How to Budget Your Retirement In Thailand

Thailand is an excellent country to retire in, there is plenty of sunshine, beaches and excellent food. One of the biggest reasons behind Thailand's popularity as a retirement destination is its affordability, you can live a comfortable life for much less as compared to western countries, or back home, depending on where you are reading from.

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Even though Thailand is affordable, it could easily become expensive if you do not budget. It is still very important to come up with a retirement budget plan so that you know exactly how much everything costs and you can come up with a monthly budget to suit your lifestyle and financial situation. It will also help stop you from overspending.

Before we go through all the living costs in Thailand, first of all there is a financial requirement that you must meet in order to get a Thai retirement visa. You NEED to deposit at least 800,000 baht into a Thai bank account, Which comes up to around ($25,000 20,400 EUR or 17,500 pounds). 

If you are unable to deposit all that money at once, but you have income from pensions, you can still apply and be eligible for the visa as long as your combination of deposits and monthly income is at least 800,000 baht. For example, you can deposit 400,000 baht into a Thai bank account and have 32,000 baht in monthly income, it adds up to 800,000 baht so you will still be eligible.

Health insurance

Here at Baan Smile, we get a lot of questions regarding health insurance costs in Thailand, however we cannot answer that because it all depends on pre-existing conditions, your age etc.

Our tip is to check plans from insurance providers in Thailand and compare it to the ones in your home country. It is likely that Thai insurance providers are a little more affordable. You can also ask your Thai bank as they also offer health insurance plans. 

Expect to pay between $200-$400 a month especially if you are older, if you are one of the lucky people who retire young then it might be less than that. 

Moving on rent, a one bedroom apartment in the center of Bangkok might only cost you as low as $700 including utilities. You can find plenty of apartments for even lower than that, especially if you find one just outside of the center of the city which could cost as little as $400 per month. There is a wide spread of rental prices in Bangkok, as we often hear some people paying as little as 5,000 baht ($150) all the way to 50,000 baht ($1,500) or even more.

There are lots of different types of accommodation to suit everyone's lifestyle requirements, from cheap studio apartments all the way to luxury serviced apartments managed by some of the world’s best hotel chains.

If you own a condo in Thailand, you will be required to pay a one-time sinking fee which is paid by all new residents so that in case there's damage, there is a reserve fund to fix damages. This usually costs around 12,500 baht ($375), 

In most cases you will also have to pay a maintenance fee every month for them to maintain all the facilities of the condominium, and the costs vary depending on how expensive and luxurious the condo is. Expect to pay around 1,200 baht per month on average for a condo with decent facilities.

Due to the covid-19 pandemic, you might even be able to get 20-30% off normal rental prices these days due to the lack of tenants, so it is really affordable.

Electricity in Thailand is extremely affordable, however you must keep one thing in mind, Thailand is a very hot and humid country so the price you pay for electricity depends a lot on how much you use the air conditioner, as it represents most of your electricity bill. 

If you live alone in an apartment with and leave the A/C on every night then you will end up paying 1,500 baht ($45) per month, 

If you live in a house with two A/C units turned on every night then the bill will be 2,500 baht ($75). 

If you have a big family and live with a 3-bedroom house with 4 A/C units turned on during the day and the whole night then your bill will be around 5-8,000 baht ($150-250). 

The cost of water is extremely cheap in Thailand, if you live alone, your cost of water should only be around 100 baht ($2.99), YES YOU HEARD THAT RIGHT, at this point you can consider the water cost to be negligible.

Internet in Thailand is also very affordable, you can get 200mbps high speed internet for around 600 thb. This is more than fast enough to stream Netflix in 4k, lower priced packages are also available if you do not mind reduced speed. 

The majority of people pay around 500 baht per month for their phone bill which includes around 300-500 minutes talk time and around 10-20 GBs of 4G data.

Again, you could get cheaper plans with less data or even higher priced plans with unlimited data. The 4G connectivity is excellent in Bangkok and other major cities and you shouldn't have connectivity problems in Thailand.

Now let's move on to the best part, FOOD! If you eat local Thai food, it could cost you only $2-3 for a meal, and it is insanely delicious and full of flavor. Eating street foods will save you a lot of money and the variety is crazy, you can find anything from meat skewers and fried dough all the way to rice and curries and seafood, all on the side of a street and costing you a fraction of what it will in your country.

You can easily be filled for $10 a day, so that comes up to around $300 per month. This can quickly escalate if you eat at international restaurants.

Next is transportation. Now this depends a lot on where you live. If you live in Bangkok, the motorbike taxis, taxis and BTS skytrain will be your main options. A typical journey to get somewhere involves you taking a motorbike taxi to a BTS skytrain station and then you can go wherever you want.

If you live in a condo which is located right next to the BTS station then youre lucky as you can simply walk to the skytrain. A typical motorbike taxi commute will cost you 20-40 baht and the BTS will cost you another 30 baht if you live in the city center, otherwise it may be a little more if you have to commute longer. 

If you live in other cities such as Chiang Mai or Pattaya, it is recommended to have a car as the public transport system is nowhere as extensive as Bangkok. You should expect to pay around 3,000-6,000 baht per month for transportation, which is not too bad. If you want to save more money, you should learn how to use the bus, fares are only around 10-20 baht per trip. 

You can also rent a motorbike for 2,500 a month or a car for around 15,000 per month if you have longer commutes or many family members as it can be more cost effective. 

Now let’s move on to entertainment and activities. There is plenty of entertainment for you in Thailand, and they are also pretty affordable. Basic entertainment such as going to the movies, eating out and shopping is pretty affordable in Thailand. Movie tickets start at just 120 baht for a hollywood movie and the cinemas are superior to those in the west and As you guys know, food is really cheap in Thailand.

Thailand is also well known for beautiful golf courses and Thai people absolutely love golf. The green fee to play golf costs around 3,000 baht (around $100), which is pretty affordable, if you go to better ones then it might be more and you would even require to have membership which could costs a lot of money.

One of the best things you can do in Thailand is to take weekend trips. Thailand is home to some of the most beautiful beaches so you should definitely travel as often as you can to enjoy life, since you’re here to do exactly that.

Accommodations can also be really cheap, and they can start from just around 700 baht per night for a basic hotel near the beach, and it can go up to hundreds of dollars, so it really depends on your lifestyle. 

Flights and buses are also pretty affordable in Thailand, buses start at around 300 baht to go from Bangkok to Koh Chang for example and flights on low cost carriers start at around 1,000 baht round trip.

You should budget around $500 per month for Entertainment and activities in order to still be able to enjoy life and not be too restrictive. $500 can go a long way to have fun in Thailand. For those of you who can spend much more, there are plenty of luxurious options as well, there are things to do for everyone and every lifestyle in Thailand, which is why it is very popular.

Medicines are quite cheap in Thailand as compared to western countries and are a fraction of the prices in the United States. Drugs such as Xanax costs $0.05 cents per mg for the branded version which is 77% below the global median. Ventolin, which is a drug that is used to treat asthma, costs 46.2% lower than the global median at $3.51 per dose so you should not worry too much about the prices of medicine in Thailand, you should keep a monthly budget of around

You must also consider the visa costs that you will end up paying when retiring in Thailand. A single entry visa costs 1,900 baht ($57) per year and a multiple entry visa costs 3,800 baht ($114) per year. If you intend to travel out of Thailand often then you should definitely go for multiple entry, because if you have the single entry visa, you will have to pay around 1,000 baht ($30) for a re-entry permit each time you leave the country otherwise your visa will automatically be cancelled.

You should definitely consider getting a visa agent to help you apply at least for the first time snad you can renew it yourself for subsequent years. Visa agents usually charge a fee of around 2,000 baht ($60) to help you apply for a visa, which could be reasonable for you if you do not want to have the hassle of applying for it yourself. 

Finally, you should also be having an emergency fund, which is recommended to be enough to pay for your living costs for 6 months. In our opinion, you should be setting aside at least 300,000 baht in case anything happens, however, this depends totally on you. 

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