Our Progress Toward the Big Move

Lots of people ask me how our planned retirement and move to the Philippines is going, so it felt like a good time to update. It also seemed like a good time to detail some of the decisions we are making; that way we can look back in a year or two and see how badly they all went 🙂

Getting rid of the crap: Strangely enough, I’ve enjoyed downsizing. It’s been going on for a couple years but is now in real earnest. A month ago we had a big garage sale which went well and was lots of fun. We scoured the house for everything we didn’t need and didn’t intend to bring to the Philippines. About 3/4 of the junk put out was sold by super pitchman, Dave. The rest we either put out on the sidewalk marked free or I took to the Goodwill. I even made some money, which I put into our “Get outta Dodge fund.”

BB box

We decided quite awhile ago that we would not be shipping furniture or large items. We will be going the Balikbayan Box route and my current guess is that we will ship between 10-15 BB boxes @ $75/each. The boxes will contain clothes (although I am already donating most of my winter clothing), some kitchen items (the better pots for example), a few household items and items of sentimental value. Unquestionably the biggest single area of stuff to ship are my tools and guitar making supplies.

For many years I collected old hand woodworking tools. There, I admitted it – I was a collector. When you have 2 finger planes, you’re a user; when you have 30, you’re a collector.

2 finger and 1 palm plane by Legendary English plane maker, Bill Carter.
2 finger and 1 palm plane by Legendary English plane maker, Bill Carter.
Chris Laarman finger planes on rough archtop top.
Chris Laarman finger planes on rough archtop top.

A few years ago I started downsizing and probably sold off 60-70% of the tools I had; there were a lot of happy tool collectors on ebay. At the same time I have acquired some items, wanting to have enough supplies to make at least 3 guitars in retirement. By the time I run out of those supplies I will have found local sources.

I had my biggest victory on this 2016 Sale Olympics a week ago. In a fit of stupidity (or excess cash) I bought a high end elliptical machine some years back. Had it installed in our basement. Janet used it more than me. I didn’t want to end up just giving it away and worried about how I would get it out of the basement. I listed it on Craigslist and for weeks – crickets. Then I heard from a guy who was interested. He arrived with a trailer behind his SUV – that was a good sign. He brought his own tools – even better. Most importantly his wife brought the envelope with cash; not even an argument over the asking price. We took the thing partially apart and the 2 of us (both over 60 oldies) schlepped it up the stairs. I didn’t even end up with a sore back; the positive influence of an extra grand in my pocket, I suppose. Our basement looks quite a bit emptier and my “Get out of Dodge fund” is a bit fuller.

Next spring we’ll sell the furniture put the house on the market, ship the BB boxes, and then it all gets very serious.

Finances: I’ve met with my bank and the company that manages my retirement account to see what issues I might have to deal with when living out of the country. Of course they want my vast kano wealth (just kidding) and so are pitching things like I will have no problems.

Where: While the decision to move to the Dumaguete area was made a while back, the question is how. We definitely want to rent for a while at first (a year?) and then may buy a house. But how to pull this all off? Oh, I could rent a house or apartment online, but do we trust the pics and glowing descriptions online? Or we could just arrive and with with “boots on the ground” stay in a hotel and look for a place. The problem with that is where to ship our boxes without an address?

There are a few complexes that rent by the month (most require longer leases) and we could rent for a couple months, have a place to ship our stuff, and then find the real rental when we arrive. Decisions decisions…

Tricycle-Batangas-PhilippinesTransportation: Do we need a car? Janet thinks we do and I tend to agree. But what kind? After all I will no longer have the long daily commute, thank God; I will be an old fart retiree! So new or used? Small, large or medium? SUV? Old pickup truck? Jeepney? Trike? Who knows, although unlike many other retirees there, I will not go all Fonzie and buy a motorcycle. Janet is most attracted by the looks; I mostly care about cheap to own and operate. I am open to suggestions? No matter what, I am sure we will still use plenty of public transportation; trikes are cheap in Dumaguete; buses are readily available. Most importantly, Janet knows how to get from Duma to Alcoy, her hometown.

Work Schedule: The clock is ticking and I’ve got one of those countdown programs displayed on my screen, that I glance at whenever I get overwhelmed, which in my work environment is hourly. My company understands firing better than retiring.  I therefore know that there’s always a possibility that I could be downsized before my planned leaving date, but since that date is quickly approaching it matters less and less. I hope to go on my own terms but at a certain point…

BTW, for any co-workers or, worse yet, managers reading this, you know I love you, right? I have just one word for you in anticipation of my retirement – kudos 🙂

Our US Home: Once we get to the 1st of the year we will be getting ready for the aforementioned sale of the last of the crap and put the house on the market. There’s a couple minor upgrade items to perform, but nothing too big. Fortunately the real estate market in my area is pretty hot, so I don’t anticipate a long wait for a sale. But as we know buying and selling a home is one of the most stressful things in Western life, so I will at least have one more stressful task to finish before I hit the beach with a San Miguel in my hand.

Other things to do: Buy a bunch of crap when we arrive in Dumaguete to replace the crap we sold here; find a doctor, dentist and acupuncturist; visit the relatives on the East Coast one more time; throw a party; throw two parties. And get ready for the great adventure!




16 thoughts on “Our Progress Toward the Big Move”

  1. Another option to consider: a stateside moving and storage company. You might want to store your stuff in US until you need it in Philippines, then have storage company ship it. Just another possibility.
    And yes, I agree: better to buy bulky items new than to ship what you have that distance, though some people do the container thing.

    1. Hi Barbara – I had investigated more traditional shipping options (like a 1/2 container) but the cost was much greater for the amount we will send. I like the storage idea. I would just have to see if I can coordinate the storage with the Philippines shipper, LBC. LBC suggested I keep the boxes at a friends house but it’s too much to impose on anyone. Just one of those many logistical things to figure out. Like the suggestion though.

  2. Dave, your on the right path. We shipped about 55 LBC boxes, wow what a move it was for us. In hindsight, I would have been happier if I did what Mr Berger suggested. Anyways you will get here and be really wanting some good ole USA food. Reason enouh to fly back to the USA and ship the items yourself. Stop on by whennear Carcar or we can catch up again,this next time in Cebu City (not Panera Breads)….. Nice to see you making progress….We al lhave to retire, its just on our own timing…Cant spend your whole life being blue (Intel Blue). LOL… See ya here sometime. Amping.

    1. Nice to hear from you Ed. I could be off in my estimate but don’t think so – 15 boxes should be about the max. I did ask LBC whether they could store the boxes but got a firm no on that. So I could investigate other storage options.

  3. Hi Dave and Janet.
    Wow. You are finally making the move.
    Yes, you should rent for a while first, but see the place with your own eyes. Rented properties are usually advertised through word of mouth.
    Four wheels are better than two. People die on motorcycles at an alarming rate over here. I would advise you to buy a pick-up or even a multi-cab pickup.

    1. I agree Pascal that there’s no doubt that boots on the ground will be better for rentals. And while it sounds exciting to ride a bike I think I am too old to go that route.

      I have definitely considered a multi-cab for the big cost savings but a certain wife does not consider them classy enough 🙂 I’m not sure if a pick up is needed (sounds like you think so). If I went that route I’d get one with a rear seat. I have never owned a pick up in my life – might be time for my 1st F 150!

      Looking forward to finally meeting!


      1. F150’s are not sold here by ford. The ones you see here are imported. I would say 90%-95% of pickups sold here (new and used) are 5 seaters. I have a 2016 Ranger Wildtrak. Yesterday I had 21 passengers (inside and on the truck bed). Diesel is the way to go, at P25 per litre (Gas is near P40). Modern diesels are fairly powerful, and very very economical. 6L-8L 100km (over 50mpg) on long journeys.

  4. Really enjoying your informative blog. My wife just arrived here in the states a year and a half ago, so this is premature for us to think about but I would love to head to Philippines to be nearer to her family and experience the Filipino lifestyle and culture. Best wishes on your progress and keep us posted.
    Take care,
    Stephen and Luisa

  5. I’m so excited for you guys!!! Dave, forgot to ask, are you really off FB? Thought I saw something of this nature and can’t remember if I replied. Keep us posted 🙂

    1. Thanks Pete – Exciting here too – and a bit nerve wracking. Yes I am taking a FB break. I was stressed in general and darling Janet encouraged me to take a break – which has helped. I still do respond to “Messenger” messages, but I am very happy to not be reading the hourly (10 times hourly) hatred over politics and just about everything else. Let’s see how I feel about it in a couple more weeks. Thanks as always for all your support and our love to Cathy!

  6. You should compare the cost of a new/newer car here in the USA plus the cost of shipping it to the Philippines to what a new/newer car of the same or similar model costs there. I understand there are very high customs duties on imported cars that are waived if you retire to the Philippines. Going to the Philippines to buy an American car may not be a good decision, compared to bringing in one yourself.

    1. That’s an interesting idea, Richard. But in all likelihood I would either get a used car or if I got a new car there’s a good chance I would go diesel.

      I have known a couple guys who did bring cars to the Philippines and I recall lots of time and hassles, though I can’t say whether that was normal or an aberration.

      Thanks for your comment!

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