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How to Retire in Thailand

Aug 1, 2008
Retiring in Thailand is becoming more popular as more people are looking to make their dollars and Euros stretch in their golden years. I hope to spark some ideas in your mind and maybe you'll start to consider Thailand as a great retirement destination for you.
I'm no expert in this area, but I do have quite a bit of knowledge. Though I am quite a few years before my own retirement (I'm only 41 years old) I have been researching Thailand retirement because I plan on eventually ending up there. I've found there are quite a few things one needs to consider if they want to eventually retire and move to Thailand.

Here's a list of the issues that I've come up with regarding making the jump to retirement in Thailand:

Where will you live - Depending on your lifestyle and the things you like you have a nice assortment of places to retire in Thailand. Those looking for more cosmopolitan excitement will want to opt for Bangkok or Chiang Mai, while those looking for a more laid back lifestyle will be looking more towards the provinces of Thailand or even one of the beach destinations like Phuket or Samui. The nice thing is Thailand offers many different options in lifestyle and I'm sure one will fit you.

How much money will you need - If money isn't a consideration then no need to worry about this. If however you think you'll have limited income during your retirement you'll probably want to go for places that are more off the beaten track like the northeast of Thailand (known as Isaan) or some of the more remote beach locations. Even Chiang Mai can be affordable compared to the U.S. and Europe. Those of you looking to retire to Bangkok should probably have a bit more retirement income since the Big Mango can be quite expensive if you want to enjoy it fully.

Issues of Thai visas - The visa issue is a big one since you definitely want to be legal while you're a guest in Thailand. Fortunately for those over 50 the visa issue is quite simple. Retirement visas are available and they are both affordable and easy to get. If you're under 50 it becomes more complex and you'll need some reason such as work or family to keep you long term in Thailand.

Plan for the future - Obviously as you age your needs will change. Inflation will also eat into your retirement in Thailand just as it would in the west. Healthcare becomes more important as well. Consider your needs 20-30 years from now and have a plan before moving to Thailand.

Insurance - Will your current insurance cover you overseas? If not then you'll want to make arrangements. Healthcare is easily 1/3 the cost in Thailand as it is in the west, however it will still be expensive if you have a major health emergency.

Buying vs renting in Thailand - While renting drains your finances without adding any equity it is still the best option in Thailand. Owning land is not a possibility in Thailand (well not easily anyway) so renting is your only option in many cases. Are you able to live with this or do you want to be able to own your own place be it house or condo.

While not comprehensive by any means that's at least a quick run down on considerations for retiring to Thailand. There are obviously more things to think of, but overall in my opinion there is no place like Thailand. If you're looking for adventure and exotic living in your retirement then I strongly suggest you give Thailand a thought.
About the Author
The author has great information about Thailand travel, life in Thailand and retirement in Thailand available at his blog.
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