Retiring in Thailand – Expat Advice

Thailand, bordered to the north by Myanmar and Laos, with a total area of approximately 513,000 km2, is a popular destination for expats worldwide. According to the World Tourism Organization, Thailand was the most visited country in Southeast Asia in 2013. Bangkok is one of the most popular areas for expats, mainly because of its historical, cultural and natural sights. Other cities such as Chiang Mai and Pattaya also have many expats living there. Thailand is one of the best places for expats to retire in.

Why Thailand?

There many reasons why expats choose to move to Thailand. It has beautiful white sand beaches, mountainous jungles, diving sites, and more. The climate in Thailand is tropical, with warm weather all year round. The cost of living in Thailand is generally lower than in many western countries. Thai food is also popular for many of the expats. For those who are not used to Thai cuisine, foreign restaurants are available in Thailand if you need a taste of home. There is also a large expat community in Thailand, but it is recommended that you visit the nation a few times before choosing to retire there.

Safety for People Retiring in Thailand

According to the Canadian government, there is no nationwide advisory for Thailand as of July 2016, but there has been government and related political tensions in recent years that have spawned violent protests that expats should avoid. There was also the 2014 coup d’état and there are no immediate signs of regular democracy returning soon. There was also a serious terrorist attack in Bangkok in 2015. Global Affairs Canada advised against travel to some far southern provinces. It makes sense to check your own government’s foreign affairs warnings. Crime can be a serious issue for expats in Thailand and you should definitely exercise caution in crowded areas and make sure you secure your home and belongings. Also be aware of the cultural differences in the country. Finally, road accidents are more common in the country, especially with the widespread use of alcohol, so you should be quite careful on the roads.

How much do you Need to Retire in Thailand?

It has been reported that in order to qualify for a retirement visa, you will need at least 65,000 baht per month (Approx $2K USD) or $25K USD in a Thailand bank account. One would think you will need at least this amount or much more to enjoy a long-term retirement in Thailand. In fact, for a more comfortable retirement, you should have at least $5K USD of income per month, especially if you require a more lavish apartment in a major city of tourist region.

Healthcare in Thailand 

The healthcare system in Thailand is generally of good quality. Many doctors and medical staff speak English. Both public hospitals and private hospitals are available in major cities. The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office rates many private hospitals in Thailand equivalent to western standards; however, local hospitals vary by location and medical facilities. In the event of a medical emergency, it is recommended to have emergency evacuation coverage just in case. Therefore, expats should obtain international health insurance if wishing to retire in Thailand.

Housing in Thailand

The cost of living is much lower than in the western countries. It’s possible to buy a one-bedroom home in Chiang Mai for around $50,000. Expats can pay around $500 per month to rent a home in Chiang Mai. As you would expect, the costs are much higher in Bangkok if you want to live in a good area.

Cost of Living

Eating out in major cities with a typical Thai lunch available from only $1. International Living Magazine ranked Thailand as one of the cheapest to live. Retirees can live well with around $1,500 a month for total living expenses. We recommend having at least $2K per month of income to live in Thailand as an expat.

International Health Insurance in Thailand

If you are retiring in Thailand, most expatriates will want to obtain an international health insurance plan that will not only cover your medical treatment in Thailand, but also globally. If you are an American, you will want to include coverage for the United States. Expats should make sure that their plan includes medical evacuation and repatriation coverageExpat Financial can source international health insurance for expatriates in Thailand from large and respected international insurance companies. Please contact us today for a quote and to discuss your  expatriate insurance requirements for Thailand.

Costa Rica has become a retirement hot spot for expat retirees

With more than two million visitors each year, Costa Rica is consistently one of the hottest vacation destinations in Central America. More and more people are considering retiring in Costa Rica. In this article we will find out why Costa Rica has become a retirement hot spot for expat retirees.

Why Costa Rica?

Along with the Caribbean and the Pacific, Costa Rica has Nicaragua to the North and Panama to the South. Costa Rica has numerous beaches, a year-round tropical climate, modern cities, rain forests and mountains. According to a 2012 Happy Planet index, it was named the happiest country in the world.

According to some reports, many of the expatriates that live in Costa Rica are retirees. This because Costa Rica can deliver an excellent quality of life along with very low costs of living. You will find luxury resorts and golf courses, galleries and fine dining. In addition to its natural beauty, Costa Rica attracts many expats with its convenience, welcoming attitude and slow pace of life. The country is quite stable and is committed to preserving and protecting their environment.

Healthcare in Costa Rica 

The standard of the healthcare system in Costa Rica is one of the best throughout Latin America. There is a government healthcare system in addition to the private clinics that are usually favoured by expats. Both of the health systems are being continually improved with the addition of new hospitals and improved training for medical staff. There are three large private hospitals in the capital of the country that most expatriates use. While some may want to seek the low cost of local insurance plans, most visitors and expats would want to obtain international health insurance to use high quality private medical facilities along with the ability to obtain medical treatment outside of Costa Rica, especially in the USA.

Housing in Costa Rica

Aside from its scenic beauty and lower cost of living, the property market in Costa Rica is very prosperous because foreigners are entitled to the same ownership rights as Costa Rican citizens. The fastest selling properties in Costa Rica are in the greater metropolitan area and the Pacific coast. Three-bedroom family homes are priced from $212,000 USD. Waterfront properties are priced from just $100,000 USD.

Cost of Living

The cost of living in Costa Rica is relatively lower compared to Western standards. A three-course meal for two people in a mid-range restaurant will cost around $33 USD. Local groceries are generally inexpensive and and transport costs are low.

International Health Insurance in Costa Rica 

Expats should make sure that their plan includes medical evacuation and repatriation coverageExpat Financial can source international health insurance for expatriates in Costa Rica from large and respected international insurance companies. Please contact us today for a quote and to discuss your Costa Rican expatriate insurance requirements.

How to create a happy experience for your expat children

For many expats living and working overseas, they didn’t know that they would have kids while residing in another country far from home. It can be difficult for many expat parents to provide their children with the same experience as their own childhood back home. You might have played in a forest, on a farm, and played little games you love in your childhood. However, you are now living in another side of the world, with intense working schedules, busy city life, and a possibly different language and culture.

All expat parents want to encourage happy childhood memories for their kids in their new expat country. However, it can be very stressful as an expat child, especially if he or she is trying to adapt to a new city, country and culture without all the comforts and friends from home. In this article, we will provide some basic ideas for expat parents on how to create a happy experience for your expat kids while living and working abroad.

Make a To-Do list To Recreate Your Happy Childhood Memories

Take some time and recall your best childhood memories, and try to be as specific as possible: are they related to a taste of barbecue? A colour of a picture? Or the feel of the sunshine at a sports ground? These kind of happy memories are important, as they will provide you with more options when planning weekend activities with your children.

Your most cherished childhood events or festivals may not exist in your expat destination, but there may be activities and experiences that feel similar. Make a to-do list and recreate your happy childhood memories with your children.

Find a Common Interest You Can Enjoy With Children

If you want to inspire your children’s passion and create a source of great memories together, you can start by finding a common interest you can enjoy together. If you want to share your experiences with children as expat parents, and you don’t have local equivalent, then this is the moment that you need to be creative. Camping and hiking are great ways to get in touch with nature and spend time together. Biking is also a good idea. It will provide lots of chances to laugh and talk.

As you find some new ways to recreate your favourites, you are creating new traditions that your children will share with your grandchildren one day.

Observe What Other Parents Are Doing 

Surrounded by a new culture and language, it is always good to watch other local parents and see what they are doing. Talk to other local parents by learning their cultures, languages, religion, history, nature, the environment. These experiences will provide the opportunity to connect with their culture while living overseas.

Bring International Health Insurance

You already have a lot to worry about: finding schools for your children, adapting to the new environment, purchasing all the necessities, etc. But don’t forget to obtain adequate medical care for your entire family. The peace of mind of knowing that you and your family have access to the best healthcare is very important. Therefore, you need to create a tailored expatriate health insurance that meets your unique requirements as your expat spouse’s employer may or may not provide global healthcare. You should also consider life and disability coverage while living abroad.

Expat Financial offers several different international health insurance plans for expatriates of any nationality across the world. If you have questions about our international medical insurance plans or you want to discuss your needs and produce a customized quote, please contact us or complete the quote form.

What is your plan for medical emergencies while residing overseas?

For many expatriates, getting adequate medical treatment in a foreign country can be both difficult and stressful. The quality of medical facilities may vary greatly from country to country as a result of local medical capabilities. And in some countries, the standards of medical facilities may be much lower than those in Western countries. However, even in a developed country, having a prearranged plan on hand on how to deal with medical emergency coverage is very important. It will provide you and your family with an accurate direction and alleviate panic. In this article, we will provide you with some insight on how to design your plan for medical emergencies as an expat overseas.

What are your healthcare insurance options overseas?

Some countries have public hospitals, private clinics, private hospitals and international clinics within them, and some of these private options are of high standards of medical care. Many expatriates would prefer these private clinics to avoid the long queues and slow service of public hospitals.

Private clinics and international clinics are usually well equipped, offering English speaking medical staff with Western training. However, the cost of medical treatment is often higher than that at public hospitals. Without an appropriate international health insurance plan, you are putting yourself under financial risk. Most global medical plans will cover you worldwide excluding or including the USA depending on the plan and options chosen. You can add out-patient care, dental, vision and especially evacuation coverage.

How do you plan to maintain your well-being while living abroad? 

Despite the overall quality of medical facilities, you also need to consider hospital coverage, outpatient treatment, medical emergency evacuation, routine health check-ups, dental & vision care, life cover, disability cover and accidental death. Many expatriates are not aware that enrolling in a local plan cannot provide them with medical treatment at more satisfactory private clinics. Furthermore, these local medical plans do not offer medical coverage while expats are travelling out of country or going back home. In many developed countries, local medical plans are aimed to cover basic medical needs that may not be suitable for most expats. Therefore, you need to create a tailored international health insurance plan that meets your requirements. Premiums will vary depending on the coverage of the plan, your age, citizenship and several other factors. Some plans may not cover pre-existing medical conditions depending on the medical underwriter’s decision.

How do you prepare for medical emergencies? 

If you encounter medical emergency situations while abroad, preparation beforehand is key. Medical emergency evacuation is a critical part of an expatriate’s healthcare insurance. No matter if you are residing in a country with limited medical services, or a highly developed country, some situations require being evacuated to your home country to receive further medical attention regardless.

It is crucial to ensure that expatriates have an emergency medical evacuation plan before relocating overseas. The cost of ambulances, helicopters, traveling medical care and planes can be incredibly high if you do not have an adequate evacuation plan.

Before departure, it is recommended that expats do some research around your area of destination for hospitals and clinics. Check with the healthcare facilities’ for their type of service, type of rooms, rough cost, and whether English speaking doctors are available. Ask for representatives to deal with insurance claims, and their ability to organize an international medical evacuation. Your global medical insurance provider should be able to provide you with a list of medical providers that they work with.

How does an expatriate international health insurance plan help? 

An international health insurance plan provides flexible and worldwide service. It will not only let you select the hospital, medical providers and doctors but also provide you with direct payment so that you do not need to worry about any out-of-pocket medical expenses. Note that no insurance plan covers everything, so make sure you read your plan terms and conditions carefully.

The cost of international health insurance will vary by plan. Expat Financial offers several different international health insurance plans for expatriates across most parts of the globe. We also offer excellent service before and after you purchase your international health insurance plan. If you have questions about our international medical insurance plans or you want to discuss your needs and produce a customized quote, please contact us or complete the quote form.


Mexico has become a popular choice for expat retirees

Many expats choose to travel to Mexico for vacations. According to some reports, there are approximately one million Americans that live in Mexico. Some of them are working, while others are retiring in Mexico to enjoy their retirement years. Nowadays, Mexico has become a new popular choice for expat retirees. Choosing to retire abroad is a daunting and exciting decision, and there are many reasons why Mexico is an excellent choice.

Why Mexico?

Mexico is a Spanish speaking country that contains many cultures and diverse regions. Mexico relies heavily on tourism, manufacturing and mining for its revenues. The reason why many retirees choose to move to Mexico is because of its wonderful weather, lower overall cost of living, culture and more relaxed lifestyle. Some of the most popular destinations for expat retirees are: Lake Chapala, Puerto Vallarta, San Miguel de Allende & Cancun. They all have beautiful architecture, affordable costs of living, warm weather, and a community that can provide all manner of support to expat retirees.

Healthcare in Mexico 

Many medical facilities in Mexico are quite good, which is another important point of consideration for expat retirees before a move. Most of the doctors and dentists in Mexico received training in the U.S. Every medium and large city in Mexico has at least one high-end private hospital. The medical costs in Mexico are generally half or less what you might need to pay in the U.S. The same goes for prescription drugs. However, expats will most likely want to obtain medical care in the U.S. for any serious medical conditions.

Housing in Mexico 

According to many reports, housing in Mexico is generally affordable to most of the expat retirees. The cost of monthly rent for a 900 Sq foot furnished accommodation in an expensive area is about $1,110 USD. This amount will reduce to $643 if living in a more basic area depending on the region.

For properties available to buy, the price can be purchased for as little as $130,000 USD. depending on size and budget.

Cost of Living

Cost of living in Mexico is almost 51% lower than in Canada and U.S., according to reports. Local groceries are relatively cheap to purchase, and the quality can be outstanding. A three-course meal for two people in a mid-range restaurant will cost around $21 USD. With the Mexican peso having fallen against the US dollars in the last couple of years, it is even cheaper.

International Health Insurance in Mexico 

In Mexico, most expatriates will want to obtain an international health insurance plan that will cover medical treatment in Mexico, but also globally including the United States. Expats should make sure that their plan includes medical evacuation and repatriation coverageExpat Financial can source international health insurance for expatriates in Mexico from large and respected international insurance companies. Please contact us today for a quote and to discuss your Mexican expatriate insurance requirements.

expat employee

More expat employees will be required by resurgent mining companies

Gold mining companies are doing much better in 2016 after many years of low gold prices along with depressed stock prices, exploration and production. The global mining sector has experienced a protracted correction that has seen all commodities fall from grace since 2011 and 2012. Mining companies, especially in the gold sector, have seen significant declines for a variety of economic factors, especially the slowing demand for commodities from China. Quite a few mining stocks have risen substantially in 2016.

A Surge in Mining Industry Fortunes

Mining companies operate exploration and production activities around the world and as a result, often employ expatriate employees. The recent surge in mining stocks and the price of some commodities means that many mining companies may be increasing capital plans and the requirement for employing expatriate employees that have the necessary expertise and knowledge that may be lacking in the local market. While most mining employees at overseas mining sites will be local nationals, global mining companies still need to employ many foreign employees, especially in senior management and technical positions.

How to Attract Expatriate Mining Employees

To attract and retain expatriate employees, mining companies need to offer:

  • Competitive salaries, usually in USD
  • Room for career growth and advancement
  • Moving cost assistance
  • Signing bonus & stock options
  • A comprehensive global benefit plan that includes:
    • International health insurance
    • Expat life insurance
    • Global disability coverage
    • AD&D
    • Dental cover
    • Evacuation insurance

Expat Financial is extremely experienced in sourcing global benefit programs for mining companies operating around the world. Local insurance brokers often have limited experience in sourcing international group insurance coverage that is critical if your mining operation wants to attract the right talent to run your mining faculties or development work. Placing your expat employees on local plans is fraught with risks and disadvantages. Senior expat employees in the mining industry are in strong demand and require quality global insurance coverage.

Obtaining the Right Coverage for Mining Expat Employees

Obtaining a global insurance program for your expat employees is one of the most important investments that a mining firm can make. It makes sense to implement a program that will provide global coverage as the domestic plans for the local employees will not meet the international needs of an expat mining employee or his/her family. Most expats will need a plan that will provide global medical protection, especially for the employee’s spouse and dependents who may be living overseas or need a policy that covers them back home. As you may guess, many mines are located in remote regions where housing a spouse and children may not be possible.

The continued improvement of the global mining industry will hopefully continue and so will the jobs for expat mining executives. If your mining operation employees expatriates, then it must obtain an expat benefit plan that will adequately protect your employees, dependents and reduce the risk to the mining company. Contact an expat insurance specialist firm such as TFG Global Insurance Solutions Ltd, owner of Expat Financial, to discuss your global benefit requirements and obtain quotes from the market. Our firm is especially experienced in working with mining industry employers of expatriates around the world.