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Can You Really Retire in Thailand On $500 Per Month?

When many people retire, they just stop working and continue to live where they currently are. This is not for me. I live in Hawaii and have been here for 23 years and love the islands, but I don’t want to retire here. The cost of living in Hawaii is not conducive to retirement living unless you have a ton of money. I have a nice nest egg, a pension coming and a military retirement, but I don’t want to struggle with day to day living in Hawaii. I prefer to live in a country where it will take about 25% of what it costs me now to live.

That place is Thailand. I have been stationed there as a soldier, participated in military exercises there, and take two or three vacations in Thailand every year. It is my personal paradise and where I will spend my golden years. If you have ever visited Thailand and been to Bangkok, Pattaya, or Phuket, you will think I am crazy saying that you can retire for $550 per month. But, keep in mind that living in Thailand permanently is different than being there for a two or three week vacation.

During a vacation you tend to spend all of the money that you saved up over the year and have a great, blow-out holiday. If you live in Thailand, you won’t be going out bar-hopping and just throwing your money around like you do on vacation. Plus, if you live in a place, you tend to know the places to get the best deals and prices. As I've gotten older and have a lady that I see in Thailand, I don’t have the need to go out as much. We still go out for dinners and shopping and site-seeing, but I spend a lot less than when I am in Pattaya on a single man's holiday. My last trip I spent three weeks in Khon Kaen, northeast of Bangkok. My hotel room was basic and cost about 12 dollars per day. My lady would cook breakfast for me and then pick up some goodies from the local street vendors for my lunch. We would go out for dinner and have three or four plates of food, a couple of beers, and some water. My daily expense for this was about $25.

This is for meals and my room. Granted, I spent a little more when we went out shopping and I also saved a bit by drinking beer in my room instead of bar-hopping. Movies were bought at the mall for $3 and watching a movie in the room, drinking a beer, and having a pizza was cheap entertainment. Once I retire in Thailand, I will buy a house, so the hotel bill is gone. My soon-to-be wife will be able to cook for us in the house and we won’t go out for meals as much. We will still go out, but it won’t be every night. Even if you don’t own a house, getting a monthly rental in a city away from the touristy areas will still be cheap. Getting by on less than $20 a day is easy unless you are out in the bars and clubs every night. I recommend that you visit Thailand and see what this beautiful country has to offer and see if it is the right place for you to retire.


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