Book Review
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Book Review

Book Review: by Lang Reid

Your Investment Guide to Thailand

Should one invest in Thailand is a subject often debated in ex-pat circles or at special evening convened by the various chambers of commerce. This particular newly released reference book Your Investment Guide to Thailand (Bruce Bickerstaff, ISBN 978-974-9511-86-2, Silkworm Books Chiang Mai, 2010) has a foreword by Korn Chatikavanij, the finance minister for Thailand, so has been given some bona fides, especially as he writes, “My message to all prospective investors is that Thailand is delete ‘back in business’. Bruce Bickerstaff’s ‘Your Investment Guide to Thailand’ should help assist potential investors be in a much better position to take advantage of the economic opportunities that Thailand will once again generate.”

The book is split into three main sections : A - Getting Ready to Invest; B - Your Investment Options and C - Finalizing and Implementing your Investment Strategy. The three main headings then become 14 chapters, with each chapter having four to six subjects covered, and many break-out boxes with information, tables and graphs. There appears to be no shortage of information between its covers. As Bickerstaff writes, “This book takes a holistic view of the investment process. This involves considering the overall financial position of the investor, as well as the implications for lifestyle of particular types of investments.”

Bickerstaff has done his research and describes four typical investor types, ranging from the rose-colored glasses brigade to the life-changers, the desperadoes and the shrewd investors, who find that “shrewd” has a different meaning when taken in the Thai concept compared to the western model.

He has lists of Do’s and Don’ts and covers the range between due diligence, daydreaming and wishful thinking. He does pass the opinion that successful investors in Thailand have generally lived here for some years, made the necessary adjustments and contacts and after that have seen a promising opportunity, finally formulating a plan and carrying out due diligence.

Having met Bruce Bickerstaff at one of the Chiang Mai networking evenings, I do not believe he is one to inflate a situation or indulge in hyperbole. He even suggests that rather than buying a 30,000 THB desk, you buy a pinewood table for 700 THB.

The book covers much more than just investments, and even has a few pages dedicated to selection of a bank, transferring money into that bank and how to get the best exchange rate. He also mentions the “investment” visas which require investments of three million THB or 10 million THB.

With an index and several pages of key investment resources, it is an inexpensive resource material itself at B. 695. There should be savings many times more than the purchase price for the astute reader.

Being someone who has often thought about investments and trying to make one’s money work a little harder than it does sitting in a bank, this book certainly does show the pitfalls for the uninitiated and the counseling is sound.

As a final snippet of advice, Bickerstaff cautions, “If you choose to invest in Thailand you may need to learn to take the good with the bad. Experience, enjoy, just don’t lose the farm!”