Retiring in the Philippines: a complete guide

1 min readLast updated May 31, 2024by Unbiased team

Discover the process of emigrating to and retiring in the Philippines as a US senior with a modest budget.

Summary 

  • The Philippines is one of the easiest countries to emigrate to as a US senior.  

  • According to World Remit, the cost of retirement in the Philippines is $800-$1,000 per month.  

  • US retirees do not get taxed for retirement income such as Social Security sourced from outside the Philippines.  

  • The support of an expert financial advisor can help you plan for your retirement in the Philippines.  

What are the pros and cons of retiring in the Philippines? 

The Philippines is renowned as one of the most scenic and welcoming places to retire in Southeast Asia. However, if you want to retire in the Philippines, there are both pros and cons to consider, such as: 

Pros 

  • Beautiful natural attractions: The Philippines is an archipelago of islands and sparkling beaches, backlit by rainforests and beautiful mountains.  

  • Low cost of living: Rent, consumer goods, and food products are all significantly cheaper in the Philippines than in the US, making it an affordable place to live for budgeting retirees.  

  • Welcoming community and culture: Filipinos are known for being warm and welcoming to foreigners, so retiring there can be a positive and social experience. English is also a commonly spoken language in the Philippines, which eases communication.  

Cons 

  • High crime rate: If you emigrate to the Philippines, you should be aware of dangerous areas. Crime and civil unrest can be issues. However, if you stick to the major cities and practice reasonable caution, these issues can be avoided.  

  • Turbulent weather: The Philippines is located within a typhoon belt and can experience as many as 20 typhoons per year. Settling on higher ground is advised.  

  • Challenging infrastructure: Public services and infrastructure can be limited, depending on where you are located.  

What are the best places to retire in the Philippines? 

The Philippines may be a small nation, but there are lots of different islands and areas worth exploring as a place to retire. Some of the best places to retire in the Philippines are: 

  • Dumaguete: This is a city of Negros Island that is known for being a retirement hotspot due to its stunning natural environment, laid-back lifestyle, and ample healthcare facilities.  

  • Bacolod: Both scenic and metropolitan, Bacolod has a low cost of living and a thriving community of locals and expats. It is a relaxing part of the islands with easy access to healthcare.  

  • Subic Bay: Subic Bay is one of the most secure places to retire in the Philippines. It has a large population of retirees and a well-maintained city environment.  

What age can you retire in the Philippines? 

You need to be 50 in order to receive your Special Resident Retiree’s Visa (SRRV) and legally retire in the Philippines.  

Once you are 50, you become eligible for the retirement visa and can begin your process of emigrating to the Philippines.  

What is the average cost of retirement in the Philippines? 

To live comfortably in the Philippines, you will need a monthly budget of around $1,000.  

This amount can increase or decrease depending on where you settle down.  

Do you pay taxes after retirement in the Philippines? 

The tax situation in the Philippines lends itself surprisingly well to expats.  

As a foreigner, you will only be taxed on income you receive from the Philippines, so any international pension or income you receive from outside of the country is essentially tax-free.  

Pensions, 401(k)s, individual retirement accounts (IRA), and most other types of retirement income will not be taxed so long as they are withdrawn from outside the Philippines. However, paycheck income will be taxed between 20% and 30%, depending on the amount.  

What programs are there for emigrating to the Philippines? 

There are several programs available for emigrating to the Philippines, but the easiest one to go through as a senior US citizen is to apply for a Special Resident Retiree’s Visa (SRRV).  

What visas do I need to retire in the Philippines? 

The visa process for retiring in the Philippines is relatively simple and straightforward. There is a particular visa for international retirees called the Special Resident Retiree’s Visa (SRRV), which requires you to meet the following criteria:  

  • 50 years of age minimum. 

  • Proof of a pension above $800 per month (Social Security benefits included).  

  • Deposit a minimum of $10,000 into a Filipino bank account. 

  • Deposit $15,000 for each additional dependent (if you have them).  

There is a once-off visa application fee of $1,400 for the head of the household plus an additional $300 for a partner or dependent you bring with you.  

What are my healthcare options in the Philippines? 

Unless you are based in Manila or Bacolod, accessing healthcare in the Philippines can be a challenging process.  

Smaller, less metropolitan areas struggle with a lack of infrastructure, which can make it difficult to receive prompt medical care when needed.  

However, there are plenty of sufficient healthcare facilities in the bigger city areas, and healthcare costs are lower in this archipelago than they are in the US.  

Signing up for a local healthcare insurance plan is recommended for those retiring in the Philippines and shouldn’t cost more than $100-$300 per month.  

Is it safe to retire in the Philippines? 

While the Philippines is largely safe in the more busy and urban areas, there are dangerous spots to watch out for.  

The crime rate in the Philippines is 37.73, which is actually lower than America’s 47.70.  

However, because the Philippines is less secure than the US, crime can feel more prevalent. Living in a gated community or in a secure area can help you retire in the Philippines with peace of mind.  

Is the Philippines a good place to retire? 

The Philippines is considered the best place to retire in Southeast Asia.  

Many people choose to retire in the Philippines due to its straightforward and affordable emigration program, scenic views, tropical climate, and welcoming culture.  

Get expert financial advice 

With the right financial strategy, retiring in the Philippines can be a rewarding experience. The cost of living is lower than in the US, but not every area has the same amenities or safety rating.  

To properly plan for your retirement, let Unbiased match you with a financial advisor who can offer expert advice and guidance.  

Writers

Unbiased team

Our team of writers, who have decades of experience writing about personal finance, including investing and retirement, are here to help you find out what you must know about life’s biggest financial decisions.