WOW – The Philippines? Are You Paying Attention?

Business is Good!
Makati Business District

Why the Philippines? Why now? Sometimes when I make mention of my upcoming move to the Philippines, I get asked “Why the Philippines?” “Isn’t it full of poverty?” and “Isn’t it dangerous there?” Questions run the full gamut and it never ceases to amaze me how so many people on a collective basis can be so unknowledgeable about so many things, or anything else for that matter.

Many people that live in large population centers in the U.S. really do not understand life beyond their own city limits, or sometimes, even outside their own immediate culture. Okay, you might be thinking (and if you have read anything about me on this site,) that I obviously know more about the Philippines because that is where my wife comes from. I’ll give you points for that…but oh…On the Contraire!  I also pay attention to retirement destinations such as Ecuador, Costa Rica, and New Zealand. Peru? Yes…I know all about the great climates there! I guess I just like being informed.

Business is Good!
Business is Good!

As someone who has been self-employed (small business) pretty much for the past 19 years, I also pay close attention to the economy, here and abroad. I am familiar with the crash of the Japanese real estate market crash of 2005 and the past and current hyperinflation problems of Venezuela. From the ongoing European austerity protests, to the slowing economy in China and murder rates in Chicago. It’s not because I read a lot – it’s because I simply pay attention. My wife thinks I pay too much attention and that all this negative news contributes to stress (that’s why I regularly bash a soft rubber ball around in a large box a couple of times a week -racquetball). Even when I was at work in my office most days I would have the TV on in the background just to keep abreast of what was happening.

Stress Relief!
Stress Relief!

These days though I pay particular attention to what is happening in Asia, as that is where my compass needle points from here. With the continued decline of the U.S. dollar, it just makes sense to pay attention to the economy where we are headed and stay abreast of any opportunities that may present themselves to us once we get there. I’m just paying attention.

So, outside the fact that my spouse is from the Philippines, what is the big draw? The following is a recent news excerpt concerning the Philippines.

BizNews Asia – December 12, 2012 –  “According to Goldman Sachs, the Philippine economy will become the 14th largest economy in the world by 2050” – it currently is the 34th largest economy, ahead of Malaysia, Finland, Chile, Hong Kong, and even Singapore.

Once discarded as the Sick Man of Asia, the Philippines is showing upward momentum.  Its currency, the peso, is one of the strongest in Asia.  The stock market is one of the best performing in the world and it broke its record high of 6,000 index points in early January.

The property market is enjoying its best year in two decades with low-interest rates sustaining an already strong demand.  “We’re looking at sustained growth and success.  We are experiencing the best real estate market in the Philippines in the last 20 years”, said Rick Santos, chairman of property consultancy firm CB Richard Ellis (January 17, 2013 issue of Malaya Business Insights newspaper).

The World Bank expects the Philippine economy to post strong growth of more than 6 percent every year until 2015 (compare this growth to the relative zero growth in Europe and 1-2% in the USA).

The Philippines is clearly in what economists call a “sweet spot” – the point, place, and situation where a combination of factors results in a maximum response for a given amount of effort.  For the Philippines, this means strong growth with low inflation, whereby the slightest nudge or positive development like the awaited upgrading to investment grade can propel it to even more substantive growth.

Things Are Getting Better
Things Are Getting Better

Investors are coming to the Philippines in droves, consumer prices are being kept steady, and the international reserves of the Central Bank are at a record level.

End of Article.

While I think that retiring and relocating to an overseas location, including the Philippines, may not be for everybody, it can be very intimidating to those others who have considered such a bold adventure. Knowing what you want out of your own retirement is an essential first step to actually fulfilling your objectives, and being well informed is half of the battle in understanding whether it is even feasible. The Philippines itself may not be for just anybody, but a good understanding of the culture, it’s people, and the expanding opportunities going forward are definitely worth looking into. Wherever it is that you believe you could better enjoy your Golden Years, you have a responsibility to yourself to learn more…and to act.

Can you recount the one thing that still attracts many foreigners to the U.S., even today?  It’s still opportunity! Only these days, opportunity also knocks elsewhere.

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