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Retirement in Krabi.


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Hi... I'm an American so I'm not familiar with how the UK pension works--- some countries seem to idiotically restrict receiving pensions if you choose to reside outside of your home country.

I have been living in northern Thailand for a year on a modest federal retirement pension ($2500 a month) and have annuity money socked away plus have US social security eligibility ($1585 a month) to look forward to in 5 years. That's my situation...

Here's my experience: there is no such thing as a retirement visa per se in Thailand. If you meet the requirements (50 or older and have 65,000 baht a month in income or 800,000 baht in a Thai bank--- a worse proposition in my book--- [use 32 baht/$1 USD] you can score a "non-O" renewable visa.

Okay, now here's my experience. Thai immigration requires you to complete a financial statement (notarized by your embassy). I immediately realized the process is bogus: the notary simply validates your signature and the Thai government has no real way to verify your monthly income. I meet all the requirements, but if I was so inclined I could easily pass myself off as Scrooge McDuck. I even tried to provide supporting documentation proving my income and it was ignored... Immigration just wanted the notarized financial statement, which could conceivably be a total work of fiction.

Being over 50 does matter though.

But more importantly, can you live on 38,000 baht a month? That depends on you.

In the north (Chiang Mai/Chiang Rai) a decent condo (AC/WIFI/cable... Hot water, maid service) can be found for 9,000-14,000 a month + utilities. Electricity and water can add up... If you crank the AC in a larger condo it can run from 1200-4000 baht a month, depending on the season. Water is cheap: 300-500 baht.

Budget 20,000 baht for the place to be safe. Yes, you can always find a 4,000 baht fan room and become suicidal, but trust me, you'll want a standard of living.

Food: if you eat like a Thai you can eat well, very, very cheaply. 200฿ a day is more than enough... You'll get fat on that. But if you like western food, it gets expensive. Beef is Australian and outrageously spendy. Imported anything is costly thanks to Thai duties and freight. Don't even think about cheese.

Food: 6000฿

Booze: here's where it gets dicey. If you can stomach Leo, Chang or Singhai beer, you can buy it for 60-75฿ a 500ml bottle... Better stuff (the fine folks at Heineken do good work) is 90฿ or so. Hard liquor is outrageous... A bottle of 12year old Glinlivet is over 3000฿ more than twice the cost in the states. Booze is generally sold during lunchtime and from 5-midnight, but there's places you can score beer all day long if you look around. If you drink even 1 beer a day and stick to 50฿ cans you still need to budget another 1500-2000฿ a month (factoring spillage, a desire for a second can, etc).

So right there you've spent 28,000฿ and have 10,000฿ for everything else. You won't be able to really afford a scooter so walk and take red cabs (20฿ each way, usually). Movies are about 150฿ (consider buying the 100฿ bootlegs in the stores--- amazingly recent selection--- stick to wearing shorts and t-shirts (clothes aren't particularly cheap here, surprisingly)... Avoid Starbucks and mall restaurants (but Tops food courts are amazingly cheap). Get a Tops member card and score the discounts/rebates/coupons.

10,000฿ of disposable income isn't a lot: it works out to 300฿ a day. You should get into a regular dental routine (90 day exams/cleanings)--- cheap at 1500-2000฿ a visit--- to avoid future costlier, more painful problems. It's incredibly easy to blow 300฿ a day on a trip to the mall... So it's best to avoid everything except a supermarket, food court, or an occasional movie.

You also have to budget your 90 day reporting costs (1000฿) and judge whether you need a phone (3G here).

A phone will cost you at least 6000฿ to buy and then you'd have to recharge the SIM card--- figure another 500฿ a month (no costly data option). You can save money by sticking with wifi on your computer or plan on buying a 1,000฿ dongle and spending 850฿ a month on the best data plan.

These are all sneaky costs and erode your 10,000 baht disposable booty. You could very easily be down to having only 200฿ a day to spend.

You won't be able to wine and dine women or pay for a lot of massages on your budget.

Also you should always have a plan b. Thailand is in flux. This government could get crazy and you really should always have an escape budget equivalent to 1-way airfare (both to Bangkok and wherever home is), taxi fares and at least 1 night in a hotel. You also might not like it here, who knows?

Edited by Jbax
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The OP appears to know something about Thailand and where he would like to reside. I would suggest a six month stay in you chosen area with days out to explore other, possibly cheaper options. As others have said, it is doable, but don't burn bridges until you are sure. Health care could become a major problem especially as we get older and should be a priority consideration. Someone has said about having the pension transferred to a Thai bank direct from DWP. I would look into this as I believe the exchange rate given is not as good in this case. No doubt someone will correct me if I am wrong.

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If you are married to a Thai, and the money requirements are too high, you can get a marriage visa. It is 400,000/40,000 and you can include your wifes income in the 40,000.

No you cannot.

It has to be the applicants money/income alone.

Last year I renewed my visa and added my wifes income to mine to make the 40,000 and passed with no problems.

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The responses to your question is very good and balanced content from the contributors.

Retirement here is a very contextual decision and can only really be understood by being here for some time - I would suggest for this for you to invest £750 on a 3/6 months for flight and stay - Your living costs in a non expensive part of Bangkok can be around £550 / month (Rent, food, beer, travel, utilities) - The costs in saving from not being in UK will somewhat / pay offset the Bangkok cost for same things. And for example just on savings from utilities, House insurance, Local authority charge(UK), food, beer can be a significant contribution to lowering your offset amount.

Location - Making this investment will help you become a wiser man to make the choice more easy for you. I recommend you make Bangkok your base for the ease and options to travel from Bangkok to potential areas to investigate the location possibilities for longer term retirement

On the financial side - Your earnings from state pension are doable, but as everyone on this forum knows everyone has different needs and lifestyles - However there are many that are living on what your earning on state pension and having a good life here.

Health costs can be a problem if you have a sudden need arising and this is a worry that most of think about by being here - But also need to balance this with feeling better everyday by being here and possibly being more healthy - If you do not go off the rails with the temptations on offer.

State pension fixed - It does get fixed at a level once you retire here, but this is not immediately since you are not considered as being resident by UK until you have been here 2/3 years - Also you can reset the freeze on the retirement pension fixed point by periodically going back to UK and becoming a resident again in UK - The rules on all pension you do however need to talk with UK Gov pensions since there have been a number of changes in how long it takes to be a non resident and also what are the conditions for resetting the pension indexation as being regarded as resident in UK. So my details here are for general guidance only.

Your first paragraph, I have been here eight years, and never heard about that. What about other posters?

Can you be more specific - It is not clear what you are asking.

What I'm asking is, if someone on a UK state pension comes to retire in Thailand, does it take 2/3 years before the WDP accepts he is retired in Thailand?

If that is the case, then that would mean he would still get his annual pension increases for 2/3 years, wouldn't it?

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38K Bath per month may be possible now if you are extremely careful, not a lot of room for leisure already.

But I wouldn't advise you to take the risk considering exchange rate fluctuations, rising prices of everything in Thailand, possible health issues, changing visa regulations, etc.

Personally, I wouldn't attempt it,...unless I was fluent in Thai, and had at least a few connections, such as a Thai that held you in great esteem. In Chiang Mai, 38k baht is about the average monthly income for Thai folk (like a taxi driver), who live like Thai's, and are part of extended families. For a farang (a term that merely means Westerner), it is not so easy get Thai prices on goods and services unless you are seen as an integrated resident,...which includes dressing like a Thai, and having a fundamental understanding of their Buddhist culture. Chiang Rai or Nong Khai would likely be easier, price wise,...but from Bangkok and south,...you'd best have 60k baht+ per month for a no-frills, austere retirement.

From what I've noticed....foreigners who respect the Thai culture, ie., refrain from wearing beach clothes unless they're at the beach,...have a lower cost of living than farang pushing their cultures onto the Thai.

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If you are married to a Thai, and the money requirements are too high, you can get a marriage visa. It is 400,000/40,000 and you can include your wifes income in the 40,000.

No you cannot.

It has to be the applicants money/income alone.

Last year I renewed my visa and added my wifes income to mine to make the 40,000 and passed with no problems.

You were lucky then. The income must be the Husbands money only.

That is the law.

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I'm living on 65.000 a month.

17.000 Rent (could find a cheaper house but like to live comfortably)

1.000 electricity

200 water

15.000 pocket money for wife and kids

32.000 for the other things like car, bike, travel...

00.000 left at the end of the month

Wouldn't like to restrict myself too much.

But compare how you would live on your pension in the UK/Thailand.

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The maximum UK state pension is currently GBP 113.10 pw, assuming you have paid full contributions, but fixed at that rate forever in Thailand (no cost of living increase).

So where does your GBP 163 pw come from?

I reached 65 years old in 2011 (three years ago) and receive the maximum UK pension fixed at GBP 105.48 pw (which includes a small amount for "graduated" pension).

As you see, the value of the UK pension in Thailand will decrease over time considering inflation. Will it be worth anything in 20-years time?

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OP: Like others have said, it is possible depending on your lifestyle expectations... it would NOT be possible for me to live on that money (well... could be but don't want to...)

Assume you have been to Thaiand many times? How much did you spend on food, beer, transport etc? You probably know about the prices.

What kind of appartment do you want to live in? Is small, maybe without Aircon ok for you? How far out of the centres are you willing to live?

And finally... do you intend to live alone or are you thinking about finding yourself a partner? Then your living costs would go up. Can you afford that?

Without any knowledge of your expectations for the life in Thaiand, the answer really is: it CAN be done, but NOT by everybody

For me,...my monthly food/household budget in CM is 30k baht...perhaps half of which are for western items I'm fond of....apples, avocado's, honey, olive oil, salmon, walnuts, etc. which cost the same here as in my home country. Beer money or transportation is not in that budget.

One would think that partnering up would lower expenses,...but I agree,...it goes the other way. Female companionship often requires occasional gifts of gold. Thai women don't like "copies." Although the gold is somewhat important for them,...what is more important, is displaying that gold to their friends, as proof that they are not with a butterfly.

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If you are married to a Thai, and the money requirements are too high, you can get a marriage visa. It is 400,000/40,000 and you can include your wifes income in the 40,000.

No you cannot.

It has to be the applicants money/income alone.

Last year I renewed my visa and added my wifes income to mine to make the 40,000 and passed with no problems.

You were lucky then. The income must be the Husbands money only.

That is the law.

Are you sure?

When I went, I asked them about doing it this way. They said what you said. Then my wife asked them to double-check. They opened their book, and there it was in black and white that the 40,000 could be a combined income if you are legally married in Thailand.

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If you are married to a Thai, and the money requirements are too high, you can get a marriage visa. It is 400,000/40,000 and you can include your wifes income in the 40,000.

No you cannot.

It has to be the applicants money/income alone.

Last year I renewed my visa and added my wifes income to mine to make the 40,000 and passed with no problems.

That is not correct it must be the husbands money only.

From clause 2.18 of police order 777/2551

(6) In the case of marriage to a Thai woman, the alien husband must earn an average annual income of no less than Baht 40,000 per month or must have no less than Baht 400,000 in a bank account in Thailand for the past two months to cover expenses for one year.
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Not sure how old the OP is, but my recommendation would be to come to Thailand but plan to work for just over a year when you first arrive

Why?

To get a job with a work permit and to get registered in social security

You will need to work at least a year to get this set up, but then once leaving your job

You can then go to the social security department and sign up to pay premiums of aprox 400 thb per

Month, which can be automatically deducted from your Thai bank account

This will then solve one of your biggest future problems.. As you will then have some sort of coverage

Is it the best, maybe not .. But is surely better than nothing and will come in handy if any major problem arises I the future

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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That is not correct it must be the husbands money only.

From clause 2.18 of police order 777/2551

(6) In the case of marriage to a Thai woman, the alien husband must earn an average annual income of no less than Baht 40,000 per month or must have no less than Baht 400,000 in a bank account in Thailand for the past two months to cover expenses for one year.

I don't know what to tell you. This is what it said in the official book they were using. And, I was allowed to submit it as my financial requirement.

In any case, with or without the wifes income, for those who are of retirement age, it may be a better choice than a retirement visa.

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