Retirement in Thailand: How to Make Your Savings Last

Florida may just have to take a back seat because it has become more than just a fleeting trend for Americans to consider retiring abroad. As we speak, there are about 700,000 US social security checks a month going to retirees living abroad. For sure, the prospect of retiring abroad needs quite a bit of serious planning, but it might very well be the right choice for many people.

Why retire abroad? 

Retiring overseas is quickly becoming an attractive option for several reasons; first and foremost, the American dollar goes a long way in most countries in ensuring a comfortable life. Other factors to look at before making the decision would be residency requirements, your healthcare options, and the daily cost of living. On the social front, you’d probably want a country where the climate, food, and lifestyle suits you in general.

Some countries might cross your mind immediately; Mexico being one of them due to its close proximity to the States. Other countries might not be on the top of your list—but should be—like Thailand. There’s probably a lot you don’t know about Thailand that actually makes it a lovely and comfortable place to retire to. 

Quick description

Thailand is a coastland country with a tropical climate and a population of 68,200,824. Its capital is Bangkok, and its currency is the baht. It’s a major tourist spot for people all around the globe who flock to its beaches on the southern side, visit an abundance of cultural sites—including 5 sites designated as UN World Heritage Sites—and shop around modern malls or colorful markets. What the northern side lacks in beaches, it makes up for it in parks, hills, and mountainsides where you can enjoy biking, hiking, and camping. 

Retirement visa for Thailand

It sure sounds like a good place to spend your golden years, but of course, there’s more to be looked into. Before we tell you more about what retiring in Thailand entails, you’ll want to know if you meet the requirements to do so. You’ll first want to apply for what is called a retirement visa. Here are the basic requirements to apply for one:

  • You must be 50 years of age or older.
  • You must have a passport with at least 18 months remaining until expiration.
  • You must be able to prove that you have 800,000 baht (approximately $26,278) in a Thai bank account.
  • You must prove you earn 60,000 baht (approximately $1,970) per month from a pension or other recurring source of income, or a combination of the two.
  • You also must pay a small fee of 1,900 baht for the visa. 

General cost of living

Your dollar will go a long way in Thailand. In fact, $1 is currently about 32 Thai baht. A filling street meal is around $5. Street food is popular in Thailand, and you can’t really be a part of the community there unless you’ve filled your tummy with popular ethnic foods. 

 

Actually, Thailand ranks number 22 among the cheapest countries to visit. A three-course meal for two in an average restaurant costs about 600 baht, which is approximately $20. Not bad at all! So, it’s safe to assume that living in Thailand is going to be between 30% and 40% cheaper than living in the USA.

Housing

A one-bedroom apartment equipped with reasonable utilities around the center of Bangkok will cost you around $700. If you choose to live outside the city, this number could be cut into almost half. 

Healthcare

Retirement In Thailand - healthcare
Some people won’t set foot outside the house without having a proper healthcare plan or insurance in place, let alone go live in Thailand. While public hospitals in Thailand are quite inexpensive, they often lack the proper environment needed for major healthcare issues. International hospitals are much better geared, but will break the bank if you’re not insured and need frequent medical care.
The costs of some procedures could look something like this:

  • X-ray: $25 
  • Doctor’s visit: $15
  • Antibiotics: $15
  • Broken bones: $300 (including treatment and cast)
  • Crucial surgery: $4,000 (e.g., heart surgery)

You will have to know if your medical plan will cover you while living in Thailand. If not, you’ll want to search for reliable and reputable companies that offer health insurance plans for Thailand, which cover international hospitals.

 

There are plenty of reasons why Thailand can make for a comfortable retirement. With its friendly people, beautiful landscapes, and low cost of living, you can have a smooth and relaxing retirement. Yet, retiring abroad requires a lot of planning—and it’s not for the faint of heart. There will be new things to get used to, but it’s definitely an option worth considering.


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The collective team of Parlé Magazine. Twitter: @parlemag

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