It’s Your Money > Securing Your Family's Financial Future

How Much Money Is Recommended for the Permanent Move to the Philippines?

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Have been seeking a loving Filipina to marry for over 10 years now.  Thought I met a special one but we never made the first personal connection necessary to have those special times shared to reflect on.  Am now going to marry my loving fiancée in Cebu, preferably within 6 months or less.

While I have looked up several important aspects for the move, I keep fluctuating between how much will be needed to make the transition smoothly.  I am very good in sales, am a freelance writer and have experience selling products online among other business attributes.

My fiancée owns her own home and is getting by working a couple of jobs currently.  Any perspectives about moving costs and timing  on getting started working  will be greatly appreciated.

Art, just a re(tired) Fil-Am:
If I had the chance to do it all over again, I would just pack a light suit case with summer ware and a hand carry with a good expensive laptop, a good open line cellphone(with a sim card slot) readily usable here upon arriving, $10,000 cash in your pocket for starters, high limit credit cards, U.S. personal blank checks with a nest egg and emergency funds in your U.S. bank and just get on that plane headed for the Philippines to marry your sweetheart! When you get married, both of you can use the BB Program if you are uncertain of retiring here for the long haul or plan to take your spouse back to your home country so both of you can work for your future retirement if that be the case, but if you are semi-retiring here you better have a good source of income to live on, your monthly expenses will depend on the type of lifestyle you will be living!
JMO though, since your wife to be owns her own home, forget about shipping containers and or shipping hundreds of Balikbayan boxes here to the Philippines from the U.S., because you can just about buy anything here of good quality, but others on here may differ with my opinion and would rather ship everything from under the sun including the kitchen sink from their home country, which is IMHO just a big hassle and added expense of shipping and handling costs! We shipped about 20 balikbayan boxes over here to the Philippines before leaving the U.S.. Most of the stuff stayed in those boxes a few months to almost a year and stored in a spare room or big closet, before they were even opened, because our home was still under construction at the time!
We have been living here now for 16 years and we are pretty much "Happy Campers", because it's just the two of us living in our own home in an safe, clean and quiet gated subdivision far away from family and relatives! We enjoy (savor) our seclusion, privacy, peace and quiet!  8) ;)     

my move this last July was similar to what you are going into now.  I moved to Catarman and moved in with my fiance.  She had her own home behind her parents home in her name and all, lot also.  But, she decided to surprise me and start construction of our "new home" which actually meant part of her already home being torn down to make room for the now all cement finished product of the new home.  I love her, and thus she gets the "I love you and good job." response.  While inside I'm trying not to say "You just made all the things that YOU wanted in the upper levels of this new house a LOT harder to make happen." LOL  But, I stayed in the family home for a few months, and am now in the nearly finished 2nd level of the house that her and I call my own.  She still has a number of furniture from the small house that was brought over to this "new house".  So, here's my stab at the amount you'll need to save.

IF you intend to stay here, as I have, and live here full time with you beautiful pinay, it's more of a crapshoot.  The actual move here and living here will be cheaper, but, if you need to grab airfare back to the old country every month, then the prices actually become more than if you were to bring her to your old stomping grounds.  So you need to figure that out first.  But, to just live here, in her home, it is not bad.  We run about 4k in electric bills a month.  No a/c running for about 2 months now except a select few times when the afternoons were pretty hot and I was stuck home. 

Look at your net bills, electric bills, and cell phone bills to be your biggest costs if you are good with the pinoy diet and your fiance is good with shopping for products with lower costs but still are quality.  There is no water/sewer and such bills, all part of your electric bills.  You property taxes will be much less in the phils than where you are from now.  So even the things that we used to save for from our old countries are more or less "pocket change" to use foreigners than anything when they pop up.
Also, dependent on your health issues that you may or may not have, you need to take that part of your life into consideration.

Also take into consideration, that despite what you and her might have talked about over the net, you might not be 100% ready for her home.  This is NOT a knock on her telling you the truth or not.  It's more a matter of what she told you, in her experience and life was true, but compared to the homes you and I were raised in and lived in before the move is not accurate.  To her, her house may be very good and very livable, to you or I, it might be survivable.  So you might after arriving be thinking about the possible upgrading of her home.  Even if it is hollow block construction, trust me, does not mean it is anywhere near the construction of most homes in the US/UK/AUS etc.  When wet season hits, water can find it's way very easily through the blocks.  And it does not bother many locals.  So you'll need to make sure it's finished correctly on both sides, and is really "sealed" to make it more comfortable for us "westerners". 

Basically, all these items I hit are much less costly here in the Phils than they were back home, and by a large degree of separation.(I broke my arm and had it set here in August.  The cost, cash out of pocket, was less than what my copay would have been to my insurance back in the USA for example).  So, because you have a place to live, and no need to rent.  And a local to go shopping for you(let her go alone, trust me, and all the others on here, STAY HOME) your costs will be on the lower end of the spectrum.  You could live quit comfortable for $700(usd)/mo when it comes to bills, food, and fun money.  Then add to that any costs for home improvement, or a small savings account in case you get injured or something.  Getting around is also included in that cost.  Take the trikes/pedcabs/jeepneys as much as you can and the costs stay down, even when you are double charged because they think you are twice the size of the locals. 

If you want AC on all the time, the costs will go up.  If you need to fly to home country, add to the cost.  You get the picture.

Sorry, for the chaotic answer, didn't sleep last night.  Mind's tired. 

Want to thank everyone for their perspectives.  It's great to have a little help from your friends to approach a situation in a more clear manner by having those who have already experienced the same situation provide their viewpoints.  Am looking forward to becoming a member of this site who will be soon making replies to others for their best choices to take in various settings/situations they deem important at the time.

Apart from the daily cost of living, which from what you say will not be too high in your circumstances, one thing not to forget is that you will need a nest egg for medical emergencies. All medical care has to be paid for, and if you have an accident or an illness you will need your own money to pay for treatment. No money, then no real treatment unfortunately.

Good luck, let us know how it goes



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