Retire to Thailand?
My wife and I spent the past week in Thailand escaping the cold in China. We loved every minute of our trip and it was tough for us to leave.
There were several things that really hit us while we were in Thailand:
- English is very pervasive
- everything is so much more inexpensive when converted to USD,
- the food was unbelievably good compared to what’s available to us in China,
- there were so many US and Europeans retirees living there.
Bacon tasted like real bacon and we ate super cheap but fabulous ice cream sundaes every night (you might have to live in China for awhile to appreciate, but decent ice cream is ~ $10/quart and bacon is non existent for us)! I could really go on and on about how good the food was, but the net was there were an abundance of places serving delicious yet super cheap food.
As for the buying power of the USD, I have to say Thailand is the first country where I have ever registered a significant reduction in the cost of things. There are many countries were the USD has stronger buying power, but the difference is lost when you visit due to being in a new/foreign environment.
For instance if you visit Mexico, sure maybe some things are slightly cheaper, you end up spend more money due to A) lack of knowledge about where the best deals are, and B)compensating because you are in a different place.
China is another great example of this where some things are cheaper, but to adjust to the differences you end up spending similar amount of money on things such as hotels/housing to feel comfortable and food is more expensive just to get a comparable meal available in US, etc. That said you could live a lot cheaper here if you didn't adjust for differences.
However Thailand is different, we could spend significantly less and still get significantly more to compensate for differences so we came out ahead.
It really got my wife and I talking about living in Thailand and what a great option it could be someday. It was clear by the sheer number of US and European retirees living there that we weren't the first to recognize this.
I have done some basic research and there is a wealth of information from folks living in Thailand:
- Retire on $550 a month has a high level breakdown of example monthly expenses living in Thailand. There budget suggests a retired couple could live on $850USD/month + healthcare which is significantly less expensive in Thailand. List of retiring in thailand sites
- Here is an article on why not move to Thailand discussing among other issues the pollution. I will have to add that the air was clean and wonderful while my wife & I were there compared to where we live on China.
- One person's guide to retirement in Pattaya, Thailand
- Also be sure to check out this well known couple, the Kaderlis, who retired on $500k and live in Thailand. Here is a good summary of their early retirement plans and how they did it.
Not that my wife and I are going to suddenly quit our jobs and move to Thailand, but when we start planning retirement this is certainly something we are going to revisit.
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