Retire Thailand; is it still a cheap alternative? I think it is fair to say that living in Thailand was pretty much my objective as soon as I had visited the place for the first time. Expat life in Pattaya is of a very high standard and even with, at the time of writing (early 2013), the economies of the
Western world struggling with unemployment, debt and possible recession
ahead, the current exchange rates still make Thailand a relatively low cost place
to live. Things aren't quite as cheap as they once were, but they are still cheap by Western standards and getting by really doesn't take that much money.
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It is anyone's guess how long it will take the Western economies to recover, and it is even less certain whether or not that recovery will bring with it a return to the exchange rates of 2008 and before. Even so, it is still perfectly possible, right now, to enjoy a relatively high standard of living on a relatively small amount of money.
For a single person, something like 40,000 baht per month is enough for all your needs. If you are a small family, you'll probably need to raise that amount to around 60,000 baht per month. These amounts should take care of your accommodation costs, travel costs, food and toiletries, clothing, school costs, healthcare etc and still leave enough for you to go out and enjoy yourself from time to time. However, these amounts are the minimum, to really enjoy yourself you will need a bit more. If you already have net assets that you could cash in for around 5m to 7m baht, the Thailand retirement dream is already a viable option for you provided that you are able to spot a good investment that can make a decent income.
Take the classic example of property investment; a property portfolio in Pattaya can easily make an annual 10% gross return in rental income alone. If this interests you, make sure you buy your Thai property at a competitive price. To see my advice on this, have a look at my Property advice. Added to that, property values are likely to increase over time which means you should be able to charge more rent over time - it's a good way of inflation proofing your income. Obviously, if property values increase at a higher rate than general inflation (as they usually do), you can make even more money.
the value of your net assets are not quite up to the required level,
you might still be able to realise your 'retire Thailand' dream soon
enough. Just imagine if the value of your house, and your country's
exchange rate, were both to return to their 2008 level.
Your house would probably be worth an extra 20-40%, and you would be able convert your national currency into Thai baht for another 20-40% extra!! I'll bet you're wishing now that you had sold up and moved to Thailand back in 2008, but don't beat yourself up about it, it's too easy to look back and think 'if only I had done this or that thing'....
If you are thinking of choosing the expat life, you might be considering Thailand retirement against a number of possible alternative destinations. Why go for the 'retire Thailand' option? I've already mentioned the low cost of living, but there are a number of other good reasons to weigh up in your mind that I think will make living in Thailand your preferred option.
For starters, there is the weather and climate in Thailand which is hard to beat. Pattaya weather tends to be even better than in other areas of Thailand. You basically get three seasons. From March though to July it is hot and humid. From July through to November it is hot and rainy (though most days are still sunny in Pattaya). Finally, from November through to March it is absolutely glorious - warm and dry, not too hot, and without the humidity!
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Secondly, there is the infrastructure in Thailand. Compared to most other countries in South East Asia, it is good. Road, rail and air connections make it a simple matter to get from point A to point B.
Third, the food in Thailand is delicious and compares very favourably against other South East Asia countries. If you choose to live in Pattaya, you have a wide variety of options in front of you. Because of the international visitors that come to Pattaya, it has a truly international cuisine on offer.
Fourth, if you choose Pattaya as your retirement destination, you will find a well developed expat community already in existence. If you speak English, you will find that communication here is very simple compared to alternative destinations you might be considering.
Fifth, there is the nightlife, bars, restaurants, girls, massage and so on that I've covered in other sections of my website!
All in all, the 'retire Thailand' option seems to me to be far better
than the 'retire elsewhere' option. For a lot of the points made,
Pattaya is the place to be within Thailand.
If you are considering Thailand as a retirement option and you want to check it out with a visit, you can find the best hotel prices at Agoda. My favourite hotels are worth a look:
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