A Retiring Attitude

 |  November 30, 2009

‘Snowbirds’ is a term used in the U.S. and Canada for retirees who flee the cold winters of the northern regions to warmer locales like Florida, Arizona, and Mexico. There is also a European species of snowbird who heads for Mediterranean climes. Today there is a new breed of migratory snowbirds that travel a lot further in their quest for an endless summer.

More and more expats come to Thailand during the cold season months to enjoy our almost perfect weather and then return back to their home countries when the weather begins to heat up. I lived that way for six years. During that nomadic time between Chiang Mai and Seattle I never saw a really hot day or a really cold one, and I had almost forgotten what a rainy day looked like.

True snowbirds need to be able to maintain two separate households. That can get expensive. Here are a few things that you can do to keep your back-home costs down. Most utilities can be turned off when you leave for an extended period. Also, phone services, as well as cable and internet services, have very inexpensive vacation plans. Auto insurance can be cut to as little as $5 per month while your car is being ‘stored’. With these plans I saved enough to cover most of my living expenses for the winter.

Here in Thailand many people find it more convenient to pay the rent on a condo or house for the whole year even if they use it for only a few months. If you plan on doing this it would be best and safest to live in a place with full time security like a condo or a gated community so your stuff will still be there when you return.

But my migratory days are now over. Keeping up two homes got to be too much of a hassle, so I chose to live here year round. And now I get to experience really hot days and I definitely know what a rainy day looks like. And I am as happy as a bird.

For further information about retiring to Thailand check out Hugh’s site www.retire2thailand.com.

Hugh’s advice for the month: If you are thinking of sending a large package home wait until you are going back home if you can. You can take the package as an extra bag. You will have up to 23 kilos and each extra bag will cost only around $125. That’s cheaper than sending the same amount by sea or air mail and it will get there when you do.