Of those countries considered friendly to the United States, the Philippines has one of the lowest standards of living and an easy, inexpensive path to retirement residency. The Philippines is also one of the few countries where an expatriate retiree is allowed to work or start a business once granted residency. You can use health cards issued from foreign countries at Philippines hospitals. You are exempt from income taxes on annuities and pensions, and you have unrestricted travel to and from the country.

Cost of Living and Exchange Rate

Over the last five years, between 2012 and 2017, the exchange rate between the U.S. dollar and the Philippine peso generally stayed in a range of 40 to 50 pesos to the dollar. In other words, a retiree in 2017 with $10,000 could exchange for roughly 495,000 pesos.

The average rent for a nice apartment in a major city center, such as Manila or Mindanao City, was approximately $250 to $350 per month as of 2017. An income of $1,200 per month would be enough to live comfortably (though not extravagantly) almost anywhere in the Philippines.

Some recommended retirement destinations in the Philippines include Baguio, Cebu City and Dumaguete. The latter was recognized as one of the top retirement destinations in the world by the 2014 Retire Overseas Index.

Health Care

All retirees need to have a plan in place to deal with the rising medical costs associated with old age. Many places in the Philippines lack modern health care services and facilities. However, the large cities and port cities tend to have hospitals like you'd see in other western countries. Allianz, an international medical insurer, stated in 2012 that "medical practitioners in the Philippines are graduates from the top universities in the country, and most have studied in U.S. medical schools."

Health-care costs are considerably lower in the Philippines than in the United States, even when adjusting for exchange-rate variance. If you have a health card issued by a company recognized in Philippine hospitals and clinics, you can use it as long as you have a Special Resident Retiree's Visa from the Philippine Retirement Authority.

Incentives from Philippine Government

Like many developing nations, the Philippines offers benefits to expatriates from wealthy nations, such as the United States. This is because the government wants foreign retirement income to be spent in its economy. The Philippine Retirement Authority was essentially created to attract such expats.

Those older than 60 receive special discounts for living and health-care costs. All expats with a Special Resident Retiree's Visa designation are exempted from duties on imports for up to $7,000 worth of household goods. Airport travel taxes are exempted.

Expats are still allowed to work and start a business. Many governments, such as Costa Rica, do not want expat retirees competing with domestic labor in the country. The Philippines does not have a problem with you earning a little extra income or finding a productive way to keep busy in retirement.

  1. What are some real life examples of absolute advantage?

    Learn about absolute advantage, comparative advantage and their impact on trade through a real-world example involving call ... Read Answer >>
  2. What are the financial benefits of retiring in Panama?

    Discover the many financial benefits conferred to U.S. citizens who elect to make their retirement home in the Central American ... Read Answer >>
Related Articles
  1. Retirement

    Retiring in the Philippines: Pros & Cons

    What are the pros and cons of retiring in the Philippines?
  2. Retirement

    What Does It Cost to Retire in the Philippines?

    Find out why the Philippines rates as one of the cheapest retirement spots in the world and why many choose to spend their retirement years in this island nation.
  3. Investing

    Want to Invest in the Philippines? Eye These ETFs

    The Philippines offers more potential than most markets throughout the world. These two ETFs will give you exposure.
  4. Taxes

    Read This Before Taking $10K+ to the Philippines

    There are many reasons why you might need to go to the Philippines with more than $10,000. If you do, follow these guidelines to avoid penalties.
  5. Financial Advisor

    This Asian Nation Is Poised For Steady Growth

    This Southeast Asian nation's growth has analysts calling it a ‘Tiger Cub’, ‘a Next Eleven economy’ and ‘a new Tiger of Asia.’ Here's why.
  6. Retirement

    Returning to the Philippines to Retire

    Aiming to return to your roots by taking up residence in the Philippines? Some basic things you should know about settling there.
  7. Personal Finance

    Traveling in the Philippines: Is It Safe?

    There is an active travel warning for parts of the Philippines. Here are precautions to follow.
  8. Retirement

    Retirement Faceoff: The Philippines or Thailand?

    The Philippines and Thailand each offer good quality of life, low cost of living, and many activities to keep you busy during retirement. How to choose?
  9. Managing Wealth

    Best Ways to Exchange Currency in the Philippines

    How to avoid fees and get the most for your money when visiting the Philippine archipelago.
  10. Insights

    The Healthiest Emerging Markets in 2015

    2014 was a rough year for several well-known emerging market economies. This year is likely to be better for a select few.
  1. PHP

    In currencies, this is the abbreviation for the Philippine Peso.
  2. Asian Development Bank

    Founded in 1966, its headquarters are in Manila, Philippines. ...
  3. Expatriate

    An individual living in a country other than their country of ...
  4. Retirement Planning

    Retirement planning is the process of determining retirement ...
  5. Sequence Risk

    The risk of receiving lower or negative returns early in a period ...
  6. Bancassurance

    An arrangement in which a bank and an insurance company form ...
Hot Definitions
  1. IRR Rule

    A measure for evaluating whether to proceed with a project or investment. The IRR rule states that if the internal rate of ...
  2. Short Covering

    Short covering is buying back borrowed securities in order to close an open short position.
  3. Covariance

    A measure of the degree to which returns on two risky assets move in tandem. A positive covariance means that asset returns ...
  4. Liquid Asset

    An asset that can be converted into cash quickly and with minimal impact to the price received. Liquid assets are generally ...
  5. Nostro Account

    A bank account held in a foreign country by a domestic bank, denominated in the currency of that country. Nostro accounts ...
  6. Retirement Planning

    Retirement planning is the process of determining retirement income goals and the actions and decisions necessary to achieve ...
Trading Center