Retire To Asia—It's Easier Than Ever And Cheaper Than Anywhere Else On Earth
Oct. 12, 2014, Panama City, Panama: Thailand and the Philippines are two Southeast Asian countries in particular recruiting foreign retirees with benefit-rich, low-cost-of-entry visa programs
Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,
Starting in the 1980s, when Costa Rica launched its now famous pensionado visa program, Central and South American countries have made an agenda of attracting foreign, especially North American, retirees, who had something these countries were in the market for—disposable currency. Today, Panama, Nicaragua, Belize, and Ecuador offer competitive pensionado programs that make it easy to establish full-time residency as a retiree and to enjoy, when you do, tax and other discounts and perks.
Key countries in Southeast Asia have taken notice and are now also competing for the attention of North American retirees. In several countries in this part of the world, the visa run is a thing of the past, replaced by user-friendly, turn-key, and affordable retirement residency programs.
Bottom line, Southeast Asia's big appeal for the foreign retiree is its cost of living. Countries in the region top any list of the world's cheapest places to retire. Your money goes much further than in the United States or any other Western country, but that does not mean that the standard of living is necessarily lower. It is possible to buy whatever lifestyle you're looking for and to stretch whatever retirement nest egg you've got to be able to enjoy a better lifestyle than you could afford anywhere else on earth.
In the United States, you're probably paying at least US$50 per month for reasonably fast Internet. In the Philippines, Internet costs US$12 per month, likely for faster speeds than you have now. In Thailand and Malaysia, fast internet is US$18 per month.
Similar savings can be seen in the prices of everything from rent and phone service to cooking gas, electricity, and your monthly spend on groceries. A visit to the doctor costs less than US$20 throughout most of the region, and the care you'll receive likely will exceed your expectations. English-speaking doctors educated in Europe, Australia, and North America are the norm. They work in hygienic offices with modern equipment and can be affiliated with state-of-the-art internationally accredited hospitals. Thailand and Malaysia are among the top five countries in the world for medical tourism.
English is widely understood throughout the region, and it is an official language of the Philippines and parts of Malaysia. The majority of people you come into contact with in these two countries are English fluent. Additionally, English is a required subject at schools in every country in Southeast Asia. Urban areas and many small towns have enough English speakers so that communication rarely presents a significant barrier.