Philippines sees opportunity in wealthy neighbours’ golden years

Noriko Iwamoto, a Japanese widow and senior citizen, poses outside her restaurant at a residential district in suburban Quezon city, Metro Manila, Photo by Erik De Castro/REUTERS

Noriko Iwamoto, a Japanese widow and senior citizen, poses outside her restaurant at a residential district in suburban Quezon city, Metro Manila, Photo by Erik De Castro/REUTERS

via channelnewsasia.com – Japanese housewife Noriko Iwamoto is clear on the reasons that led her to retire in the tropical Philippines, leaving behind a stagnant economy, deflation and a rigid Japanese workforce: it’s cheap, and you can work.

“I was looking forward to living somewhere outside Japan,” said Iwamoto, 62, a widow and one-time vet from the port city of Nagoya, who now runs a small tea shop in Manila. “There are no jobs in Japan, but I still want to work.”

The Philippines is tapping wealthy north Asian retirees who want sunshine, low prices and a refuge from record low interest rates – wooing them with soft wealth barriers and an initial age hurdle of just 35.

A handful of other Southeast Asian neighbours are doing the same, but the likes of Thailand and Malaysia demand retirees have higher pensions, fatter bank balances and are at least 50 years of age.

Though numbers are small, Filipino authorities say arrivals from China, Korea, Taiwan and Japan are the most numerous, escaping economies that have eaten into their retirement savings and now offer little opportunity to top up those pension pots.

Japan, for one, has 34.6 million people aged 65 or older and a public debt burden that means many already choose to retire abroad to get cheaper health care and a better quality of life.

At current levels – 42,511 foreigners are enrolled into the retirement plan – the number of arrivals is small, in a country of almost 100 million. Economist Euben Paracuelles at Nomura in Singapore said the business would need to be part of broader reforms to encourage foreign investment and tourism, in order to provide a significant boost to the economy.

But the Philippine Retirement Authority (PRA), which is hiring staff to expand, wants to more than double the number of foreign retirees to 100,000 by 2020.

“Right now, it’s the ambulatory and fun-loving retirees that we are targeting,” PRA General Manager Valentino Cabansag said. Already, in the past four years, a third of foreign retirees in the Philippines belonged to the still-active 40 to 49-year old bracket, PRA data showed.

FULL STORY

Find more like this: Features

  • She was the enemy of Philippine President Duterte, and her fellow judges just sacked her
  • Overlooked No More: Leticia Ramos Shahani, a Philippine Women’s Rights Pioneer
  • Duty Free Philippines to open luxury store at SM Mall of Asia complex
  • Beijing ‘installs missiles’ on South China Sea islands
  • Humans were in Philippines thousands of years before previously thought
  • Page 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

    Entertainment

  • A New Netflix Series Tells the Story of the Philippines’ Drug War. But Its Critics Are Condemning Amo as Propaganda
  • Where in the Philippines was a scene from ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ shot?
  • CLOSEUP: ‘Lion King’ to include Pinoy flavor in world-class show
  • ‘Riverdale’ stars call out PH magazine for ‘disrespectful’ photoshop editing
  • Pixar’s first female supervising animator is Pinoy
  • MORE...

    Features

  • A Transgender Paradox, and Platform, in the Philippines
  • The Box That Brings Christmas to the Philippines
  • ‘Pinoy Aquaman’ swims 23 kilometers for peace in Mindanao
  • Former Pinoy dishwasher now owner of pizzeria in Italy
  • Women’s servitude blights Philippine society
  • MORE...

    Tourism

  • Philippines closes ‘cesspool’ tourist island of Boracay
  • Boracay Set to Ban Tourists for Six Months During Island ‘Rehabilitation’
  • Boracay: the good, bad and ugly sides to Philippine island for tourists
  • El Nido to impose daily visitor limits in 3 iconic tourist sites
  • Philippines starts building world’s first resort airport
  • MORE...

    Sports

  • Manny Pacquiao v Lucas Matthysse: Filipino’s career ‘not over’
  • ABL: Justin Brownlee is getting more Pinoy by the day
  • Gilas beats Japan again in FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers
  • 2018 Winter Olympics: Philippines’ Asa Miller lands 70th in giant slalom
  • Michael Christian Martinez: Olympian and pioneer in Philippine figure skating
  • MORE...

    OFW News

  • DOLE suspends OFW deployment to Kuwait
  • Some OFWs turn to vlogging to beat loneliness, share life abroad
  • Overseas Filipino Bank to serve immigrants, workers
  • The ‘bagong bayani’ of the Philippines
  • Which countries pay OFWs the highest?
  • MORE...

    Environment

  • Boracay Set to Ban Tourists for Six Months During Island ‘Rehabilitation’
  • Boracay: the good, bad and ugly sides to Philippine island for tourists
  • Luzon has greatest concentration of unique mammals
  • Mindanao plants 3M trees in an hour, challenges world record
  • Fighting for sharks in the Philippines
  • MORE...

    Pinoy Places
    and Faces