Orlando’s Disney-world is a massive area of theme parks and is very expensive to visit. Some people go to Disney-world without a plan and just ‘wing it’. They arrive a couple hours after opening, and wander around the parks, standing in long lines all day for attractions and meals. My approach is completely different. I research everything that the experts have written, and make my own customized detailed plan. The amount of time I’m waiting in lines is greatly reduced, and I am able to go on double the attractions as the person without a plan. In other words, I’m much more likely to be satisfied with my experience at Disney-world than the person without a plan. Similarly, the person who makes a wise plan for their move to the Philippines is more likely to enjoy the experience.
Plan early. That is the advice I would give to foreigners considering making the Philippines their home. It’s been 26 years since I was married in the Philippines and subsequently brought my wife to the United States. I started seriously thinking about living in the Philippines after several Cebu vacations, and many years before we actually made the move. A plan started to form and was slowly refined over the years as conditions changed.
As you develop a plan, you address the questions of ‘where, when, and why.’ Actually, I would address the ‘why’ question first. If you can’t come up with a good reason to come to the Philippines, why bother? In all seriousness, by addressing the ‘why’ question, you are forcing yourself to think about your future goals.
Once you identify your reason(s) for the move, it will be easier to answer the question of ‘where’. If your reasons to move include wanting to enjoy inexpensive nightlife or to be a website developer, you will probably want to be in the city. If your reason to move is so you can live quietly by the ocean and write a book, then you may prefer the province.
Perhaps the toughest question to address is ‘when’ to make the move. The obvious answer for most foreigners is ‘when they can afford it’. It’s a good answer, though simplistic. How much money does a foreigner require to live in the Philippines, and how does he (or she) save that amount? You will need to figure that out for yourself. Luckily, we have something called the internet that allows us to do research on almost any subject imaginable, including the cost of living in faraway lands and how to manage money. I can, however, help you answer one question. When should you start saving? The answer is now.
Private sector businesses that I have been apart of always have plans. They are detailed and allow you to track your progress. A good plan can actually motivate you as you attain satisfaction with each milestone/goal that is achieved. Back in America, I knew several people that talked about moving to the Philippines. It was easy to tell they weren’t serious because they didn’t have a plan to make it happen.
Just for fun, let’s assume there is a foreigner named Adam with dreams of retiring to the Philippines. He has no savings but does have a nice income. He leases a new Lexus figuring he can handle the large monthly payments. Do you think Adam will ever retire to the Philippines? I don’t.
Now let’s assume there is a married couple living near Adam, also with dreams of retiring to the Philippines. They have jobs and put 5% of their paycheck into a savings/retirement plan, that is matched by their employers. They have done the research and determined that they will need 100,000 pesos a month to live in Cebu City. They have also educated themselves and determined that the stock market (where their savings is invested) historically has averaged a 7% annual increase. Do you think this couple will ever retire to the Philippines? I think they have a good chance.
Some people know that at a certain age they will receive a generous pension that’s more than enough for their future Philippine lifestyle. They just ‘wing it’ and everything works out for them. They also may never realize that they could have avoided some problems, or done something cheaper if they had made a plan and done their homework.
In the Business world, a project would never be attempted without a plan. Isn’t it logical to also apply that rule to major projects in your personal life?