing a goodbye video to the United States right before leaving.
Most of us are probably reluctant to accept change and I am no different, however this would be a joint decision. If for some reason, perhaps medically, it might be dangerous for me to leave America, then of course we would stay here but I want to gear up for this potential move as if it is going to happen, and be excited about that. The only back up plan we would have is retirement money. We would try to sell our house and everything in it, hopefully with everything in it, gather up all our sources of income and fly to our home in the Philippines. I might actually need five years to mentally prepare for it, but there are positives no doubt. I just don’t want to look back when we do.
The heat-Isn’t there a saying like “If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the Philippines? I have had three exposures to it in April/May, August, and June/July. The most challenging was April/May when we got married in 2015, August was actually a lot nicer as far as less humidity, and June/July was alright although I spent a lot of time indoors being sick. Our house is very close to the beach and I would like to get out there a lot, just to walk in the water (not barefoot!) or the sand. My wife also had a small wading pool (that’s what I call it) built next to the house with running water so anyone can go in there and cool off, so I can look forward to that.
Transfer of money to live on-I know all the ins and outs here as I have been doing on line banking for a while but if in the Philippines, I might need to get a ride out to someplace and do that. We would need to decide where the money is going to be in the first place, where it is coming from. Will any of it be in the United States? Is it required to? Can we slide pension and 401-K money out of America into the Philippines and somehow avoid taxes?
Making a new beginning-I don’t want to go there to slowly die. I realize if I even make it that far, that I might be on borrowed time, and I want to live a meaningful life out there. Being with my wife is always meaningful and fulfilling to me, but I have the feeling there is potential out there in the Philippines for engaging in new and exciting ventures. If I knew how long I would live that would be nice, but I won’t know that. I want to retire in the Philippines, eager to start work on the next and final chapter of my life.
What happens if my wife dies?-Ok, this is a serious one. I think about the dangerous traffic and I have the thought that what if something happens to my Amazing Aiza? That would be devasting. I would have a good relationship with her family and I could stay in the Philippines, but I don’t know, I think I would be very nervous to stay there.
Medical care-I haven’t looked into medical care as far as what kind of quality care for what kind of health problems are available in Davao City, but would prefer not to have to have a major surgery there. I have had about ten surgeries from carpal tunnel in both hands, back, knees four times, shoulder three times, and one on my eyes. I have had a neck surgery postponed twice which has kept me from lifting weights after doing it most of my life. I’d prefer to go to the Philippines and avoid having a major procedure done.
I don’t take any meds so that is one less expense. I would expect to pay for all meds out of pocket if I needed them.
My privacy-I didn’t get married until May of 2015 and lived by myself except for one time when I had roommates. I kind of accepted my privacy and liked having it. Having my wife with me has not made me feel at all like I have had to give any of that up. Living under the same roof with my wife’s (our family) in the Philippines would certainly be challenging for privacy, but maybe that is a good thing? My mother lives with us and that has gone ok, but she doesn’t make a lot of noise. Most likely, having a houseful of people won’t prevent me from doing what I want to do.
A good thing about having family members around of all ages is that it would add a lot of variety to my life, and my wife’s family is so very important to her. They know me from the times I have been there and talked a little on camera, and I think that will go well if I am not intimidated. I think at first they were a little leery about me because I tended to stay in the condo with aircon and didn’t like being in the heat sweating so much.
It really isn’t so bad in the evening when it gets dark around 6:00 p.m. I wasn’t avoiding them, it was just a new experience for me. I love them very much. As long as I can sleep in quiet, being in the last stage of my life, it would probably be best that my life is as interesting as possible.
Living with our Philippine family-I mentioned this in the last paragraph. My concern isn’t living with and around her family per se, but not being in my comfort zone of a more controlled environment. I want to get to know each of them better, I want them to know I care about them. I want us to be comfortable around each other, I want to be accepted as one of the family. While this might require the biggest adjustment, it might also yield the greatest blessings. Having our family there with us, is a benefit in living in the Philippines.
So many people-The population of our city is about 250,000 and that might be a little high. Davao has currently a day time population of 2 million, otherwise it is 1.5 million. I know what it’s like. I hope it continues to develop, it might be different in 2023. Our home is currently at the end of a long street with some homes on either side but it is not crowded, there is some elbow room. Maybe that provides a sense of escape from the vast population.
Expats-I haven’t seen a lot of expats in Davao but I did see more in the mall the last time I was there. The reports on how expats get along with each other have not been glowing. Awhile back I remember having the thought that I wanted to be around a lot of expats, but that has been lessening in importance since I have been thinking about what I might do there to stay active, physically and mentally. No doubt, however, that I think it would be nice to know some expats over there.
Slower pace-Initially this concerned me since I am not used to that having lived in America all my life. I have been in the Philippines several times and have gotten a little feel for the pace. It hasn’t been all that slow, but I haven’t been living there. I went to the doctor there the last time we went, we got there when the office opened, signed in and waited to be seen. We were seen and sent to get a CBC at another place. We travelled there, signed in, waited our turn in line, got the blood test, then drove back to the first place with the results, signed in, and waited our turn in line (sitting down) to be seen by the original doctor.
In America with an appointment this probably takes half an hour, that’s getting the results of this test which comes back in about five minutes. I don’t think appointments are common in the Philippines so you probably want to show up early to avoid sitting in a long line. This slower pace is something I ought to get accustomed to. It would be good for my nerves to start accepting this now. So while initially it presents a challenge, eventually I see it as having potential to be a good thing.
Danger-The final one on my list is danger. I wasn’t even going to include it since my wife says Davao is very safe to live and I absolutely believe her. I just wonder if that will still be the case in the future, that’s all. Plus, I would want to travel with my wife to places in the Philippines she hasn’t been to, and it would be more dangerous in some places than others.
Those are some concerns off the top of my head, maybe I could think of some others. Something I am not concerned about though is being there with my Love Beyond the Sea.