OK, so I sat down today and took a serious stab at getting an idea of how much Golf and I will need in cash reserves to make the move to Thailand. Bear in mind that this is strictly cash and is separate from what I would like to see in our retirement accounts prior to making the move 🙂
I was a little surprised at the total, but not too surprised. What it’s told me is that I will need to get my ass in gear and start making a LOT more money one way or another. The upside is that if I can increase online earnings enough to meet the savings necessary to have this cash on hand within 2 years (actually something more like 23 months 7 days now) I shouldn’t need to worry about working as a teacher when we make the move to Thailand.
Ok, so I know you’re all impatiently waiting for me to spill the beans…here we go. By my calculations we will need US$90,000 in cash savings to comfortably make the move to Thailand. I know this may seem high to some (many?) of you and it seemed that way to me too, however let’s see where that money will go.
The $90,000 basically breaks down into 3 major categories. US$35,000 for a new car, US$40,000 for startup housing expenses and US$15,000 for cash reserves.
I can hear some of you already thinking that this is WAY more than we will need. That’s right I can hear your thoughts!
The money for the car is more for Golf than anything. I have no intention of driving in Bangkok and think that between the busses, BTS, MRT and taxi’s I can get around just fine. Golf on the other hand feels we need a car. Fair enough and I may even start driving myself if we do have a car. She’s got her heart set on a Mitsubishi Pajero Sport at this point so that’s what I have built into the moving budget. Honestly I’ve got to say it’s a pretty damn nice SUV and I won’t mind owning it and having it available for trips outside Bangkok and during the rainy season.
The US$15,000 cash reserves are easily explained as well. It is basically a 6 month emergency fund (at US$2k per month) with an additional US$3000 thrown in for expenses during our first month in Thailand. I am figuring we will need to rent in a long term serviced apartment type place during our search for more permanent housing which is why the first month budget is a bit higher. To be safe I could probably throw an additional US$5k into this category because I know we will be traveling quite a bit the first month back in Thailand to catch up with family and friends and I also assume at least a short trip to the islands to unwind. I’ll have to think about revisiting this at a later date.
The last category, startup housing expenses, is where I figure we should have the most wiggle room and yet it is also the category where I hesitate to cut corners. I’ve broken the US$40k down slightly in regards to expenses for furniture, electronics, 2 scooters, decorations and all the other things that go into furnishing a house and I know some of my estimations seem pretty high, but I also know my own and Golf’s tastes pretty well. I also know that western style home furnishings will cost pretty much the same as they would in the West (if not more). I’m hesitant to cut corners in this category because these are the items that will surround us every day and we will have to live with our choices for years to come. If I have to spend an extra 6 months in the States to save a bit extra for higher quality furnishings then so be it. It’s an expense that only comes once every what…10 years or so?
I know at least a few of the readers here are living in Thailand and it would be great to hear your experiences when initially setting up house when you moved to Thailand. A general idea of the costs involved and anything I might be missing would go a long way in finalizing my own budget and also helping others who may be considering taking the leap.