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The How-to Guide on Luxury Retirement for $1500 per Month in Manila Philippines

(@marco-expat)
Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 592
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Are you dreaming of a carefree retirement on a sunny tropical island? Read our Ultimate Guide to a low-cost luxury retirement in Manila for less than $50 per day. Get an in-depth guide to what it’s like to retire in Manila?- Covering the lifestyle you can afford, including housing, social life, and healthcare costs.

This topic was modified 2 months ago by Marco

   
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 Bob
(@Bob)
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Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 1
 

I plan to retire in about 5 years. At that time my combined retirement pension and social security will be approx $5560 per month. I suspect my wife and I could live pretty well on that, yes? What areas of Philippines are best & safest for those making that sort of income?


   
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(@marco-expat)
Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 592
Topic starter  

Hi Bob,

Yes, living "very well" on that income in the Philippines is an understatement. A stress-free retirement awaits your family on that income. I know an expat couple around that income level living in a luxury four-bedroom house in an exclusive gated community with a driver, maid, cook, and gardener.

To put your salary level in perspective, using the current exchange rate, $5,500 USD is roughly 276,000 Philippine Pesos. The income of the TOP 0.003% of the wealth in the country is only over $4,500 per month (as of my 2018 data).

Let me know if you have any other questions.

Cheers,

Marco


   
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(@amado fabrig)
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Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 2
 

Hi Mark,
Do you live in the Philippines? I'm a Filipino Canadian and I wanted to start planning to retire in a few years and I wanted to go back when I retire and spend 3-5 months a year. do you think 100k pesos as my budget will be ok including rent in Makati?


   
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(@marco-expat)
Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 592
Topic starter  

Hi Amado,

I spent the first 7 months of the pandemic in the Philippines, but with the state of lockdowns in the country, I had to leave. I'm currently in Dahab, Egypt for the winter.

When you say a budget of 100,000 PHP, is that per month? If so, that budget will be fine. At today's exchange rate, 100,000 pesos is roughly $2000 USD per month. That is upper-middle class income in the Philippines.
Income classes in the Philippines

As with any city, how far $2000 takes you in Manila depends on your lifestyle. For $2000, that isn't the income level where you could afford a live-in maid or driver, but you would have enough for a 1-bedroom Western-style condo in Makati with a weekly cleaning service. You could go have a social life, drink beers and eat out 3-5 times a week. Manila is the most expensive place in the Philippines. If you choose another city, Baguio, Cebu, or Dumaguete, your $2000 goes much further.

Any other questions, please feel free to ask.

Cheers,

Marco


   
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(@marco-expat)
Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 592
Topic starter  

Another unrelated note- Were your born in the Philippines? If so, you should look at picking up dual citizenship. It's simple and having an additional passport has been helpful.


   
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(@amado fabrig)
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Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 2
 

Yes I was 47 years ago, I was actually thinking of doing that as well.
Thanks again for your time..Stay safe


   
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(@TexasJes)
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Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 1
 

Great article Marco, I’m glad I found your site. That area you describe called La Union sounds like a paradise in my mind. Relaxing in a nice beach town is right up my alley. I’m 49 now and the last few years I’ve been working towards an early retirement type exit or at least a part time digital working lifestyle. I’ve been pretty fortunate financially and will be looking to exit with around the $3500-$4000 month mark. Your post was encouraging as too many other posts or YouTube videos talk about a sub-$1000 a month life. I’m sure it’s possible but has never sounded realistic to me. I still plan to travel the world but will definitely be great to have a nice beach location to come home to after each adventure. Safe travels and thank you for your time on this article.


   
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(@marco-expat)
Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 592
Topic starter  

Hey Jes,

Thanks for the kind words. I'm glad you found the post helpful.

Glad to hear you are on the path to FIRE by 50-ish. The world is your oyster if you hit $4,000 net per month post-retirement. That is a heck of an accomplishment. Not sure if you saw this sentence in the FAQ of that Manila article

The income of the TOP 0.003% of the wealth in the country is only over $4,500 per month. I know an expat couple living in a luxury four-bedroom house with a driver, maid, cook, and gardener at that salary level.

Income Levels in the Philippines

RE: Cost of Living. If you think about it, nearly every city in the world has somewhere with the cost of living in the $1,000 range. When sometime tells me it costs $XXX per month to live somewhere, I always want to know what that means? Are you eating beans and rice 21 times a week? Do you have no friends or social life? Are you living in someone's windowless basement? When I write about the cost of living in a city, I do my best to show what kind of lifestyle that means, so people can adjust their expectations of what their life would be like in the same city.

Can you live in Manila for sub-$1000? Yes. Would you enjoy living in Manila for less than $1000 per month? Likely not. However, there are places in the Philippines where $1,000 per month would still mean eating out several times per week, enjoying an active social life, and renting a proper flat with air-conditioning going full blast 🙂

If you have any questions about living in the Philippines, drop me a comment.

Cheers,

Marco


   
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(@Jarvis Coleman)
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Joined: 2 years ago
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Marco, I'm a Disabled Veteran from the the United states, currently what I earn in Disability (for the rest of my life) $3300 seems like it would be enough for me to live comfortably in the Manila. Do you know if Veterans can survive off this amount in Manila comfortably? I'm single and I plan on retiring outside of the USA, I also have equity in my home and I in total I would make about $4-5k a month when reaching retirement age.


   
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(@marco-expat)
Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 592
Topic starter  

Hi Jarvis,

$3300 USD per month is a good budget for a single person in Manila, but honestly, over the last couple of years, I feel that the price/benefit for Manila is a bit off. Manila has the best nightlife, social activities, and restaurants in the Philippines, but the traffic, crowds, pollution, and costs are beginning to outweigh the benefits.

There are several better places in the Philippines that might be more suitable and are also cheaper!

Let me know if you have any other questions.

Cheers,

Marco


   
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