Backward thinking

My friend, Dave, wrote an article in the past couple of days about Waiting to Retire in the Philippines.  Dave mentioned, and some of the comments got into talking about the fear that so many have of moving to the Philippines when the timing is not perfect.  The biggest fear that I hear from a lot of people is “how can I make enough money to live on?”  So many people are hung up on the idea of how they can get a job in the Philippines, what kind of job is available to fund their choice of living in the Philippines, and so on.  Call me crazy, but I don’t get it.

The way people talk, it is like they are limiting their money-earning horizons by moving to and living in the Philippines.  To my mind, nothing could be further from the truth.  Think about this… by moving to a different country and making a go of your life in a new culture, you are learning new things about life.  You are opening yourself to new life experiences that you never had before.  You are getting an education through the school of hard knocks.  Whenever you get more education, you are expanding your horizons, not limiting yourself!  You are gaining new skills and new knowledge that you didn’t have previously.  Learning new skills and expanding your knowledge does not make your money-earning ability less, it makes it easier for you to make money!  Yes, you read that right… by moving to the Philippines and expanding your base of life knowledge, you are actually making it easier, not harder, to make money.

Live in the Philippines Consulting
Just Do It!
Just Do It!

When we decided to move to the Philippines, I was in my mid-30’s.  We made the move when I was 38.  We had three young kids at the time.  I needed to be able to earn a living, and I had a plan of how I would do that.  I, in fact, had my life all planned out on how I would be able to earn enough money to enjoy a nice life here.  I did some of that stuff for a while when we moved here.  But, do you know what?  I am doing none of what my plan was now.  Yeah, I’ve been here 11 years, and my life is nothing like what I expected it to be.  In fact, I have gone through several careers in the past 11 years, and what I am doing now is totally different from what I had planned or even envisioned doing here.

You are your own key to success!
You are your own key to success!

Most of the work I am doing now, that generates the greatest part of my income here, is stuff that I could not have done when I first moved here, because I had no knowledge about it.  Doing things like assisting people with their plans and goals of moving here is a big part of my business (including writing on this site), and when I first moved here, I knew none of this… I learned it through the experience of actually doing it!  Because of my real life experience of moving to and living in the Philippines, I can give others accurate information so that they can do it too, and many people pay me for helping them do that.  So, my experience became knowledge, which I was able to turn into a business.  Whatever your expertise is, or what you want it to be, you can do something similar to what I did.  Honestly, it is not too difficult to do, but you have to always strive to do your best and to provide accurate consultations to people.  You can only gain that knowledge and accuracy through your life experience.

On a similar note, a couple of months ago, I received an e-mail inquiry from somebody who reads my site.  He asked me if I felt that there would be employment opportunities for his children when they grow up should he move here and the kids live their childhood in the Philippines rather than in the USA.  The fact is, if the kids are old enough that they have gained a good perspective of what the USA is all about, moving here will actually serve to make them more employable down the road.  Why?  Because the life experience of living in multiple countries with unique cultures is something that is sought after by big businesses.  When a business needs to deal with businesses in other parts of the world, having employees with such life experience is highly sought after by that business.  Can you imagine, in today’s world, the value of having a child who grew up part of his life in the USA and part in China?  With China coming on strong in the economic side of things, that young person would have skills that would pay big money and be highly sought after.  So stop fearing that your kids will have a hard time getting employment.  The more of life that you expose your kids to, the greater the demand will be for them when they are adults.

Thinking that you or your kids will be isolated from the work market by moving to the Philippines is, in my mind, really backward thinking, because the truth that I see is quite the opposite.  In many respects, you are what you think you are.  If you think you will be limited, you will be.  If you think that success is down the road for you, you will get closer to success with each action.

What’s that old Nike saying?  Just do it!

Post Author: MindanaoBob (1354 Posts)

Bob Martin is the Publisher & Editor in Chief of the Live in the Philippines Web Magazine. Bob is an Internet Entrepreneur who is based in Davao. Bob is an American who has lived permanently in Mindanao since May 2000. Here in Mindanao, Bob has resided in General Santos City, and now in Davao City. Bob is the owner of this website and many others.

49 Ways to Make a Living without a Job


  1. Boss says

    I enjoyed your motivational article this morning. Enterprising people will always find a way to make money no matter where they are.
    But after living in the Philippines for four years my best advice is to have some sort of income stream from your originating country rather than having to come the the Pines and finding out your up a creek without a paddle.
    As some people have found out in the Pines, you not only marry the Pinay but you marry her family as well, which means you could be supporting up to 10 people at any one time as I am doing now. Something to think about.

    • says

      It’s very unrealistic to think about support _less_ than 10 people. And, lest you think it’s a foreigner thing, that’s pretty typical for want the average _Filipino_ is supporting, if s/he’s luck enough to _have_ a salary.

      Great article Bob, and You should have published your baby photo back a few days ago on your birthday 😉 You were cute back then.

      A few months ago I had a query from a fellow American, only 28 or so, who was devastated to learn he couldn’t move to the Philippines on the meager $1100 or so a month he was getting from disability benefits (it wouldn’t be paid outside the US). It was sort of the ‘end of his world’. Not being able to move to the Philippines was a great tragedy for him.

      To me, the great tragedy would be that a 28 year old man, (I don’t know his exact disability, but he was able to read, write, type and telephone and speak the English language, thus more than able to earn a living), would be will to sell himself so short.

      Backward thinking indeed.

      • says

        Ha ha… my baby picture? That’s not me in the picture! Not sure if you were just joking about that, though!

        I agree with you, Dave, that fellow should be able to earn a living… but maybe he will lose his “benefits” if he actually does something!

          • says

            While I don’t know the person in question… I think a lot of people who can make it on their own are getting such benefits. The world would probably be a better place if more were self sufficient instead of waiting for a handout.

            • Clay says

              I have been mulling over your comment for a few days now (the part about people waiting for a handout.) I agree that there are a lot of people who get disability that do not need or deserve it, a lot of scammers BUT if they are drawing Social Security Disability (if they deserve it or not) are they realy getting a handout ? They are only getting back the money that was deducted from their pay and paid into social security for just this very reason . I guess if you look at it as a handout then everyone, including people who have reached retirement age and are now drawing social security is taking a handout.
              Wouldn’t the people that are getting SSI (Supplemental Security Income ) be the only ones that are really getting a handout since SSI is totaly funded by the government (tax dollars)

              • says

                Perhaps, Clay. Yes, money is paid in to Social Security. But, these days, we take out way more than we ever paid in. Social Security for retirement is not a hand out, nor did I ever say that. Disability, in my view, is a hand out, pure and simple.

              • Clay says

                I agree with you that disability is a handout/welfare program but only when the money is taken from the SSI program which is entirely supported by tax dollars, on the other hand disability from SSD comes from your own retirement fund and was intended for just such an emergency should it arise before the age of retirement. Of course to be approved for SSD you have to have an ailment that will lead to your death, unlike SSI in which almost any ailment will get you approved.
                You are also correct in saying that social security is overburdened at this time but a big factor in that is the mishandleing of social security funds by the government. You can’t rob peter to pay paul and then expect the money to majicly reapear later when peter needs it.

              • says

                Hi Clay – The guy who was mentioned was, as I recall, 28 years old. He can not have paid much into the system yet, and I suppose that his disability will entitle him to a lifetime of benefits. To me, that’s a handout. I have no problem if you call it something different, but I just feel it’s 100% handout.

            • Clay says

              ” The guy who was mentioned was, as I recall, 28 years old. He can not have paid much into the system yet, and I suppose that his disability will entitle him to a lifetime of benefits. To me, that’s a handout. I have no problem if you call it something different, but I just feel it’s 100% handout.”

              HaHa…… I agree with you completely, this guy is taking a handout, he obviously is getting SSI which is funded by tax dollars which is a welfare program BUT you are so obviously intent on only seeing that particular part that you arent seeing the rest of my reply. My reply was in general, not pointed towards any one particular person. My point is that yes SSI disability is a handout, However, SSD “social security disability” is not because it comes from your own retirement fund and the earlier you draw from that fund, the less money you will draw each month. If this particular person qualified for SSD at the age of 28 then he would be lucky if he recieved $220-$250 per month maybe less so he is only hurting himself and no one else, on the other hand, if he qualifies for SSI at the age of $28 he will get $1100 per month and is essentialy a burden on society as a whole

              • says

                Hi Clay – I am not intent on only seeing certain parts of the issue. What you don’t understand is that I have no interest in discussing general Social Security issues, because I don’t live in the US, have little or no interest, and this forum is not about US politics. I am commenting only on the issue that was addressed by Dave, the 28 year old guy who wants to move to the Philippines. Beyond that, I just don’t care to discuss it.

      • Clay says

        Dave Starr: you said

        (I don’t know his exact disability, but he was able to read, write, type and telephone and speak the English language, thus more than able to earn a living),

        Haha, they have taught monkeys to do almost the exact same thing………. it still doesn’t mean that they can go out and earn a living. It just isn’t in some people…. even some educated people do not have what it takes to survive on their own. As for recieving SSD in the Philippines, it can been done BUT SSI will be withheld if you are absent from the USA for more than 30 days.
        As for the “as you say meager $1100” per month. I disagree with you, I see no reason that he couldn’nt live in the philippines on that amount of money. He wouldn’t be able to live a very lavish lifestyle but he could live a decent life, certianly no worse a life than he could live in the USA for the same amount of money

  2. Paul Thompson says

    You sawa need, and you fulfilled it, and earned a living while doing it. Business is just that simple. Yesterday I wrote the same thing in reply to one reader. In a new location you are looking for certain goods or services. One may sit and complain, or figure out, that if you want it, others may also. Now you have a job, and are earning money. Henry Ford might have asked himself; “I wonder if regular people would buy a car, that is affordable?” And the reat is history. Great article Bob!

    • says

      Thanks, Paul. Yes, I have always been like that… if there is something I want and cannot easily get – that’s a business opportunity because surely others will want it like I do. Time to figure out how to get enough to make a business out of it! 😆

  3. says

    Hi Bob – I agree with you, learning is life long and where there is a will there is a way. As Boss mentions previously having an income stream from say a pension or investment always helps whilst setting up some kind off business initially especially if you have a family to support.
    My advice to anyone coming here to live is until you try it you will never know so don’t waste too much time just thinking about it but rather get on with it.
    Good luck to those who try.

    • says

      Hi Jim – I would agree with both you and Boss, a person should have something to hold them over while getting their life set up here. A nest egg, a regular income that can be relied upon, or some such safety net. But, many people are scared to make the move unless they have a lifetime guaranteed income, and for most that won’t happen for a long, long time.

      Take care, Jim.

      • says

        As you know Bob, I’m both retied and also do a lot of studying and writing on the whole retired ‘thing’. In the US, particularly, most of the whole ‘retirement industry’ is fatally flawed, becuase today’s ‘so called’ retirement planning is nothing more than some sort of saving/investment scheme or another.

        The idea of ‘saving enough’ for retirement is just not going to work in today’s environment … besides, who knows when ‘long enough’ is? You save enough for 40 years and then dies 10 years in, you just make a lot of ner-to-do relatives rich. You save enough for 10 and then live 40 years, you get kind of hungry at the end.

        So why ‘retire’ in the classic sense at all? Just build income streams that’s are going to keep paying, year after year … and possibly even leave behind a business that will support your own children into _their_ retirement years?

        • says

          Hi Dave – Your model of creating streams of income and then letting them flow for the rest of your life is my model. I don’t ever plan to really “retire” although some would say that I am retired already. But, I plan on earning an income for the rest of my life. Social Security? I don’t think I’ll ever see it. The system is broken and may not last much longer.

        • says

          Current research has reported out that one needs to “save” US$1,000,000 to retire and live on one’s retirement.

          Some how I don’t see myself as having had enough time in my quote “prime producing years” unquote to do so, given the amounts of salary and work restrictions I “enjoyed”! So, as a result, I’ve decided to “increase” my “prime producing years” while I’m retired. Works for me!

  4. Dan says

    Good post Bob…and if Pops one of your writers here can do what he did to keep living in the Phillipines then sure most any one could if they really wanted to…Its like you said…one just has to make up their mind and then do it….

    • says

      Thanks Dan. Pops’ methods are not what I would do, but that’s partly because we are different, and have different talents and interests. I agree with you, it’s something that anybody can do if they really want to.

  5. peterjoy says

    hi bob
    itis ok if u know where to start making money online but for me i dont know where t look or what is good or bad think mate i have been looking with a good friend from the USA who would like to do the same as me work on line and make money but like i he as no idear where to start or where to go mate i spend a hour online and make no head way and dont know who to ask to find out about it mete itis ok for them that are doing it na but most never tell u how or where thay went to make there first big brake mate i think u know how i feel after reading this and thanks for a good posting too……..peter martin tassie

    • says

      Hi Petter – Notice that I never said anything about earning money online! Yes, I earn online, but we all have our own ways of doing it. I don’t advocate earning online for everybody, and I never said that you or anybody should look to earn online. In fact, the word “online” does not even appear in my article. You have to find something that you are passionate about and do it. Online, offline or whatever, you can make it work.

      • peterjoy says

        HI BOB
        No u did not say a word about online work but i did andi know very well that most over there do that right that is that are not filipina but never wont to tell u how to make a start………peter martin tassie

        • says

          Hi Peter – I don’t think that “most” over here earn online, in fact only a very small percentage of people earn online. In fact, I believe you are a butcher, or in the meat processing industry in some way. I have a foreigner friend who is very successful here doing exactly that! He has been doing that for 15 or 20 years already and is highly successful.

          You say that nobody every wants to tell you how to make money online. I have a blog about how to make money online, do you read it? You can find it here: Virtual Earner

          The fact is, with anything in life, it is up to you to go out and learn. Nobody is going to come and knock on your door to teach you if you have shown no interest in learning. In all the time I have known you here on LiP, I don’t recall a single time that you asked me a question on how you can earn online. Nobody is saying you have to earn online, but if you want to, ask some question of people who are doing it.

  6. Dwayne says

    Like yourself Bob I have been an entrepreneur most of my life. I have the felxibility to go where I want when I want. I made/make money as a stock/options trader and real estate investor. I will probably take up real estate development here as this is a monster area of growth and one of the biggest yet mostly untapped markets is with the expat community and retirees as millions of them will need places to live in the next 10 to 15 years of varying budgets. Most of the housing here is geared to Asian lifestyle. small, cramped and totally illogical Very few developments cater to the Amercian design or lifestyle mindset. So perhaps I will do some condo or apartment type buildings in growing expat markets. I have made a few friends around the country who build mostly single family houses of about 150sqm and most are making about $100,000+ a year turning over on average two houses annually. Sales are about P8,000,000 – P10,000,000 per house and lot. Most of their sales have been relatively easy as they have gone with the long time 4P’s marketing adage of product, place, promotion, price. Another friend built a 5 story short time hotel and has waiting lines of people for rooms. I also trade the stock market so that can be done anywhere. I think for most expats the adage of finiding a need and filling it is the most common sense approach. You seem to have figured it out. It ain’t rocket science.

    • says

      Hi Dwayne – I love being an entrepreneur, and could not go back to a “regular job”. I have been an entrepreneur for most of 20 years now, and it’s a good lifestyle. Good luck to you with your direction.

  7. Dwayne says

    So irritating. I wrote a long response and hit the post comment and then nothing happened. I forgot to copy the text so here I go again. short version LOL
    Like you Bob I have been a entrepreneur most of my life and my area of success has been with Real Estate development and investment and Stock/Options trading. FOrtyunately I have been quite successful in all those endeavors. I plan to do the same over here. In my travels here over the past months I have met successful entrepreneurs who have made excellent incomes (over six figures annually) catering to the living needs of the growing expat retiree market. Most of the real estate market here caters to Asians with small, cramped and extremely ugly houses and condos. In the province there are very few Apartment or Condos offering afordable rentals or sales. My plan like those ofthe people I have met would be to build affordable houses and apt/condo buildings using the The four4 P’s – product, place, promotion, price.. I can build great finished houses for p20,000 to p25,000 sqm and rental buildings for about p15,000sqm. In the next 15 years over 300 million will be retiring and some will be coming to the Philippines. Anyway this is my plan and I have no doubts I will make a boat load of $$$$ and having fun doing it. As for other business opps….just look around you and see what is happening in your area. Talk to your friends, bar mates, etc…. and see what they are needing, wanting, etc…There is always money to be made Just ask Bob.

      • Dwayne says

        Hi Bob. I submitted my original post and then was taken back to the page and nothing posted. I refreshed and then used compatability mode and then refreshed again and still the post did not show. Strange. So that is why I reposted.

  8. Eric Gee says

    I know this topic comes up alot here and I guess I understand it. It’s a bit hard from a military retiree standpoint though. I think my small pension would be sufficient for my wife and I (early 40’s) to live fairly well there. Having said that…..are people trying to escape bad situations back in their homelands? The home we own in South Carolina and the three vehicles (2 w/ payments), make us a “paycheck-to-paycheck) family on 55K a year, but the bills are all paid, there’s always cold beer in the fridge, and steaks on the grill. If people are having trouble making it where they are financially….why would they consider moving to to the PI (sorry, Philippines)? I try to not be contreversial, and I don’t mean this to seem that way….but….if you don’t have a steady, constant, guaranteed source of income…..think long and hard before you up and become an expat. The odds of making it decent like Bob and some others have are rare! If you are under 30, I say go join the US military for 20 years, then take your pension and roll wherever you want. Just my thoughts…not meaning to offend.

    • says

      Hi Eric – I don’t think you said anything controversial or offensive at all. We all have considerations to make. I feel that there are no guarantees in life (your mention of a guaranteed source of income). Given the current financial situation of the USA, I would argue that your military retirement is not even guaranteed. I hope it is, but we just can’t think of what may happen in the next 20 years or more. Anyway, we all must follow the path that looks best for us. Some will succeed and some will fail, but I think that no matter what path we choose, success is possible if we stick to it and be flexible when opportunity presents itself.

      • Eric Gee says

        Well said. If they stop paying my pension I’ll be doing the “Walk like an Egyptian” or libyian, or tunasian…lol. I’m felling pretty secure that the USA will honor “most” of the promises they made to me in 1985. My point being…..what you have stated many times before….it isn’t as easy as just picking up and moving to the PI. There are many, many more considerations

        • says

          Hi Eric – I mostly agree with you. On the pension thing, when we see how little money there is for the govt, and what is happening in Wisconsin right now, well.. it makes a person stop and think. I personally do not believe that Social Security will exist, at least not in it’s present form, when I am 65. That’s a different argument, though. 😉

          On moving to the Philippines, I am mostly talking about those people who are so desirous to move here, and they just feel like everything has to be perfectly in place. Well, things will never be perfect, so figure out a plan and get it done! 😆

  9. says

    Bob, you are right. Sometimes you just have to take the plunge and sink or swim…sinking would not be the worse thing…unless you actually took the plunge into water. LOL.

    I am getting closer and closer to having the online income to be FREE and move to Philippines. But I am not there yet…it is scary for many of us.

    I moved to the Philippines two-and-a-half-years ago and was the happiest guy in the world. I have two businesses in Mindanao which would have been plenty for us to live on….but we lost those businesses…I learned a lot about business in the Philippines.

    I can honestly say that the day I knew I had to come back to America was the saddest day of my life. Gosh, it is hard to just think about.

    Many of us do not have a nest egg big enough to give us six months to a year to make it work…and that is sorta sad for many of us in our forties or older.

    But I do think there are more opportunities to make a go of it there than people think.

    Maybe I will be a bit more aggressive and just make the move and see what happens.

    • says

      Hi Todd – Yes, getting into business always teaches us lessons… good ones and bad ones. I’m sorry to hear that you got a bad lesson and lost the businesses, but it was a teaching experience, and probably you won’t make the same mistake next time. I wish you the best of luck with your goal!

  10. Scott says

    Hi Bob
    Belated happy Birthday! You are only as old as you think you are.

    Thank you for the positive post on Just Do it.

    I think there is more opportunity in southeast Asia, & Asia then there is in the U.S. Asia is like the U.S. used to be 50 years ago. Low unemployment and producers of everything. In the U.S. it costs so much capital to start most businesses. I will be able to start the business in the Philippines i want too for a 10th. of the cost compared to the U.S.

    I have been self employed for all my life & have always never looked back& have mostly been happy. New ideas with hard word, & a little brain power seems to work for me & many others i know. I love the many opportunities that there are in southeast Asia. People just need to open their eyes & really see what gap needs to be filled. To me it is the best if you are happy at what you do, then the money will come.

    I like your positive posts best!
    Thanks Bob
    Peace Scott

    • says

      Thank you Scott.

      I agree with you. The USA used to be known as the “Land of Opportunity.” Unfortunately, at least for now, that opportunity is gone, unless you already have a huge amount of money. I “regular guy” like me (and I presume you) can come to the Philippines and take advantage of numerous opportunities. You can get rich here, if that is what you want. For me, I am not looking to get rich, rather just build a life that is comfortable for myself and my family, and be able to help out a few others too. For me, that is what being “rich” is all about, not a lot of money, but the ability to be comfortable and to help others too.

      Glad you enjoyed the post, Scott!

  11. says

    Hi Bob – You know, it’s all a matter of perspective. The image you used (part of a keyboard) to show the key to success provides an interesting thought – is it an “Enter” key or is it a “Return” key? Is it a “Go” or a “Stay” key?

    Many will push the key – their rationale, however, . . .

    I say, “Hit ‘Enter’ and come on over!” Of course, if you’ve a “bad attitude” about making the decision, I’d say, “Stay there” and “Hit ‘Delete’!”

  12. jim says

    Hi Bob—-Good post, it’s never so easy a CAVE MAN can do it. Takes a heck of a lot of work, and a hell of a lot of luck.

    • says

      Hi Jim – One thing about luck… to quote the golfer, Gary Player, “The harder you work, the luckier you get”. I don’t believe in luck. It’s all up to hard work.

  13. Lenny says

    Old saying , “You are what you eat” Meaning, are you a strong oak tree or a simpleton. I have seen here a man take a empty building on a busy residentcial corner, just a 4 corner place where they had rice, vegetables, drug store, tv repair shop, barber shop, bakery, internet cafe, in a basic nice subdivision..and he put in a grocery store (small) with all the basic needs, and I kick myself in the ass for not paying attention to the idea. He must be making 4000 usd plus with the store. It’s was simply” filling the need”..This is what you have to look for to be successful and thats anywhere you go to live. And in this case “Location” was the key… I have been tampering with an idea, for the Dumaquete area, if I ever get there, but not really needing to work, I am reserved in doing so, but just the fire and spirit within me , to make a decision and see it pay off makes my blood boil, as a Bob Martin said he gone thru several different occupations, making them work, this is what its all about…………..

    • says

      Hi Lenny – Yes, finding a need and filling it is a great way to come up with a super business. If there is something you really want, but are unable to find… that’s likely to make a great business! Good luck to you.

  14. alf says

    Hi Bob! I am an Overseas Filipino in Abu Dhabi. Right now, I enjoy a wonderful job here and I would think of this job as “permanent” before finally retiring in the Philippines. Now that you mentioned earning opportunities back there, it gives me motivation to not worry about retiring there and yet earn decently. From now till retiring day, I sort of devote my spare time here developing my skills; elevate educational attainment; develop financial literacy, etc. These I think are some of the things that may equip me when I rejoin and eventually retire in the Philippines. Thanks for writing about this. It was positive, indeed. Good speed! Mabuhay! —Alf

    • says

      Hi Alf – Good luck to you! I am sure that you can come back here and make a nice income! I know that I have been able to make some nice money since moving here. In fact, I earn more now, living in the Philippines, than I ever earned in the States! I am sure you can do it too!

  15. Bruce Michels says

    Ever thought of being a motivational speaker now that you can speak two languages?
    As for as taking the plunge it’s all about the old countdown Ready, Set, GO.
    Were in the set phase right when I retire in 26 months is GO. But you are right about income. Retirement pay is not something you lean on, but use to develope a hobby or intrest into an income. It is a known fact that people who stop working and do nothing die early. Heck we waited this long to enjoy Paridise why take a chance in ending it early. Besides if I go out there and make a living then maybe I can teach my family on How to Fish by example.
    Then I can keep my pension. :0

  16. john says

    i read your letter,and you r right,i want to move to the philippines,and yes my biggest concern is how to make a living,and you letter told me nothing other than a motavational speech. I understand that you make your living helping others who want to live in the philippines so is that why you dont give any info away,for the fear you will not make money?

    • says

      John – I do give information and I help people who ask. Thousands of people read this site every day, and for each person the path is different. I said in the article that you should find your niche, find something that you are passionate about and go for it! I am sorry, John, I will help, but I cannot hold your hand. You are an adult, and have to do the work yourself. No, I am not afraid to help anybody. but frankly, I know nothing about you. I don’t know what you are knowledgeable about. I don’t know what you are interested in. I don’t know what you enjoy doing. How can I possibly tell you exactly what you should do when I know nothing about you? My god… you can lead the horse to water, but you can’t make him drink!

      • john says

        Well ok,i see i mad some people angry because i ask you a straight forward question,sorry about that,its just that i am a straight forward guy and i like straight forward answers,and i didnt get any,all i got was sarcasam and smart remarks,you are right about somethings,yes i am an adult,and yes i will do the work myself,and no i dont need you to hold my hand ,and you do not know me,all i wanted was to hear some ideas,but i quickly found out that the ideas would cost me thanks but no thanks.If i offended anyone i am sorrynever ment to

        • says

          John – Do you know how to read? I asked you some questions and offered to help you for free. I even gave a link to my blog about how to make money online. I never asked you to pay a cent, so how can you say that “ideas would cost you money?”

          I am sorry, my friend… but you are sounding a bit crazy here.

          • John says

            Ok well i see we have goten off onthe wrong foot my friend,and here you go with the smart remarks,i think you have gotten me mixed up with someone else.If you go back and look at what i wrote,and go back and look at your replys you will see that you have never ask me any questions and you have never given me any links,and you have never ofered to help so i dont know what you are talking about.Please dont bother i will work things out for myself by myself,and i sound a bit craxy? Just go back and reread,and there will be no need to reply,cause i wont be back to your site.sorry we couldnt see eye to eye on things.not everyone does

    • Scott says

      Take it from somebody that has read bob’s site for awhile. He has given me so much imfo. on too many things to count. Obviously you have not asked bob a question or read his site for very long. He has helped so many it is hard to count, Why do think his site is so successful? It is not because he does not give back. Plus all of his writers are so generous with all their knowledge they give freely that would never be learned other than living in the Philippines for many years. People that do not see, should not speak.

  17. jonathan says


    If ever that you decide to have a conference/events company and be its resident motivational/conference speaker, just give me a ring, I would love to be your Events Coordinator and work for you! You know the 7 Habits guy Stephen Covey? He made lots of money with his books and conferences.

    • says

      Hi Jonathan – I have actually done several such seminars in the past, and they were rather successful. Never really thought of making it a full time thing though! 😆

  18. jim says

    John…….You sound very bitter, just chill for a while, ok. Bob has an excelent web site,the onley site i use. John hope you don,t have a problem with a guy makeing a living. We all have to eat and pay the bills. Not every thing in life is free. Good luck to ya, and work your butt off.

  19. Scott B says

    Hey Bob, I appreciate your article. One of the things that you mentioned toward the end of your article which did not get alot of discussion was the idea that the experience of living in a “foreign” country is a valuable lesson. Having spent 20 years in the military, I have had numerous opportunities to learn about my life as an American through the eyes and culture of “foreign” people. Wouldn’t trade that experience for anything. And my kids learned important lessons also. I tell my high school students that one of the best life experiences they can have is to visit or live in some distant land – to get off their backsides and go somewhere – one will never truly appreciate life until you see it from other perspectives.

  20. Anna says

    Excellent article Bob! My husband and I are nowhere near retirement but we’d love to move to the Philippines. This site has been so rich in information that I find myself on it everyday reading through old articles and all the different writers. I would love to be able to just do it but with two small kids it’s kind of hard, ya know! If my dad had his way we’d be there already! But I don’t want to be a freeloader…We want to work hard and earn our way! So we’ll be buying your book and doing our research. Hopfully we’ll find something we’re passionate about and it’ll end up making us money, like you we don’t want to live like kings but live a comfortable life where our kids will learn that with hard work comes stability, success, and great rewards!

    • says

      Thank you Anna, I’m glad you enjoyed the article. Keep thinking and come up with something that you enjoy and have some smarts about… you can do it! When you find that, you’ll do great here!

  21. AlexB says

    Hi Bob,

    Very motivating without being unrealistic. Moving to the Philippines (or in another part of the world) is an enriching experience, an education itself. It expand horizons, and take down the borders that exist in the mind. You’re right about the nowadays who have opportunity to travel and work because it makes them more “saleable.” I think most people define their life solely based on how far their pension or their savings/investment will stretch. It isn’t any different from their home country or in the Philippines. One just to do what one has to do.

    This article reminds me of Pops article. He had a choice to go back and work as a security guard, and after all the ups and downs found himself an online writing job, something he loves.


    • says

      Hi Alex – I’m glad you enjoyed the article and found it realistic. There are certainly ways to make a decent living in the Philippines as both Pops and I can attest to! 😉

  22. John says

    Good advice Bob.

    I would also like to add, that people that think of starting a business as a hobby will only be paid accordingly, your numerous ventures make a decent living for you and your family because you are dedicated.

    Also, living in the RP has some advantages, every market is within 3 hours from MNL and there is a world out there, importing/exporting not only in the RP. I have a mate in Thailand who tweets when he goes to a factory outlet and ships over 300 orders a month @$20 profit an order.

  23. Jon says

    GREAT article Bob…. and I could not agree with you more about the “education” children receive simply by living in another culture. I tell my Physics and Geospatial Analysis students regularly (I am probably the only teacher who does) “Consider the entire world your job market…and prepare accordingly. Or, become a plumber — because the pipes can’t be outsourced.” The ones who think they are entitled to the historically high standard of living in America because they were born here are in for a very rough ride I’m afraid. So many paradigms are being blown to bits in this internet age because knowledge/analytical professions are no longer adhered to a physical location. I like to challenge my student’s attitudes about career entitlement and bitter attitudes towards foreign workers employed by American companies overseas by asking them “All I need to do my job is a good internet connection, and perhaps a half-dozen tax-deductible round trip plane tickets per year….Will you hate me for ‘taking your job’ when I’m living in the Philippines and under-bidding GIS consultants in the USA?” Everyone needs to think and respond outside the box these days.

    • says

      Hi Jon, I am glad that you enjoyed the article and found it to line up with your thinking. A while back I wrote an article that went along similar lines to what you are talking about with the outsourcing of work. Perhaps you saw it already, but if not, click here: Do you hate Filipinos?

      • Jon says

        Hi Bob,
        No, I hadn’t read the other article yet. Looking forward to it. This relates to an experience I had recently. I ordered a car cover from an online parts retailer (big presence online). Well, turns out this American company bases all of its phone ordering and customer service in the Philippines. I had a problem with an order and had to call the customer service number. The fellow I talked with was very polite and professional — and I could recognize the accent. I asked “Are you in the Philippines?”….long silence….”Yes, our headquarters is based in Philippines.” He sounded a bit tense…as if they get a lot of vitriol about foreigners taking American jobs. So I followed it with “What part of Philippines? I was in Philippines a few months ago.” Then he relaxed and started asking me all kinds of questions… I think he was so excited to talk to someone who actually visited the Philippines and likes his country and it’s people :) If he was supposed to keep the call under 7 minutes he’s definitely had some explaining to do, LOL.

        • says

          Hi Jon – There was a time a few years ago when I had a problem with a Linksys WiFi Router that I had bought. I called their US Customer Service number on my US telephone line. I already knew that the Linksys customer support was done here in Davao, in fact, I have been to their call center. So, it was kind of funny that we were both in Davao, but our call was routed through the USA! 😆

          • Jon says

            Bob…too funny!! Your article really has me considering not even waiting for my early-reduced pension. My dad died 10 years after drawing full retirement – didn’t do him much good and he had more in savings, investments, pension, and SS checks than he and my mom needed.

            Today things are more challenging…teacher pay has been frozen in Fairfax and surrounding districts for 3 years and I do not see a pay raise on the horizon, or beyond. Inflation may kick in with oil prices going up…then we could be seeing a true depression (inflation and unemployment and state salary and pension funds on the brink, etc.). At least I got out from under the house with no strings attached.

            Virginia is not a collective bargaining state. We have a less generous pension program and our contributions are taken from our salaries (shows on every pay stub). If my VRS pension were declared “unfunded” and MY contributions and their earnings declared “gone” …..that would be THE day my decision is made for me.

            Well…in a way such a “push” could be a blessing in disguise. I’d rather be in the Philippines sooner, not later. I’m hanging on for the security of the early-reduced pension, not even considering the full pension because life is too short – may not live to enjoy it. More importantly, the reduced pension is ENOUGH to retire to the Philippines. People often need a push and then after going in a new and more rewarding direction, look back and wish they’d done it sooner. Overcoming insecurity or letting go of “security” (is anything secure anymore?) is the challenge.

            I am preparing and educating myself for the “next chapter” in the Philippines. The page could turn within two years if I get a nudge. I teach Physics and Geospatial Analysis (A high school/college dual-enrollment GIS course). I’ve had a fortunate teaching career – kids line up for my classes. Take away my pension and I’ll be a walking example of “Brain Drain” in America, and I won’t be alone. It’s not like teachers are getting rich on their salaries. I consider the pensions “deferred compensation”. Can’t build a viable nation without potentially gifted teachers choosing the noblest profession over better paying options. Loss of pensions will just make the quality of education situation worse….good luck finding my replacement.

            Sorry for the soapbox…but our country has been meeting the enemy for the past 25 years. It is US!!! When teachers get paid what professional athletes are currently paid and pro athletes get paid what teachers are currently paid….then USA will turn things around. When the brightest are lured to teaching instead of Wall Street or even Google or Apple, the culture of the USA will hold teachers AND education in high esteem — and that is what USA needs to be competitive again. Better yet, Google or Apple or Facebook will encourage their employees to take 5 year leaves-of-absence to become teachers and help cultivate their future employees (now there’s an idea!!). China and India already pay teachers very well compared to other top tier professions (doctors, engineers, etc.). Teachers are held in high regard in those countries (same in Philippines). I’m dead serious — the USA must somehow socially engineer a cultural change (NOT pass more legislation on education) to be competitive with India and China. Here’s a sobering fact — There are more honors kids in India, than America has kids. Ouch!!!

            Check this out this video…it’s an eye opener. It’s called “Did You Know?” Wow!!! It’s up to over 13,300,000 views on YouTube!! I’m glad millions are paying attention :)


            • Mars Z. says

              Jon, just watch the film “Waiting for Superman” last night. What your take on that. Teacher union problems? I’m here in Northern Va, too. Used to wrok in Arlington.

              • Jon says

                Teacher Unions are a problem in the states like NJ, NY, and Wisconsin. But it is NOT entirely a problem of those particular unions. In ALL of those states the state governments had plenty of money to put in to those pension fund investments over the years — but diverted the funds and hoped to make up the difference on overly optimistic investment return projections. What money was diverted? The money that actually is deducted from the teacher’s, fire fighter’s, police officer’s, etc. paychecks!!!There really is NO MATCHING (at least in Virginia). Those states created their own problems and now want to take it out on the unions and the public employees.

                But…do I think those unions in those states with collective bargaining over reached for benefits in retirement? Yesssss. I know retired teachers from NJ or NY that are earning more in retirement than when they were in their last year of teaching. That is not what a pension is all about. In VA the most you can get is about 80% age aged 60+ and 30 years of service. (then add SS eventually and things get nicer….but your health needs will also be going up to offset the increase).

                I’ll be lucky to get about 45% to 50% of my salary through pension (about $30,000). I’m out at 25 years service age 55. I’m losing a lot of pension going early, but I can start something new in GIS (consulting in GIS education, and as geospatial analyst, teaching for NOVA community college is starting, then other colleges I hope, and all online eventually – from the Philippines).. I just don’t want to teach high school past my prime. Hanging on too long and not having one more adventure is not worth sticking around for the extra $1000 per month in pension. The time wasted is lost. I have done my service and did it well, time for me to get on with something where I can be in the “background” and not having my success based on how willing other people (students and parents) are will to do their job. Seems only the teachers are held accountable these days.

              • Jon says

                I haven’t seen that movie yet. Even without seeing it I’m sticking with my take….provide incentives for the best and brightest to become teachers, encourage companies to take part in the process by letting their employees bring real job skills and expectations into the classrooms, etc….and change our culture. We don’t grow enough science, math, engineering, high tech students in our country. We rely on other countries with the cultural discipline and drive we don’t have to fill our top universities. Asians make up like 13% of our population but in some cases make up 60% of students at our top schools like MIT, etc. I may have the % off, but whatever they are, it’s not good. Then we kick out most of those foreign students after they finish their degrees — going back to where they came from and using their BEST in the world American higher education (odd that we DO have the best higher learning institutions) to compete against us. Stupid policy….like shooting ourselves in the foot. If unmotivated and apathetic americans are not rising to take calculus and physics classes because “I’m not good at math…it’s hard”…then we need to get them from outside the country, and keep them.

                BTW…I haven’t given up on kids in this country — I just tell it like it is. Most of my students appreciate it.


            • Ricardo Sumilang says

              I used to know an American and his Pinay wife from Zambales (a UP grad), both U.S. professors, who moved to Iloilo to teach at a university there. Both are doing well last I heard.

              From a former Fairfax county resident.

              • Jon says

                Hi Ricardo,
                Yessss…I’ve had a few filipino friends (teachers) in Tagum tell me I CAN teach at the colleges with my MS degrees in Geology, Hydrology, and soon GIS Post-grad Certificate. There is not conflict with the law preventing foreigners from working in Philippines when it comes to college professorships apparently. Besides, I’m very certain I have background and skills no Filipino has (which is one of the criteria that allows a foreigner to work in the Philippines).

                I actually want to teach GIS and perhaps even open a business as GIS consulting firm in Mindanao — and hire 10 full time filipino GIS analysts (my former students, no doubt). BTW…10 full time filipino-employees allows foreigners to live in the Philippines as permanent resident.


              • Ricardo Sumilang says

                None of my business, but with the educational background you listed above, couldn’t you have been making more money as an engineer? Bechtel still has a presence in the Philippines, I think. I used to encourage my son (a mechanical/nuclear engineering grad at U/MD) in the early days to request for a posting in the Philippines while he was at Bechtel, good thing he didn’t. He went on to greener pastures, first at Microsoft, today as an executive at Northrop Grumman.

              • Jon says

                Ricardo…Yes and my Principal says “You gotta stay at least a few years”. I am a good and innovative teacher. I have heard directly from Principals and through word of mouth that administrators at district levels consider me among the best teachers in the country. At a Super Bowl party in January someone told me they heard the science coordinator for my former school district say “Losing Jon was a huge loss”. Maybe… I do get a lot of praise from students, parents, admin…community…etc. Maybe that’s why I stick with it. My students recently looked me up on Rate My Teacher. com and told me “You are very highly rated”. Others said “You come up a lot in Google”. My reply sounds boastful, but my intent is to give context that helps explain why I have remained a teacher and not left for more money. All of this is only relevant because I think my success as teacher prevented me from leaving… it’s hard to walk away from something I’ve been conditioned to think I’m especially good at…

                I don’t know if I’d be a good engineer…but I have had success as research hydrologist. Always having to write grants to fund the next project turned me off of that… teaching has intrinsic rewards like no other profession. Also, I have a LOT of autonomy. I can be get an idea one day….make it happen the next. Can I do that working for a company? I’ve been told “stay where you are” for that reason.

                So I’m looking to just start with a clean sheet in Philippines…relax, tinker with solar or microhydro power…biodiesel…personal interests I’ve had. I may teach online….who knows. I’m almost afraid to get involved with education at any level in the Philippines because I tend to have big ideas fill my head…and like to make them happen by reaching out to collaborators, etc. ….and then it starts all over again LOL :)

                For example: for $500 I can get a school site license for ArcGIS (very expensive for private sector…nice education discount). With 10 computers I could have high schoolers doing college level GIS projects and analysis in about 10 weeks…all community-based projects and relevant job skills needed NOW in the Philippines and globally….oh..but what about relaxing and tinkering :) .

                How do I get off this thing?… It all started when I took 14 students to the Amazon and Galapagos islands when I was 26 years old…. and I just kept doing those trips and other “immersion” experiences and looking for ways to make the learning real… Now GIS is the latest “authentic problem/project-based learning” outlet for me…and it has by far the most career potential even in this economy. Check out this link if you want to know more about opportunities in GIS or Geospatial Science and technology. A project my students worked on is featured…they made a portion of the interactive maps used by first responders in Haiti after the earthquake. I think it’s part of episode 1.



            • says

              Hi Jon – Thanks for sharing your thoughts. If the Philippine is where you really want to be, I would encourage you to figure out how to make it happen and make the move. With your considerable teaching skills, I am sure you can do well doing something like tutoring online, and that sort of thing. I know a fellow who is an excellent science teacher who has considered doing something like that as well.

              That video you linked to… I saw it a year ago or so. Very interesting to consider those numbers!

              Good luck to you Jon.

              • Ricardo Sumilang says

                Jon, I gotta tell you, you’re one heck of a catch for the Philippines should you move there with all these innovative ideas and impressive credentials you possess. There is no doubt in my mind, that the Philippines will benefit for having someone like you in its midst. A loss for the U.S. and a gain for the Philippines. And all because of love for a Pinay, without mentioning what seems to be a growing disillusionment over the U.S.’s misplaced priorities over proper compensation for the teaching profession from which the country benefits the most for its development as opposed to sports figures who earn millions for shooting balls through the hoop.

              • Jon says

                Where are you seeing the “Waiting for Superman” documentary? Is it streamed from NetFlix or available on the internet (Hulu?).

  24. Mars Z. says

    Jon, have tried Part-Time at TJ Shool of Science & Tech off Braddock? They might need you expertise. My daughter is a newly graduate teacher from Tennessee and stayed there to teach Elementary but only PT. No FT to be had, but since she played volleyball in college, she has a coaching job in High School. Small per hour pay in TN, btw.

  25. Jon says

    Actually…I had a lead on a TJ spot (my former science teacher was retiring and told me to apply for his spot). But the Principal of the school I’m at now is my former mentor for student teaching 22 years ago. He’s the best Principal in the county, I think. He just lured me from Loudoun county to start the GIS dual-enrollment (with James Madison Univ.) course at South Lakes HS in Reston. I actually like the diversity at SLHS. I have several Filipino students — actually, I see the United Nations in my classroom :) I like it. Lots of happy Egyptian kids lately

    I’m sure TN is way down on the pay scale. I don’t see very Red and low-tax states like TN as anywhere close to making the investments necessary to make a difference. They will become nothing more than low-cost retirement states if they don’t step up. There’s a reason Volkswagen (and other brain-driven companies) located its US headquarters in Fairfax, VA — the school system. Parents who work for these companies (in the high-tech Dulles Toll Road Corridor) want the best schools and staff…there is actually a lot of support for schools in this area. I bet more than half of parents surveyed would say they put up with the higher cost of living here just so their kids can attend FCPS. The district is 3rd in the nation for Advanced Placement test scores and college credits earned by scoring 3 or better on the AP/IB tests, etc. NY and MD are just a few notches above.


  26. Jon says

    Oops…It’s Virginia that is 3rd, with New York and Maryland slightly ahead on the Advanced Placement or IB achievement tests.

    Fairfax may even be in the top two districts in the country… always near top annually. Much of what is covered in the media about the quality of education in America just does not apply to FCPS or any of the top districts in the country. Of course not all students in FCPS successful, but I find this largely has to do with lack of motivation, lack of parental support, and other factors beyond the control of the school.

  27. Mars Z. says

    That was the underlying story of that movie/docu “Waiting for Superman”. The current state of the educational system where the think it’s all about the adults and not the children (unions). There’s a segment there about the one you mentioned foreign students going back to their country and the percentage of HS student going to college with Math specialty vs. Finland and other Asian countries. Other segment followed the Michelle Rhee’s attempt to change the culture of Wash DC school system.

    We are lucky also @ PW county we have lot of good schools and new infras. My kids were first student of the new Forest Park HS and my 2 oldest from Hylton HS. Yes, high cost of living but good schools.

    The docu was made just before Rhee resigned and the hundreds of teachers she deemed poor performers were again rehired by the new DC admin due to court action….with back pay. Amazing!

    • Jon says

      My sister teaches in PW county….Yes, PW, FC, LC…and across the river in Maryland, Montgomery county…all great districts.

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