HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Book Review

Book Review: Retiring in Thailand

by Lang Reid

Many expats in this country have already retired and have made the decision that ‘Retiring in Thailand’ (ISBN 1-887521-70-4, Paiboon Publishing, 2006) is for them. Written by Philip Bryce (retired in Koh Pha-Ngan) and Sunisa Wongdee Terlecky (semi retired in California and Bangkok), the book promises to tell the reader “how you can live in paradise for pennies on the dollar.”
The book is divided into five sections, with Philip writing the second section on ‘Planning your retirement in Thailand’ and Mrs. Sunisa writing the other four entitled ‘Why Thailand?’, ‘Tips on how to live a successful retired life in Thailand’, ‘Retirement locations’ and the ‘Reference’ section.
I did find the words of wisdom from the few retired expats they had interviewed very interesting, and many of the tips are well known, but ignored, and it is good for potential retirees to understand that spending the next 20 years sitting on a bar stool is not much of a way to spend the last years of your life, even though initially it is much more inviting than working as an assembly line worker in Detroit.
It has a strong American bias, which is understandable, with both Philip and Sunisa having worked for many years in the US, and the reference currency throughout the book is the US dollar. In the section at the end of the book is a table showing the costs of everyday living items in Thailand, which the reader looking at retiring here will not believe. A haircut for $2! Or $3 for a movie ticket! However, the book does not point out with sufficient emphasis that these prices, when you are living here on a limited budget (an Old Age Pension for example, or perhaps no pension at all and using savings) that these prices are relatively just as expensive as the similar items in the US or the UK where incomes are higher.
At B. 495 it is a cheap enough reference book, though much will have to be brought up to date each year. The book had no sooner been published when the government was overthrown by a welcomed bloodless coup. Rules and regulations regarding house purchases, nominee shareholders and visa stay requirements have also, or are in the process of change. This is good for the authors as it will keep them busy in their respective retirements, updating the book!
Personally I feel that this book does not go deep enough. More first-hand experiences are required, and probably a more in depth look at the various areas to retire and the comparison between metropolitan expat retirees and those who have settled up-country. What type of people are they? What is the difference and how does that relate to my situation in life?
There are many pages of good information at the back of the book and reference sources, though it was interesting that the website for Chiangmai Mail is listed, but Pattaya Mail, the longest running non-metropolitan English language newspaper, is not.
I look forward to the next edition, which will have corrected some of the information and filled in the omissions.