Can I Retire In Thailand With $630,000 Cash And No Other Income?

This question arises again and again just as the question “How much does it cost to build a house in Thailand”

The answer is always as long as a piece of string. But let’s try to do better than that and open it up for comments.

The question was:-

 Hello Alan,

My name is P, I am formerly from Scotland but now live in Australia. I am 59 Years old and I am seriously considering Retiring to Thailand. I have Approx $630,000 and wondered if this was enough to live on ? I have nothing else, only this amount of money. I would be grateful if you could help me with this Question.

Thanks, P

This Is My Short Answer To The Question Of How Much Money You Need To Retire To Thailand

Hi P,
Thanks for the email and the question. Sorry about the delay in responding – been on a business course.
You don’t say whether that $630,000 is US or Austrailian dollars. Actually doesn’t really matter, US $1 = 30 Baht , AUS $1= 33 Baht. Not a great deal of difference in the scheme of things.
My first answer would be a resounding YES, if you’ve got that money why aren’t you in Thailand already?
This is based on if I had $630,000, but then my circumstances and yours may well be very different. For example I own land and a house and a new car in Thailand. If you don’t have a house then you need to figure out where you are going to live and the cost.
A lot also depends upon any extravagant habits you may have.
Last time I was in Thailand (last Christmas) I was spending about 1,000 Baht a day on living expenses, made up of a meal out for myself and Kanyah, my wife, costing 500 Baht, plus a bottle of wine around 400 Baht plus 100 Baht on other meals and etc.
So we were living on 1,000 Baht/day. (Excluding my very expensive model engineering workshop set-up costs)
Let’s say you are a bit more adventurous. Say you need 2,000 Baht/Day.
2,000 Baht/day is 60,000 Baht/month. The Thai Government have set the requirement for a Thai retirement visa at a monthly income of not less than 65,000 Baht. So those two figures tie up.
Of course, we live in Pakchong (Pak Chong), and not in an expensive area. If you live in a condominium in one of the seaside holiday resorts (e.g. Phucket) you could be spending a lot more.
Your $630,000 would bring you 189,000,000 Baht or 9,450 days at 2,000 Baht/day. That’s 26 years, you are 59 years old now so you could last until you reach 85 years old.
But it’s not that simple. There are other factors to take account of.
1) Inflation
This is running at around 5% in Thailand. So your income would fall by 5% a year. (Unless you are a savvy investor and can invest your money wisely to offset at least some of the inflation effect.)
I haven’t run a spreadsheet to model how this would erode your income. My suspicion is that it would seriously reduce your income after around 10 years. (But see below)
2) Your Needs Reduce With Age
As you get older, your needs reduce. If you drink fine wine (as I do) for example, you’ll be drinking less or not at all. You’ll have fewer meals out and travel less.
Whether you can survive on a 5% reduction on your income year by year needs some thought and a calculator.
3) Accommodation Costs
I have mentioned this before. If you are paying rent, then obviously this is an extra cost. If you want to buy your house then it reduces your capital.
4) Emergencies
For me this is the killer. What would happen if in old age you needed serious medical treatment?
Would you have it in Thailand or pay for a flight and accommodation in Australia to get your treatment?
How much of your capital would you put aside for this?
5) Other Expenses
The 2,000 Baht/day is plenty for normal everyday living. But what about other costs that may crop up, in addition to those mentioned above?
  • Travel costs. Maybe you want to go home every year. Or maybe you want to travel around Thailand or overseas. Hotels, even in Thailand, will soon make a big dent in your 2,000 Baht/day.
  • You haven’t mentioned anything about a Thai companion. Thai wife? Ouch!
  • Car repairs. I bought a brand new Toyota Hilux Vigo pickup in Bangkok a year ago and it’s a fantastic investment. It will probably last 26 years. But it will need repairs and maintenance.
6) Calamities
Call me a pessimist, a realist, or just cautious, I fear some major disasters on the way in the next 26 years. And not without good reason. Just look at the mess the world is in:-
  • Global recession cause by the financial collapse.
  • Global warming.
  • Oil running out and getting more expensive.
  • World war three looming. (Iran)
On a less gloomy level look at what could happen in Thailand:-
  • Your house burns down.
  • Your wife kicks you out.
  • The Thai government won’t give you a visa.
  • Your money is embezzled.
Sorry to be such a downer, but my advice is:-
“Have a Plan B”

I’m not burning my boats to retire to Thailand. I’m keeping my house in the U.K. I am developing not one but several other income streams in addition to my pension.
Of course some of these calamities could apply whether you retire in Thailand or retire in Australia.
Which brings me to the point and perhaps you asked the wrong question.

Your question was “Is $630,000 enough to retire on in Thailand”

Now it’s my time to ask a question. If you’re not going to retire to Thailand, where are you going to retire to?

Perhaps your question should have been “Can I get a better standard of life retiring on a lump sum of $630,000 in Thailand that I can in Australia with the same amount of money?”

P, I hope this helps.

There are so many things to consider, so many different situations, it’s really impossible to answer your question.

But my advice is “Have a Plan B”.

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10 Responses to “How Much Money Do You Need To Retire To Thailand?”

  • Steve P Brown:

    lend him kanyah for a month – he’ll relish the outback after that !!


  • Jimmannion70:

    i wish i had $630000 i would be there now,go for it and good luck p


  • retiringinthailand:

    Interesting post you did! I agree to most of it, though I might not be so suspicious and try to see too far in the future, if so I wouldn’t ever leave my house.. a car might collide with mine… or whatever J. /Micke
    (Sent by email, posted by Alan)


  • retiringinthailand:

    U have covered all the bases with your response.
    He must also surely be getting a UK pension in 5-6 years -???

    (Sent by email, posted by Alan)


  • retiringinthailand:

    Lenny and Noy,

    Many thanks for such an informative and interesting post about the costs of retiring in Thailand.

    Your experience of heart surgery in Thailand is an example of the reality that people have to face up to when they retire to Thailand.

    By the very virtue of the word, retiring implies that you are well…. getting on a bit. It’s inevitable that as we get older medical conditions become more likely. We just have to be prepared for it.

    Once again thank you for taking the time to post your comments.



  • Graham:

    Hi all. Could I ask those in the ‘know’ about medical treatment in Thailand? Do you have medical insurance or just rely on having enough to fork out a lump sum for treatment if anything goes awry health/dental wise (yes, I’ll retire there in 6 years or so and still have my own teeth!!)


  • Jimgmaine:

    Strongly suggest you take a vacation in Thailand perhaps in Chiang Mai( Over 20,000 foreigners have retired there).  It will give you a better idea of whether you like certain parts and what your expenses might be in those areas. If you are not married  date some Thai women ( Do not tell them how much money You have) to see if this is your cup of tea!  If you get lucky and fine the ” right girl”  she will save you lots of money!  I know my Cambodian lady has!  Best of luck!


  • Paulwk52:

    Hello Alec,
                       I originally came from Scotland and still have a very strong accent. I do not think that i would be any good at teaching English. Thy would not understand me !!! ha ha ha.Ihave been working since I was 15 years old, and now i think it is time to take a break. I have a hobby. I love fishing. Maybe I could buy some gear from you. I think that i am reasonably fit, and in good health. My Dad passed away when he was only 67 years old and did not get a chance of having a long Retirement. I do not want this to happen too me !! I also know lots of workmates whom have passed away before retiral age. I do not want to go to Thailand to work. I Want to Retire !!and hopefully enjoy myself.
    All the best to you Alec,


  • retiringinthailand:

    Hi John,

    I agree with you about Thailand being risky. In fact it’s getting worse by the day. Risky and dangerous is how I would describe Thailand.

    But it’s always been the same. Risky and dangerous.

    Now, though I think the number of foreigners (and often their Thai partners) being brutally murdered is increasing.

    It’ really is quite scary.

    Need more convincing? the go to:

    Or put “dont retire to thailand” in a search engine.

    Having said that, I’m excitedly packing my bag for my next trip to Thailand next weekend.

    Take care,



  • randomwebbrowser:

    Very much appreciate the realistic information presented here, very refreshing from having been reading the more obviously pollyanna presentations on other websites.


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