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High budget family expat living - What's it like?


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Hi Everyone,

I'm currently in Australia, a 30 something year old with an income of about $5500 USD a month after taxes, and significant cash assets. 

 

I'm travelling Australia at the moment with my wife and 3yo daughter, but have been seriously looking at other places to long term travel to in SE Asia. 

 

At first I was really focussed on Thailand because I've enjoyed my time there in the past, but their import tarrifs on most motorbikes and cars puts me off (I love fast bikes and cars) 

 

I've come across the Phillipines but I've never visited. I've been watching a LOT of Youtube videos about life there and it looks pretty great, but I have some reservations and Questions. 

 

What sort of things can I expect with a large budget like mine? I can mostly find info about budgets of $1000USD a month or so, and obviously I will be able to survive on my budget, but what sort of luxuries are we talking that I can get at my budget? Will I find a nanny/housemaid etc? 
 

Are the International schools decent? Especially in Cebu? I know in Thailand they were going to cost me something like USD $15-20k a year, which completely negates the whole lifestyle savings of SE Asia when I can school for free in Australia. 

 

Can I pretty much speed etc on remote twisty roads and just "negotiate" with police? In Australia they reduce the speed limits to 40km/h in nice area's and then sit there with cops. Can get a loss of licence for 3 months and fine of over $1200 USD for doing 80km/h in those places.

 

Can I buy reliability/ease of life with my budget? I'm concerned that things will be difficult, when I really want easy. 

 

I basically want to sit by the beach or a pool a lot of the day and sip cocktails and enjoy nature, spend time with my family without troubles or worries and enjoy life to the fullest. 

 

I'm not trying to come across as arrogant or an a**h*le, I am just looking for honest opinions from others. 

 

Thanks

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I'll also say that what draws me to the Phillipines - 

- English commonly spoken

- No real Tarrifs on imports like alcohol and cars/motorbikes

- The Natural Beauty

 

And what draws me to Thailand

- Have had good experiences holidaying in the past

- The Food.

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Hi Phillo123 welcome to the forum. :tiphat:

Understandable English is commonly spoken by most younger Filipinos in cities. Outside cities in some cases "good" English is not the norm.

Philippines has high tariffs on imports. High end bikes and cars are expensive there.

Roads can be an issue. Few are to Western standard outside cities. Roads often have heavy traffic you may come around a corner and find any number of unexpected things in them. Funeral processions, parades, blocked off for a fiesta, dogs chickens children huge trucks loading/unloading or the road may be torn up huge holes on and on....

Have you tried any Filipino food? Fresh seafood is affordable and easy to find. Upscale super markets are common in cities many provide many Western foods but are not cheap the costing more as found in the West. 

Your budget could provide enough to rent a nice beach front home and live a comfortable life with maids and nanny. Would you wish to live in a city or country side called 'Providences" in Philippines?

Good schools are uncommon but can be found. Cebu City has an international school that is truly great. It's expensive. There are two other very good K-12 schools there as well. One is a Jesuit school highly recommended ~$3K USD a year. I can't remember the schools name it's like holy mother or something.

Spending time in Philippines with your family is the only way to know if it's for you or not. As it is now the ccp virus is very active and the country is more or less locked down.

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1 hour ago, Old55 said:

Hi Phillo123 welcome to the forum. :tiphat:

Understandable English is commonly spoken by most younger Filipinos in cities. Outside cities in some cases "good" English is not the norm.

Philippines has high tariffs on imports. High end bikes and cars are expensive there.

Roads can be an issue. Few are to Western standard outside cities. Roads often have heavy traffic you may come around a corner and find any number of unexpected things in them. Funeral processions, parades, blocked off for a fiesta, dogs chickens children huge trucks loading/unloading or the road may be torn up huge holes on and on....

Have you tried any Filipino food? Fresh seafood is affordable and easy to find. Upscale super markets are common in cities many provide many Western foods but are not cheap the costing more as found in the West. 

Your budget could provide enough to rent a nice beach front home and live a comfortable life with maids and nanny. Would you wish to live in a city or country side called 'Providences" in Philippines?

Good schools are uncommon but can be found. Cebu City has an international school that is truly great. It's expensive. There are two other very good K-12 schools there as well. One is a Jesuit school highly recommended ~$3K USD a year. I can't remember the schools name it's like holy mother or something.

Spending time in Philippines with your family is the only way to know if it's for you or not. As it is now the ccp virus is very active and the country is more or less locked down.

Thanks for the reply. 

Not having spent any time in country, obviously makes looking at these things difficult, which is why I was initially looking towards Thailand. 

Re: Tarrifs - I've looked around and things like a ZX10R motorbike are about the same price RRP in the Philippines as far as I can see from their website as they are in Australia. Thailand for example is almost double the price.  

Thanks for the school info. A few more years until we have to get to that thankfully, but it's something to think about. 

We definitely plan on heading over and spending a few months in the different countries as soon as COVID has settled down and we've been immunized. 

Do you have an example of the sort of life we could live on our budget? I can't find anything on YouTube and I'm not searching for the right things on the property sites I don't think, I am just getting really overpriced apartments in the city. 

 

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As basically noted above, Boots on the Ground.....only then will you know.  Also, you did not say if your wife is Filipina or not.  That will determine how you and rest of family enter and remain in the Philippines, which if no Filipina wife, certainly won't make life easier, but then again if goes back to normal post pandemic, the immigration rules are certainly more friendly than Thailand, but medical and more modern everything in Thailand.  In the end, "you don't know what you don't know" and probably going to take good amount of time in country to figure out if works for you all, but if not, at least you have options.  Good luck.

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Re Motor cycles, I have ridden large (1200)  motor cycles here for a number of years. Unless you have considerable experience riding in Asia its a no no.

IMHO riding the bike your talking about without experience here would be suicidal, I say this regardless of your experience in Western countries and..or...Thailand.

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I have ridden big bikes all my life but I only ride an underbone in the Philippines, not only do you have to deal with all of the issues mentioned above there is the simple fact that the traffic doesn't expect motorbikes to be moving quickly and not only will they not 'give way' they will expect you to avoid them because you're smaller.

If you really want a big bike then I'd suggest a cruiser of some form (fair number of Harleys) or perhaps an ADV bike (BMW GS's and Suzuki VStroms aren't uncommon in big bike groups).

The key is I believe to buy a bike that doesn't rely on speed for it's enjoyment.

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Posted (edited)

With your budget as a single guy with no kids it would be fantastic, pretty much have anything you want.  As a family man you'd be more restricted.

Thinking of the kid the education would be one downside although in the younger years it may not be so important. As for riding a big motorcycle and opening he throtttle good luck. To do that you'd need to be away from built up areas where rules of road use vary.  I've seen man locals drying their rice on the roads, tents build on the road near bends where a random birthday party or wake is being held, lost count of the sleeping dogs , land slides, broken down vehicles etc. Hit any of them and you can bet there will be no ambulance along in 5 mins to take you to a decent hospital.

There's plenty of fantastic areas with reasonable facilities and stunning beaches within an hour of an average hospital. If you want a chilled life you could easily rent a big apartment or house with stunning views and eat lobster and crab every day, have a live in nanny, cook, cleaner etc.  If it was me it would be a no brainer at least for a few years. 

 

Edited by Snowy79
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