Retiring in Thailand has been my dream for many, many years. My dream will come true in about 2 years and I am making some serious plans now. I can be anal when planning and there are numerous considerations when planning for the final chapter in your life. I intend to plan everything down to the nitty-gritty details.
Let me preface this by saying that I have been going to Thailand for the past 35 years. I have served there as a soldier and visited numerous times on vacation. I love the people, food, customs and culture and plan to live out my life there.
I have been doing my homework checking out my financial status and how much I will be getting when I hit retirement age. My situation is unusual in that I will get a small pension from my current government job, additional fund from a military retirement in about 4 ½ years, and even more from social security in about 6 years. I also have a 401K and a government equivalent (Thrift Savings Plan) and will also profit from selling my house when I retire.
So, money is no problem. I plan to buy a house in Thailand. Well, actually, lease a house since foreigners cannot legally own land. I don’t want to put the property in my girl’s name because she could potentially sell it and I would have no recourse. There is also a small loophole allowing foreigners to incorporate themselves and lease the property back. I don’t trust this one and worry about laws changing and having my property taken out from under me. I will go with the lease or something called a usufruct.
The usufruct I don’t entirely understand but I will be meeting with an English speaking lawyer during my trip in March, 2008 and will get all the details. All I know is that it is similar to the lease but has some benefits. I have gotten some email answers but prefer the face to face explanations.
I have had my girl looking for properties so that during my next 3week vacation I will only have to spend a short amount of time looking. So far, I have seen some pictures of nice properties for about $50,000 USD. This is for a 3-bedroom, 2 bath, 2-story place. Will be nice to see them in person and then make my “purchase”.
The monthly pension/retirement checks will easily take care of my day-to-day needs. Food and drink are cheap as are the utilities for the house. I will be able to have air conditioning and a satellite dish to receive English speaking programs along with the Thai TV shows.
Shopping is dirt cheap so clothes and other daily items will not be a burden. Going out will be very pleasant as a night on the town with dinner, drinks and going out to a club will be less than fifty dollars – and that is living large.
Medical plans are available and care is comparable to US or European standards – maybe even higher. Prescription drugs can be had over the counter and medical treatment is second to none.
Staying in Thailand legally has gotten easier with the loosening of visa requirements. Foreigners can now get one year visas that are easily renewable. All you have to do is check in every 3 months. Thailand likes expats’ money even though we can’t own land.
Retiring in Thailand will make my life much easier than retiring in Hawaii – even if my condo is paid for. The cost of living, the attitude of the Thai people, and the food and culture has me counting the days until April 4th, 2010.