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Early Retirement in Thailand

Updated on January 26, 2011

There is a question that most expats ask themselves prior to choosing a location and that is can I really afford to retire there? When you think of retirement you think to endless days being lazy and people watching. Or you think about people who do retire to Southeast Asia and are just asking for the dangers and putting themselves at risk outside a developed country. In my experience there is a lot more to living in Southeast Asia and retiring then that. There are many expats of all ages who now live in Bangkok and Bali for the love of the Asian culture not just selfish motivation.


Literally there our thousands of expats now are living in the Southeast Asian region mainly for the love of the culture. Most of them that I have met do not have 1 million dollars in the bank but, they make do with what they have and specialize in areas they are good at and make a comfortable living out of it for themselves and family. Mainly because of the affordable housing, wonderful food, and enriched by the culture and friends they are around.

From the old stigmata’s of retiring to another country it is no longer about losing touch with family friends back home. That society is dropping from beneath you and you are no longer apart of this world. Expats all over the world have learned to adapt and live very comfortable lives and with today’s modern communication you are only isolated if you want to be. The majority of expats I know living in Thailand also go home to visit several months out of the year and family and friends also come visit them in their own little paradise. Then with the availability of the internet in a large percentage of the countries you are never too far away from financial and family ties that you need to keep.

For many expat types I know, the internet forms the basis for making enough money to survive, and most likely thrive in your new expat life. As I say, you need not have an enormous pile of cash to retire early here. Well-off or not, you will want activities to keep you occupied, and chances are they will bring in some money. But you don't need much to live well in Southeast Asia. I view life here as the opportunity to swing for the fences, to do something that you've always wanted to do, rather than further the aims of the company that employs you back home. You could finally write that book; open a yoga school; buy/refurbish/sell old Land Rovers and Mercedes; design kids' toys, high-end jewelry or leather goods and export them back home and elsewhere. I have known people who have done all these things in Bali.

A friend of mine bought a small town home in Bali he was telling me that most live on less than 20 or 30 dollars a day and I kept thinking that if people really knew there would be a mass exodus out of the western countries. It may not be for everyone but I know a few individuals who are unhappy in the U.S .and would greatly benefit from getting out and starting a fresh life in another part of the world. Being an expat myself I know the hardships and crazy thoughts that go through my head but knowing that I am living my best and I am personally enriched by the process I am truly grateful.  


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  • Rismayanti profile image

    Rismayanti 7 years ago from Tropical Island

    congratulation for you, find a confortable life in goodness of souteastasia country. I live in Southeastasia (indonesia,have bali island), i should double thinking living out of my country if lot expart wont to stay in my country

  • elayne001 profile image

    Elayne 7 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    We are nearing retirement and found this very intriguing. Thailand - who knew. Well, we live in Hawaii and would love to stay here if we can afford it, but it looks unlikely so we will have to find another place less expensive. Thanks for the great hub and follow. Aloha!