Is Thailand still an inexpensive expat retiree destination?

Is Thailand still an inexpensive expat retiree destination?

Is Thailand still an inexpensive expat retiree destination?

What’s the true cost of retirement in Thailand?

For several decades, Thailand has been the retirement dream of would-be expats from a good number of world countries including the USA and the UK. The Southeast Asian country was celebrated as being a seriously cheap destination for Westerners looking to live an uncomplicated life with plenty of sunshine, great food, inexpensive alcohol and a great choice of charming company. However, things change, and would-be expat arrivals should keep in mind that no country ever stays the same for long!

For the average retiree from the West, Thailand is still an inexpensive destination, but would-be expats may find their lifestyles are now costing far more than was promised in previous years. Various surveys still push the ‘cheap as chips’ scenario, with most aimed at retirees on the more generous US pensions rather than UK pensioners relying on the state pension and capital from their house sales. It’s a given that Thailand’s natural beauty is still a major attraction, as is its climate, but those looking for paradise have may have missed the boat.

Having said that, the country is still a good location for social life with other expats, although integrating with the locals beyond a certain point is tricky due to the language. Few Thais outside the major tourism destinations have a good command of English as the language isn’t considered essential in Thai schools. Interestingly, many young Thaïs are now learning it by watching subtitled US movies as well as by using translation apps on their smartphones.

One problem which has surfaced over the past five years is that the Thai immigration authority is busy changing the long-established visa rules used by the vast majority of non-working expatriates. This is causing major issues for long-stay expats as well as making life difficult for immigration officers working in most of the expat-friendly cities and towns. It’s also, when combined with the rising cost of living, forcing a number of long-stay Western expats to relocate to Vietnam or the Philippines.

At present, the monthly income of around $2,000 or $25,000 kept locked in a Thai bank account is causing problems for British expats as their state pension comes out at far less and large amounts locked in a local bank pay almost nothing in interest. However, the average Thai lives comfortably on far less and it’s actually possible for expats to do the same and still enjoy their lives.

For those who’re still considering Thailand as a suitable retirement destination, checking out local online expat forums wll give a far better idea of affordability as well as suitability than any of the regular online expat surveys.

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