From a strictly financial perspective, I could modestly live out my retirement years in my home country. A combination of government social security and some other form of income (typically pension or savings) affords most Americans at least a basic lifestyle, so why go elsewhere? After all, despite it’s many problems, isn’t the United States is still one of the most desired locations on the planet.
My wife and I used to live in a Chicago suburb. In recent years, taxes in our area have far exceeded inflation, and the future for our state is grim. Do you know what the real estate tax bill was on our middle class home? You win a cookie is you said $8,000 a year. Do you know what our real estate tax is on our Cebu home? Our last bill was around $100. The American revolution occurred in part due to high taxation. I’m too lazy to start another revolution. It’s easier to leave.
There were other reasons besides taxes that we wanted to leave our Illinois home, but they still were mostly ‘cost of living’ related. Before deciding on the Philippines, we considered more ‘normal’ U.S. retirement destinations, such as Florida. In fact, we may end up in Florida eventually, as the only type of employment that might intrigue us out of retirement would be working for Disney. Disneyworld also has a better slogan (in my opinion) than the Philippines; “The Happiest Celebration on Earth” vs “It’s More Fun in the Philippines”. Even in Florida though, we would be living rather conservatively, trying not to outlive the savings.
There are of course non financial reasons for someone to leave their home country. For example, we all can pretty much guess the primary reason that causes the older single male to abandon his country for the Philippines. Some of us expats however, are happily and joyously married, and never ever envy the single expat lifestyle. (Wife was looking over my shoulder.)
As I age, the voice inside my head is becoming more insistent that I do something positive with whatever time I have left on this earth. (Perhaps I need to adjust my meds.) In the U.S., there are plenty of possibilities for doing volunteer work. Truthfully, I doubt I would enjoy it. Why retire from a nice paying job only to find one where you get paid nothing?
Anyway, after many discussions, we decided on the Philippines. What once was our Cebu vacation home would now become our retirement home. Here in our Cebu province, we can be comfortable on about 60% of our U.S. Budget, and use the other portion for fun. A famous Christian financial adviser (Dave Ramsey) teaches that the greatest fun of being wealthy is helping others. Here in our province, when we look around, we consider ourselves somewhat wealthy, and blessed enough to take Mr. Ramsey’s advice.