I received a very good comment a day ot two ago which made several good points and I didn’t feel a direct answer in the comments block was adequate to explain myself fully. So I’ll break my “once a week, Monday morning” posting schedule and cover the subject here in a ‘Bonus Post’.
Here’s the original comment and my responses:
I have followed this site for a while and have gotten the impression from your various comments that you’re an entrepreneur and that you favor free markets.
Absolutely correct. I am a man who worked in various roles for priavte enterprise and the US governement for many years in technical and mid-lvel management roles … a wage earner. Also, by virtue of putting in the time (and making substantial contributions) I now ebjoy the fruits of sevral retirement plans. So, those who disagree with me can always use that as ammunition … I am not a “self-made man” (as if anyone really is). But it is true that I never wake up in the morning wondering where the next meal is coming from. For that I thank God, who is the one who made me.
Now you have retired to the Philippines (and pursuing some business interests there as far as I can tell.)
Thus your statement in this post,
“If you are into free markets and a free society, the Philippines might not be a happy place for you to live, believe me.”
Partially correct. I’m new here on the Living in the Philppines Magazine staff so it was perhaps a bad assumption on my part to expect that readers would already know me for some of my other writings. I am an entrepreneur. I am currently engaged in several small ventures that are not impressive in size, but are viable … that is they bring in much more money than they cost to run.
But nothing that I do in the at risk profit and loss sector is connected to the Philippines in an direct way. In fact, I have turend down a number of Philippine-related business offers because I am only here in the Philippines as a guest, really, and if I were to earn so much as a centavo from business activities here I would need to change my immigration status. I have no need or desire to be in business in the Philippines at this time. Might that change in the future?
Sure, anything is possible, but the reason I am answering this at some length is that you have likely made a common error of assumption … In today’s world where you live has no direct connection to where you earn your living. I feel that’s rather an important concept that seems very hard for some to get their head around.
I have Filipino freinds here in the Philippines whose major goal in life seems to be to ‘escape’ to the US (or some other “promised land” country) where one can get a job … because “everyone knows you can’t earn a living in the Philippines.”
I have Western freinds who frequently tell me, wistfully, “Oh if only I had a way to earn a living in the Philippines I would be there tomorrow, but, of course, you can’t earn a living in the Philippines.”
Filipino or Westerner, they both sound pretty much the same, don’t they? They sound the same because they are making the same basic error in their thought process … they believe that the ability ot earn a living depends upon the place where they live (and sometimes race, nationality and educational background creep into the equation as well).
Friends, it just ain’t so! In today’s world it is no harder (nor easier) to earn a living while living in the Philippines than it is when living in the US. Actually, with everything from severly depressed property prices to pension funds defaulting to outright job terminations it might be harder to earn a living in the US these days … depending, of course, on what your method of earning that living may be.
leaves me wondering whether I’m just imagining a disconnect between/amongst some of your statements.
So are you truly happy there? Does the Philippines live up to your expectations for a happy place to retire to and conduct business in?
I don’t mean to ignite a cyberwar or anything. I’m really trying to get a handle of your overall impression of the Philippines for retirement purposes while still being able to do business during early post-retirement years.
(I’m sure many now are forced into retirement probably because of age “guidelines” for corporate employment and pension plans vesting and what not… but actually still very active and productive and thus would want to pursue some kind of business while enjoying their early “retirement”…)
Filipina reader looking at future life options
Am I happy in the Philippines? You bet. If I wasn’t, I would live somewhere else.
Is the Philippines a great place to retire to? For me it is, I’ve written literally volumes on why it might (or might not be) for othes as well … see my PhilFAQS blog as one resource.
Is it a good place to conduct business? If you define business as ‘building a better mousetrap and selling it locally” like my solar Jeepney and “corriente broom-broom” examples, absolutely not.
The Philippines is rated by several authorities as one of the most difficult countries on earth to incorporate and operate a business in. Part of that difficulty I lay at the feet of a strongly Socialistic “flavor” of excessive government that tries … with good intentions, mind you … to “protect’ the citizens against all perceived dangers. The problem is that this “protection” eventually results in the exact opposite effect, harming those whom it at first set out to “protect”.
This whole discussion got started over the issue of the good or bad of the government “protecting” the “poor” by controlling jeepney fares which otherwise would move up or down in response to the actual realities of life.
I agree with your contention that many enter retirement when they would rather still be productive. I’ll also make a counter claim that many want to enter retirement but can’t because some arbitrary count of years of service or age haven’t yet passed. Either way, another small mistake in the thought process seems to be occurring.
Retirement from a formal job environment does not have to equal the end of productivity … or earning. Not only is it just as eay to earn in today’s world independent of your location in that world, it is just as easy to earn at 50 or 60 or 70 as it is at 15 or 20 or 30 years of age.
Likewise, if it is your choice to continue in a salaried job for some period of time, there is no reason you can’t start building your own business to insure your future independence right now, today. You don’t have to ‘wait’ to start the next step in your life.
There’s an old cartoon that used to be popular across the online community that showed a dog sitting at a computer keyboard and remarking to a companion, “On the Internet no one knows that you’re a dog.”
All I can say to that is “Woof!
I make money while living here in the Philippines (or sometimes make mistakes and don’t make money as well) just as I can make money if I lived in the US or the UK or Uganda for that matter. And it isn’t nearly as hard as those who don’t get in the water and swim would have you believe. Hope this answers you question.