Problems Retiring In Thailand: If you are a regular online member of YouTube or discussion websites such as Reddit, you will likely know that a common question is often asked about the problems retiring in Thailand.
Thailand has changed during the last ten years due to many events. Most events are well known, such as political change and, more recently, the pandemic era. But is Thailand as bad for retirees as it is claimed?
Thailand as a whole is a fantastic destination for retirees. Still, on the Internet, you will find a host of different stories and tales of how Thailand left a displeasing taste in the mouth of many foreigners.
From research and speaking to the expat community, we have summarised that many of the problems retirees face in Thailand can be placed into 3 categories. First is how living abroad can affect pensions, second involves law and legal regulations on retirement, and third includes the cost of living and crime.
What Are The Problems Retiring In Thailand For Foreigners
1. Could Affect Pensions Depending On Your Country
There have been some reports of pensions being affected while living in Thailand. This does not affect many countries, but it does affect the United Kingdom.
Essentially UK pension policy states that if a UK resident permanently lives abroad in certain countries (including Thailand), their annual increase will stop. Some countries have a special agreement with the UK, and yearly increases may be possible, but Thailand is not one of those cases.
If you are from The United Kingdom, US, Canada, Australia, etc. It’s recommended to speak directly to the pension/retirement department. This is because living abroad and receiving a pension is a policy that is continuously being updated in most Western countries.
2. Strict Laws Against Foreigners Retiring In Thailand
Strict laws against foreigners retiring in Thailand are not anything new. But as the months pass, there seem to be more and more updates and announcements. Most often, there are reasons behind the law change.
From the perspective of the Thailand government, there is often a broader picture which typically includes safeguarding its residents, country, economy, etc. This is one of the reasons why it can be challenging for foreigners to purchase land and property in Thailand, for example (safeguards).
Also, on the other side of the coin, it is very challenging for citizens of Southeast Asia to retire in Western countries. Even though there are strict rules and regulations for most foreigners who retire in Thailand often, it’s much more manageable for westerners to retire in Asia than the other way around, some retirees propose.
Nonetheless, it is clear that restrictions have become tighter over the years, and there is less flexibility for those wanting to retire in Thailand. Therefore some retirees are starting to look at other countries to retire.
3. Cost Of Living & Locals Scams/Crimes
One of the main problems retiring in Thailand for many expats is the general cost of living, scams, and crimes.
After you have retired in Thailand for some time, you will naturally absorb a large part of the culture. Of course, anyone knows what is right and wrong locally, but a new retiree may have problems retiring in Thailand when they first arrive.
These kinds of problems can be anything such as living in an expensive area or island. For those who want to retire in Thailand without problems and save money in the process, I recommend visiting Chaing Mai / Chaing Rai to see if these cities will be suitable for your retirement. Often the north of Thailand is one of the cheapest and most relaxing lifestyle options for retirees.
The other problem retiring in Thailand revolves around central scams and crimes. Even though many retirees have spoken about this, scams and crimes can affect everybody, young and old, both locals and foreigners.
Owl’s Advice – Problems Retiring In Thailand
In preparation for this article, I researched blogs, videos, news articles, and discussion websites. In my findings, I discovered that many problems with retiring in Thailand are either problems outside of the authorities’ control or problems that affect everybody.
For example, a large part of the information shared by the expat community who were retired in Thailand spoke about a breakdown of relationships with their Thai girlfriend/wife. Of course, these factors are not controlled by the authorities and can also affect anybody dating in Thailand, but this was still a widespread retiring problem in Thailand.
Here are some statements from online members that I summarised and edited to make them readable and profanity-free.
I no longer feel financially secure in Thailand. I only needed 200K in my bank before; now, I need 800,000 TBH.
The exchange is killing my savings. What’s happening with the Thai baht?
Thailand keeps threatening compulsory medical insurance. It makes no sense.
I think locals see foreigners as a walking ATM sometimes.
It seems Thai governments are using chinas tourists as an excuse to make requirements for foreigners more challenging but most Chinese only stay for a brief period.
Nonetheless, Thailand is still a fantastic destination for those who wish to retire. One piece of advice for retirees who are thinking about retiring in Asia is to visit several different areas around Thailand and, if possible, also other countries outside Thailand such as the Philippines, Malaysia, etc.
This is because you often find one country appeals to you more than others. In other words, you may visit a place, and it feels just like home, and you can’t explain why but you know that this is the right place for you. This is often a very magical time, but it may involve some investigation and travel.
What’s also important to remember as we finish our problems retiring in Thailand, is that no matter what country you decide to retire in, you will always find advantages and disadvantages. This is why it’s recommended to find out as much information as possible. You will then be able to make an informed decision about your retirement and your future.
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