We have written some time back that one of the aspirations of retiring folks is to travel and “see the world”. Continue to read here. I did recall that we questioned the intent of traveling in one’s golden years. Well, ‘question the intent’ may sound a little harsh, but it was the increase in sites such as this, promising an affordable lifestyle without the realities of high costs that got us going on this subject matter.
Does what these sites promise really exist?
I mean doesn’t it sound enticing to someone on the edge of stepping into the abyss that possibly retirement is, discover that you can live on the cheap and yet with all the trappings of your life past? And sprinkle in a dose of low medical costs now that you are getting on in years? Climate’s warm, you have a host of places to travel to…cheaply…
Some years back (actually around 2006/7), I was reading up a fair bit about retirement destinations in Central America (Panama and Costa Rica springs to mind). Then, it became South America, particularly Ecuador and Argentina. All these targeting Americans. You know what? The pitch sounds the same.
The low cost trips to the local specialist physician compared with how much similar standard of care would cost in the US. The same low cost home rentals and affordable local cuisine + you get to travel the backyard on the cheap. Well, that appears to be changing now. The policies where expatriates enjoy low cost medical care are going, going and eventually will be gone. At least if you think it will last…carry on. Taxes on foreigners holding property in those countries are rising. The cost of living, well – you really need to adjust to local food, shopping etc.
So what makes southeast Asia that much more of a draw? Over the years, it has been observed that the cost of medical care go up not just in the little red dot, but all over Asia. Especially in countries with a low base to start with. They seem to “leapfrog” the more mature ones, opting for more sophisticated and better drugs, medical implants, equipment etc…how could costs continue to stay low? You want cheap? Take generics. Do retirees really expect the physicians in countries like Thailand to continue being paid a fraction of their counterparts elsewhere as their skillsets improve?
Cost of living appear low now in comparison, but it is also rising. Especially as a middle class develops and demand better quality in a host of goods and services. And will travel in this part of the world continue to be affordable? Perhaps in specific countries. And if you adapt. We’ve seen retirement communities in Chiang Mai. But as cost rise in the more developed parts of the region where retires now domicile, it could become a perpetual chase for the end of the rainbow of low cost retirement and travel.
So what’s the point of this post? And what does it have to do with travel?
Our posit is : like your diet or retirement funding, take your journeys in moderation and start early. But don’t quit your job.
Most of us (who profess to be part of the 99%), will invariably need to set aside monies for the time when we cease to be able to work. Planning to spend a lot (yes its relative) of that accumulated capital on traveling at that point (without requisite income plans) can be risky.
What do you think?