Discover The Absolutely
Cheapest Places On Earth To Retire
Live Well On US$942 A Month (Or Less)
Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,
Asia is far and away the cheapest place on earth to live well…
I’m serious… nowhere else even comes close.
I could give you budget examples and rental listings to prove that fact—and I will, in just a minute—but I have to warn you:
It actually takes effort to wrap your head around just how absolutely cheap Asia truly is…
50¢ lunches, US$1 taxi rides, US$10 full-course dinners, US$162 a month for a furnished apartment… it sounds unbelievable.
But, after decades on this where-to-live-overseas beat, I’ve learned that looking at local salaries is a good place to start. After all, the cost of living any place in the world needs to go hand in hand with what its citizens earn…
So, let’s do a quick comparison of salaries.
To start, the average wage in the USA is about US$3,700 a month…
In Thailand, one of Asia’s most popular expat havens, the average is around just US$840…
That’s less than 1/4 of the United States.
That is a GIANT difference…
Move from Manhattan to the countryside of Mississippi, for example, and your new neighbors would only earn about 50% less on average than New Yorkers.
And, with all due respect to the great state of Mississippi, living in Asia would be a much richer experience… an adventure of a lifetime in an exotic yet friendly land…
Plus, this part of the world is home to the world’s—hand’s down—most spectacular beaches:
Yes, even if you earn the current average Social Security payout of US$1,543, you’d make nearly double of what many middle-class Asians do each month…
Have more to spend than that, and you can truly live like a king (or queen) in Asia.
White-sand beaches, tropical rainforests, sacred mountains…
Modern, exotic, and colonial architecture, majestic temples, river cities, beach towns…
Cutting edge technology, the world’s fastest internet, and welcoming locals.
Nowhere else in the world gets you so much for so little money.
Where To Enjoy A Rolls Royce Lifestyle
On A Dodge Dart Budget…
Before I go any further, let’s address a big detail of the lifestyles I’m showing you…
Asia is a giant place… it is a continent, after all.
More than 4.5 billion people live here, much more than any other place on earth and nearly 4 times more than the next most populous continent.
So let’s make the roadmap for this adventure a little more manageable…
When we talk about “Asia” at Live and Invest Overseas, we’re usually referring to Southeast Asia.
That’s the large collection of peninsulas, archipelagos, and islands between China and Australia. It’s officially 11 countries, and nearly all of them boasts a coastline that could place first in the “World’s Greatest Beaches Contest.”
Still, “Southeast Asia” is giant in its own right, and a recommendation for it alone doesn’t do much for anyone.
We’ve done the work to help narrow it down further for you…
More than a decade of research and development of our network in Southeast Asia has helped us narrow down your choices to just 5 countries.
These are the best of the best of what Asia as a whole has to offer…
And, as you’ll soon discover, they represent the world’s best-value lifestyles, such as:
True Luxury Beach Living For US$942
Vietnam is a former colony of France, and you’ll spot French influence in everything from food and fashion to architecture and infrastructure.
Before leaving, the French also changed the local language from characters to Latinized words, a nice bonus for English-speaking foreigners.
One of our top picks in this country is a city of a million people that has a small-town feel: Da Nang.
It’s clean and modern with a long and beachy coast that is arguably the cleanest, safest, and most attractive in all of Southeast Asia.
Laid-back and friendly, with good roads and pleasant weather, this under-the-radar city is perfect for beach lovers…
|Rent||US$362||Small fully-furnished house with a yard, few blocks from beach and a 10-minute stroll to city center’s river walk area|
|Public Transportation||US$100||For frequent taxi and bus rides—the latter costs less than US$0.25 a ride within the city|
|Gas||—||Usually included in rent|
|Electricity||US$45||Assuming frequent A/C usage|
|Water||US$0||Usually included in rent|
|Cable/Phone/Internet bundle||US$35||For high-speed WiFi, Cable TV, and mobile plan|
|Entertainment||US$150||Full course dinners with drinks will cost a couple less than US$25, movies tickets are less than US$3, a pair of cocktails less than US$7…|
|Food and groceries||US$150||For fresh, whole foods for a couple. Imported, freezer, and processed foods will cost you much more|
|Maid service||US$100||Full time cleaning service on weekdays|
|TOTAL||US$942||Monthly expenses for a couple|
* US dollar figures are according to currency exchange rate as of April 2021
Just like any budget, you can almost always spend more or less depending on your needs and wants.
For instance, the above does not include international travel or health care… though a doctor’s visit here costs about US$13.
Of course, not everyone wants to live at the beach…
Fortunately, Asia offers up a bounty of geographic diversity.
In fact, one of the most popular retirement havens we cover is famous for its tranquility, mild weather, and longevity of retirees…
Peaceful Living Among
Ancient Temples And Giant Buddhas
While Thailand country boasts world-famous coastlines (including the lagoon from “The Beach” movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio), it’s actually a mountain town that has been luring expats since the 1800s…
For hundreds of years, folks have come to Chiang Mai to relax and retire due to the weather, tranquility, and low cost of living.
The Old City neighborhood holds dozens of ancient Buddhist temples alongside stores, daily outdoor markets, and a huge array restaurants. Plus, festivals take place nearly every night, adding a daily buzz to an otherwise peaceful haven…
|Rent||US$221||Fully-furnished 1-bedroom apartment with pool access|
|Public Transportation||US$31||Monthly, unlimited pass for the bus… goes throughout city and surrounding areas|
|Gas||—||No mains gas connections|
|Electricity||US$44||Assuming nightly use of A/C|
|Water||US$0||Included in rent|
|Cable/Phone/Internet bundle||US$59||For high-speed WiFi, Cable TV, and mobile plan|
|Entertainment||US$225||Full course dining at a restaurant for a couple—twice a week|
|Food and groceries||US$290||For fresh, whole foods. Imported, freezer, and processed foods will cost you much more|
|TOTAL||US$870||Monthly expenses for a couple|
* US dollar figures are according to currency exchange rate as of April 2021
It’s True: You Can Rent A Nice Apartment
For Less Than US$500 A Month
No matter where you live, your housing cost—be it a mortgage or rent—will be the single biggest expense in your budget.
I’ve been around the world several times…
And I’ve yet to come across a cheaper place for housing than Asia.
You can rent large homes for about US$1,000 and luxury penthouses for less than US$2,000 a month.
If you’re looking for something a little more typical for a couple
or retiree, you’re in luck…
Especially on Phuket, one of Asia’s most popular and cosmopolitan islands.
Thailand’s largest island is known for its sandy, palm-fringed shores… the waters are warm, clear, and inviting.
There’s something here for nearly everybody… unique coastlines, world-
class golfing, world-famous dining, and a pulsating nightlife offer endless opportunities for entertainment.
More than 100,000 foreign residents have chosen to make a life here—that’s over 20% of the island’s permanent population.
And I can tell you this: they’re all getting a heck of deal on their housing expense…
Take this 1-bedroom condo highlighted in the photos to the right…
It’s available right now for the equivalent of just US$260 a month.
And this is clearly no fixer-upper either—the condo boasts high-end finishes, a private balcony, and premium furnishings throughout…
The building has two pools—a partly covered wrap-around lap pool on the roof, as well as a lounge pool on the ground floor…
Plus, it boasts a barbecue area, garden, social area with mountain and ocean views, full-time security, a gym, and community wifi…
And, it’s only 700 meters from Surin Beach:
Again, it’s all available for just US$260 a month.
What if you’re ready to splurge in retirement in Southeast Asia?
I’d like to point you then in the direction of another of our favorite islands here, located within an archipelago in the Pacific…
Can you afford US$1,439 each month for rent?
If so, welcome to your sprawling, 2-bedroom villa on the island of Boracay in the Philippines:
Better yet, it comes with free housekeeping and a walking path to the beach below.
I could go on and on and on with property examples…
Frankly, the single word I’d use to describe the property listings you’ll find across Asia is exciting.
Just think about that for a moment…
If you spent only US$260 a month for a place to live, how much extra cash would you have each month to spend on things you might have never thought you’d be able to afford?
A maid, travel, a driver, a cook, luxury items, daily or weekly golf… maybe even a boat!
The thought is exhilarating, isn’t it?
To live a life that only feels like you’re living outside of your means—to live like you’re on vacation every day of retirement…
Isn’t that the goal, after all? To cash in on all of that hard work you spent decades on?
Here in Southeast Asia, you can truly live a Rolls Royce lifestyle on a Dodge Dart budget.
But What About The Real Estate?
One downside of living in Southeast Asia you’ll face is when it comes to buying property… or, rather, the fact that you can’t buy it.
That is, foreigners are banned from owning land in nearly every country and island. A few exceptions exist, and we’ll be happy to discuss them with you…
But if you want to buy anything for personal use or investment, you have three options:
- Long-term land lease… in which you buy or build the building and rent the land beneath it, usually a 99-year renewable lease…
- Partner with a local… a no-brainer for anyone with a local spouse or family member, but it’s a risk to do so for anyone you don’t trust (especially companies and “consultants” that offer services for putting their names on your title)…
- Buy a condo… again, it’s the land that you can’t buy. Apartments are fair game, and they come in all shapes, sizes, and locations with a high-quality construction and finishes widely available.
Just like the cost of loving, real estate is a bargain…
In Chiang Mai, for instance, condominiums start at around US$49,500. For around US$115,500, you could have an upscale and spacious place with a full Western-style kitchen, teak floors, installed phone lines, hot tubs, spectacular views, and amenities such as swimming pools and golf courses.
Plus, the places you’d want to live are the same places people come to vacation… with the right property and management, it is still possible to net an ROI of 8% to 10% per year on your property investment.
Stay Healthy Among
The World’s Longest-Living People
One of the big perks of living overseas is the natural tendency to lose weight and to become more active…
You’re dining on and experimenting with fresh, local foods rather than easy and routine fast foods…
And folks tend to walk a lot when landing in a new place—to explore but also because they haven’t bought a car yet if they’re outside of a city.
I don’t have to tell you that this trend is perhaps easiest to accomplish in Asia… a region of the world famous for healthy, fit, and long-lived people.
Of course, the local medical systems here are some of the best in the world.
A Live and Invest Overseas reader got in touch with us recently to recall his experience with the health care system in one of our top countries in the region…
What makes his story so compelling though, is Stephen had the experience of seeking medical care both in the United States (in Texas) and overseas (Thailand) for the same condition.
Here’s how he describes his experiences…
“Let me give you a side-by-side comparison, Texas and Thailand,” Stephen says.
“To start, in Dallas, I couldn’t get an appointment for three months, because I wasn’t a previous patient. In Bangkok, a doctor visit was available within 20 minutes, no appointment required.
“In Dallas, my visit was at a free-standing clinic, with two doctors on duty. In Bangkok, my visit was at a world-class medical hospital.
“In Dallas, my waiting time was almost five hours: 3 1/2 in the main waiting room and then another hour in the examination room. In Bangkok, my wait was 20 minutes (remember, this was without an appointment).
“In Dallas, after I’d seen my doctor, I went to fill my prescription. The first pharmacy told me I’d have to wait an hour. So I drove to a second pharmacy, where I had to wait 30 minutes. Total time, including driving, was 1 1/2 hours.
“In Bangkok, the pharmacy was on-site. My medication was delivered to me 10 minutes after I’d seen the doctor.
“In Dallas, the cost was US$150 for the doctor, US$50 for an ‘extra services’ fee, and US $150 for the medication. In Bangkok, the cost was US$30 for the doctor, US$10 for the ‘clinic fee,’ and US$100 for the medication.
“Bottom line, in Dallas, I spent six hours and US$350 and was frustrated the entire way. In Bangkok, it took less than an hour to achieve the same result. It cost me US$140. And I got fast service… with personal courtesy to boot.”
And it’s not just expats and locals that are taking advantage of the health care system in Asia…
More than 1.5 million foreigners seek medical care in Thailand alone ever year.
Elective procedures and major surgeries are significantly less expensive than in the U.S., and positive outcomes are high…
A heart bypass, for example, that would cost over US$100,000 in the United States will only cost around US$10,000 in Thailand. A total hip replacement in Thailand costs around US$12,000, yet the same procedure in the States is more than US$80,000. A simple MRI costs less than US$300, a saving of around US$700 compared to having the same procedure in the United States.
A Golfer’s Paradise—
At A fraction The Cost
Just like anywhere else, golfing is popular passion here in Asia…
Thailand, for example, has some 250 golf courses alone.
In fact, golf is so vital to this country’s tourism revenue that the government recently approved six “GQ” (golf quarantine) hotels where foreign visitors could play a round throughout their two-week isolation period.
Golf also has a place in the country’s Golden Visa program. Foreigners who hold an “Elite Ultimate Privilege” visa qualify for 24 free golf or spa visits annually.
One of our favorite parts of the country is Hua Hin. This coastal resort is about 225 kilometers from Bangkok—close enough to the capital to avail of its amenities but far enough away to be removed from its chaos.
Since the 1920s, Hua Hin is the summer home of Thailand’s royal family. It offers visitors and residents a wide selection of restaurants, internationally accredited medical care, and at least nine golf courses in close proximity.
Thousands of foreign investors and expats have invested in Hua Hin real estate. Around the golf courses, you’ll find modern and secure gated communities. We found a 260m2 (~2,800ft2), 4-bedroom home on the grounds of Palm Hills Golf Club for the equivalent of US$163,175.
But Asia Offers Much
More Than Just Affordability…
“Affordability” is usually the first or second reason most folks give for wanting to retire overseas…
Everyone is different, but other reasons tend to include something along the lines of:
- Better weather…
At this point, I think you’re starting to understand that Asia aces the affordability portion of our where-to-live-well-overseas test…
But this beautiful and exotic corner of the world boasts hundreds of thousands of expats—including for all of the reasons I listed above…
Nowhere else in the world will you get so much for so little money.
Not a fan of cold weather?
The weather here is tropical, though heading higher into the mountains rewards you with crisp and cool weather.
Needless to say, you can leave your snow shovel behind.
Asia also boasts the Best Beaches In The World.
This is, of course, a subjective ranking.
However, Southeast Asia offers every type of beach lifestyle you could imagine (again, at eye-popping low prices).
And the beaches here are immaculate… some of them are things of dreams.
What about adventure?
This is an ancient land of emperors and voyagers.
It’s a place where you can stumble upon secluded thousand-year-old temples on routine hikes.
Between the history, landscapes, cultures, and cuisines, no areas on your travels around the world would be more exotic…
Yet, in the places I’ll tell you about, such as the “Land of Smiles,” you’ll be treated better than you would back home.
And don’t forget about your health… this part of the world is famous for its fit, long-lived people. That’s due in large part to the popular, healthy foods you’ll find here…
In fact, weight loss due to a natural change in diet and activity is often the biggest surprise perk of a new life overseas…
Take John Leech, a Live and Invest Overseas reader now living in Asia…
Born in New York and raised in the Chicago suburbs, John was a bit disillusioned with America…
“Things like the car culture bothered me, and the fact that everything was so expensive.
“I also disliked the fact that there was no real sense of community—particularly in the cities. People don’t know their neighbors. People don’t even make eye contact. I lived in an apartment in California for four or five years and I knew no one there. People were too busy to pass the time of day.
“In 2005 I visited Southeast Asia for the first time during a vacation, and afterward I had it in the back of my mind that I might like to return long-term… And that’s what I did…
“I weighed 240lbs when I left the States—and I’ve lost 60lbs since I got here. As well as eating more healthy food, I also walk everywhere rather than drive…”
“I’ve Been Living The Good Life In Asia”
“I’ve been living the good life in Asia for 22 years. Each afternoon I walk a few hundred meters to enjoy a breath-taking sunset while I jog along the beach and then dip into the South China Sea to cool off. I grew up in Southern California. No smog here!”
— James L., LIOS reader and American expat in the Philippines
Rent From $200 A Month In This
Quirky, French-Inspired Haven
By LIOS Editorial Director (And Part-Time Asia Expat)
As I make my way down a broad boulevard shaded by leafy cedars on either side, I regret that I’m not wearing a jacket today. Despite the sunshine and blue sky, the air is crisper than I’d anticipated.
I’m kept from turning back to my hotel by the smell of fresh-baked baguettes stacked in a window display ahead. With one of those and a cup of coffee in hand, I’m determined to continue my initial exploration of this town.
I pass estates with shuttered windows, wrought-iron balconies, and latticed gardens… all the makings of alpine chalets. Ahead of me, the spire of a Roman Catholic church juts out above the skyline, and Grand Lac shimmers in the morning light.
At first, the sensation is disorienting, but as I look up at a replica of the Eiffel Tower (about one-fourth the size of the original), it becomes downright bizarre…
Am I in small-town Vietnam or some sort of France-themed amusement park? The answer, it turns out, is a bit of both…
I’m in Da Lat.
Da Lat is the resort town that the French carved out of Vietnam’s Central Highlands back when the country was a French colony. Like all hill stations around the world, it served colonists as an escape from the sweat, grime, and tropical malady of the lowlands.
The French endowed Da Lat with villas, boulevards, golf courses, parks, health complexes, and more. Architectural and cultural remnants from that era remain today, casting a historic and otherworldly charm over the place.
Something about Da Lat inspires romance…
Whether it’s the well-preserved past or its cool weather, misty peaks, and pine forest, love is in the air here in Vietnam’s honeymoon capital.
Understandably, Da Lat’s tourism organizers want to encourage that reputation and have made efforts to capture the town’s natural charm. To most Westerners, those efforts are probably misguided…
They come in the form of Vietnamese-brand kitsch—swan-shaped paddleboats, concrete statues of woodland creatures, and heart-shaped everything meant for young couples to pose in front of.
While tacky, these adornments add to Da Lat’s quirkiness, and it remains a fascinating place to visit.
Mainstream international tourism hasn’t discovered Da Lat yet, but the word is out among expats. The small but diverse group that live here do so because it offers peace and tranquility, natural beauty, an agreeable climate, and a low cost of living.
The Lam Dong Province and Da Lat, its capital, are the garden bed of Vietnam. This province produces more flowers than any other in Vietnam and is responsible for 50% of the country’s floral output. Everything from roses and marigolds to hydrangeas and golden everlastings is grown here. So, too, is produce not available in other parts of the country: coffee, strawberries, cabbage, cauliflower… Da Lat even has its own wine industry.
Vietnamese food is some of the healthiest in the world because of its heavy emphasis on fresh herbs and vegetables and avoidance of oil and dairy.
The best thing about Da Lat, though, is that it can be enjoyed at an impossibly low cost to expats…
You don’t need a lot to live well here, and as people shake off outdated perspectives about this part of the world, Da Lat’s reputation as an overseas retirement destination is only going to grow.
Your cost of living in Da Lat may vary depending on your lifestyle, but, regardless, it will be lower here than it is in the States. A couple can live comfortably on about US$1,000 a month.
If you eat and shop like a local, you’ll save greatly. Eating at Vietnamese restaurants costs about 100,000 dong (US$4.50) for a meal for two. A grocery trip to a local market is about 500,000 dong (US$22).
Likewise, if you shop for imported goods at stores, you’ll spend much more on groceries. Rent can be as low as 4,500,000 dong (US$200) a month for a small apartment on the edge of town. For a more central apartment, expect to pay between 8,000,000 and 10,000,000 dong (US$350 to US$450). Air conditioning isn’t needed in Da Lat, so electricity bills are always low, and utilities are usually included in the cost of rent.
In short, life in Da Lat is inexpensive; the dong is one of the weakest currencies in the world, and the average monthly salary here starts at about US$125 a month. If locals can get by on that, an expat should be able to do quite well here. The average pension goes a lot further in Vietnam than it does back home.
If you’re not planning to retire just yet, you have options, too.
Every expat we know is doing business in Da Lat, so it’s possible to be an entrepreneur here. Most of the expat entrepreneurs operate cafés, restaurants, homestays, or hotels; there are also some Dutch expats involved in flower production.
At Live and Invest Overseas, we’ll always let you know the pros and cons of any place we suggest—“Warts and all!”… that’s our motto. Let’s start with the downsides…
Da Lat Cons:
- It’s quiet. If you need constant stimulation and the amenities of a big city, this isn’t the place for you…
- Few Vietnamese people speak English. Not being able to make yourself understood might become tiresome. You’d have to invest time in getting to grips with the language…
- Cultural exclusion. It’s hard to form meaningful connections with locals when you can’t understand each other…
- Hospitals aren’t great: For more serious procedures, you’ll need to travel to Ho Chi Minh City…
Da Lat Pros:
- It’s quiet. If you’re after peace and tranquility, rest and relaxation, then this is the place for you…
- It’s naturally beautiful. You can pursue a variety of outdoor interests here: hiking, biking, golf, gardening, etc…
- Perfect weather: This is the Eastern Hemisphere’s City of Eternal Spring…
- The food is delicious and fresh. Reduce your expenses and your waistline just by eating out…
- Low cost of living. Everything from rent to health insurance to a cup of coffee is cheaper than it is at home, and you can live very well here on nothing but your pension…
Here Are Your Top 5 Choices For
Part- Or Full-Time Living In Asia
Considering Asia, you have dozens of countries and hundreds of towns to choose from…
Lucky for you, we’ve done the hard work for you.
Before we get to the “thin-sliced,” exact regions and towns I have in mind for you, let’s review the countries we’ll be exploring:
Welcome Home To The “Land of Smiles“
Dubbed the ”Land of Smiles” for its famously friendly and welcoming locals, it’s rare to find a town in Thailand that doesn’t have at least a few foreign residents.
Breathtaking beaches and friendly locals are just what’s on the surface. Excellent health care and easy retirement visa options have led to more and more retirees settling here every year.
And a would-be retiree
would have no trouble enjoying life in Thailand… you’ll find a large and established expat communities and clubs, plenty of golf courses, excellent (and cheap!) medical and dental care, and all the services and amenities that an expat could want.
Plus, the geography offers everything from misty mountains to pristine beaches.
Arguably The Cheapest Place On Earth
To Live Well
Impossibly, Vietnam is also arguably home to world’s most spectacular beaches…
It also offers cool mountain retreats, cities seething with vitality, and an especially exotic lifestyle for westerners.
Many American war vets have returned to Vietnam, and the country today boasts a youthful energy and optimism that permeates everything. It’s infectious, and many of our correspondents report that it feels like they’ve found a fountain of youth.
Many folks head here and love it. Others complain about the hustle and the lack of Western influence… indeed, foreigners are welcomed here by both the government and locals with open hearts, but most services and daily life do not cater to foreigners specifically.
If you’re in search of something totally different, Vietnam is the place to start.
An English-Speaking Beach Paradise…
With more than 7,000 islands, you’ll have the experience of a lifetime exploring the Philippines in search
of that one beach that ticks every single one of your boxes…
Colonized by the Spanish in the 16th century and by the Americans in the 20th, you’ll find here everything from Spanish colonial churches to an American military hospital.
As an official language, English is spoken in the Philippines, and the country is fond of North Americans. Residency is simple (and arguably the easiest in Southeast Asia), with retirement programs and an easy path to permanent residency.
More so than any other country in Asia, North Americans will feel a sense of comfort and familiarity living in the Philippines.
Where You Can Live Easily On Just
US$5 A Day
Blessed with beautiful lakes, rivers, mountains, forests, and forests, Cambodia is home to the city known as “The Pearl of Asia”.
Founded by the French in the 1920s, Phnom Penh is a vibrant mix of colonial European and Asian cultures. It’s said to be the best example of French Colonial architecture in Asia and is the economic, cultural, historical, and industrial heart of the country.
Cambodia overall is famous among adventure tourists and archaeologists for its ancient cities, but its real draw is its warm, welcoming, and infectiously optimistic people.
Americans are in luck as the U.S. dollar is widely accepted here, and anyone living here is fortunate as many expats claim to be able to live on less than US$5 a day, easily and comfortably.
You’ll find stunning, pristine, white-sand beaches in Cambodia to rival any in the world, but living here you’d be a pioneer… this is the least developed haven of the places in Asia we have in mind for you…
Still, English is becoming more widely spoken… more and more international schools are opening… and golf courses, malls, and resorts are being built every year.
Paradise Meets Affordability In The “Enchanted Land”
In fact, Indonesia is so large that we’re only going to focus on one of its islands: Bali—dubbed the “Enchanted Land”—which itself has 56 cities.
The island of Bali packs in everything you expect of paradise, from coral reefs to the jungle-clad slopes of mighty mountains complete with tribes of naughty monkeys.
Best of all, you have about a half dozen different expat community areas to choose from here… from quiet and low-key (attractive to retirees) to young and raucous (where your kids or grandkids might head when they visit).
Dense jungles, remote waterfalls, countless birds and flowering plants, and a large resident dolphin population draw thousands of visitors every year.
“At last, I can use my passport!”
“I’ve had my passport in my handbag for the last 27 years.
You have showed me the way to use it… and how. Thank you!”
– Penny Herbert, Canada
Two Tempting Places Not For Everyone
Overseas retirement havens can come and go depending on political changes or, more often, changes in residency visas.
Such is the case for one of our historically top havens in Asia: Malaysia.
This modern country usually welcomes foreigners with a red carpet, specifically via its Malaysia My Second Home program. However, 10-year long-stay visas and tax waivers are currently off the table due to COVID-19.
Furthermore, the word on the ground is that the government may look to replace the program completely. For this reason, I’m happy to discuss how Malaysia could be your personal Shangri-la… just know that it might become harder to live in what was once one of the easiest places to establish residency in Asia.
I’ll also introduce you to another retirement haven that shares a coastline with Malaysia… but I have to warn you: it is not cheap.
In fact, Singapore is one of the most expensive places in the world to live. But what a lifestyle! Nowhere else in the world can boast such a clean, safe, and modern lifestyle.
With its cleanliness and architecture, it feels like living in a future. Again, though, it comes at a steep price.
One of the remarkable aspects of Southeast Asia’s affordability is that the costs are so low that you’d never have to commit to just one place…
You could be a perpetual traveler in this part of the world—enjoying hotel stays, room service, and amenities while going from one tourist visa to the next—and still spend less than you would fully settled nearly anywhere else on Earth.
Either way, full-time or part-time, just imagine how much you could see and experience.
The white-sand beaches…
The exotic cultures and places…
A truly luxurious retirement, complete with maid service, beachfront living, dinners out, even a driver…
And you can afford it all.
This opportunity is simply too tempting to ignore…
Of course, you need plenty of good information and insight, and you have important decisions to make…
And, mostly, you just want to make sure you get it all right when it comes to organizing a plan here.
Let’s face it… the whole thing would be very daunting—even overwhelming—if you were doing it all on your own.
But you don’t have to.
Instead, you can tap into honest and current information, insights, and advice, all in one place…
Over three days, you’ll get to know Southeast Asia’s best places to live—”thin sliced” to exact places that could be your personal slice of paradise.
Via high-definition video, you’ll see and hear from professionals, expats, and retirees who are already working, investing, or living in these places…
All from the comfort and convenience of your own home.
Now, while the time zone difference makes it difficult to have a completely live experience, we’ve planned for several live sessions each day so that you’ll be able to interact with speakers to ask your questions. As usual, we’ll also have our popular chatrooms and forums opens to chat with your fellow readers and the experts who will be on hand.
The event will give you a comprehensive, in-depth view of our top havens in Asia these places that outsiders and tourists simply don’t know.
This online event has two major objectives:
#1: To help you find out where in Southeast Asia is best for you…
#2: To give you the knowledge, support, and contacts necessary to make a move with confidence—that is, to create a plan…
Find the security that comes with knowing exactly how you can live—comfortably—on a budget that starts around US$870 a month.
- Get to know each of your best options for living well in Asia… from near-private islands to bustling cool-weather mountain villages…
- Discover where you can tap into free health care, with excellent facilities and English-speaking doctors…
- Find out how you can save thousands—tens of thousands—by living in certain off-the-radar places…
- See examples of comfortable apartments you can rent for less than US$500 per month…
- Learn where the best investment markets are… and what you can and can’t purchase as a foreigner…
Whatever your agenda, you’ll end the event prepared and confident, with all of the practical matters at your fingertips.
From residency to taxes, from banking to real estate, you’ll leave this conference ready to take action.
And, most important, you’ll benefit from the experience of those who have gone before you…
At this conference you’ll hear from seasoned expats who were once in your shoes.
Plus, if you want to see the cities and properties firsthand, you can join one of the optional (virtual) real estate tours and see the lay of the land for yourself.
In demand from readers for more than a decade, our high-definition-video, online-event system has finally allowed us to host our first-ever Live and Invest in Asia Virtual Conference…
This online event will allow you to explore Southeast Asia’s greatest lifestyle opportunities from the comfort of home.
“Your presenters were very knowledgeable…”
“Our minds are still reeling with all of the information presented to us. All of your presenters were very knowledgeable about their respective fields. We also enjoyed talking with other expats-in-waiting. Mike and I live in the snowy part [of] Washington State. Needless to say, we would love to spend at least our winters someplace warm instead!”
–Laura D., United States
Experience It Live…
Then Get Lifetime Access
To ALL Of The Information
Your registration today gets you more than just interactive access to the event, our experts, and all of their insights…
Because this is all done via video over the internet, we’ll be able to record everything—every data sheet, every checklist, every discussion, every panel debate, and every bit of information.
We’ll edit, organize, and package it all into a high-definition video program that you can download or access online whenever and from wherever you want…
We’ll even add in some e-books for quick and easy reference.
Plus, unlike our live events, these recordings will not immediately be available for discounted purchase to the general public.
Have All Your Questions Answered
Attend this year’s Live and Invest in Asia Virtual Conference and have every one of your questions answered…
And by people who know from firsthand experience what they’re talking about…
- What are the downsides of living in Southeast Asia in general… and each of the 5 countries we’ll discuss specifically?
- What’s the best way to move money to Asia and into the local currency?
- What are the benefits of the Golden Visa residency programs? Are retiree benefits available? What’s required to qualify?
- How can an expat get into the local health care systems?
- What would life here really be like… in the expat hotspots, in big cities like Bangkok, big islands like Bali, and small islands like Boracay?
- Where can you find developed expat communities?
- What’s required to open a bank account?
- Where does it make sense today to buy for investment? What real estate is off limits for foreigners?
- Where are the best beaches in the region? The best bargains?
- Can I really get the things I need? I mean… how would I live without Walmart and Home Depot?
Every question you have—if there’s an answer for it, we can give it to you.
Our top experts in this region of the world will be on hand to discuss it all…
This Event Should Be On Your Must-Do List…
“Thanks again for all of your hard work in putting together the conference. For anyone considering a move to a foreign country, a conference like this one should be on their must-do list.”
–Diane D., United States
“At The First Flurry Of Snow,
My ‘Thailand Bag’ Is At The Door!
By Live and Invest Overseas Asia Correspondent Bart Walters
I first visited Chiang Mai in 2002, and it was sleepy beyond imagination.
“I’m not old enough to live in Chiang Mai,” was what I said back then. The frenetic city life in Bangkok still had me under its spell. The half-speed pace of the northern capital was just too slow.
Two decades later, it seems Chiang Mai and I have met in the middle. I’ve slowed down to a respectable pace for a 50-something and Chiang Mai has blossomed to earn its longtime nickname “Rose of the North.”
Now I visit Chiang Mai quite often to connect with old friends and enjoy the relaxing pace. Sometimes I succumb to the laid-back yoga-hippy vibe and do nothing. Sometimes I head uptown to hear some live jazz. Every part of town is different. The people are friendly, the weather is perfect, and the cuisine is legendary.
The best thing of all? Nobody is in a hurry.
I’ve lived over half my adult life overseas. Chiang Mai is my top pick for anyone considering an overseas retirement in Asia.
Here are a few things that set it apart from other parts of Thailand…
1. It’s not Bangkok
With a population of just over 1.2 million, Chiang Mai is not a big city by Southeast Asian standards. Big sister Bangkok boasts 12 million inhabitants, a figure considered an understatement by folks who live there.
Chiang Mai only has a few buildings that could be considered high rise, even those are less than 30 floors. Roads are fairly good, but the popularity of Chiang Mai as a getaway spot strains the infrastructure on big holiday weekends.
The city viewed from a higher elevation looks like a collection of neighborhoods that grew into each other to fill in the river valley. Chiang Mai is pretty busy, but it’s by no means Bangkok busy.
2. It’s more than a vacation spot
While many tourists visit Chiang Mai, foreigners living here don’t have the feeling they are tourists. In the big seaside resort towns like Pattaya and Phuket, large expat populations have formed. They enjoy the permanent vacation lifestyle but will always feel like tourists.
In Chiang Mai, foreigners live all over town, they experience many different lifestyles, and they connect to Thai culture in a more meaningful way. Chiang Mai is not a “tourists-who-stayed” kind of town.
3. It’s plugged in
Many expats and retirees have chosen to live on some of Thailand’s island paradises like Koh Samui or Koh Chang. Chiang Mai is the opposite of an island. Rather than suffer island-style isolation, residents enjoy total connection to the rest of the world.
Internet connections are high-speed and reliable, great roads lead in every direction, and an ever-expanding international airport is at your disposal. The overnight train to Bangkok is a trip everyone should take at least once.
Chiang Mai is plugged-in and connected to all of Asia and the world.
4. There’s no big party scene
Nobody comes to Chiang Mai for the nightlife.
Bars and restaurants close around midnight, and everything gets wrapped up before 2 a.m. There is no real red-light district, but there are plenty of friendly pubs and a surprising number of live music venues.
But if all-night go-go bars or dance clubs featuring famous DJs is your thing, Chiang Mai will disappoint.
What It Costs… And Who Comes Here
Chiang Mai is a wonderful city and you get a lot of lifestyle for your money. But it’s not free. Despite what you may read on the internet, you cannot live a comfortable lifestyle consistently in Chiang Mai for US$1,000 per month. In my opinion, you can live a very comfortable life for 50,000 baht per month (about US$1,600). Retirees with a US$2,000 monthly budget could live a great life here.
A conservative count of expats in Chiang Mai today is 30,000. They come from all imaginable walks of life… and many have reinvented themselves in their new home…
I know a stone mason that became an interior designer. I know a ship’s-captain-turned-English-teacher. I know a celebrity hairdresser that owns a bungee jump concession. Diversity is what makes an expat community.
Though the majority of expats live full time here, Chiang Mai also draws the snowbird set…
Last year I met Richard and Gary, a couple of 70-somethings from Minnesota. Every year they come to Chiang Mai to wait out the harsh winter back home. “I get my Thailand bag near the door when I hear the first weather report of snow flurries,” says Richard. “There’s just no need to put up with 30-below.”
Both of these gentlemen are motorcycle enthusiasts and spend time at one of several pubs that cater to their hobby. Chiang Mai bike week in December is the height of their winter season.
“Some people go to Florida in the winter,” said Gary. “I’ve been to Florida… it ain’t Thailand.”
“Your honest, direct approach is a real service”
“What I admire is your honest, Your honest, direct approach is a real service. A lot of people have been hurt by nothing but glowing reports about offshore living from other sources. Your honest, direct approach is a real service.”
–Arlean K., United States
How Smooth Can Your Transition
To A New Life In Asia Be?
Very smooth… if you’re prepared and have made decisions right down to the details.
It’s why we’ll put at your fingertips information specifically focused on specially selected destinations…
It’s why we’ll “go deep” in regard to a combination of key considerations (haven-focused rather than country-wide)—taking you far beyond any touristic guidebook offerings.
And the best part of all this information?
It’s not sugarcoated. It’s the real deal. We give it to you straight—”beefs,” “bouquets,” and everything in between. Then you can decide for yourself…
The decision of “where” is ultimately yours, but we’re going to do our very best to ensure you have all of the best information available in the most easily-digestible format available.
If preparation is the #1 key to success, then confidence is a close #2…
We’re going to give you both during the Live and Invest in Asia Virtual Conference.
You’ll get a firm idea of the order of events for actually making the move. We make sure that once you set your sights on your dream destination, you know the next steps to take toward getting there.
“You Are Straight To The Point
“Kathleen… you guys are more straight-to-the-point and less hard-sell, which I appreciate at age 76.”
-Walt B., United States
At Your Service…
A Sneak Peek At Some Of Your Experts
Live and Invest in Europe Conference MC
and Founding Publisher of Live and Invest Overseas
Kathleen has covered the live, retire, and invest overseas beat for more than 35 years and is considered the world’s foremost authority on these subjects.
She has traveled to more than 75 countries, established businesses in 7, and invested in property in 21. Thanks to these adventures abroad, Kathleen has been able to assemble an unparalleled network of global contacts, colleagues, friends, experts, resources, and advisors.
Kathleen has moved children, staff, companies, household goods, and pets across three continents, from the East Coast of the United States to Waterford, Ireland… then to Paris, France… and, then to Panama City, Panama. Today, Kathleen and her family officially divide their time between their homes in Paris and Panama… but are most often on the road, traveling the globe and spending time wherever life takes them.
Kathleen also writes regularly for U.S. News & World Reports and Forbes and is regularly quoted by The New York Times, Money magazine, The Economist, the AARP, and beyond. She has appeared often on radio and television and has written innumerable books (including her Amazon best-seller, “How To Retire Overseas,” now in its Second Edition with Penguin Random House), reports, and essays on where and how you can escape the retirement-tromping economy at home and live like royalty on a modest budget… invest for profits overseas ahead of the crowds… and secure your dream retirement in the world’s best destinations.
Global Real Estate Investor
and Offshore Diversification Expert
Lief Simon is Live and Invest Overseas’ resident real estate investing and offshore diversification expert. His twice-weekly free newsletter, Offshore Living Letter, covers both topics with direct and easy-to-understand language.
Lief has lived and worked on 5 continents and traveled to more than 50 countries. His real estate investing experience began around 20 years ago with a multi-unit building in Chicago.
After selling that building for a leveraged total return of more than 1,800% in 2 ½ years, Lief began to diversify internationally. In the two decades since, Lief has purchased more than 45 properties across 21 different countries. He has developed land, managed rentals, and flipped pre-construction buys.
Lief has more experience buying and profiting from real estate around the world than any other individual investor you’re likely to find.
In addition, Lief specializes in offshore diversification, asset protection, and tax mitigation. Over the last 20 years living and doing business around the world, he’s built a network of reliable and expert contacts he trusts on such matters—attorneys, bankers, tax consultants, and other advisors, both Stateside and in the jurisdictions where he spends time and money.
You’ll get to meet many of these trusted contacts, alongside Lief, during the Live and Invest In Asia Virtual Conference.
Paul And Vicki Terhorst
Perpetual Travelers and Expats Across Asia
SmartMoney magazine calls Paul and Vicki Terhorst the “George and Martha Washington of cashing out.”
They retired to Argentina in 1984 at the very early retirement age of 35.
In 1988, Bantam Books (now Bantam Doubleday Dell) published their book, “Cashing In on the American Dream: How to Retire at 35,” now a classic.
In 1992 Paul and Vicki became perpetual travelers and have been living and staying in nearly every country in Asia…
This experience allows them to compare and contrast your options here with the confidence of boots-on-the-ground experience.
Live and Invest Overseas Editorial Director
A Canadian citizen, Sophia was born overseas. She has lived everywhere from Saudi Arabia to Colombia, Spain to Indonesia.
She currently calls the U.K. home but is often traveling in Asia where her family lives.
Sophia is also the Editor of Overseas Living Letter, and can give you perspective on the upsides and downsides of each place we’ll suggest to you during the Live and Invest In Asia Virtual Conference.
Thu Ti Anh Nguyen
Thu is an attorney who focuses on immigration, as well as commercial litigation, dispute resolution matters, debt recovery, and family law. She has worked in the legal field for more than a decade and was previously a contract analyst for Schlumberger, the world’s largest oilfield services company.
Throughout her legal career, Thu has maintained a strong commitment to serving her diverse client base, from individuals to institutions to multinational corporations across a wide range of industries.
Thu is just one of several of our personally-trusted lawyers that you’ll meet…
Global Investment Specialist
While real estate investing among foreigners in Asia (usually) cannot include land, you still have plenty of options for investment and profit among the countries we’ll discuss.
Stuart is one of the experts that Live and Invest Overseas has personally used for investments in the region.
A global investment specialist with over 20 years’ experience in business consultancy, due diligence, and strategic portfolio management, Stuart’s current area of expertise is in sustainable asset classes.
You’ll be able to ask Stuart all of your questions regarding investing in Asia during the Live and Invest in Asia Virtual Conference.
Immigration And Estate Attorney
Managing Partner of his firm, Alexander has been practicing law for nearly 25 years.
His law practice focuses on everything from Corporate Law to Patents & Trademarks, but you’ll get insights and facts on immigration and estate planning.
Of course, Alexander is just one of several of our personally-trusted lawyers that you’ll see and hear from in May…
President, Insurance Services of America
Expert in Expat Health Insurance
Graham has been in the insurance business for 50 years. His firm, Insurance Services of America (ISA), has specialized in international health insurance since 1995 and has won first-place rewards for every company he has represented since that time.
Last year, ISA helped insure over 60,000 people either traveling in or outside the United States or moving overseas.
ISA has an A+ Better Business Bureau, 5 Star rating, and a more-than-99% customer satisfaction rating. To better serve their clients, ISA has offices located in Arizona, Indiana, and Texas. Graham has a son in the business and has been married to his wife, Rebecca, for 53 years.
American Expat in Asia
Esther grew up in North Carolina and is a career educator.
She has lived and taught in Florida, New York, South Africa, Thailand, Vietnam, and Bali, Indonesia, with her husband, who is also from North Carolina (and whom she met on a beach in Thailand).
Living in Asia, Esther has been able to take some time away from education to focus on writing her first novel. She is also developing two businesses as an education consultant and a writing coach.
Esther offers you an honest, agenda-free look at several of our top havens in Southeast Asia.
As a bonus, she can give you insights on starting a business both online and locally overseas…
And that’s just a start… you’ll hear from more than 13 additional experts, expats, and retirees…
“This is not crazy!”
“I loved hearing stories of expats… these are people who actually walked the walk and show people like me that this is not crazy.”
—Ellen Zucker, United States
If All These Folks Could Do It,
You Can Do It Too!
Who else will you meet at our Live and Invest in Asia Virtual Conference?
Others just like you who’ve already made the move:
Expats already living, investing, or doing business in this country.
In fact, these introductions alone are worth the price of admission. They could be the most important benefit of the entire event.
These people have no agenda. They’ve agreed to participate in the event for no reason other than they’d like to help out fellow expats considering following in their footsteps. They receive nothing in return… have no ties to anyone (including me or Live and Invest Overseas)… and are hindered by no conflict of interest.
Our only request of them is that they tell it like it is. What you hear from these expats won’t be all good. Maybe it won’t even be mostly good. But it will be the real deal.
No place is perfect, and we understand that a rose-colored view does you no favors…
There’s a reason these folks are in Asia. They’re fans, but they’re not fools.
They know the good, the bad, the beautiful, and the ugly of day-to-day life and of trying to do day-to-day business in this place. They’re enjoying the advantages… and they know how to manage to the downsides.
An important part of our agenda during this event is to show you these downsides… so you can decide whether you can live with them, too.
To this end, our expat speakers will be there to tell you about life in Southeast Asia as it really is…
This event truly is a one-of-a-kind experience…
And we guarantee it’ll save you time, hassle, and money down the road…
“It’s tempting to continue living the way you’ve been living.
It’s easy… and it can be very frightening to think about creating a whole new life for yourself in a foreign place.
All I can tell you now is that I’m thrilled… it has been one of the most satisfying experiences of my life.“
-Jay S., United States”
Access To This One-Of-A-Kind Event Is
Now Available At The Lowest Rate Possible
Our Live and Invest in Asia Virtual Conference has been designed to give you the firsthand, on-the-ground information that you need to make the right decision about investing and living here.
And, whatever lifestyle you’re looking for—in the mountains, villages, cities, or at the beach—we’ll have experienced expats on hand to show you what life is really like when you live in the Far East.
The price of this year’s Live and Invest In Asia Virtual Conference will be US$595 for access to all 3 days of the event.
But, frankly, there’s no need to pay that much right now…
Today, you can save at least US$200.
This cost includes full access to the interactive workshops and presentations…
Plus, all supplemental reports, guides, and seminar materials…
As well as access to the chatrooms and forums where you’ll get to mingle with the experts as well as like-minded adventurers also looking to make a move to Asia.
“First 25” Discount
Now In Effect
If you are reading this message, it means you are potentially one of the first 25 people to register for the Live and Invest in Asia Virtual Conference.
You’re decisive… ahead of the crowd… a trendsetter…
And the recipient of an EXTRA US$200 OFF the going rate for full access.
In other words, you’ll get complete and interactive access to all 3 days of the event, including the recorded coverage of everything, for only US$395.
That’s just US$131 per day and, again, it comes with the complete on-demand program featuring high-video recordings of everything once the evet is over…
Along with full access to every expert and the library of guides and reports that every attendee will receive.
Better yet, these discounts are already set up right now—and you can combine them with a subscriber discount if you’re eligible…
In addition, you may be eligible for an even better discount:
- Subscribers of Overseas Living Letter, Global Property Advisor, and Simon Letter will get a US$50 discount…
- Or, if you’re a member of Overseas Living Unlimited, you can double that amount for a full US$100 discount…
- And, of course, All Access Pass members get 100% free access…
* Please note that you cannot combine any of the discounts above.
In order to receive your savings, look for the special link on the registration page that matches your discount…
“Very Well Organized”
I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed the conference. Very well organized and more information than I ever expected.
–Dave D., United States
I Promise You’ll Have No Regrets…
First of all, your satisfaction is 100% guaranteed.
If you’re not happy with the event (or if you need to cancel), just let us know and I’ll send 100% of your money back to you.
But that’s not exactly what I mean with “no regrets”…
Part of our agenda at the Live and Invest in Asia Virtual Conference is to give you the full story… the pros and the cons.
Did the readers I’ve helped over the decades have their down days?
Of course they did…
One past attendee told me recently that she had the mother of all meltdowns after she and her husband packed up all their boxes and were getting ready to sell their beloved Illinois home. But, the next morning she picked herself up and followed through with her move…
“The best thing about our new life now is that we have no alarm clocks. We take our time in the morning and enjoy a leisurely breakfast. I’ll do some writing in the afternoon and exercise in the evening. There is no routine—and it’s wonderful.”
You’ll never know how wonderful your life could be unless you go and see.
And what about those readers who decided Asia was not for them after all?
I’ve heard from some, and not a single one regretted the experience.
In fact, many of these folks told me the only regret was not doing it sooner, when they were younger and healthier.
I urge you to give yourself the best start—sooner than later and in the best company—this May during my Live and Invest in Asia Virtual Conference.
I hope to see you log on.
Founding Publisher, Live and Invest Overseas
We’re going to help you develop an actionable plan so you can follow through on your move in as little as 12 months or sooner.
Most important, we’ll introduce you to our trusted contacts who can support you through every step of your journey…. both during and after the event.
This is your best shot at finding a Rolls Royce lifestyle on a Dodge Dart budget…
I urge you to take it.
Here’s what past
Virtual Conference attendees had to say:
Our minds are still reeling with all of the information presented to us. All of your presenters were very knowledgeable about their respective fields. We also enjoyed talking with other expats-in-waiting. Mike and I live in the snowy part Washington State. Last year was very snowy and cold. Needless to say, we would love to spend at least our winters someplace warm instead!
–Laura D., United States
Thanks again for all of your hard work in putting together the conference. For anyone considering a move to a foreign country, a conference like this one should be on their must-do list.
— Diane D., United States
Kathleen, thank you for all your hard work. You have helped a lot of people dream and then helped a lot of dreams come true. I am always telling people about you. In fact, I just today told my banker about how honest and smart you are, letting us know where to go. Wish I had listened to you more years ago…
— Marlene M., United States
What I admire is your honest, tell-it-like-it-is approach. A lot of people have been hurt by nothing but glowing reports about offshore living from other sources. Your honest, direct approach is a real service.
— Arlean K., United States
Kathleen, I have to say that you seem to dig deeper into the feel of a particular place and to do great comparative analysis between alternative places. Your approach is more sophisticated and thoughtful and therefore more useful to me than other information sources covering these same subjects.
— John W., United States
I feel that the Conference was extremely worthwhile, both in terms of information received and cost. I am just beginning to explore the possibility of retiring overseas and, after attending the Conference, I can’t wait to get started. The conference was extremely helpful as a first step in considering all of the options that are available to me. I didn’t even know what they were until your conference. Also, as a single woman moving alone, you quelled my concerns over safety in the areas that I will be considering. I look forward to receiving additional information from you to assist me as I proceed with my move.
— Alice G., United States
Excellent information. Met some people who could become longtime friends.
— LeRoy J., United States