Planing your retirement in Thailand
In the view of Judy Blair of Infinity Financial Solutions, two key factors make Thai retirements so successful – the weather and the opportunity to hire home help.
How did you end up living in Thailand?
I came after I graduated, as a backpacker, and loved it. I kept coming back. On my last trip in 2000 I met my now husband, who was living here, and so decided to stay.
What do you like about expat life in Thailand?
Life is actually very easy and very comfortable. It’s safe, relatively stress-free. You can have home help. You can arrange for pretty much anything to get done for you, which means you can spend your time doing things you really want to do. It’s a very convenient life.
How long have you been living here and how long do you intend to stay?
Ten years already and at least another five years.
What kind of income do people need to enjoy a comfortable, secure retirement in Thailand?
This very much depends on your lifestyle. If you want to retire in a cheap location, Thailand can be that place. I would guess some people can live comfortably on €1,000 a month. However, if you want to eat organic fruit and vegetables, dine on New Zealand lamb and Australian steaks, and eat imported cheeses and other specialty foods, this is all available too – at a price. Include a round of golf and some wine and Thailand isn’t so cheap. A good life with those luxuries would cost you €3,000-4,000 per month.
What are the key issues for retirees in terms of ensuring good healthcare coverage?
You can have local Thai health insurance as you as you plan to live here forever. One thing you don’t want is to keep changing insurers, as once you have developed a condition, no future insurer will cover it, so it is best to choose an insurer you plan to remain with. International health insurance gives you the freedom to move and keep your cover. International health cover also tends to have higher limits, allowing people to use the very good hospitals in Thailand.
How much do retirees need to budget for medical insurance?
It depends on age, but allow €2,000-6,000 per year depending on age and cover required.
What are the other financial issues that retirees need to consider?
The tax benefits of living offshore as well as the enormous benefits to those with pensions in the UK of transferring them offshore. This provides all sorts of inheritance tax benefits as well as other tax benefits and much more investment freedom as well as access to capital.
What are the common pitfalls for expat retirees?
Underestimating the cost of living as well as the cost of private health insurance.
What are your tips for making the most out of Thai life?
Learn some basic Thai. Develop a love for chilli and fish sauce. And don’t be scared to drive.
More information on www.infinityfinancialsolutions.com