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Old 09-29-2008, 04:22 PM   #41
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Well thanks for editing the Darwin remark. Did you know that Walmart and Sam's Club are all over Mexico, as well as most American fast food chains? In Guatemala City are many nice malls, and Quetzaltenango, Guatemala's 2nd largest city, has a mall with a 5 screen multiplex. Wendy's just opened there too. Ecuador has a chain of large supermarkets called Super-Maxi where you can get many American food products. Have you ever seen Panama City? More developed than Miami and an international banking center. Buenos Aires is called the most European city in the world outside of Europe and since their monetary collapse is probably the world's best big city bargain. High quality at low cost. While many Americans assume Latin Americans are mostly living in squalor, they've moved on. Sure, still plenty of poverty in many places. But the middle class is growing and life there is fine if you have enough income. When I'm in my solidly built home watching DirecTV and surfing the internet, I'll be thinking I could be doing this in the States for 3 times more money. And that'll be after watching the latest American blockbuster at the Cinemark multi-plex(American owned) and enjoying a nice restaurant meal for $15 for my wife and I.
AT, if what you're looking for is an American lifestyle at a cheaper price, I think you're doing yourself and your prospective host countries a disservice. Part of the joy of being an expat is adapting to the differences of your new home, and a lot of this will mean NOT living an American lifestyle. It will mean living more like the people in the country you select live. In Ecuador you can have a very comfortable middle-class lifestyle for much less than you can in the States, but remember that the Ecuadorean middle class is different in behavior, attitudes and expenditures than the American middle class. If you want a "rich" lifestyle, it'll cost you in Ecuador just as it does here, though differently (for example, you can be "rich" here and not feel OBLIGATED to have armed security guards at your home, which is encircled with a 7-foot masonry wall topped by broken glass and/or razor wire. You should see the fortresses some people live in in Quito, and not just in the dicey neighborhoods, either).

If the two worlds were the same, everyone would be moving to Ecuador, or Panama, or Buenos Aires to enjoy a U.S. lifestyle for less. Fact is, they aren't, and the lifestyles are different, too.

Just something to keep in mind as you prepare for leaving. Culture shock is real and can be very difficult to deal with. I'm especially concerned about your soon-to-be wife -- leaving her home in the Phillipines, getting married, and moving to a very different climate and country would be very difficult, and I don't know if there's a sizable Filipino expat community in Ecuador for her to bond with.
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Old 09-29-2008, 07:50 PM   #42
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AT, if what you're looking for is an American lifestyle at a cheaper price, I think you're doing yourself and your prospective host countries a disservice. Part of the joy of being an expat is adapting to the differences of your new home, and a lot of this will mean NOT living an American lifestyle. It will mean living more like the people in the country you select live. In Ecuador you can have a very comfortable middle-class lifestyle for much less than you can in the States, but remember that the Ecuadorean middle class is different in behavior, attitudes and expenditures than the American middle class. If you want a "rich" lifestyle, it'll cost you in Ecuador just as it does here, though differently (for example, you can be "rich" here and not feel OBLIGATED to have armed security guards at your home, which is encircled with a 7-foot masonry wall topped by broken glass and/or razor wire. You should see the fortresses some people live in in Quito, and not just in the dicey neighborhoods, either).

If the two worlds were the same, everyone would be moving to Ecuador, or Panama, or Buenos Aires to enjoy a U.S. lifestyle for less. Fact is, they aren't, and the lifestyles are different, too.

Just something to keep in mind as you prepare for leaving. Culture shock is real and can be very difficult to deal with. I'm especially concerned about your soon-to-be wife -- leaving her home in the Phillipines, getting married, and moving to a very different climate and country would be very difficult, and I don't know if there's a sizable Filipino expat community in Ecuador for her to bond with.
Just to give you an idea, I've looked at this from every angle for 10 years now. In preparation I've lived in several places on the Mexican border, taking advantage of my company's transfer policy. I've lived in small studio apartments, and currently live in a travel trailer in a RV park. In the last 10 years I've only owned a car for 2 of them. I've used 2 scooters for transportation, and for the last 2 months have used a bicycle exclusively. I have no intention of living an American luxury lifestyle, but by Ecuadorean standards I'll be comfortable. I'm not trying to reinvent the wheel, won't go "native". But I will be respectful, and learn local customs, and my income will be spent in their economy. Your points are well taken. Filipinas are all over the world working. Their lives in the Philippines are very difficult. It's my goal while I'm alive to get her set up for after I'm gone.

You're right, not everyone is moving to Latin America or Asia. I really didn't expect everyone to approve of my choices. But for the few reading this forum who know they can't do what many of you are doing but are open to other possibilities, living overseas is a viable alternative. The Kaderli's(spelling?) greatly enjoy Chiang Mai, Thailand. Many on the Thai Visa Forum worry that Chiang Mai is losing much of it's charm, and that Thailand is increasingly making it difficult to live there. In other words, things are fluid, what was great may be supplanted by up and coming cities elsewhere. Anyone considering this has to do their own research and to be successful has to be willing to compromise. I know those that have emphasised the safety aspects of living in places like Ecuador are showing genuine concern, but I have to weigh that against literally thousands of posts I've read of people who've lived and traveled there who never experienced more than a pickpocket. Bad things can and do happen, but it's not likely to with precautions. Besides, I'm 6'2", 275, and not fat!
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Old 09-29-2008, 08:31 PM   #43
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certainly it is nobody's place to judge. while money (or pretty much anything--being white, being french, whatever) can turn even ordinary people into snobs, i do believe that there is a sense of adventure to many of the participants here and that their criticism, though perhaps taking on personality at times, merely seeks to find potential flaws for your consideration. it is for you to realize that people talk through their own eyes, not through yours.

i'm neither a snob socially nor shrewd financially. money to me was never about putting on airs or even luxuries themselves but about security. any comfort i get outside of secuity is just a bonus if that. those are my eyes. a $13k pension, even from a company as conservative an solid as my xemployer, plus $70k in savings would not make me feel secure. depositing or investing 35% of my reserve into a developing country of which i was not a citizen, where that money might not be assured and where i couldn’t even work on the books should that need arise, would make me nervous. but i scare easy so don’t go by me.


aside from that, you say that in 9 years you will have a $13,000/year pension but you also say that today ecuador requires you to show an income of $800/month now. i don't know how i could plan on those conditions remaining the same so far into the future, especially not when the world has changed so much just today. in any case, of course, good luck to you. i'm planning a similar adventure though perhaps a bit better funded. and even with that, i'm looking into going back to work now or otherwise reducing my expenditures so that when i am 55 i'll hopefully feel more secure.
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Old 09-29-2008, 09:07 PM   #44
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[QUOTE]
i'm neither a snob socially nor shrewd financially. money to me was never about putting on airs or even luxuries themselves but about security. any comfort i get outside of secuity is just a bonus if that. those are my eyes. a $13k pension, even from a company as conservative an solid as my xemployer, plus $70k in savings would not make me feel secure. depositing or investing 35% of my reserve into a developing country of which i was not a citizen, where that money might not be assured and where i couldn?t even work on the books should that need arise, would make me nervous. but i scare easy so don?t go by me.


[COLOR=black][FONT=Verdana]aside from that, you say that in 9 years you will have a $13,000/year pension but you also say that today ecuador requires you to show an income of $800/month now. i don't know how i could plan on those conditions remaining the same so far into the future, especially not when the world has changed so much just today. [QUOTE]

You're right, things may change. If I have to I'll have the option to return to the States and work. Social Security will start eventually. If it doesn't I'll be in the same boat as miliions of other Americans. But $13,000 a year is very good money in many countries. Supplemented with savings as needed I should be fine. If not, I'll keep working. You're right, everyone sees things thru their own eyes. With everyone's perspective here biased in terms of what it takes to live the independent life they want in the States, living on considerably less in a foreign country must be difficult to wrap their mind around. A different paradigm. I just hope folks realize that they don't need $70,000 a year to live well, or whatever number is considered ideal in the States. Regards, Wade
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Old 09-29-2008, 10:08 PM   #45
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You're right, things may change. If I have to I'll have the option to return to the States and work. Social Security will start eventually. If it doesn't I'll be in the same boat as miliions of other Americans. But $13,000 a year is very good money in many countries. Supplemented with savings as needed I should be fine. If not, I'll keep working. You're right, everyone sees things thru their own eyes. With everyone's perspective here biased in terms of what it takes to live the independent life they want in the States, living on considerably less in a foreign country must be difficult to wrap their mind around. A different paradigm. I just hope folks realize that they don't need $70,000 a year to live well, or whatever number is considered ideal in the States. Regards, Wade
Wade, I am wondering- if you are going to marry a Filipina, why not settle in the Philippines? She will know the language and can help you learn it; at least one of you will not be homesick and culture shocked; and most of all she can help you get integrated into a social network of family and locals. She will keep you out of trouble too.

Even if you know the local language, it can be like someone from Michigan moving into a mountain town in Eastern Kentucky. You might hear their words, but believe me you don't necessarily know what they are saying.

Ha
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Old 09-29-2008, 10:35 PM   #46
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Wade, I am wondering- if you are going to marry a Filipina, why not settle in the Philippines? She will know the language and can help you learn it; at least one of you will not be homesick and culture shocked; and most of all she can help you get integrated into a social network of family and locals. She will keep you out of trouble too.

Ha
I definitely looked at the Philippines. For several years actually. English is the language that ties the islands together. Most Filipinos speak it to some extent. And Filipinos are pro-american and Christian for the most part. And a quirk of their culture makes white skin highly desirable. While people here lay in the sun Filipinas use "whitening cream" to lighten their complexion. It's one of the very few places where middle aged white guys, no matter their looks, can find a young English speaking wife who considers herself lucky if he chooses her. Now before anyone attacks me do the research. Absolutely true.

The Philippines are a mess. And with the fastest growing population in Asia due to the strong Catholic influence, the problems will only get worse. There are huge Yahoo Groups dedicated to living there and many like it. But many more don't last very long. Everyone says the people are great. And a great place to find a wife. But red tape is a nightmare. Everything is patched together. Poverty is more than 70%. And the food is lousy. I finally started looking at Thailand and Malaysia and may ultimately live in one of those places. But Ecuador is much closer and makes it easy to live there. And I've always liked the Andes. If I had the money New Zealand would be my first choice but Ecuador will do.

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Old 09-30-2008, 01:40 AM   #47
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And Filipinos are pro-american and Christian for the most part. It's one of the very few places where middle aged white guys, no matter their looks, can find a young English speaking wife who considers herself lucky if he chooses her. Now before anyone attacks me do the research. Absolutely true.



Regards,
Wade

Wade, which part of the Phillipines did you find the pro American attitude?
Any safety issues?
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Old 09-30-2008, 06:00 AM   #48
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Wade, Check these out

IMMIGRATION DEPARTMENT OF MALAYSIA

Malaysia my second home program get second citizenship, retire, live in Malaysia


I hear it's an amazing place! good luck!
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Old 09-30-2008, 09:55 PM   #49
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Wade, which part of the Phillipines did you find the pro American attitude?
Any safety issues?
Most of the Phils actually. Filipinos are now the largest Asian ethnic group in the U.S.. Getting over here is the goal of millions. The southern island of Mindanao's western half has a large muslim population and there are some extremist groups there who've murdered Americans. Things flare up there from time to time but the military keeps a tight rein on it. The central islands, collectively called the Visayas, are where most expats live, especially in and around Cebu. The northern 3rd of the Phils are where most of the typhoons hit. The Visayas not so much, and rarely in the south. Physical violence against expats is pretty rare outside of that muslim area I mentioned but theft is epidemic. An exception that has gotten some expats hurt is telling a woman you'll marry her in order to get physical with her. If you then back out her male relatives will come after you for dishonoring her. A very serious thing there. The islands themselves are very beautiful but trash is everywhere. There are almost 100 million people living in a land area a little larger than Arizona. It's not all bad. Filipinos love malls, and several of the world's largest malls are in the Philippines. Seafood is excellent although alot of expats can't stand the way alot of it is prepared. I've read posts of guys who said they never knew what it's like to be a rock star until they walked thru a mall in the Philippines. As crazy as it sounds, you will constantly be approached by attractive young women who hope you will be interested in them. Even men will tell you they have a sister or niece they'd like you to meet. It's a completely different world there. Regards, Wade
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Old 09-30-2008, 10:06 PM   #50
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Borders has bookstores in Kuala Lumpur and Penang. Very tempting. Street food in Penang is supposed to be incredibly good too. If you are heading that way hope you let me know how you like it! I think I may take a trip to Malaysia and Thailand to make sure about where I'll retire. Regards, Wade
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Old 09-30-2008, 10:32 PM   #51
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Most of the Phils actually. Filipinos are now the largest Asian ethnic group in the U.S.. Getting over here is the goal of millions. The southern island of Mindanao's western half has a large muslim population and there are some extremist groups there who've murdered Americans. Things flare up there from time to time but the military keeps a tight rein on it. The central islands, collectively called the Visayas, are where most expats live, especially in and around Cebu. The northern 3rd of the Phils are where most of the typhoons hit. The Visayas not so much, and rarely in the south. Physical violence against expats is pretty rare outside of that muslim area I mentioned but theft is epidemic. An exception that has gotten some expats hurt is telling a woman you'll marry her in order to get physical with her. If you then back out her male relatives will come after you for dishonoring her. A very serious thing there. The islands themselves are very beautiful but trash is everywhere. There are almost 100 million people living in a land area a little larger than Arizona. It's not all bad. Filipinos love malls, and several of the world's largest malls are in the Philippines. Seafood is excellent although alot of expats can't stand the way alot of it is prepared. I've read posts of guys who said they never knew what it's like to be a rock star until they walked thru a mall in the Philippines. As crazy as it sounds, you will constantly be approached by attractive young women who hope you will be interested in them. Even men will tell you they have a sister or niece they'd like you to meet. It's a completely different world there. Regards, Wade
Doesn't this make you feel a little like a great big English speaking ATM? Why else might these lovely women be interested in you, other than their poverty and your (relative) wealth?

Ha
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Old 09-30-2008, 11:23 PM   #52
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Doesn't this make you feel a little like a great big English speaking ATM? Why else might these lovely women be interested in you, other than their poverty and your (relative) wealth?

Ha
From our cultural perspective it's easy to be cynical about their motives. But in their culture older men marry younger women all the time. Filipinas tend to be pragmatic about marriage. For most the first priority is to find a husband who can take care of them, love will come later. When you have a 70% poverty rate you do what you have to. Also divorce is illegal in the Philippines. You can get an annulment if you can afford several thousand dollars, which only the rich can. So Filipinas go into marriage believing it's for life. And they are taught to take care of their husbands. They also want to help their family out, especially their parents. So most expats who marry Filipinas send her parents $50 to $100 a month to help them and make her happy. Of course some folks try to take advantage. And some expats say their in-laws are too proud to ask for help. But most I've seen say generally $50 to $100 a month. And for many Filipinas the money a foreigner has represents a life they could never have marrying a Filipino. So they want to make you happy and try very hard. Compare that with true love, and the high divorce rates, of the West.
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Old 09-30-2008, 11:29 PM   #53
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From our cultural perspective it's easy to be cynical about their motives. But in their culture older men marry younger women all the time. Filipinas tend to be pragmatic about marriage. For most the first priority is to find a husband who can take care of them, love will come later. When you have a 70% poverty rate you do what you have to. Also divorce is illegal in the Philippines. You can get an annulment if you can afford several thousand dollars, which only the rich can. So Filipinas go into marriage believing it's for life. And they are taught to take care of their husbands. They also want to help their family out, especially their parents. So most expats who marry Filipinas send her parents $50 to $100 a month to help them and make her happy. Of course some folks try to take advantage. And some expats say their in-laws are too proud to ask for help. But most I've seen say generally $50 to $100 a month. And for many Filipinas the money a foreigner has represents a life they could never have marrying a Filipino. So they want to make you happy and try very hard. Compare that with true love, and the high divorce rates, of the West.
I understand what you are saying. And believe me, I am no fan of love and marriage US style.

I sincerly wish you the best.

Ha
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Old 10-01-2008, 04:55 PM   #54
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I definitely looked at the Philippines...And the food is lousy.
I read most of what you said about the Philippines, and this is the part with which I disagree.

The country has a lot of problems, for sure, but the people are hospitable...and the food is great! Of course, I grew up there, so that accounts for my taste.

Divorce is illegal but many established men have "queridas"--girlfriends on the side--or if they are well-to-do, a "number two", usually someone for whom they have set up a separate household and/or with whom they have children. Double standards apply so that women who have affairs are more stigmatized than double-crossing men.

I wonder if this is a legacy of the macho culture of Spain. I sadly lack much historical knowledge, but I've read an essay sometime that when Spain came, she put Filipino women up on a pedestal like the Virgin Mary, so that women became repressed and were ostracized if they were as "wild and free" as they were before the conquerors came.

Comments about the desirability of fair skin ring true. I think it's because the ruling classes in the Spanish times, i.e., the Spaniards or Spanish mestizos, had fair skin, so white skin is associated with power, status, and just beauty due to rarity.

Anyway, just rambling here...

Good luck with your plans!
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Old 10-01-2008, 05:13 PM   #55
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Divorce is illegal but many men have "queridas"--girlfriends on the side--or a "number two", usually someone for whom they have set up separate households and with whom they have children. Double standards apply so that women who have affairs are more stigmatized than double-crossing men. <snip>

I wonder if this is a legacy of the macho culture of Spain.
LOL! Very likely! I remember when I worked in SA being invited to dinner by some young businessman. His totally beautiful charming wife and two or three well behaved kids would be there. I am enjoying myself, getting to interact with an upscale educated woman once more. But pretty soon there would be an elbow into my ribs.

"Haa-aaa-aaa, vamos a bailar! Vamos a las muchachas!"

So we say goodbye to this totally charming MILF, and spend the rest of the evening with overly made up "girlfriends" who look like drugged escapees from Dancing With The Stars.

I don't know how any North American or northern European with Euro- American attitudes toward women could really like this type of environment for long.

ha
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Old 10-01-2008, 05:46 PM   #56
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I don't know how any North American or northern European with Euro- American attitudes toward women could really like this type of environment for long.
I spent the first 21 years of my life in the Philippines, but I would not want to go out with a traditional Filipino man. I'd be expected to care for him even if we had maids--like make sure his clothes are ready for him or ironed properly, to be sweet and agree with him, to be pious and faithful to the church, to not arouse his jealousy against my male co-workers, to accept his "extra-curricular" activities...

When I was growing up, I had girl classmates who had lots of problems dealing with their dads' affairs when they first found out about the affairs.

Maybe the younger generation of educated Filipinas have it better now with more freedom and moving toward equality...
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Old 10-01-2008, 09:24 PM   #57
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I understand what you are saying. And believe me, I am no fan of love and marriage US style.

I sincerly wish you the best.

Ha
Hey, you too. And with this economy we need it!

Wade
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Old 10-02-2008, 10:54 AM   #58
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Almost There, I moved to Indonesia when I was 54 - one island east of Bali called Lombok. I tried living in Mexico for a while but the people and culture simply did not fit my liking. Too dirty, too rude, too macho.

Indonesia is a lot like the Philippines with the pretty young girls looking for any white skin husband - I find them really beautiful. It really is a great place for any single guy who wants a pretty wife to sleep with and live with until he dies.

The weather is perfect - no hurricanes,etc. I wear a tee shirt and shorts every day of the year. I have a air conditioner in the bedroom, in case it gets humid. The scenery is amazing - waterfalls, mountains, terraced rice paddies, snorkling, surfing, horse back riding. A motorbike is all you need for transportation.

The visa stuff is a lot more difficult than Equador. Every year I must go through corrupt officials to get the paperwork.

I live very comfortably on $3000 per month, but other guys live on half that amount. Just need to cut out some of the frills. A lot of the things said here are really true - you need a lay back personality and don't plan on living a US lifestyle. But I wouldn't trade it for the world and it was the best decision I ever made.

Go for it - you sound like the kind of guy that will really enjoy it.
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Old 10-02-2008, 02:59 PM   #59
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Re: "Panama is over-run with retirees and expensive"

Been retired here now for one year. So far I havn't felt it "over-run" nor expensive. My husband and I are living the life of Riley for $1200.00/month. Beautiful home & 4X4 2008 Toyota pick-up paid for.....and a neat lil Soc Sec check and a tad of pension ($275.00.mo) pay for it all. The rest? (that stashed away in retirement accounts) is gravey we don't need right now. Life's GOOD!

Sold the house and all we owned took off. Panama has a SUPER visa program. Not only do we get visa for life on verification of retirement assets (SocSec) but we get a discount on damn near everything with our retirement visa cards...medical, dental, airfafre, fast foods, restaurants, hotels.

Might better look into Panama too!!!!
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Old 10-02-2008, 03:15 PM   #60
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Just to clarify here....
$1500/mo total puts us on easy street retired early in the Rep of Panama
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