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Old 08-19-2017, 07:02 PM
44 posts, read 18,738 times
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First, I'll provide some context (why I am asking this). When I was in the Navy, I noticed a relatively large population of foreign wives anywhere near a military base, mostly from places such as the Philippines. Less common with service members these days, it seems to be a rather common practice a few decades ago to meet someone on a port call and then bring them back home as a wife. Couple that with another practice of some western men looking for what is pejoratively called mail order brides, and I began to do some research that indicated that a lot of these women are looking for better financial opportunities instead of a meaningful relationship. I've even read that some of these women end up sending money back to their original home where they still have a family (sometimes even a legitimate husband). However, these women are not married to rich western men all the time. In the case of military members, these wives are getting jobs at places like the commissary, where the pay is going to be typical hourly retail rates, which is not that much. Any additional money that the husband shares from his salary is still not going to be enough for her to live the high life. So I was wondering what the attraction was for these women. If their trying to improve their own life, ok then. I can see how the mere act of moving to America can be seen as an improvement, but I would think the benefits would be offset by the higher cost of living.

I started to consider those women who send money back to their own country, knowing that an American dollar is worth much more than a Philippine peso. By definition, a millionaire is someone whose assets total to at least 1 million of whatever currency your country uses. At first, this would make it seem that an American need only to own a little under $20k in assets to be considered a millionaire in the Philippines. This would be the majority of Americans going by a chart a found that shows that only the 35 and under group have a net worth under $20k (actual amount: $6,676). However, I refused to believe that if I had only $20k net worth that I would be looked at as a millionaire in the Philippines. When people use the term millionaire, they typically are using it synonymously as if saying a very wealthy person. Whatever salary I would need to be earning to give myself $20k net worth, I highly doubt I have the same status in the Philippines as an actual millionaire in America has to other Americans. I then started looking into buying power, starting with the cost of living. It turns out that while it is cheaper in the Philippines, it is not proportional to the currency exchange rate. For instance, a 2015 article I found says the rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Davao City is between $155-220/month. With the average annual salary in Davao City being a little under $4000, this means a whopping 50% of ones salary is going to rent alone. All other cost of living related goods is similar, with the cost being disproportionately high for the average salary. This means that an American with a modest salary (let's say $30k/year) would probably be a millionaire by definition in the Philippines ($30k USD = 1.5 million+ ₱. However, that very same American is unlikely to be looked upon as wealthy in that country. In the case of foreign women marrying into the relative wealth, perhaps they are simply trying to improve their financial stability, maybe give their children a potential advantage they otherwise wouldn't have had (as opposed to actual gold-diggers who might be after a lifestyle of luxury). Still, it makes me curious. How much does a western person have to earn or own to be considered a person of great wealth in a developing country? What factors have the greatest affect on the perception of wealth?
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Old 08-19-2017, 07:14 PM
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A millionaire in a poor country would have to be worth a million
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Old 08-19-2017, 07:44 PM
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Exchange rates are the key. USD vs CA is about the same, give or take 50 cents.. but you can take that same USD and go to mexico and get a 5 star hotel, due to the cost and exchange rate. I remember when my father took us to Germany to fill out our citizenship when i was 13,(1993) ( born in Germany on base).. He took a $100 bill with him and rest on CC. Went to exchange it and we was able to get a decent hotel for 3 nights and food for the entire trip on that single 100 bill.

The country that will consider you rich is base on poor economics in that area, reason why mexico immigrants migrate to the US illegal/legally. and send their paychecks back home.

FYI.. my father married a S.Korean lady.. 25 years till her death last feb due to diabetes. So i know where your getting these points from..
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Old 08-20-2017, 01:10 AM
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Exchange rates play a big part but cost of living and country stability are huge factors. You can live quite well on a relatively small social security income in central America and in some areas of eastern Europe, Africa or Asia. Much better than taking that same meager check and trying to live in most areas of the United States.

Will you be a millionaire? Well no. Can you live better there than in the USA? Well maybe but reality is it will depend on tons of factors we could spend weeks discussing.

You aren't going to take 30k or 100k and go live like a king somewhere else forever. You have to generate income with that money and you'll be investing that just like you would if you lived here. So until interest rates climb substantially you'll be stuck with around 2-4k a year per 100k. Plus any additional income you get from social security or pension.
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Old 08-20-2017, 01:57 AM
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I was born in 1990, so I have no way to perceive $100 from back then. Adjusting for inflation is easy, but I don't know what hotel or food prices were like back then because those are affected by more than inflation. Plus, 1993 was just after the Cold War, which would definitely have had an affect on Germany's economy (how, I don't know).

That talk on the ability of one trying to live like a king in another country is another thing I was curious about. I here people talk like that would be possible sometimes, and I'm finally getting around to seeing if it's true. I know that comparatively speaking, most Americans are rich by the standards of most poor countries, but the perception of someone's wealth starts with identifying what that person owns. I'm sure the citizens of the poorer countries aren't stupid enough to believe that those in America and Europe are all living in mansions, have several alternative homes, drive around in Bentleys, and wear nothing but the most prestigious clothing brands. So what's the difference? What makes someone wealthier by technicality, such as being in a wealthier country vs. being wealthy enough to afford anything you want.

I'm not bashing eastern woman-western male marriages by any means. According to what I've read they actually have a higher success rate and the couple are usually happier than if they had stuck with their own kind. But the fact remains that many of the women are attracted to the westerner for financial reasons. In essence, they are selling their bodies/personalities. I feel like a person would only decide to do that if they were in a desperate situation in their own country. Either they are desperately poor or have significant debt (or both). Why wouldn't they just try to find a middle class native to marry? I would assume that anyone capable of meeting military service members are not desperately poor, due to the above average economic conditions that usually surround a military base. This is basically the source of my main question. If I Filipina is not desperately poor, as most foreign Navy wives more than likely were not, then why would they be attracted to these men in the first place if they are looking for monetary gain if they presumable know that he isn't exactly rich himself back where he comes from?

Again, I'm not bashing these relationships. I just know that port calls typically last no more than a week or two, which is not enough time to form a love-based relationship. The fact that the marriages usually are successful just proves that you don't need a soulmate to be happy.
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Old 08-20-2017, 11:58 PM
24,720 posts, read 26,785,278 times
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"It turns out that while it is cheaper in the Philippines, it is not proportional to the currency exchange rate."

Is this really news?
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