I am an avid traveler and have explored many Asian countries. Thailand is one of my favorites! It is a beautiful country full of beautiful temples, beaches, and good people. I am considering moving there one day to retire. I have researched and gathered a bunch of information I would like to share with you. It has helped me figure out how much money I will need to retire in Thailand.
To retire in Thailand you need $525,000 in your retirement fund. This gives you a comfortable lifestyle and a “salary” of $1750 per month. The minimum you need is $300,000 – giving you $1000 a month to live off of.
According to smartasset.com in 2021, having around $1,500-$2000 a month in Thailand will allow you to live comfortably. That’s an average of $21,000 per year! It sounds like nothing if you are from the US or Europe. Of course, comfort is subjective, and it all depends on the food, housing, activities, and lifestyle you desire. And let’s not forget to factor in the years one would retire for.
Let’s get into the details!
Suggested reading: How Much To Retire In Norway?
Disclaimer: non of this is to be considered as financial advice. This is nothing more than my opinion, and I’m not a financial advisor. I take no responsibility for what you decide to do.
How Much Money To Retire Comfortably In Thailand?
The average age to retire is 65, but let’s say you are retiring at 55 years old or younger for this example. You want to live a more exciting life in a place called Thailand for the next 35-50 glorious years.
Well, exactly how much money do you need to retire in Thailand comfortably?
If you want a “salary” of $1750 per month, which is $21,000 per year, you need a nest egg of $21,000/0.04 = $525,000 if you want to stick to the 4% rule.
Once again: If you have $525,000 invested in index funds, or other investment vehicles returning an average of 7% or more per year, you have enough money to retire in Thailand with $21,000 per year in spending.
Saving up half a million bucks is hard. To learn how to save a ton of money, check out this article: The 4 Steps To Save A Lot Of Money Fast
Considerations Before Retiring In Thailand:
- Do you want a house or an apartment?
- Do you want to live in the city, on the beach, or in a sanctuary in the mountains?
- Are you going to hire a full-time private cook, eat out often, or do most of the cooking yourself?
- Will you have a car, a motorcycle, or use public/private transportation?
- Are you going to travel and adventure throughout the year, or will you make a yearly trip back to your hometown?
When visiting expatistan.com I came across some 2021 costs in Thailand:
Comfortable Housing In Thailand Example:
- Monthly rent for a really upscale furnished 900 sqft unit = $1300-1638/month
- Utilities for two people = $56/month
- Internet = $16/month
- Cleaning service = $7/per hour
- SUM: $1400 – $1750
Want to BUY a house instead of having a landlord?
It’s important to figure out what houses “really” cost in foreign countries VS what the locals try and sell it to you for.
I do plan to buy a house, but I will be traveling there again to develop a relationship with locals in my desired area first. Knowing the locals is the most important part of not getting ripped off.
I’m sure there are so many different internet realtor sites out there, but according to realtor.com, I found that they list really nice 3 bed 2 bath houses in safe and beautiful areas ranging from $100,000-$300,000 per house.
If you want to own a car, you’ll want to be aware that vehicles in Thailand can cost more than ones from the U.S. or Europe. This is due to importing costs and demand. Plus, technically you cannot own it outright if you are not a citizen of Thailand.
Personally, I would only rent a car when needed. I would buy a motorcycle for sure.
Comfortable Transportation Cost Example:
- New Volkswagen Golf 1,4 = $48, 673
- New motorcycle range = $1500-$3000
- 1 liter (1/4 gallon) of gas = $0.87
- Monthly ticket for public transport = $40/month
Comfortable Entertainment Costs Example:
- Nice Dinner out for two = $18/month
- Internet = $16/month
- Fancy Dinner for two = $30
- 2 movie tickets = $12
- An amazing unique adventure day tour with food for two = $150
Personally, I would like to live a good comfortable life in Thailand. That means a 3-5 bedroom house with a pool near the beach with a nice motorcycle. It also means having a personal cook, 3-4 times a week along with a maid. I don’t drink and party like crazy, but I do love adventure, so I’d be out and about a few times a month exploring.
With that said, I would push my goals to $2,500 monthly, equalling a retirement fund of around 750,000 dollars (assuming I’m retiring for 35 years or more). I myself would plop that 1 million into a “safe” interest-bearing investment like bonds together with index funds, to make up for things like inflation and taxes over time.
But what if gathering $750K for retirement is a bit unrealistic..?
Suggested reading: Is Saving $1000 a month good?
What Is The Minimum Amount Of Money To Retire In Thailand?
If you are willing to live and eat like a local Thai person, you can really stretch your money. In a country like Thailand, one could argue forever on what the minimum is for living/retirement standards…
However, for our case, let us say the minimum standard to retire in Thailand includes a pleasant one-bedroom apartment/condo, internet, local food spots, eating out once a week, and a motorcycle.
I came up with a number for the minimum amount of money to retire in Thailand – $300,000. That would be $1000 per month, living by the 4% rule. If you only think you’ll retire for 10 years, then that’s only $100,000 as your nest egg fund.
In other words:
The minimum amount of money you need saved up and invested before retiring in Thailand is $300,000. This gives you a “salary” of $1000 per month.
Don’t fret; with this you can still have the awesome experience of living in a magical land with delicious food and heartwarming people…but you’ll need to understand what you actually get as far as housing and Thaitivities (I just made that word up).
Cost Example For $1,000/month Living:
- Housing (a basic apartment) = $450/month
- Food, shopping, eating out = $305/month
- Internet = $16/month
- Miscellaneous spending = $90/month
- Motor scooter rental = $152/month
All that sets you back about $1000 a month, give or take. This is a general idea and is not set-in-stone numbers. Also, with this minimum retirement assessment, things like housing and daily outings are going to be considered pleasantly average.
The apartment or condo will not be super spacious, but if you learn how to search, you can find one that is a cozy place to call home. You may not be able to eat out 5 times a week, but you will be able to eat out 2 times a week with some in-between street food.
Although you can find some great deals and still have a good retired life at $1000/month in Thailand, Thailandretirementplans.com says to bump it up to around $1,200-1,500/month as a minimum. The extra couple hundred can make a huge difference in experience and quality of life.
Is Retiring In Thailand A Good Idea?
Yes! If you want to see really interesting architecture, amazing markets, and a culture completely the opposite of where you came from (in my case), then retiring in Thailand is a very good idea.
BUT…there is also a not a good idea side.
It takes a certain individual to retire in what is considered a third-world country like Thailand. I could do it and truly enjoy the wonders it has to offer. But I’m somewhat of a nomad and have lived in many different places in the world.
Based on my experience, when people from America and Europe try to live in a place where English is not the main language, they often get frustrated. Why? Because they get lost, they can’t get what they want, and they sometimes get bad deals.
Also, they have expectations from their home country, and when they are not met, they become disappointed. Unfortunately, not everyone is willing to be flexible or take on the challenge of learning a new language in a foreign country.
PERSONAL FACT: I would 100% be enrolled in a Thai-speaking class a few months before I retire there.
When I visited Thailand I was only there for 3 weeks but it was a life-changing trip. I explored Bangkok (city) and Chang Mai (rural) primarily. I explored the night markets, and the astonishing palaces they have, and rode in their local tuk-tuks (private unique transportation vehicles) all over the city. Then I took the train out of the city and into the country. There I went on a jungle tour and was able to relax in a quiet town afterward.
I really hope this article has helped you weigh some options and gives you a better idea of your retirement plan.
When it comes to deciding on pushing for a luxurious life VS a minimalistic life for your retirement in Thailand, I believe it is the best to combine both worlds.
When I lived in the Philippines for an entire year, I lived in a local town with only a handful of foreigners like me. My small 2 bedroom house was literally on the beach but it had a cultural flavor to it. I found a lot of benefits that cannot always be appreciated when you place yourself in a high-end area isolated from the common folk. Things like actually getting to practice the native language and learn about the heritage. Things like that really inspire me to continue traveling and learning.
Overall, it is very important to be flexible with your expectations when considering retiring in Thailand. Go with the flow and do a good amount of research before committing.
Having said that, I couldn’t stress enough about taking a month to travel there to get a feeling of the culture and lands for yourself. Once you do that, you will know if retiring in Thailand is good for you.
Are you looking to spend your retirement years simple, closer to the local Thai people, or are you going to aim for a more ambitious lifestyle that gives you more than you could ever have in your home country? Whichever you choose, I wish you well…
Happy retirement and happy traveling!