They say a fool and his money are easily parted and for me that seems very true.When I came to the Philippines ten years ago I had plenty of money and was probably set up for life. Then the big recession rolled in and took my savings and washed away house values in the west. But hey, I am so old that I have seen recessions come and go. It will all be back to normal in six months and I can lick my wounds and get going again.
Well, the currency conversion against my home money nearly halved, so everything in the Philippines I was buying was nearly costing me double. Of course, it would bounce back soon. Just be patient.
Well, it did not bounce back and has never bounced back and that one thing has probably cost me my financial stability from this day to the day I die. It really did mean that I had burnt my bridges and swung down to the pit. Now, there are other factors of course with cheating people taking money and bad decisions, but all of those I could have bounced back from. But the recession and the decisions I made around that time really chocked me financially.
I thought I was the only idiot in the Philippines and tried hard to hide my financial situation, but I soon found out I was one of thousands. A lot of expats still pretend to this day that they have lots of money so they do not lose face amongst friends and families and many keep taking out huge loans to finance that sham.
Thankfully I am NOT in debt, I just manage (sometimes) to get through every month and it is very easy to make financial decisions. I don’t have the money so I can’t- decision made.
Having said all of the above there really is a good side. I do not pretend I have money and I do not have people trying to get money off me. I live cheaply near a beautiful beach and I enjoy swimming and eating in cheap restaurants with good fare. I even have a friend who has a boat and go out looking at the Islands and enjoying the Sun. So it is not all bad.
The future is not yet written, and the point of this article was simply to say not everything is great in the Philippines, if you lose your money you are in a worst position than if you are in your own country. There is NO social net to catch you here.