Retirement Counseling

I was a personnel retirement counselor at one time and guys would tell me they hated their jobs but hung in for the extra retirement money. Some love their jobs and did not feel comfortable with anything but working and "contributing to society. The felt like barnacles on a boat just slowing it down it they were not working. They did not care what for or where the boat was going but they wanted to make it go faster. A lot of these boats were just going in circles. When it comes to work, too, it is a wise man who knows when enough is enough, and he can be whole and valuable as a human being without working, just being. This is my opinion, that the Filipino people helped me develop. I felt it before I came here. They reinforced it. I am blessed for it, I believe.

Your company may have a retirement counseling program, or you may have access to a counselor. But to be a retirement counselor, you have to be working, something close to an oxymoron. Many times these programs are not enough and you need continuing support not just a week in class. I suggest you join the Living, Retiring, Traveling and Doing Business in the Philippines List, and talk to people who have retired here in the Philippines, and become happy barnacles, who love themselves for who they are and not what they do.

I am a psychologist who has done some retirement counseling but I am now retired. I saw too many guys an gals hanging on to long and leaving with a lot of money and little life time left to enjoy it or even have time to adjust to it. I does take time for most to adjust to retirement. I do run the List, but through helpers, volunteers, great guys. I have little time for counseling. But come to me and I can refer you to some books or ask for them on the Living, Traveling, Retiring, and Doing Business in the Philippines List. And if you have a serious problem, or serious to you, maybe I can spare some time to correspond with you.

Adjustments Make Life Easier

I want to share some thoughts (based on self experience) for those just arriving or contemplating making the move here. First, vacationing and actually living in the Philippines are totally different.

I have found that after time life has become less and less hectic for me and continues to become easier the longer I am here. Has anything in the Philippines changed since I have been here? Nope, not a thing as far as I can tell, but a lot has changed in me.

My drives to the golf course, the city or just the market have all seemed to gotten shorter. No I didn't find any new short cuts. I simply no accept the driving habits of the Filipinos and don't let it bother me. I know the trikes are slow, a tractor will be there, slow down rounding a curve as a bus, jeepney or broken down truck will be waiting for you. Here on Negros the sugarcane season has begun fresh and those overloaded slow moving trucks will be everywhere. Just take your time and pass when you get the chance. Like I said, the time it takes to get somewhere is the same, but it is such a more pleasurable drive now that I don't let those quick stops, quick turns, break downs, slow movers bother me. I am not going to change how they have driven for years am I?

I now watch in amazement the transaction process at the ATM's. I used to wonder if they were making it a career. They always have to get there balance first then decide what to take. We from the West just go up, swipe the card, enter the PIN and amount and away we go. Not so over here, get in line behind a few elderly ladies that have no idea what they are doing. They call the guard and give them their pin so he can assist them. Sometimes they crowd you from the back and you try to shield what you are doing. I have come to find out they are only interested to find out if you know how to operate this "new" system so that they may ask your assistance. It takes me the same time to transact business, but now it is fascinating and enjoyable, no longer frustrating.

If you want to do business at the bank and don't like long waits don't go on Monday's or Friday's. It might even be better to go at the end of the month just before payday. Most people have paid there utility bills by then, the SSS checks are not in yet, and payday is a few days away. If you do business during the peak days, bring a book, a paper or a puzzle to pass the time. One teller apologized to me for the long wait (hour and a half). I smiled and told her that I told my wife we would be across the street eating a nice lunch by 12. The teller looked at the clock and it was 11:55. She smiled and told me I would be correct.

If you don't like crowds and children running all over the place, go to the malls and theater Mon - Thurs. The kids are in school and Mom and Dad are working. The lines at the supermarket are short. There is plenty of room at the food areas to sit and relax and drink whatever it is you want while the wife or GF is doing some shopping. People watching is very relaxing, who knows you might meet a neighbor or friend.

All in all, when you first arrive you have been used to a certain. Western pace most of your life. Very fast, very hectic and we HATE to wait. It causes us much rancor and stress levels go up. Things are not fast over here, they get done, just not the way we are used to them. Once you understand that you are not going to change the way things go, and decide to look at it as a way of life, your life then becomes much easier.

I have come to believe that being retired, the only stress in my life is SELF-INDUCED. Relax and enjoy your new life, it will give you some wonderful moments of humor in everyday life.