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Living in Asia at age 50+ is likely to achieve their dream easier?

Moving to lower cost and expense countries would gain the change to achieve their retirement dreams.

Photo of Sutita
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I have got a chance to interview retired American couple who have settled in Thailand after their retirement. They said that their dream is to live in beautiful climate, cultural experience, and affordable healthcare with lower cost of living. Their destination is Thailand, where is small country in southern Asia. The living cost in Thailand is lower than New York with more than 10 times; they said. With the same amount of money, they can afford more activities, travel, and even access the good private healthcare services. However, the uncertainty of exchange rate can affect the cost of money.  The big issue of foreigner who intend to live in Asia is security. Thailand is peaceful and they said you need to know where to go and where not to go, do not take yourself into the risk.

Thailand provides the retirement visa that the foreigners should put saving about $25,000 into Thai bank account and income of $2,000 monthly. With this amount of money, the couple can access the basic accommodation and comfortable lifestyle. This provide the basic pictures how much they need for settle in Thailand (as example). Thailand allows the foreigner to invest the local business with less than 50% share with Thai citizens. With about $50,000, the couple can travel the whole years in Thailand and will left $25,000 by end of the year. In other ways, they can think of starting some business in Thailand to achieve their dream with less cost of investment, lower cooperate tax compared to western country. Only one concern is you may need to learn Thai language.

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Photo of Juliette Laborie

Hi @Sutita, thank you for the contribution! It is very interesting and resonates with things happening elsewhere too - seniors going to  cheaper, sunnier countries for their retirements. Other parallel examples in and around Europe can be British seniors settling in the south of France or in Spain, French-speaking people going to Morocco (to avoid the language barrier), etc.

As Anne-Laure Fayard was evoking, it seems to me that one of the key questions around this are social / family connections.

How do you maintain family ties when your family is a 15-hour plane ride away? We tend to assume that this would be a concern for many retirees, but is it the case? i.e. does it make a huge difference if your family is +10 hours away vs. say 6 hours if they leave on the East Coast of the US and you're on the West Coast? If yes, would this make closer locations potentially more attractive? I have heard British friends whose parents have settled in France cite geographic proximity as a key element of their parent's choice...

Also, how easy can it be to meet people in your new country and build a network of friends/social acquaintances, provided you don't belong to a professional / academic network anymore? It would be interesting to ask this couple if they have made new friends in Thailand, and if yes, if those friends tend to be fellow expats vs. locals. In any case, there might be something to do around helping seniors who are moving to a new country integrate - building social networks for expats, organising events, providing language lessons, etc.

And finally, tying back to our theme, the financial needs of such an international population would be quite different from what's typically expected for seniors - easy international transfers, preferred exchange rates, ability to offer a good level of service and accessibility in both home and residence countries, etc. Again challenging the typical notions around +50 populations !

Thanks! Juliette

Photo of Kate Rushton

Hi Juliette!

Thank you for your comments/feedback. It is really helpful. I hope to see you in the ideas phase in two days time.

I just wanted to add the experiences of my parents. They are 60+ and living in the UK. For the past ten years, they have been going on holiday every year to Greece. Over the years they have connected with the locals and expats out there and are members of an online expat community for the island. It has gotten to the point where they have just as many friends over there than here. They did consider relocating to the island, but eventually stayed in the UK concerned about options for medical treatment.

A lot of their expat friends did the same and started going on holiday then retired. However, only one person lives full time on the island and she speaks fluent Greek. The others only go for the spring/summer region because they did not realise how bad the weather was and how isolated the island was in winter. They had only been there on holiday in the summer months.

I do know people who retired overseas a long distance away. They generally had no children or children who were geographically dispersed all over the world and communicate via Skype.

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