Retiring to Thailand


For some retirement is a long way off and does not need to take much thought at this time, however for many of us the day is drawing closer and plans must start to be made. There are many choices, stay here? Go back to my country of origin or do I look for somewhere more amenable, better climate, cheaper?

Here we look at one possibility:-

The attractions of warmer weather, great food and a relaxed lifestyle are one of the main features Thailand has to offer for the adventurous who feel retirement there will be a great move. Before you get used to the cultural changes there are some practicalities which you will need to deal with.

In order to become a temporary resident you will need a visa. The best option will be a retirement visa, renewable annually. These are available for foreigners over age 50 who can demonstrate they have sufficient means to live. This comes in the form of a bank deposit of Thai Baht (THB) 800,000, or a guaranteed pension income as certified by your country’s embassy in Thailand.

If you wish to own your home there are restrictions as foreigners may not own land. However, leasehold properties are available and you may thus own a lease on a condominium. Leases are only 30 years. They may be renewed so there are good opportunities to secure a nice home in the popular centres where expats tend to retire. Purchasing a property as a foreigner means you need to import foreign currency to do this. There are stringent regulations surrounding this and you need to obtain advice on how to go about this before you embark on your property purchase.

Medical insurance is also something which you really should not ignore. Treatment can be expensive and if you have no insurance this could prove catastrophic for you. There are a number of options available and the old adage that you get what you pay for is true here. There are very cheap insurances available but when you want to make a claim you discover that the cover you have secured is so poor that you foot much of the bill yourself anyway. Do not get caught out.

Opening a local bank account can be tricky. Once you start to apply for a retirement visa it gets easier because you need your funds in a Thai bank.

If you have investments which will create income for you it is best not to bring them into Thailand. Here the political risk is considered too high and the currency can be volatile. Your gains will also be taxed in Thailand and you could lose as much as 35% of your gains. The best option is going to be investing in a tax haven. From there you can import reserves into Thailand for living as you need them. This can all be achieved from within Thailand giving you as many options as you need for comprehensive global investment strategies. Gains will be tax free in their origin and your investments can be managed from anywhere in the world.