Mr. Lee's Blog

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Our Life In Two Very Different Countries


Buddy

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Howdy All!

Many people dream of living in the Philippines, while yet others seem to dream of living in the US or another developed nation, but we decided on the best of both worlds, so we have a home in Florida USA as well as a condo in the heart of Cebu City. Now would I recommend this for others to do, it would all depend on your situation and if you have someone who can look after your home or condo for you while you are away, but it does offer us the ability to enjoy both lives, and both places, and travel around within both places while we stay in each. 

All I can say is retired life is great, and the sooner you can get yourself there, the better life can be for you because there is nothing like having very few worries.

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Hello Mr LeeWish i could have that option of living in both countries but finances wont permit it. Have you ever thought of giving one country up and perhaps a permanent life in say the Philippines ?

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Hello Mr LeeWish i could have that option of living in both countries but finances wont permit it. Have you ever thought of giving one country up and perhaps a permanent life in say the Philippines ?
Hello Robert, yes I know I am lucky to have a couple of pensions and now social security as well, so while we have given much consideration to living in the Philippines full time, for now I do not wish to give up my lifelong US based friends, so for the near future we will continue to live in both places and get the best of both worlds while doing so. My wife and I have been looking to buy a condo in Florida instead of our home, and then we could possibly spend more time in the Philippines but I am taking it one day at a time, so I believe we will continue to do as we are doing at least for the next few years.  
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I am looking forward to next years trip back over to our condo in Cebu next year and I am hoping to meet more of the members we have not already met, and renew friendships with those we already have. 

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boy Lee I sure wish I could afford to do what you are doing coz while I like it here a lot I also find I miss back home too & the exchange rate is killing me

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I'm 62 now and receiving all of my U.S. Government pensions and Social Security. We could probably now live in the U.S. and Philippines, but we probably won't because we like it much better in the Philippines and we can save more of a larger nest egg each month for any unexpected expenditures that may come up in the near future and we still enjoy our retirement without any worries about much of anything as long we have savings in the bank for those unexpected rainy days to come, or not! \

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I fully understand what you are saying and I guess the good thing for you is that you have family in the states, so you can always go visit and possibly stay with them. If we reversed what we are doing, then renting a long term stay for us within the US would be much more expensive, so while the traveling keeps getting harder and harder to do, and the hoops we have to jump through keep getting harder for me to do, for now it seems like the only answer for us. The hard part of moving full time for me would be to give up our lifelong friends in the states who I know would not travel half way around the world to visit us, so we search for ways to accomplish what you are doing while still continuing to do what we have been doing for many years, with the intention of each years stay being longer and longer. The second hardest thing for me to give up would be a few of my dearest guns that could never be replaced in the Philippines. So life goes on this way for now.

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Life is often complicated when living in two completely different countries and moving money from one to the other can be difficult at times, so we have found that it is necessary to have bank accounts in both countries and keeping some money in both countries makes it easier to accomplish our double life and also helps us deal with the ever changing exchange rate. I usually write a US dollar check and deposit into our dollar account in a Philippine bank and then we have to wait approximately 21 days for the check to clear and be available in our Philippine bank account, and then we pick the date to exchange the dollars for pesos when we feel the exchange rate is the best. Sometimes we have waited months or even until the next year to do the exchange.  No one can always hit the best times to do an exchange so it is more about wining sometimes and losing a few pesos others, and therefore balancing out in the end, but while living in the Philippines it is easiest for us to live on pesos or to use a US Capitol One credit card which does not charge the 3% foreign currency exchange fee but also does not give us the best possible exchange rate that can be had at a black market money changer, but does give us cash back on travel, so again it all a balancing act and we find that it is most often best to have local accounts and deal in cash, and also local checks or use local ATM cards to make most larger purchases and most large stores and supermarkets will take local ATM cards as well as foreign credit cards, and when buying large items I have found that most stores will take a local check and just deliver the item after they have gone to the bank that day or the next to cash it. We also use local checks to pay all our bills and that way have a record of it all in case a mistake is made when someone forgets to credit something to our account. Many bills either have to be prepaid or paid online with online bill pay with a local bank peso bank account, or you have to have a trusted friend or family member take care of them for you while you are away. We do a combination of all of the above ways to deal with different items. Some companies such as cable give discounts when the bills are paid in advance for a year and others do not, so be sure to ask for those discounts and then decide if the savings are worth your while to do it that way. Our way may not be the right way, or the only way to do things, but it works for us and has for a number of years now. The main thing is to enjoy your life and make sure your partner does as well. If anyone knows an easier way then please share it here or on the forum where everyone can gain from your knowledge. 

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One thing that is always hard for us each time we arrive, is getting over the shock of how things are done here, or maybe I should say how they are not done

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