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My job? Living here
Old 07-10-2005, 01:49 AM   #1
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My job? Living here

I had a good discussion recently with Lancelot about cost of living in Thailand - he lives for about $1k/mth while my budget is about 1.5K/mth(more travel). None of us are making any sacrifices to live for this kind of money compared to our lifestyle in home country (besides living in Thailand 8)).

We concluded that by simply living in Thailand (or other low cost/good standard of living place), and without doing any other "sacrifices" a retiree with a decent nest egg could consider the "living in Thailand" to be ones (only) job.

The $1M retiree earning 4% real after inflation would still see growth of 2-3% real, or $20k-30K per year - being more than most manage to save while working.

Even the $500k retiree earning the 4% real would see see some real growth.

For Lancelot and I it does probably not matter much as we love Thailand anyway but for others it might make sense to see a move to lower cost areas (even in ones home country for that matter) as ones "job" - comparing some of the hurdles of a new place (language/weather or whatever) with the cumbersome 8-10 hours a day one did in the hamster wheel before certainly puts the new life into perspective - and makes some of the petty challenges so much easier to cope with.

Cheers!
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Re: My job? Living here
Old 07-10-2005, 02:55 AM   #2
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Re: My job? Living here

I've never been to Thailand, but my grandparents lived there for many years. They were literally able to save millions, and they loved the affordable luxuries available to them there (both were big fans of custom-made silk clothing, for example).

As much as I love Thai food and teak, I don't think I could do it. I like the depth and variety of culture, landscape, and life here in the US. But you're right, it would sure beat working.
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Re: My job? Living here
Old 07-10-2005, 03:13 AM   #3
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Re: My job? Living here

Yeah wabmester, that was my main point! Moving abroad is only for the few for sure - but as I mentioned; the argument can also be used in the cases where one moved somewhere else in order to get a lower cost of living in ones home country.

Now back to "work" (hitting the gym and the pool). Cheers!

Quote:
Originally Posted by wabmester
I've never been to Thailand, but my grandparents lived there for many years.* *They were literally able to save millions, and they loved the affordable luxuries available to them there (both were big fans of custom-made silk clothing, for example).

As much as I love Thai food and teak, I don't think I could do it.* *I like the depth and variety of culture, landscape, and life here in the US.* *But you're right, it would sure beat working.*
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Re: My job? Living here
Old 07-10-2005, 06:35 AM   #4
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Re: My job? Living here

Can both Ben and Lance please give us as idea of accomodation costs where they are living (BangKok?). Is it furnished or like a regular apartment? That kind of thing. Availability also would be nice along with some contact information.

Thanks

SWR
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Re: My job? Living here
Old 07-10-2005, 06:59 AM   #5
 
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Re: My job? Living here

I don't have much to add, Ben, but keep your posts coming!* Thailand and/or Central America figure heavily into my still evolving plans when I pull the plug in a couple of months.* For me, it won't be forever--probably a year or so--but I am counting the days until I cash in my frequent flyer miles on hop on that plane....
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Re: My job? Living here
Old 07-10-2005, 07:23 AM   #6
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Re: My job? Living here

Here are a couple of the mid level places to check out. Both popular with foreigners for both shorter and longer stays: www.vptower.com and www.bosstower.com. Both furnished.

Personally I stay in something slightly more up scale but would have no problem with both those places.

tozz; a year abroad is still a year of "work" .

Cheers!
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Re: My job? Living here
Old 07-10-2005, 08:21 AM   #7
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Re: My job? Living here

I like your math definitely.*

One thing I have seen is the farther outside your comfort zone the harder it is but more interesting. Overseas is definitely the blue pill (black? red? Anyway, the one in his left hand. maybe).

Vietnam could be interesting.

Would you stay in Thailand forever or is there a point you would go back home?
It would be hard for me to be 80 years old living a foreign country. OTOH an American retired from work last year, 65 years old. He plans to die here in Kyoto. He stayed after the military. I think he got off the ship with McArthur.

How’s your Thai?
It seems like an impossible language to learn. My Thai friends had a very hard time picking up English. They accents were never quite right. Too high pitched and not the right rhythm or speed.

If you had some medical problem do you trust the normal Thai doctors or would you be off to the foreigner clinic?
Japan is very hit or miss. My eye doctor graduated from Harvard and is very good. My friend was hit by a car, taken to the hospital, X-rayed, told nothing was wrong, sent home. Two weeks later went back, reX-rayed, told his leg was broken, needed surgery, where his leg was rebroken.* :

Mike
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Re: My job? Living here
Old 07-10-2005, 09:41 AM   #8
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Re: My job? Living here

Granted, living abroad is not for everyone. But, couldn't you just return to this country, or move to another one for change if/when you got bored?

I have actually heard friends remark they couldn't live in Hawaii, because after you go to the beach the 500th time, it's sooo old. Well, isn't that what airplanes are for? Return to the mainland occasionally for a "fix" and then go back.
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Re: My job? Living here
Old 07-10-2005, 10:03 AM   #9
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Re: My job? Living here

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eagle43
Granted, living abroad is not for everyone.* But, couldn't you just return to this country, or move to another one for change if/when you got bored?

I have actually heard friends remark they couldn't live in Hawaii, because after you go to the beach the 500th time, it's sooo old.* Well, isn't that what airplanes are for?* Return to the mainland occasionally for a "fix" and then go back.*
The only person I knew who relocated to Hawaii is still there 40 years later.
My former business partner had a home on Maui, but split his time between
there and Detroit. I really know no one else personally who moved overseas
either pre or post retirement. I do know a bunch of folks who moved inside
the US and were back home pretty quickly. I attribute a lot of this to not doing your homework. Living somewhere for a time before moving there is a must
IMHO. I took the lazy way out and bought the "some day" home where
I already knew the territory. I realize you might have fun traveling
and researching places to relocate. Makes me tired just thinking about it

JG
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Re: My job? Living here
Old 07-10-2005, 11:27 AM   #10
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Re: My job? Living here

Although I haven't been to Thailand yet. I plan to spend some time there to determine if it would be a nice place fro me to live for the next 10 years. I still would want to have a homebase somewhere in US in a condo or townhouse that I could return to occasionally or permanently.
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Re: My job? Living here
Old 07-10-2005, 01:05 PM   #11
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Re: My job? Living here

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eagle43
...because after you go to the beach the 500th time, it's sooo old.*
I'd hate to hear their opinions on sex, alcohol, or classic rock.

5-7 feet on the south shore this weekend. But noooooooo, I had to haul a car off a guardrail, spend a couple hours wrapping up a volunteer project, clean & cook to entertain some friends (who thankfully brought a very nice Merlot), take the kid to a Kumon Math Challenge this morning, buy groceries... moan, whine, snivel.

Another south swell is coming Tuesday-Thursday. I'll be there, no matter how much ibuprofen it takes to get through tae kwon do that night. I'll count that beach trip as "1" and I'll report back when I reach 500.
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Re: My job? Living here
Old 07-10-2005, 05:42 PM   #12
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Re: My job? Living here

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords
I'd hate to hear their opinions on sex, alcohol, or classic rock.

5-7 feet on the south shore this weekend. But noooooooo, I had to haul a car off a guardrail, spend a couple hours wrapping up a volunteer project, clean & cook to entertain some friends (who thankfully brought a very nice Merlot), take the kid to a Kumon Math Challenge this morning, buy groceries... moan, whine, snivel.

Another south swell is coming Tuesday-Thursday. I'll be there, no matter how much ibuprofen it takes to get through tae kwon do that night. I'll count that beach trip as "1" and I'll report back when I reach 500.
Touche! and I agree. Just quoting 'em. You live in Paradise, IMHO.
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Re: My job? Living here
Old 07-10-2005, 08:19 PM   #13
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Re: My job? Living here

There is also something else. I think even if it is generally cheaper to live in an area, that is for natives. Transplants generally spend more. If you could live like a native you would spend the same, if not you would still be paying a premium. This premium can push you over what it would cost you to live in the original place. This is true overseas and probably to a lesser degree within the states. Compare sushi in California with sushi in Ohio. Unless you like walleye sushi.*

I can’t say anything about Thailand but living like an American in Indonesia could cost you more than living in America. Also how about 1.50 for a box of kraft mac and cheese in Tokyo.

Also if you are depressed because you can’t adapt, you spend more and what is the point then.
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Re: My job? Living here
Old 07-10-2005, 11:05 PM   #14
 
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Re: My job? Living here

You obviously know globs and globs more about ex-pat life than I, but is it conceivable that you could pay more to live in Thailand, or Indonesia than the US* I suspect my monthly (admittedly astronomical) car insurance payment is more than enough for some ex-pats to live on.*

Wouldn't someone depressed and inclined to mitigate that via the Mall, do the same in the US?* "Oh, you mean THAT BMW?* Well I was a little depressed..."
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Re: My job? Living here
Old 07-11-2005, 12:42 AM   #15
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Re: My job? Living here

Tozz
What I meant was that there are different ways to live overseas. You can spend as much as you want. There is no limit.

For example,
http://www.bali-information.com/bali...=267&c=22&pn=1

This does not mean you need to (or will) spend this much.

The closer you adopt a native lifestyle the less you will spend. For example, live in a western style house you will pay more. Want to eat mexican food in Indonesia. It will cost you. Want an LL Bean shirt. you will pay for shipping. Don't learn the language you will pay more for taxis, housing, food. Also there are other costs. For example, want to go back to see your folks. The airplane ticket is a lot more from Bangkok than from Chicago.

Sure in some places like Indonesia or Thailand the overall cost of living is so much lower you would need to work hard to spend more than you do in the States. Like Ben said 1k or 1.5k a month should cover you. But live like a king, you will spend the money. Less than you would to live like a king in the states but it is still real money.

If you can eat from of the street vendors and drink local beer you won't spend much at all. Some people can't do this.

Here in Japan not Bangkok, I have a friend who likes foriegn pubs a lot. He spends 8 dollars a pint for Kilkenny until 5 am. He spends well over 200 hundred dollars a week on beer. I spend 5 dollars on my Asahi and go home at 11. I spend 20 dollars a week. It is all in how you live, same as in the States.

In terms of being depressed. You are right. I think it is the same as going to the mall and blowing a wad of cash because your girlfriend dumped you or you didn't get a raise. The thing is if you are living in a foreign country and not liking it, you are probably not liking it a lot. Then you can blow through money and you will still be depressed. I have done this. Think McDonalds, Starbucks, Hard Rock Cafe. Also running back to a bit of sanity in the States.

The thing is some people take to the lifestyle easy, some don't. I don't want to discourage anyone thinking about this. I have had a lot of good experiences and would do it again.

I also think this has parallels to someone who has troubles moving from LA to the countryside. Although overseas it is probably magnified.

Mike
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Re: My job? Living here
Old 07-11-2005, 01:04 AM   #16
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Re: My job? Living here

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikew
I also think this has parallels to someone who has troubles moving from LA to the countryside. Although overseas it is magnified.
Hey, we're sort of doing the Green Acres thing. The neighbors figured we'd move back to the city after about 6 months (we're in year 5 now). It's definitely a change in mindset. The first couple of weeks, I tried lugging our trashcans to the curb. Up a steep 1/4 mile grade. By week 3, I was taking the cans up the hill in my new Ford F350 -- yeehaw! There are some things I'm still not used to, though. Just today, in fact, I spent a couple hours moving around a 20ft ladder and scooping an entire ecosystem out of our rain gutters. Some people climb Everest -- I climb the top of 20 ft ladders to scoop out muck for the same rush. (Yech.)
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Re: My job? Living here
Old 07-11-2005, 01:07 AM   #17
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Re: My job? Living here

Mikew -- can you tell me please roughly how much it might cost a single to live in Japan, and specifically where (are you in Tokyo or elsewhere)?

I was there 20 years ago for a month courtest of Uncle Sam -- it was fairly expensive but I wonder if the recession of the last decade has changed that any?

Thanks!
Caroline
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Re: My job? Living here
Old 07-11-2005, 01:34 AM   #18
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Re: My job? Living here

Yes - my "math" certainly makes me happy too!
Vietnam; I have lived there for 6 months before and actually typing this in Vietnam. Interesting place for sure - I like both but Thailand is still my favorite. (and Phillipines 2nd) - that might change as interests change.

We all have friends that are stressed out without realizing that by selling their mcmansion and 3 of the cars+moving only a few hours away (leaving the overseas trip out for now) they might be able to FIRE.

Personally I have many good friends in my home country too - and I have access to condo there too - so I have the balance I need in place. I DO see myself being most of the time in Thailand where I also have many friends (I have lived there before for a couple of years). I will stay as long as I feel it makes me happy!

My spoken Thai is decent and really not that hard to learn - and one of my FIRE-jobs (together with doing sports/eating well/seeing friends around the world) is to improve that together with my written Thai (not TRUELY needed as unlike Japan more and more signs/forms Etc. is now dual language but would be nice). The English level of the Thais is improving but it also helps to have a "trained" ear to better understand the "Thenglish".

Medical treatment in Thailand is very good - I have no worries what so ever, but also use a health insurance that will pay for the most expensive private hospitals Incl. evacuate me to Singapore (probably best in the world) for super serious stuff (brain Etc.). For the small stuff I would just go to a local doctor - or self medicate (I have a bachelor level in sports physiology from my army days+the internet makes it a viable option for small stuff) as most drugs are available cheap over the counter.

Cheers!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikew
I like your math definitely.*

One thing I have seen is the farther outside your comfort zone the harder it is but more interesting. Overseas is definitely the blue pill (black? red? Anyway, the one in his left hand. maybe).

Vietnam could be interesting.

Would you stay in Thailand forever or is there a point you would go back home?
It would be hard for me to be 80 years old living a foreign country. OTOH an American retired from work last year, 65 years old. He plans to die here in Kyoto. He stayed after the military. I think he got off the ship with McArthur.

How’s your Thai?
It seems like an impossible language to learn. My Thai friends had a very hard time picking up English. They accents were never quite right. Too high pitched and not the right rhythm or speed.

If you had some medical problem do you trust the normal Thai doctors or would you be off to the foreigner clinic?
Japan is very hit or miss. My eye doctor graduated from Harvard and is very good. My friend was hit by a car, taken to the hospital, X-rayed, told nothing was wrong, sent home. Two weeks later went back, reX-rayed, told his leg was broken, needed surgery, where his leg was rebroken.* :

Mike
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Re: My job? Living here
Old 07-11-2005, 01:37 AM   #19
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Re: My job? Living here

Eagle; that is EXACTLY how I see it! Flexibility will be key for anyone who FIRE be it aborad or at home. CHeers!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eagle43
Granted, living abroad is not for everyone.* But, couldn't you just return to this country, or move to another one for change if/when you got bored?

I have actually heard friends remark they couldn't live in Hawaii, because after you go to the beach the 500th time, it's sooo old.* Well, isn't that what airplanes are for?* Return to the mainland occasionally for a "fix" and then go back.*
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Re: My job? Living here
Old 07-11-2005, 02:02 AM   #20
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Re: My job? Living here

Mike has some good points for you - and one can always spend MORE but looking at Thailand I would say that the scale goes something like this:

$500/mth: "english teacher level" -local studio/mostly local food/rarely expat bars/little travel(outside Thailand)
$1k/mth: "retiree level" - 1 bedroom in apt w. pool/mix local+foreign food/expat bars/travel incl. homeleave(1)
$2k/mth: "expat life" 2 bedroom in apt w. pool/gym/eat anything/drink anywhere(within reason)/travel incl. homeleave(1-2)
$3k/mth: "luxury expat life" add a nice car, spa treatments, shopping trips to Singapore Etc.

Naturally the scale can continue but guessing that the median after tax salary in the western world being somewhere in the above higher end range there is really no reason to.

Could I live as cheaopy in my home country? Yeah - but it would be hard and with constant penny pinching + giving
up a lot of luxeries I enjoy. Cheers!

Quote:
Originally Posted by tozz
You obviously know globs and globs more about ex-pat life than I, but is it conceivable that you could pay more to live in Thailand, or Indonesia than the US* I suspect my monthly (admittedly astronomical) car insurance payment is more than enough for some ex-pats to live on.*

Wouldn't someone depressed and inclined to mitigate that via the Mall, do the same in the US?* "Oh, you mean THAT BMW?* Well I was a little depressed..."
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