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Old 03-10-2017, 01:59 PM   #1
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Default Retirement options

For the past few years I've been looking at places to which I can affordably retire. I think I've made my decision at last.

The Philippines.

At age 50+ the requirements for a Special Resident Retirement Visa (SRRV Classic) for up to three people in a family (couple plus one unmarried child under 21) are:

- US$10,000 banked in one of four Philippine banks
- PLUS income of US$1,000 a month (US$800 singles)

OR

- US$20,000 banked in one of four Philippine banks,

AND

- Health certificate from country of origin
- Police clearance from country of origin
- Proof of your bank deposit as above (and statement of your retirement benefits, if applicable)

These last three need to be certified at a Philippine Consulate.

- 20 copies of a 2" square passport photo, or a GIF of the same if applying online

Fees: US$1,400 on application plus US$360 annually.

Original paperwork will need to be presented to a government official in Makati City near Manila after you arrive. After that you get a passport stamp to say you're good to go. Or rather to stay as long as you like!

There don't seem to be any limitations on starting a business in retirement, and the bank deposit can be used as partial payment on an approved investment of at least US$50,000 value, including a residential condo.

In all it's the sanest and fastest permanent visa I've ever found.

Bonus points: They speak English, and everything is cheap.

See you in Puerto Galera.
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Old 03-10-2017, 02:14 PM   #2
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So how cheap is it exactly to live in the Philippines?

Here's a comparison with Chiang Mai, Thailand which show it's about 75% of the cost.

https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-livin...atchComparison
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Old 03-10-2017, 02:31 PM   #3
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And just for shock value, here's a comparison with Brisbane showing a mere 33% of the cost:

https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-livin...atchComparison
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Old 03-10-2017, 07:00 PM   #4
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People used to ask me about Bangkok. I would always answer that the best thing I could say, was that it is better than Manila. Bangkok is a bloody awful place, but it is far superior to Manila. The Philippines is cheap if you live in a cheap area, just as is the case in any western country. Many cheap areas are places you simply would not want to live. If you just want cheap, go to Cambodia, where you can buy a long term business visa for very little money and you can legally own a business and buy property.

I have a friend who lives in Cebu in the Philippines. He is an Aussie and likes to eat western style food at least half of the time. This one requirement alone, pushes the cost of living up markedly.

Then there is the government. Duterte makes Robert Mugabe look like Noddy in Toyland. I spent many years in Asia. Japan I love with a passion...it's expensive. The balance of places I quite enjoyed, but was glad when I left. The cost of living generally reflects the quality of the experience.

If I had to choose I would go either to Vientiane (Laos) or to a smaller town such as Chiang Rai or Maehongson in Northern Thailand. But, of course these places are a long way from the open water. Speaking of which, many marinas in Asia charge equivalent fees to those in the west. They reason that if you have a boat, you're wealthy.

The over-riding benefit of the Philippines is, as you said, that most people speak English. In the bigger centres it is possible to get an occasional top-up of western culture. And while that sounds a little base, it becomes quite important over time. However, I spent some time in Subic Bay and Angeles City and found my life was better as an occasional visitor to the average expat centre, rather than as an habitual member.

I guess if I had to choose to live a lower cost life for the moment, I would try a couple of countries in South America. Mexico is a nifty place and it's inexpensive. But I would need to do a crash course in Spanish.

I hope it all works out for you. Best wishes.

PS. It's worth checking on reporting requirements from the local immigration services. In Thailand, one needs to report every 90 days. It is a major bum-pain. Can't remember the others as I was generally there on a 30 day renewable visa (cross the border for a coffee then return for a new visa) and Japan was always 90 days.
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Old 03-11-2017, 12:07 AM   #5
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Puerto Galera isn't Manila. The island of Mindoro is populated with about 35,000 people and their main industry is tourism and diving schools. Mooring a yacht there costs $10 a week on a rented swing mooring. There are no reporting requirements as a permanent resident, no minimum annual residency requirements, and you can get an exemption from the border exit fee if you travel outside the country more than once a year. Western food I can do without, so no extra expenses there. Local beer is $1.32 (I rarely drink but it's nice to have the option) and a packet of Marlboros costs the same. (I quit because of taxes, they would be $25 in Australia)

Duterte may be unsophisticated compared to Western standards, but at least he has had the balls to stand up to the piracy going on in Mindanao and the Sulu Sea. And there are advantages to living in a place where the administration is lax anyhow, especially in a country where the populace at large is mostly benign and friendly.

Besides all the above, it's a cruising base not a marriage. I pays my $360 a year and I wombles about at leisure. It's an easy hop from there to the Gulf of Thailand and thence to Malaysia and beyond. Or to the Solomons, Vanuatu, Fiji and NZ in the other direction. A hefty dose of Aussie culture can be had in Bali for the price of a short hop airplane ticket.

Personally I have only one qualm and that's the tropical weather. I hate hot and humid climates. Comes from being a redhead and having to cover up all the time.

I may find something better eventually but it won't be as close to Australia, cheaper or more convenient. The closest in cost in the Americas would be Nicaragua or Costa Rica and in Western Europe probably Albania or Bulgaria. As you say, the price of entry anywhere you'd actually want to live is steep. Steeper than I can afford.

In the Philippines one could live like a king off the Australian pension on a yacht. I have no interest in business or property now and even if I did I would never invest in Asia unless they started giving away freehold waterfront blocks for under $50k.

Mexico and the Caribbean make perfect sense for Americans. They make no sense at all for Australians. I did consider Belizian residency as well but by all accounts there's a lot of resentment against rich foreigners and petty theft is rife as well. Filipinos - at least those who aren't radical Muslims - just aren't like that.
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Old 03-11-2017, 01:12 AM   #6
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Comparison between Puerto Galera, Philippines and Guadalajara, Mexico. Cheap enough for this gringo, amigo.

https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-livin...atchComparison
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Old 03-11-2017, 07:46 AM   #7
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Auzzee: In line with your suggestions I've had a more detailed look at the options for retirement in both Cambodia and Thailand.

Cambodia announced a new ER visa for retirees in 2016. The basic rules are:

- Cannot buy houses or land
- Cannot work, and no work visa required
- Proof of financial stability and retirement income (amount unspecified *)
- All worldwide income is taxable in Cambodia

There don't seem to be many other details available, suggesting it hasn't yet had the bugs ironed out.

Thai retirement visa requires proof of US$2000 per month income which exceeds the Australian pension, as is the case with many of the schemes available in the Caribbean. This is a pity since Thailand would have been my first choice.

The cost of living in both countries exceeds that of the Philippines although Numbeo statistics are insufficent to make a proper comparison for Thailand.

Puerto Galera is significantly cheaper than Vientiane, Laos and Phnom Penh, Cambodia. I'm talking in the order of 40% cheaper here. Laos is, of course, also landlocked which isn't much chop for living aboard a yacht.

The Malaysian MM2H program is ridiculoulsy expensive and doesn't bear consideration. And as Del has discovered, it's impossible to import a yacht into Vietnam even if you're married to a Viet national, making that a fairly poor deal.

The biggest bonus with the Philippines is that it's all islands. Tons of coastal property, lots of places to explore. I think I made the right choice here.

* Malaysia required US$37,000 in a bank and Thailand requires US$23,000 while the Philippines only insist on US$10,000 which is insured by the government against bank collapse to the value of PHP500,000 or almost exactly US$10,000.
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Old 03-11-2017, 12:15 PM   #8
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Thanks for that. I guess these visas are somewhat of a moveable feast. When I left Burma/Thailand in 2014, and in the wake of the military coup, expats were flooding into Cambodia in unprecedented numbers.

I don't know what has happened in Myanmar, but it is a beautiful country with (in 2013) no great tourist infrastructure. It has a fabulous coastline which, in time, will be developed by the Hiltons and Trumps. I also had some great experiences sailing through Indonesia. Some of the out islands are sensational. I haven't researched permanent entry, but it couls be worth a peep.
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Old 03-11-2017, 12:58 PM   #9
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Puerto Galera won the coveted "Most Beatiful Bay in the World" title in 2005, awarded by the Paris-based Les Plus Belles Baies Du Monde. It's also home to the tiny but feisty 120 member Puerto Galera Yacht Club which holds four rallies a year, plus various organized cruises to adjacent islands and many other activities.

Diving | Puerto Galera Online Services » Blog Archive » Puerto Galera joins rank of most beautiful bays

The PGYC has reciprocal rights at some very exclusive clubs, due in part to some famous founders - folk duo "Nina and Fredrik", one of the major shareholders of San Miguel beer and even the odd aristocrat amongst them - but also for their ongoing work teaching sailing to the local kids free of charge. The club is also home to the Philippines Cruising Yacht Club, since many of the founders in 1991 were cruising yachties. Here's a link to their 25th anniversary newsletter:

http://www.allsoulsregatta.com/wp-co...sary-2016B.pdf

I'm in love with the place already and I haven't even been there yet.

According to Noonsite the facilities for yachties in Myanmar are practically non-existent. Real pioneering territory there. And from retireinasia.com "Myanmar is largely closed off to foreign visitors, with the sole exception of short-term tourism and highly limited international business."

Wikiprocedure tells us that it's possible to retire in Indonesia due to age and gain permanent resident status after living in the country for a minimum of three years. If the procedure is anything like what it used to take to get a CAIT then it will be an administrative headache.

I think you'll find that a lot of the interest in Cambodia was due to the fact that it had been unavailable for so long as a tourist destination. That and the fact that aging war veterans tend to go back to countries where they servied in Asia to retire and live on memories of the past.

Nice places to visit but I wouldn't want to live there.
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Old 03-16-2017, 11:17 AM   #10
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Yeah, so anyhow ...

Just found my ideal retirement villa in the Philippines. It's three stories and open plan with the lowest level being a self-contained and rentable unit and the upper level being the master bedroom plus ensuite. Built by a UK-registered builder for his own holiday house 15 years ago and now being sold because he wants to build something smaller for his retirement.

Upside: Cost is 4.7M PHP or about AU$123,000 and it's a short stagger - about 250 metres - from the yacht club.

Downside: You can't actually own Philippine property if you're a foreigner. Even if it's held by a company, that company must be 60% Philippine owned. And since it's a poor country I wouldn't even trust a lawyer with that sort of cash.

But what a view from the upper balcony ... sigh.
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Old 03-16-2017, 01:04 PM   #11
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..............Or you could marry one of the locals.
They can be trusted with your money...
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Old 03-16-2017, 05:43 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Auzzee View Post
..............Or you could marry one of the locals.
They can be trusted with your money...
I wouldn't want to marry anyone who would be stupid enough _not_ to rip me off in such circumstances.

But even if such an angel actually existed, there's still the thieving government to contend with. There are five different taxes applicable to a house sale, including a 12% VAT which has no "primary abode" clause and a 6% CGT which applies on the sale price whether one has made a profit or not.

I'm starting to hate the Philippines. It's like a cheap stripper, teasing but never actually available. Or worse, totally available but having "surprise extras".
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Old 03-16-2017, 06:54 PM   #13
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Meanwhile, on that very subject...
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Old 03-18-2017, 02:07 AM   #14
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We have been cruising in and out of the Philippines for the last couple of years, and other than the kidnapping threat, it is a great place to cruise, and can be very cheap living.

We have posted our cruising notes, and a cruising guide from another guy (with his permission) online as a PDF file, available here, free (no gimmicks):

S/V Soggy Paws - Useful Files and Links

The Philippines Compendium has a lot of tidbits that would be useful to life on land (like how to ship goods in duty-free).

Our latest couple of blog posts are about the work/upgrades we are doing on our boat in the marina at Samal Island, near Davao, Mindanao. This is a great place to get good work done inexpensively.

Sherry
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