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Thailand Among Top Overseas Retirement Destinations

Don’t limit yourself to Australia in retirement; how much do you know about retiring abroad?

Just last month, North American-based magazine International Living produced a list of the world’s best 25 places to retire.

On that list in 10th place was Thailand, considerably closer to Australia than many other locations on the list, which is targeted toward US citizens.

The list, officially known as the Annual Global Retirement Index, considered many aspects of a location, taking into account real-world insights about buying and renting, benefits and discounts specific to retirees, as well as the cost of living, cultural assimilation, entertainment, health care, infrastructure and climate.

According to the Index, expat communities are thriving in the country’s larger cities, like Bangkok and Chiang Mai, as well as in resort areas like Hua Hin and Phuket.

One Canadian who picked Thailand to retire, Steve Le Poidevin, said it’s easy to make new friends with a little effort.

“Here in Chiang Mai … There are lots of opportunities to get involved with both locals and other expats… with a Chiang Mai Expat Club that meets monthly, as well as many expat clubs that get together weekly,” he said.

When it comes to cost, Thailand is listed as the place for “highly-affordable” homes and “a relatively low cost of living” in which the Index gave an example that a couple can live comfortably in Chiang Mai on a modest budget of AUD$2,200 a month.

Despite the low-cost, the South East Asian country is praised for providing “excellent health care” throughout the country. Here, basic doctor’s visits and dental procedures (such as cleanings and fillings) can cost as little as US$45, while a basic health insurance plan starts at around AUD$424.

While Thai food and culture are among the major draws for expat retirees, Thailand is also named as “an outdoor-lover’s paradise, with a rich mosaic of rainforests, exotic wildlife, and breath-taking temples.”

Thailand’s is regarded as a welcoming country for people to retire on a long-term basis, and the retirement visa does not stipulate an annual minimum stay. In addition, retirees are eligible for visas at the relatively young age of 50, and there are no additional financial requirements for their dependents.

Retirement visas are issued when applicants offer proof of income, which currently stands at around 65,000 Thai Baht per month.

For more information on retirement in Thailand, be sure to grab a copy of the autumn edition of The Retiree, set for release in the first week of March. 

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Alana Lowes

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