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Funds running low? Join the other expats in the same position! EAM

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Over my years of living in the Philippines, I have literally met thousands of expats.  Some have become friends, others I have only met once or twice.  There is one thing, though, that impacts nearly every single expat that I know or have met.  That thing is financial.  Nearly every expat that I have run across over the years always has limited funds.  They came here with plenty of money, but spent it unwisely.  Some came here thinking that their pension would be plenty for a super life in the Philippines, especially when added to their “significant” (they thought) savings.  Somehow, though, those funds in savings never seem to be enough.

Money Tree

Tagalog Buddy

Hey, I am not belittling anybody here, I got myself in the same situation a couple of times over the years, but luckily have always been able to work my way out of it.  My first incident where the financial alarm bells were buzzing happened just 2 years after I moved here.  I came here thinking that I had plenty of money and it was not even a worry.  I had ideas for businesses to supplement my savings too, but my savings ran out a lot faster than I thought they would.  When this happens, you know it is happening, but you tend to ignore it.  When you finally face reality and accept that you are in trouble, it is usually late in the game, when things get critical.  That is how it happened with me.  But, I went into action, and was able to save myself and my family.  In fact, I came back stronger than ever and was able to earn a great income in the Philippines.

I recently got an inquiry from a fellow who is not yet in critical condition, but he sees his savings beginning to dwindle, and he wants to save his situation before he is forced to move back to the States.  That was a real motivator for me too, as I was loving life in the Philippines and did not want to leave.

A friend that is quite close to me came here a few years back with about $20,000 in savings, and an adequate retirement pension, he thought he was set.  I cautioned him to preserve his savings as much as possible.  But, it was only months and the savings was gone.  That is a tough situation to be in, believe me.  My friend has been trying different ways of supplementing his income, and I think he is experiencing some success.

In today’s podcast, I address this financial issue that seems to arise for virtually every expat, and I explain how I got out of the problem.  Hopefully the things I did can help you also overcome the problem or avoid it all together.

Listen in, hopefully you will learn something, or perhaps you have information based on your experience, and you can share that with other readers and listeners!  You would be most welcome to do so!

Do You Have a Question?

If you want to send a question for inclusion in a future Podcast, just use the app below, click on the button below, where it says “Start Recording”.

Questions submitted by eMail will no longer be answered, you must submit through the voice message above.

Thanks again for listening, everybody!

Bob Martin

Bob Martin is the Publisher & Editor in Chief of the Live in the Philippines Web Magazine. Bob is an Internet Entrepreneur. Bob is an American who lived in Mindanao from 2000 until 2019. Bob has now relocated back to the USA.

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papaduck
papaduck
7 years ago

Bob,
You are spot on with your take. I worked hard to have a sizeable savings before coming here. Mine has actually grown since arriving. I save at least 40% of my pension and still live comfortably. I think having a health insurance plan to supplement Philhealth is smart in case you have a long and expensive hospital stay that can be financially disastrous. Even though healthcare is quite cheaper here, bills can still become very high. But the main thing is to have a wife that is kuripot like my Anne that can really save a peso lol.

dc
dc
7 years ago
Reply to  papaduck

Smart. Having the kuripot partner is huge. If you’re on a budget, a gold digging gf may not end well. Find a good partner. Filipinos live on $250 a month. $1000 goes a long way.

Eating out every day at Starbucks and TGI Fridays is more expensive there than in the states. You will go through money very quick.

MindanaoBob
7 years ago
Reply to  papaduck

Hi PapaDuck – Yes, I completely agree with you. Problem is, there are so many expats that don’t follow this advice, and quickly get into big financial trouble. It is so common!

dc
dc
7 years ago

I have always done well making money in the Philippines. I moved to Davao when I was doing SEO and then morphed into the call center business. Here is a great litmus test for if a job will work out. Try “working from home” in the US and earning income. Set up your PayPal, deposits, etc. ahead of time. I am in my 30s and have no retirement income, so I have always needed to have a solid income. My dad did well on his $1100 a month in SS in Davao. That wouldn’t have worked in Manila or maybe… Read more »

MindanaoBob
7 years ago
Reply to  dc

Hi DC – you and I seem to be a lot alike. I moved tot he Philippines i my 30s – no pension, no retirement or any other type of income. I had to make it on my own, and I did.

You are so right about people making it work before coming to the Philippines. Get it working while you are still “home” and then you can transfer to the Philippines smoothly and no problems.

Dave Starr
7 years ago
Reply to  dc

Great advice there … I’ve tried to give it often before myself. Especially for those “waiting out” a few years, waiting for their pensions to mature, just do this.

Love in the Philippines while in the USA. The average American would be shocked if they seriously went after every penny they are spending and reduced or eliminated everything possible.

Not only would this condition them for living cheap here in the Philippines, it would also build up a sizable “emergency fund” if the savings were put away somewhere safe.

Rusty Bowers
Rusty Bowers
7 years ago
Reply to  Dave Starr

That sounds great. So many need to hear what you’ve been successful at. Filipinos, and X-pats, are looking to make some extra money. Seems they’ve tried almost everything.

Rusty

MindanaoBob
7 years ago
Reply to  Rusty Bowers

The things that I have done to succeed are available through my books and also free on my other blog – Ways to Make a Living.

Rusty Bowers
Rusty Bowers
7 years ago
Reply to  MindanaoBob

Bob, etc., I’ll pass your information (about ways to make money) to those I know. Maybe they’ve tried a call center, or other business, on Bohol. However, I haven’t heard that they’ve tried it.

Bob, I love your site. There is a wealth of information on here. It sure beats the other sites dealing with life here.

Rusty

MindanaoBob
7 years ago
Reply to  Rusty Bowers

Hi Rusty – Thank you. Really, working at a call center is not a way to make serious money, though.

Rusty Bowers
Rusty Bowers
7 years ago
Reply to  MindanaoBob

I’m sure you’d know as you’ve been successful. I’m not sure what those I know would want to do. I’ll check on your website.

Personally, I just want to volunteer at a school. I used to be a teacher in the States. I tried once but found out I was a distraction. The kids just wanted to pay attention to me instead of their teacher. You know the white guy in the classroom. The kids, where I volunteered, just weren’t used to having/seeing a foreigner at their school.

Rusty

Paul Thompson
Paul Thompson
7 years ago

Bob; You know my story, I was living here for years and flying off to a new ship and getting paid well. I have friends here that had the same job and the same advantages who went through their pay check like grain through a goose and can’t figure why I live better. When they were working, they lived “The Millionaire” for a day life style and tried to continue it after the big paychecks were gone. One guy I know is in Texas and is a security guard working to get himself back here while his wife and three… Read more »

MindanaoBob
7 years ago
Reply to  Paul Thompson

Hi Paul – what you describe is so true! I think we have all been there at one time or another, I know that I have done it, overspent, and wasted money. Now, though, I learned my lesson and live a more frugal life, save money when possible. It is something that we all have to learn. Some of us learn it before it is too late. Others don’t learn until they are in real trouble.

Tom N
7 years ago

You don’t just see that happen there. In a few years, I will be eligible for a pension. Many of the people I work with, I can already see, are in for a big surprise when they discover that their big government pension isn’t that big. The average person in our pension system gets 60% of what they were making. Notice that is average, so definitely some get less.

Well, for those folks who have been spending 100% (or more with credit card debt) of what they make, life is going to get very interesting very quickly.

MindanaoBob
7 years ago
Reply to  Tom N

Hi Tom – Absolutely, expats are not the only group who get a rude awakening. Another thing… I know you live in California, and I think some of those “government pensions” that you are mentioning are California State government pensions. California is on shaky financial ground, and if those pensions were to be reduced or even disappear completely there would be chaos. People think that if it is a government pension there is big money sitting in an account somewhere to pay it.. but that is generally not the case. That money was spent years before and a pile of… Read more »

papaduck
papaduck
7 years ago
Reply to  MindanaoBob

Bob,
I am fortunate the Florida State Retirement System is very well funded and in great shape.

MindanaoBob
7 years ago
Reply to  papaduck

That is certainly a good thing!

Jamie
Jamie
7 years ago
Reply to  MindanaoBob

Not sure where California is now, but at one time California would have been the 7th largest country in the world, if it were it’s own country. I would not worry about California pensions. I would worry more if I lived in Wisconsin, Texas, or Florida where the local governments are big on privatization of public services.

Rusty Bowers
Rusty Bowers
7 years ago
Reply to  Jamie

CA is the 8th largest economy. Any type of pension, I believe, depends on the economy. The pension could be in Iowa, NY, or Germany. It really, again in my opinion, depends upon the company/portfolio manager/type of investments.

Rusty

Rusty Bowers
Rusty Bowers
7 years ago

Bob, Great Post. So many need your advice. Even Filipinos are trying to do whatever to make extra income. We have Filipino friends that are working with MLM companies to earn extra money. Actually, the right MLM company can be great. I sure wish them the best.

Rusty

MindanaoBob
7 years ago
Reply to  Rusty Bowers

I have never been an advocate of MLM. I Just feel that is a wrong move in most cases.

Rusty Bowers
Rusty Bowers
7 years ago
Reply to  MindanaoBob

Very True. I’ve also never been involved with a MLM groups. Some seem to be successful and like them.

Rusty

Tom N
7 years ago

Bob, You are very correct. For my particular pension, they finally put some in some changes that should allow it to continue, but it will require everyone (participants, the state, and the employer) to all put in more. It also changed what happens for future employees. It took years for this to make its way through the legislative process. However, that only takes care of one of our two large pension plans. You are also correct that there is no large pile of money somewhere. The way the system works is that they take your money and go out and… Read more »

MindanaoBob
7 years ago
Reply to  Tom N

Glad to hear that it may well work out OK.

Roger Craft
7 years ago

Part of the problem is we go and in the process forget how to say no. People will quickly drain you if you are not careful:)

Denzil Browne
7 years ago
Reply to  Roger Craft

True

Bob Martin
7 years ago
Reply to  Roger Craft

Americans are too generous
For most expats they are generous beyond their means and to their own detriment.

Mel Hill
7 years ago
Reply to  Roger Craft

I don’t think it is the Americans that are generous. Filipinos cannot deny their families of their fortunes. When going on vacation and having my wife control the money we spend twice as much as when I control the money. It is more difficult for them to ask for money knowing they are giving it to the family. Gon’t get me wrong, I am generous but not to the point of going without. I know several Filipinos that say they could never afford to retire in the Philippines because they cannot support all their family.

Bob Martin
7 years ago
Reply to  Roger Craft

In my experience, Filipinos are generous with their family. Americans, though, unlike many other people, are generous with complete strangers. I know few Filipinos who will give money to a complete stranger. I am sure there are some, but it is not the norm, in my eyes. With Americans it is quite common.

Derek
7 years ago

Hi Bob , work hard use common sense and live within your means, i worked
Hard back home to setup a business in the Philippines which now gives me and my family a nice lifestyle I retired at 52 been in the Philippines 7 years I can do
What I want with my time now, yes I’ve seen expats here on the breadline but
Some of them you can’t help who have wasted their money and they haven’t
Got enough money for a air ticket to go back home, Derek in pasig.

MindanaoBob
7 years ago
Reply to  Derek

You sure are right on that, Derek. Some people just can’t learn, or if they can they just don’t want to. Making mistakes when you are too young to know better is one thing… but to go to a foreign country at middle age and throw everything away is simple crazy.

PalawanBob
PalawanBob
7 years ago

There are some bad news on the horizon regarding the USD.
The buck will hit $ 0,50 cents in the near future.
The near future is before the end of this year, or even sooner…!!!
That will hit the wallet like a sledge hammer.
For those who believe, explaining is is not necessary.
For those who don’t believe, explaining is not possible.

LB
LB
7 years ago
Reply to  PalawanBob

Hi, PalawanBob.
i am wondering if what you say is connected with the $ losing its world reserve currency status; i know that some countries are doing business among themselves with their own national currencies and de facto abandoned the $.
In the big scheme of things i can expect that the euro will bite the dust too and i wonder if i’ll be able to buy land and build a house in the Philippines with a devalued bunch of euros.

PalawanBob
PalawanBob
7 years ago

Forgot to add a comment about the Euro currency.
It will fall at the same time as USD and it will be bellow the value of the USD.
Europeans better be prepared for this.
For those who may be questioning how I know this: there are a few things one learns over a period of 35 years as a market trader. Among others, technical analysis.
But of course, you don’t have to believe me.

LB
LB
7 years ago
Reply to  PalawanBob

It looks like you replied to my comment while i was typing it.
Bad news for sure!

Horace Bowers
Horace Bowers
7 years ago
Reply to  LB

Then there are Filipinos, and others, who just live life to the fullest without contemplating what might, or might not, happen. No worries. No stress.

Rusty

Micki
Micki
7 years ago
Reply to  PalawanBob

Not True, the $ will be stable!

Horace Bowers
Horace Bowers
7 years ago
Reply to  PalawanBob

Since you know what will happen what can one do? What caused this to happen? How many years did this take so the collapse will happen?

Rusty

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