The Philippines

Your Money

Whether you are a retiree or not you need money. You will either have to earn it or have previously accumulated it or have the right to the proceeds of a career benefit scheme - that is a pension. Whatever the source of your funds they have to be easily and cheaply available to you in the country to which you have chosen to live.

You may be lucky in having a source that will pay you in any country in the World. If not you will have to make arrangements via a third party, usually a bank, to get your money to you. How you do this will depend upon the origin of the wealth and its destination. Banks may charge you for transfers and both countries and banks may levy taxes and fees respectively on what you receive. You will need guile and a knowledge of the rules of the organizations and the laws of the country to make the most of your wealth.

The Philippines is well served so far as banking services is concerned. In addition to 36 large universal or commercial banks there are some 7,000 organizations from thrift banks to non-bank establishments with quasi-banking functions all registered with the Central Bank of the Philippines.There have been banking failures in the Philippines and some have been recent.

Opening a bank account as a tourist will not be easy and given the Philippine penchant for requiring the filling in of forms and obtaining multiple signatures it is not worth the time and effort. In the present post F.A.T.C.A. days it will be best not to mention any connection with the U.S.A. so far as residency is concerned when dealing with a bank. American citizens may encounter difficulties in this respect. Of course American dollars are well received as a currency to exchange.

Obviously this aspect, banking and income, of Philippine life should be fully investigated both before leaving for and while on a “Golden Rule” trip to the country. It will still always be useful to have an offshore account at a bank with which business has been satisfactorily done previously, preferably over a long period.


It is likely that a pension or pensions will form the basis of the income requirements for qualified retired persons.Not all countries are as cooperative in making payments abroad. Britain, most ex-British countries will pay pensions to almost any country in the world. One vital point that has to be mentioned with regard to the British old age pension so far as the Philippines is concerned is that it will not be frozen if you retire to the Philippines. An additional problem for those moving from Australia is that there will have to be references to or contacts with CentreLink. This organisation is a less than fully co-ordinated organisation responsible for a host of social security payments including pensions. The British pension service works well and is very obliging and helpful if conservative in handling telephone calls and e-mail communication.

There are many arrangements that can be made to "export" pensions particularly when such arrangements are still receiving contributions or which have partly matured.

The links at the "Resources" tab on this site and the book "How to Retire in the Philippines" by Les Johns expand all of the above points and will be of great value to intending retirees. The book can be purchased directly from this site.

Other Income

As a retiree it is unlikely that local income will be derived by you but this is permissible in the Philippines. Once a P.R.A. Special Residents Retirement Visa has been obtained then an Alien Work Permit can be granted and it is then legal to seek and accept employment. There is a major unemployment problem in the Philippines so any employment would have to be in a field where the expertise required is not available in the country. In many countries a fluency in English can secure employment. This is not the case in the Philippines where English is one of the national languages and it is taught in schools.

The simplest "one size fits most" solution to the problems of moving about the world and having access to your funds is accomplished by opening an offshore bank account. This is true and in spite of the privacy available in the Philippines. It is not unlawful to open an offshore bank account.

There is a myriad of organizations, such as this one, offering to open an offshore bank account for you. They will charge anything from $400 or $500 to perform a simple operation that you can do equally well yourself. As in dealing with any bank for the first time it is best to do things in person.

It is essential to keep abreast of changes in regulations regarding banking, exchange control and financial matters in general. The rules governing the movement of money between countries can change in an instant with devastating results if adverse effects cannot be at least mitigated. Having just a “nodding acquaintance” with political matters in all countries which may have a bearing on the safe keeping and transmission of your funds can allow the anticipation of changes and the quick adjustment of arrangements.

The links at the "Resources" tab on this site and the book "How to Retire in the Philippines" by Les Johns give more details on the above matters. The book can be obtained directly from this site