My Story: Retirement By Age 34 – Part 3

So now i’m “retired” in Manila!  What do i do now? How am I getting by financially? I’ll breakdown my budget for ya’ll.

First Taste of Retirement

My 18 months of NYC was an amazing time. It was very exciting to work an early startup, outgrow 2 different offices, learn and live in the city, and I even met my fiance there!  But the lack of sleep, lack of exercise, terrible eating habits, late night drinking, stress, and germs of New York were definitely taking it’s toll on me.  I was 20 lbs heavier than I ever been, my finances were a bit of a mess as I was paying to maintain my Bay Area condo and transitioning housing to NY.

So i quit my NYC tech job and moved with my girlfriend to BGC in Manila where she had secured a job as an international high school teacher.  BGC is one of the most expensive places in the Philippines, yet even so, it’s probably about half as expensive as NYC.  An average meal here is about $8-$10 vs about $15 – $20 in NYC and a 1 bd apartment is about $1000 – $1500 vs $2500 – $3000.

Being someone sick and overweight from NY, I underwent an 18 day water fast and literally did nothing for about 3 months.  After generally recovering from everything, i’m now having a great time working on my passion projects, enjoying travel opportunities, and now taking care of a cat.  I’ve always wanted the time for a pet!

How much does it cost to live in the Philippines?

I think this about can range depending on how you are willing to live and where.  You can rent a basic studio for $200/mo. You can start renting a nicer studio in a 24 hour security building for about $500/mo.  If you live in BGC like I do, rent can be as much as $1800 for a 1 bd.

I’m very fortunate that my gf got a job out here that provides us housing.  So I don’t have to pay any rent!  But here’s my budget for those interested of how I spent my money:

Expense Cost per Month Comment
 Rent/Utilities  $0  Our Rent/Utilities are paid for, but I think a single person would be comfortable with $600/mo
 Cell Phone  $20  Unlimited in network calls / texts and  8 GB of data
 Internet Service  $36  Unlimited fiber assisted internet at 20/mbps
 Housekeeping 2x a week  $150  Totally worth it!  Housekeeper is also an amazing cook!
 Cat Supplies  $50  Hard to find affordable cat supplies here!
 Groceries  $250  This goes a long way.  Probably about 6 meals for both of us a week + paper towels, toilet paper, kitchen supplies.  That provides us about 50 meals a month at $5 a meal
 Taxis  $100  We don’t have a car, so we take a lot of Grabs
 Restaurants  $400  Eat about half our meals at restaurants
 American Expense
 Amazon Prime  $9  I pay for this because my sister uses my account still.
 Tmobile Family Plan  $100  I keep my phone line active and I pay for my parents.
 Apple Music and Storage  $11 Apple Music and Cloud Storage

My fiance and I split costs on the shared expenses, so my share of the expenses total to $503 (Manila) + $120 (American) + $200 (Business Expenses) = $823 minimum expenses.

This budget is a bare minimum to keep things operational not accounting for travel, shopping, leisure activities.

Where does my retirement money come from?

First thing you got to realize is that working costs money!  To have my job in an expensive city like NYC, I was paying 40% of my income to federal, state, city taxes!  I also pay $3800 in property tax in California.  At $150,000 salary, I’m paying $64,000 in income and property tax.  Also I was paying $2200 / mo for a rat infested 285 sqft apt in Manhattan!  Since I was working all the time i ate at restaurants primarily and was spending $1000 a month for food and $250 a month on transportation.  I’m spending more therefore i’m also paying more in sales tax at around 9%!

In retirement, I am paying virtually no taxes.  The 2018 standard deduction is now $12,000 which mean that you can make $12,000 and pay no federal income tax on this money.  Additionally, long term capital gains income is tax free up to $50k a year as well.

In NYC, I needed a minimum $4000 a month after taxes just to get by which is about $80k a year!  Now my minimum expenses are $823 a month which means all i need is $10,000 a year!

So back to where I get my money? I rent out my Bay Area condo and somehow still profit about $700 a month after mortgage, property manager, taxes, insurance, and HOA. I also make about $700 a month based on ads on some of my websites!  So i’m not making much, but you really don’t need all that much money if you outsource yourself to a more cost effective location!

Caveats to my budget

To be fair, there are things i’m missing now in my life.  Besides the usual friends and family, I miss amazon.  Honestly i’m paying twice as much on cat supplies as I would if I was in America and using amazon!  Also another big thing is I actually don’t have health insurance at the moment.  This is rather a big expense, but pretty affordable here in the philippines if I took the time to get registered and pay.  Also my travels can be upwards of about $1000 a month!

What am I working on now?

I’m glad i’m asking! 😀

A bulk of my time is spent working on my new site  It is a restaurant dish search engine for locating what you want to eat in the city.  A lot of the search rankings is powered by social hashtags and you can discover some pretty cool stuff.  Currently it’s available in the NYC region, but i’m looking to expand it.

I also made a simple tool to watch youtube playlists in chronological order.  I can’t believe youtube didn’t allow this!  I wanted to catch up on a playlist, but wanted to watch it in order.  Check it out at

Of course I also write at my money money where I try to write at least 1 article per week.

All in all, this has been a very exciting time for me.  I am working on some projects i’m truly into, traveling the world, and feeling healthy again!  I’m 3rd world financially independent, but I honestly feel like we’ll probably go back to the US at some point and I may one day come out of retirement! 😛

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *