Why did I Choose to Live in the Philippines?

Palawan river bank - Philippines Why would any American choose to live in the Philippines? For the average American, it probably wouldn’t make any sense. For an American married to a Filipino, however, it may make perfect sense. Of course, it wouldn’t be a good idea in every circumstance. In some cases, it wouldn’t be much more than wishful thinking.

Living in the Philippines requires more than just the ability to move and live there. You have to be financially secure before and after moving because things like welfare and food stamps don’t exist in the Philippines. Even if you are financially secure, you need an escape plan if things don’t go like they should.

Why do I Live in the Philippines?

One of the most annoying questions I’ve been asked by friends and relatives, living in the United States while I’ve lived in the Philippines, is “Why are you living in the Philippines?” It’s usually asked in an accusatory tone, not an inquisitive tone, and it’s usually followed by a dozen other questions designed to make me feel like a traitor or something. My answer is usually something like “because I can”.

Since I’m married to a Filipina (a female Filipino), the reason I choose to live in the Philippines shouldn’t even be questioned. It’s incredibly arrogant to think all Filipinos married to Americans want to live in the United States. It’s also incredibly arrogant to assume they’re better off living in the United States.

For me and my wife, living in the Philippines makes a lot more sense than living in the United States. Both of our children are grown and able to lead their own lives. While the two of us can’t live in the United States without one of us working full-time or both of us working part-time, we can live comfortably in the Philippines.

We own our home in the Philippines (no payments) and the property tax is only around $150 USD per year. We own a car that we only need to use four times a month. I get a monthly pension from the US government. In 2023, both of us will be eligible for social security benefits.

Our Escape Plan

We’ve already lived in the Philippines for seven years and we haven’t experienced any financial problems yet. My pension is more than enough for us to live comfortably since we own our home and our car. The car isn’t even an issue because there’s plenty of transportation options that are cheaper than owning a car. Renting a home is cheap enough that owning a home isn’t really an issue either.

We couldn’t afford to live in the United States on my pension alone (unless we owned a home without any remaining mortgage payments). It would be difficult even if we were already drawing social security benefits, but it would be possible.

The only reason we would be forced to leave the Philippines would be due to some sort of civil conflict or war. As each year passes, it becomes less and less likely that something like that could even happen. It could happen, however, and we’re taking steps to be ready for when it does.

[Photo Attribution: Palawan River Bank, Public Domain]