Recently I was asked to write about retiring in Thailand. As you can imagine this is a pretty broad topic and it is going to take several posts for me to even begin to address this. Hopefully it will also spur a lot of discussion within the comments as I know people have different opinions about some of the areas that will need to be covered.
I am not an expert in this area, but I have done quite a bit of thinking about it since it is my plan to eventually retire in Thailand as well. So, what things have I considered in terms of retiring to Thailand or moving there full time even if not retired (which is even more complex due to visa issues).
Here are several questions I think will need to be answered and/or planned for prior to making the leap:
Where in Thailand will you live? Different people like different things and fortunately Thailand can accommodate many different types of personalities. Golf and I have put A LOT of thought and discussion into this subject already. In a later post I will discuss some options such as Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket or other beach areas and possibly Issan (not much personal experience there). See the links below for individual articles.
How much money will you need? When considering money I think several factors need to be considered including savings, monthly income requirements, working in Thailand, inflation and exchange rates. Later posts will go into more depth on each area. Ignore this at your peril!
Thai visa issues and questions. The issue of visa’s isn’t really that difficult once you’ve got all the information, in theory. In practice it can create all types of headaches. How can you legally stay in Thailand, especially for those under the age of 50 or not married to a Thai citizen this can be a problem. I’ll take a look at the different visa options and what each might mean for you.
Planning for your future in Thailand. This obviously ties in with the money question above, but could also ties in with the question of where you would live as well as encompassing a back out plan. Our needs at 70 years old can be quite different from those at 50 years old and some thought should be given to this.
Thai Insurance – Unless you’ve got retirement medical insurance from a former employer you’ll definitely want to look into some form of comprehensive medical insurance. And what about auto or home insurance? Is Thailand the same in this regard as Western countries?
Buying versus renting your accommodations. Renting is a drain on your financial resources, but buying in Thailand can be difficult if not impossible for foreigners. Not to mention questions about the safety of your investment if you do buy. Pro’s and con’s of each approach will be discussed. Also, is it better to go with a house or condominium?
That’s just a quick list of the major issues I can think of. I’m sure others will arise from discussion and many sub topics will be identified as well. If you can think of anything major that you would want to have discussed regarding retirement in Thailand please leave a comment and I’ll add the subject to my research list.
Overall I think you’re making a great decision to retire to Thailand, of course I’m biased as well. With some forethought and a good plan Thailand can be a wonderful place to retire with it’s great people and food, nightlife, beautiful Thai girls, great weather (if you like it hot), beaches, mountains and culture. Add to that the infrastructure provided thanks to the tourism in Thailand and you have a great foreign retirement destination.
Looking forward to your comments and much more to come!