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Old 05-29-2011, 09:07 AM   #21
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I went to Thailand on vacation a few times in recent years. I even went through the mental motions of giving up corporate America and moving there to teach English.

On my last trip the rose colored glasses came off...I finally saw clearly the corruption, xenophobia, and superficiality of everything. Glad that happened before I did anything impulsive. For now I continue to save like a madman and plan ER.

Yes it is developing, but with the political instability it won't be the next Japan or Korea anytime soon...and the Thais don't have the same work ethic anyway...so I think the next 20 years will be good for expats...with the right mindset.

Oh and single females can do well over there...easy to make friends in the tourist zones...and they'll love you as an English teacher!
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Old 05-29-2011, 11:44 AM   #22
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I think those kinds of stories would be tremendously helpful on a retirement forum . . . Typically these threads extol the low-cost nature of retiring to a developing nation and give the impression that folks can do it on a shoe string.
Can't imagine many wanting to publicize their bad decisions and luck. Living here on SS means one has 4 - 6x more income than a typical wage earner. If one's purchasing power drops by a third because of exchange rate the typical way to adapt is to move to cheaper housing, eat & shop more like a Thai and less like a foreigner, and drink less. Moving to a different town can make a big difference. Some people say living in Chiang Mai cost half as much as Bangkok. I could cut my expenses by 30% or more by moving across the gulf to Pattaya, but I'd rather have dental work without Novocaine than live there.

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Originally Posted by Gone4Good View Post
And while it's true that starting budgets are cheap, there is no 'FireCalc' simulation that tests a retirement plan where a dollar-denominated fixed income is used to support a lifestyle paid for in a foreign currency in a country with rapidly rising living standards. That formula has risk of failure written all over it. To compensate I'd want a pretty healthy margin of error (an extremely low WR, or spending far lower than income), which would probably chew up most of the low-cost benefits.
It takes a mighty powerful crystal ball to predict exchange rates, cost of living in a country with a rising standard of living, and inflation in that country. But as another poster pointed out, Thailand isn't going anywhere fast because of corruption, the broad control of the economy by the power elite, and a less than dynamic work ethic.

One story typifies why Thailand will not be an economic front runner any time soon. 3G mobile phone network technology has been available since 2002. Thailand has limited 3G in a few cities. The government phone company and private phone companies are ready, willing and able to put in a 3G network. But they can't because all the players are trying to grab the license for a nationwide network for themselves. There is too much money to be made for anyone to cooperate and no one player is strong enough to make offers the others can't refuse. As soon as a government agency acts in a way that gives one company an advantage the others get rulings to stop it.

One good thing about investing dollars and spending baht is that a portion of the Thai economy is price sensitive exports to the US, so the government props up the dollar when it gets low enough to affect business - while letting the market set the pound exchange rate.
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Old 05-29-2011, 04:50 PM   #23
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A totally intriguing thread, I never would think anyone would go to Thailand to retire. I could read about your experiences there every day, I'm going to read all the links and especially your blog.

I have to admit I know nothing about living anywhere but here and I'd think that crime would be a huge problem and the language barrier would negate anyone from the US being able to live there and function. Obviously I am so wrong on so many counts.

Pete, were you born and raised here in the US? Were your parents from Thailand? Just how in the world did you get the idea to retire there and how did you know where to go to live and that it is safe and how to function there and .... just name anything and I'm wondering how!

I hate heat and especially humidity, I question if I could survive in that environment. I adjust to summer heat but I never can adjust to humidity in fact once the dew point hits 60 I wilt and find it oppressive to be outside. Summers here find the dew point always in the 60's and 70's is quite common, I hate summers but I do like winter. As I said I can adjust to heat especially dry heat. Is Thailand always humid, I'm sure it is always warm? Is a/c common or not?

I bet the food is wonderful. You mentioned Buddhism a few times, is the country predominantly vegetarians? Is meat or fish or seafood in most of the food you buy on the streets? Is the food very hot ie chilis and hot peppers?

A lot of misc questions -
Is it crowded and noisy where you live?
Is ice cream available?
Is satellite TV available say compared to Direct TV quality and variety of programming?
Is the food on the street safe to eat as in food poisoning, naturally everyone isn't getting sick but is it a concern that at times you will get sick from the food?
You mention you have a girl friend, forgive me for being so nosy but approximately what is her age? The reason I ask is I have this view that as an American you are viewed as rich and girls in their 20's will throw themselves at you. Again I apologize for the question and it's wording but again this is a culture I know nothing about but find your experience there fascinating to say the least! How exotic!
I gather from what you say that English is spoken by most so language is not a barrier?
Do you fear the government or the police?
Was finances, loss of job at older age, smallish nest egg the primary reason you moved there?
What do you regret?

Guess that's enough questions for now!

oops I just noticed the blog is someone elses.
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Old 05-29-2011, 06:06 PM   #24
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A totally intriguing thread, I never would think anyone would go to Thailand to retire. I could read about your experiences there every day, I'm going to read all the links and especially your blog.

I have to admit I know nothing about living anywhere but here and I'd think that crime would be a huge problem and the language barrier would negate anyone from the US being able to live there and function. Obviously I am so wrong on so many counts.

Pete, were you born and raised here in the US? Were your parents from Thailand? Just how in the world did you get the idea to retire there and how did you know where to go to live and that it is safe and how to function there and .... just name anything and I'm wondering how!

I hate heat and especially humidity, I question if I could survive in that environment. I adjust to summer heat but I never can adjust to humidity in fact once the dew point hits 60 I wilt and find it oppressive to be outside. Summers here find the dew point always in the 60's and 70's is quite common, I hate summers but I do like winter. As I said I can adjust to heat especially dry heat. Is Thailand always humid, I'm sure it is always warm? Is a/c common or not? It's tropical and that means humidity. A/C is all over the place. I never use it at home. Sleep with a fan on overhead. You get use to it. I could not stand living in Southern US in the summer. Tropical climate is different. Cool nights, living in shorts, t-shirt and flip flops.

I bet the food is wonderful. You mentioned Buddhism a few times, is the country predominantly vegetarians? Is meat or fish or seafood in most of the food you buy on the streets? Is the food very hot ie chilis and hot peppers? Few vegetarians I think. Food can be mild. You can eat Pizza all the time if you want.

A lot of misc questions -
Is it crowded and noisy where you live? - I live in a condo complex that backs up to a jungle. It's quiet and beautiful. The beach can have 5000 people on it 2 months a year. Yesterday there was 10 Thais.
Is ice cream available? - Yup the cheap stuff isn't so good and there is high end available.
Is satellite TV available say compared to Direct TV quality and variety of programming?- 20 Channels of English including HBO for $60. I pay $15 because it's just Thai channels for my girlfriend. Never watch it. Download movies and my favorite shows and hook the computer up to the TV to watch them.
Is the food on the street safe to eat as in food poisoning, naturally everyone isn't getting sick but is it a concern that at times you will get sick from the food?-I never get sick. Visitors get sick as the stomach bacteria (or whatever it is) is different. Lasts a couple of days known as the Thai trots. Restaurants here could not operate in the US with the health requirements. A Thai restaurant that was making people sick wouldn't last long here. Some how it all works. My favorite is three BBQ Chicken thighs with sticky rice and sauce $2. Or Duck curry over rice with soup also $2.
You mention you have a girl friend, forgive me for being so nosy but approximately what is her age? The reason I ask is I have this view that as an American you are viewed as rich and girls in their 20's will throw themselves at you. - She's approximately 24. Most of my friends have girlfriends that are a little older. I wasn't looking for a younger girl she just happened. She wants to get married and have a baby. Let's say I'm less than keen on the idea. Maybe a deal breaker, I don't know.

Again I apologize for the question and it's wording but again this is a culture I know nothing about but find your experience there fascinating to say the least! How exotic!
I gather from what you say that English is spoken by most so language is not a barrier? -Not an issue here in Phuket.
Do you fear the government or the police? No. I fear 10 year olds driving motorbikes at 50 MPH.
Was finances, loss of job at older age, smallish nest egg the primary reason you moved there? - I think I fell in love with this place the first time I visited.
What do you regret? - Nothing. You gain experience on how to handle situations here better with time. There is a learning curve. I would like to have been more patient with a few things.

Guess that's enough questions for now!

oops I just noticed the blog is someone elses.
I'm an Irish Catholic boy from Boston. Answered questions in your quote. There are a number of forums that go into depth on every subject you can think of.
The best is at:
http://www.thaivisa.com
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Old 05-29-2011, 11:59 PM   #25
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Let me address a few points:

I DON’TMEANATHING Cons:
  • Yes politically unstable but this isn’t Egypt. This political instability doesn’t really affect much. Meet the new boss same as the old boss and they’re all crooked. We’re not on the verge of revolution here.
Revolution is what the UDD (aka Red Shirts) want. The 2010 Thai political protests was a 2 month occupation of streets in central Bangkok funded by a billionaire, supplied by weapons stolen from armories guarded by sympathizers* that left 86 dead, 2100 injured, $1.5 billion in property damage and untold billions in damage to the economy. A state of emergency was declared for 17 provinces that lasted months. Only foreigners killed or injured were those in or adjacent to the protest zone. This was in my Cons list because some people might think it's riskier than you or I.

*Sympathizers exist at all levels of the Thai army. A Major General was suspended because he was actively advising the Red Shirts on strategy and tactics. Payback came when he was shot by a sniper while giving an interview in the street to the New York Times

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  • The southern insurgency isn’t a worry because no one is going to retire there. It’s a local problem.
Mostly local. Hat Yai is on one of the train routes to Malaysia, a good place to stop to break up the long ride. Except for one day in 2005 when three bombs went off in public places (hotel, department store and airport), killing 2 and injuring 66.

On New Years Eve in 2006 8 bombs went off in Bangkok, killing 3 and injuring 38. It was never determined if this bombing was related to the southern insurgency or to the Red Shirts.


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  • I would never buy property here. Foreigners can never own land. You take out a 30 year lease. Big over supply of rental units make this a non issue.
Some people can't imagine retiring in rented property.
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Old 05-30-2011, 12:47 AM   #26
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I hate heat and especially humidity, I question if I could survive in that environment. I adjust to summer heat but I never can adjust to humidity in fact once the dew point hits 60 I wilt and find it oppressive to be outside. Summers here find the dew point always in the 60's and 70's is quite common, I hate summers but I do like winter. As I said I can adjust to heat especially dry heat. Is Thailand always humid, I'm sure it is always warm? Is a/c common or not?
Living in a tropical climate is different than living through a tropical season. Your body needs a year or two to adjust to the new conditions, and the changing seasons move too rapidly to let you adjust.

We see it here in Hawaii all the time. The first year people are complaining about the heat, the humidity, and the dehydration. The second year they're only complaining about how "cold" it gets in January.

I lived for much of my life in Pittsburgh (where I grew up), Annapolis, and Holy Loch, Scotland. I understand cold weather and I was pretty well adapted to it. But after living full-time in Hawaii for just four years, going to San Diego in August was sheer frigid torture. The next three years in SD got a little better every year, but when we moved back to Hawaii we went through another year of hot/humid/dehydration before we re-adjusted.

After living in Hawaii for 20 years, going to Grand Junction in December darn near killed me.
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Old 05-30-2011, 12:58 AM   #27
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Great thread. Thanks to the OP for posting. While I doubt I’d every live fulltime in Thailand it is great to hear your experiences.

Still fondly remember my visit. Wonderful place.
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Old 05-30-2011, 09:04 AM   #28
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The wife and I have been looking at retiring in Belize (central america). It's basically the Caribbean.

Tropical weather similar to Florida. Amazing scuba diving.

The biggest plus: they speak english. The only country in south america that does. Spanish as well, obviously, but their national language is in English, all signs are in english, it's taught in the schools, etc.

The biggest downside: it's not THAT much cheaper than parts of the US. Depending on how and where you live here and how and where you live there. But even a place right on the beach can be crazy cheap. (watch out for hurricanes.)

This is a good site with info: http://www.belizefirst.com/livehome.html

We've looked into retiring in a place like Thailand or the Philippines, but the draw of not having to learn a new language is pretty strong. Plus beachfront property in Belize would be a bit nicer, I'd imagine. Been reading some Belize books from the library, etc. Planning a trip there next summer. Belize city seems dangerous, the rest of the country seems good.

Worth looking into if you like the idea of retiring overseas but don't like the idea of language issues...
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Old 05-30-2011, 09:27 AM   #29
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According to their posts, some of our members in the U.S. manage to live pleasantly on far less than either of the above. It doesn't cost much for a single person with a paid off home and retiree medical benefits to live in some parts of the midwest and south. Plus, in these regions English is spoken (well, more or less? )
But where can a single lonely old man can have a 30 something live in girlfriend attend to his every needs for less than $400/mo.?
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Old 05-30-2011, 10:30 AM   #30
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Great thread. Thanks to the OP for posting. While I doubt I’d every live fulltime in Thailand it is great to hear your experiences.

Still fondly remember my visit. Wonderful place.
Retiring abroad can be fun if you are healthy and no too old. Unless you really asimilate and get a new family I see most expat retirees running back home when they get ill or cannot get down the stairs anymore
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Old 05-30-2011, 10:43 AM   #31
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Plus, in these regions English is spoken (well, more or less? )

Do you know the difference between a Cajun and a Canajun? NA!
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Old 05-30-2011, 11:01 AM   #32
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I see most expat retirees running back home when they get ill or cannot get down the stairs anymore
Running back home to who?
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Old 05-30-2011, 11:14 AM   #33
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The second year they're only complaining about how "cold" it gets in January.
We nearly froze December through March in PV this year. Daily highs were around 75 degrees but the killer was overnight temps in the range of 56 to 66 and high humidity (over 70%). Normally it is a dry cold with higher daytime temperatures.
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Old 05-30-2011, 04:18 PM   #34
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Have you seen any Asian or Black American retired in Thai
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Old 05-30-2011, 08:13 PM   #35
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Have you seen any Asian or Black American retired in Thai
I don't see many Americans...period! The place is lousy with Ozzies and Brits.

The Thais do like Americans, probably because of our scarcity and reputation from the entertainment business, we're #1. They think everyone from America should be big. I really do get favorable treatment from the ladies. (As if I need it being a handsome man. Then again we're all "handsome man".)

I have a black friend who visits. Chocolate man doesn't have any problems.
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Old 05-30-2011, 10:27 PM   #36
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I adjust to summer heat but I never can adjust to humidity in fact once the dew point hits 60 I wilt and find it oppressive to be outside.
I used to be a heat wimp who hated the humidity more than the heat. If I can adapt to the tropics, anybody can. Born and raised in Southern California within 2 miles of the Pacific where air conditioning was found only in cars. Most people thought 80 F was perfect summer day, I thought 70 F was perfect.

A month ago I joined a friend from home for part of his trip in Thailand. One day we walked about 150 yards at noon hauling carryon sized luggage. At the end he was literally dripping sweat while I just needed to grab the front of my shirt and pull it away from the body a few times to force the hot humid air out. Back home he tolerated heat much better than I did.


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oops I just noticed the blog is someone elses.
And I think that's my blog you were referring to. I'd be happy to answer your list of question, if you wish.
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Old 05-30-2011, 10:31 PM   #37
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Have you seen any Asian or Black American retired in Thai
None, but where I live there are only a handful of Yanks.
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Old 05-31-2011, 06:26 AM   #38
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Have you seen any Asian or Black American retired in Thai
In Bangkok, there is a large Japanese retirement community. I reckon it's cheaper to retire in Thailand than in Japan.
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Old 05-31-2011, 07:14 AM   #39
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Running back home to who?
Sons, daughters.........etc, old friends and Medicare.

I would hope that the expat retiree would fully integrate into their foreign home, but experience tells me that it seldom happens, particularly latter in life.

Also be aware that if you stop paying your Medicare Part B, if you return to the US the premium will be increased by 10% for every year you did not pay it.
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Old 05-31-2011, 08:41 PM   #40
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thanks guys for the bad news. Well, there goes of my dream to retire in Thai. If you don't see Asian American there then there is no hope for us. I guess we will stay here and enjoy Walmart, Targets and Mega Mall as part of our early retirement activities. :-(
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