Retiring


Retired Aussies tempted by expat life in South East Asia

by Ray Clancy on August 28, 2014

More and more retired Australians are moving to South East Asia to live because costs are up to 80% cheaper than their home country, it is claimed.

With the number of Australians aged 65 and over set to reach eight million over the next 35 years, the trend is sparked by the dream of living abroad without it costing too much. European countries are considered too costly and too cold.

Thailand

The number of Australians aged 65 and over is set to reach eight million over the next 35 years

According to a new book, Sell-up, Pack-up and Take Off, by husband and wife writers Colleen Ryan and Stephen Wyatt, there is a new diaspora of Australians over the age of 50 who’ve decided to sell up and take off for overseas.

While many people dream of retirement in a village piazza in Southern Europe, the reality is that most retire to South East Asia, where countries like Malaysia and Thailand offer retirees extended visas, making the transition a simpler process.

‘The baby boomers are very comfortable with South East Asia. A lot of them did their early travel in South East Asia, they’ve taken the kids on holidays there and so while the dream has been Italy or France, to some extent that’s been for the really wealthy,’ said Ryan.

‘What’s driving the people to South East Asia is that they can’t live really well in Australia once they are retired, whereas they can live very, very well in South East Asia,’ she added.

In the book, they explain that cities like Penang, Saigon and Chiang Mai are popular with Australian expats and while many tend to be drawn more to predominantly western communities, some, particularly in Malaysia, are more integrated into local communities.

They also weigh up issues like health care, as some countries offer better options than others. The book suggests that Malaysia and Thailand have excellent healthcare systems, but many retirees who choose to live elsewhere make sure they have good private health insurance and can be repatriated to Australia should they need to.

The book also points out that for the elderly, 24 hour care is much more affordable in South East Asia and that moving abroad does not mean losing touch with family and friends thanks to modern technology and the internet.

Cheap flights also mean that visitors from home are more likely to stay for holidays and enjoy a bit of the paradise, according to the authors, who have lived in Papua New Guinea, London, Washington DC and Shanghai.

The book covers the pros and cons of living in countries in South East Asia, suggesting you can live comfortably for a quarter of the cost of retirement in Australia. It also gives advice on how to get a visa, renting or buying a home, health insurance, pensions and tax.

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