A Retiring Attitude

 |  February 26, 2009

Lately, discussions with my expat friends here as well as my correspondences with the folks back home have been centered around the economy and, more often, what fraction of their retirement savings is left after the latest economic downturn. Here is an exact quote from an email I got today, “Even if I wait until normal retirement age, Social Security and whatever remains of my 401(k) will not be enough unless some miracle happens. Thailand is starting to look better.”

The cost of living was not the only thing that attracted me to a retired life here but for many it looks like retiring to a low cost destination such as Thailand just might be the only way they will be able to retire with any semblance of dignity. Our discussions on retirement usually turn to the cost of living here and how much money a person will need if they decided to make the jump. The answer of course is different depending on ones lifestyle. Ask people living here, who share a similar lifestyle to yours, what your approximate living expenses might be. Below are two examples of how much ones pays to live here in the Land of Smiles.

These are real, although simplified, monthly budgets (in January 2009 dollars), for two single expats (excluding things like money for travel, visas, wedding presents for the children, loans to your brother-in-law, etc.). Expat A lives in a condo, travels around town by motorcycle and tuk tuks and usually eats simply and at home. He does his own housework and sends his laundry out. Expat B lives in three bedroom house, owns a car, has a full time maid, and eats out and entertains often. As for the cost of things, upcountry is much less expensive than living in Bangkok. Living in Chiang Mai is somewhere in between. I know one expat supporting a family on a half of Expat A’s budget, and I know some spending many times what Expat B spends. It all depends on your lifestyle.

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