Expatriation…It Just Made Sense

A born and raised red-blooded American I am, and as most Americans, I grew up loving my country, and I still do. The eldest of 6 siblings, I grew up first, and was undoubtedly the designated test-bed child. In larger families, the first-born is usually and specifically designed for the initial research, development, testing and evaluation of all future parenting rules, for all the subsequent siblings to follow. I was the victim of strict 1950’s childhood parenting rules, as adopted by society, and implemented by the parents. I’m sure all my younger siblings made accurate visual observations and logged complete mental notes. I know they all took heed with respect to my trials and tribulations as they followed me through the ’60s and into the ’70s. They learned from my experiences and mistakes, what to expect, what not to do, how to act, and how to manipulate the parenting system in general. Growing up may have been easier for them as society progressed, liberally transforming itself with greater freedoms, liberties, and tolerance of change. As traditional American culture made its exodus from the respectful ’50s into the radical anti-establishment ’60s and ultimately, into the rebellious ’70s, I witnessed the direct benefit to my youngest siblings and share this simple example; I sported a crew-cut (and not by choice) when the Beatles were hip, while my youngest two brothers were granted the greatest of all teenage liberties and were allowed to grow their hair long in high school. Maybe my parents were getting soft?

These days, not many people will deny that the cultural leftward turn of the ’60s and ’70s has been far graver than is supposed. Hindsight is clearly a witness to the fateful collapse of critical and moral standards over the last 30+ years or so, at least by those who may be middle-aged and older. Whether it is accepted as a good thing or bad, these days, it tends to be measured by one’s own personal perception of change and how it affects their own liberties and lifestyles. 

By the time my wife first arrived from the Philippines to the U.S. in 1986, some would attest that the cultural revolution and counter-culture of the ’60s had become fully ratified and adopted. Modern society had become tolerable to a pace of moral corruption that today it still seems to continuously perpetuate itself. However one perceives their culture, highlighted family decline in America and the inherent problems that accompany this decline, is becoming significantly noticeable in all aspects of society. Many personal behavioral traits that would have been admonishable years ago are considered totally acceptable today. “To each his own” is a common idiom these days.

Not everyone may agree with my personal outlook on where society might be headed, but know that we are each entitled to the perception of our own reality. Personally, I really don’t care much for where my sober thoughts about a changing American society lead me. I’m not a doomsday prepper or a conspiracy theorist and I’m not a fear monger. I am more of a realist and, like many people in my age group, have learned that America is no longer ‘the land of the free’ – and many are seeking out other places to live and retire. While America is often described as “the richest nation in the world,” the reality is that the U.S. is the most indebted nation on earth. We all recently witnessed, and many still suffer from, the mortgage lending debacle and the collapse of the housing market (bubble) which nearly pushed America into a Great Recession and to the edge of an economic depression. The other looming ‘bubble’ is America’s debt – on both government and personal levels. The living standards in the U.S. are considered the best in the world – but are they real or borrowed? One thing is undeniably certain – the living standards in America are changing. We personally feel we will never in our lifetime see a move toward any significant improvement of current economic conditions, let alone morality, as a whole.

Today’s society is altogether under different pressures than when I grew up and a new set of rules are evolving. Some of the challenges, as viewed by many Americans today, are the same issues that plague other western nations. Income inequality or the gap between the rich and poor is widening. In America, immigration is viewed as a very large concern with no fix in sight. Poverty and homelessness is on the rise and dependency on the government for sustenance is growing. Ethics and morals are declining. The family on a whole is also in decline. And nobody should deny that education is way off track. The Federal debt is looming large. There is widespread dissatisfaction with our government and the politics therein, along with increasing corruption and abuses of power. Foreign policy is a disaster and international terrorism is growing. Add to all that the real concerns surrounding the arrival of domestic terrorism to our shores. Our freedoms and liberties at home are under attack and disappearing. And one of the most noted problems with our country today continues to be the jobs picture. For the older generations, the retirement outlook for many hard-working westerners is bleak.

Well…at this point, any further ranting can only lead to an imposition of political points of view, and that is not the intent of this post. So, I will jump off my soap box and get back to what my mature adult inner voice prescribes to me – that what is really important to both my wife and I – the enjoyment of life, family and quality of culture. We opted for change and the easiest way for us to accomplish that change was to simply leave (Can’t stand the heat? Get out of the kitchen) the country. It’s that simple. A more simple and less demanding lifestyle was calling out to us.

 Our decision to locate to the Philippines was made for our own personal  embetterment (a  word George Bush invented) and a return to a more relaxed style  of living, with far fewer  complexities. The decision to remove ourselves from the  every day grind of American life  was a logically planned choice and a calculated  decision. We came to a solid conclusion  that if we reduced our expectations and  remained flexible about our experiences and  dealings with the unknown and  unexpected, we will more than be able to satisfy our needs  and desires. Our  unwavering determination has now been proven that the grass is certainly  greener  on this side of ‘Big Blue’ (Pacific Ocean)…for us anyway. 

 The bottom line and the decision to Expatriate allows us to live our life with fewer  expectations and less stress. We have planned for the best and worst that the Philippines  has to offer, but nothing beats living with a loving caring family, surrounded by proud and appreciative people in a warm, tropical island environment. With all that life has to offer, and with all uncertainties aside, we are now fully living our lives to the fullest.

The Sunsets We Enjoy
The Sunsets We Enjoy

Note: Expatriation does not necessarily mean renouncing one’s citizenship. One should check on their desired destination country to determine that country’s immigration requirements as a prerequisite to making any decision to expatriate or locate outside their homeland.

This article was originally written in Nov 2012, and has been reviewed and updated to reflect our same, but current viewpoints, from a past tense perspective.  


9 thoughts on “Expatriation…It Just Made Sense

  1. Well, yeah, I guess that is why I moved here, but not really. My main motivations for moving here is that my wife was working too hard in Texas and after 1 1/2 years of living off the government, I couldn’t stand it anymore. I’d rather be working, but no one would hire me for any job. I case they thought a 50 year old couldn’t make a sandwich or a guy that can proofread and type 50 WPM, couldn’t work in their office. I don’t know, but the move to the Philippines was our best option available. Now I will say that if/when we have a money windfall (like winning the lottery), we will be spending more time in the US than in the Philippines.

  2. Point well taken UJ but working “too” hard is the operative phrase for me. A few years ago I sat down and compared the money outflow to the cash inflow, it was crazy to see that much of the outflow was ‘required or mandated’ by law. In that I mean, taxes, insurance, permits, more taxes, etc. Where we live, we can’t even have a ‘garage sale’ without being scrutinized and charged for a permit, and then, you can only have one every 6 months. We literally have found ourselves working harder and harder to maintain our standard of living, and still be able to afford all the regulatory expenses. Add to that the rising cost of health care, dental, gasoline, and a substantial federal tax increase in 2013….it’s just time to kick it all to the curb and it’s time to relax. Life in the good ole USofA has become filled with too many complexities, unless you want to live in a camper and circumvent all ‘laws’. Today, we are paying nearly $100 p/month for the most basic of cable services that provide us TV and internet, and I cut that down two months ago from $160! When we first moved here it was $19.95. I’m even required to pay for the streetlight on my corner if I want it to remain lit! AND….as this country heads toward the fiscal cliff, (however far off that may be), in the near future it will take everything you have got left in you to maintain or live a comfortable life. I’m not working just to live until the day I die. No thanks. :/

  3. Randy,
    Your piece on why you want to become an expat in PH is well written and I toally agree with your description of how US culture is changing and the direction that the US is headed (toward moral and financial bankruptcy). I do have a minor disagreement with several of the details that you mentioned. Taxes did not go up for me in 2013. I am not sure what taxes you are referring to other than the reversion of the FICA tax to previous levels after several years of being lowered. Other than that, federal income taxes were permanently lowered for 99% of taxpayers; unless you are in the top 1%, your taxes should not have been raised. And yes, US gasoline prices have risen over the last few years, but not to the price levels in the PH (over $4 per gallon) or in Europe ($10-12 per gallon).

    My wife and I plan to spend more time in PH and maybe eventually retire there full time for many of the same reasons that you mentioned; the warm climate, more laid-back lifestyle, and the caring and warmth of our family in PH. I also want to be part of a nation on the rise rather than a nation that has passed its peak and is now in decline (the US).

    I enjoy your posts; keep up with your web site.

  4. Mike, I don’t believe I mentioned anything about taxes on the rise although, I know higher taxes will eventually be imposed on the working class. It’s the only way to pay for those that don’t or won’t work.

  5. Well put . I may print this and hand it out to all those who ask me “Why the Philippines?”.

  6. Mike some great points in this article. My wife and i have just recently finished building our house in sorsogon city. we will be back there for a month visit this october. and plan on permantly moving there withen the next couple of years. looking foward to warm climate, family. and more relaxed and less stress…..

  7. not a problem mike you and your asawa would be welcome there anytime. just to give you a little insight on me I married my asawa in 85 while stationed in cubi point. If you go to expatforum.com and go to philippines country forum Iv’e posted a couple pictures of our house in sorsogon. dasrog name…

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