Beyond the actual amount required by Thai immigration so they’ll give you a retirement visa (either 800,000 baht in a Thai bank account – ($26,650) – or 65,000 baht proveable income every month ($2,180), many people thinking of retiring to Thailand worry about how much money they’ll need.
While Thailand is still quite inexpensive compared to western countries, the cost of living is increasing rapidly every year. Where, only a few years ago, a westerner could retire in Thailand and live comfortably on 30,000 baht a month ($1,000), recently just about the only way you can live on that tiny amount is to live in a small Thai village or town.
If you want to live in Chiang Mai, Bangkok, Phuket or on Koh Samui, you’ll need closer to 45,000-50,000 a month ($1,500-1,860). (And please don’t believe the claims of certain websites that you can live in Thailand for $550 a month. Maybe 10 years ago. Nowadays. There’s absolutely……..no……..way……….possible.)
Don’t forget, if you retire to Thailand, you need to be able to afford to pay for all the usual stuff – rent, utilities, internet, food, clothing, toiletries, transportation costs etc – but you’ll also need money to pay for health insurance or to sock money away in case you get sick. There’s also the cost of plane tickets back to your own country, if you occasionally want to visit family and friends, as well as some Thai immigration/visa costs every year.
The other problem with retiring to Thailand nowadays is the ridiculously strong Thai baht. Only eight years ago, the Thai baht was around 42 baht to the dollar. Nowadays? Only 30 baht. That means, in eight years if a retiree is still on the same income, their purchasing power has gone down by over 25%.
The baht too is continuing to increase, which means if you are considering retiring to Thailand, how much money you’ll need to live here must also include a Thai baht that’s expected to eventually fall to 25 baht to the US dollar.
While Thailand is still inexpensive, it’s no longer cheap. If retiring in Thailand is your dream, plan well enough ahead of time so you can save more money, and make sure you have a financial back up plan if things suddenly go south when you get here.
Thailand is an incredible place to live. But only if you have money. Please don’t retire to Thailand if you’re barely scraping by. I’ve met too many miserable western retirees living pathetic existances, scraping by on a miniscule amount of money to know that’s the last thing anyone should do.
Plus, without money to get back to the US, they often end up stuck in Thailand. Miserable and broke. Believe me, that’s no fun at all.