Thailand suffers sharp fall in rankings of best countries for retirement


Thailand suffers sharp fall in rankings of best countries for retirement

Thailand has fallen in the global rankings of the best countries for expat retirees.

According to International Living’s Annual Global Retirement Index 2021, Thailand had an average score of 68.3 placing it 18th out of 25 countries surveyed, a drop of nine places from its ranking just two years ago.

International Living says the Retirement Index, which is now in its 30th year, is “the most comprehensive and in-depth survey of its kind”.

“Our index is informed by hundreds of opinions and real-life experiences—information—compiled by our trusted sources in the best retirement destinations across the globe”.

The Index is compiled by giving the 25 countries surveyed a score in 10 different categories, including Housing, Visas & Residence, Fitting in/Entertainment, Healthcare, Opportunity and Cost of Living, as well as other factors.

What is perhaps most noticeable in this year’s Index is not only Thailand’s fall in ranking, but that countries such as Portugal, France, Malta, Spain and Ireland were all considered to be better places to retire to than Thailand.

And while Thailand still ranked highly in the Cost of Living category, scoring 86 overall, that was behind many of its regional neighbours such as Vietnam (99), Cambodia (93) and Malaysia (91).

In other categories, Thailand scored highly in Healthcare (80) and Fitting in/Entertainment (81).

But one of its lowest scores was in the Visas/Residence category where it scored just 57. The Index cited difficulties for retiree expats in Thailand obtaining permanent residency and a lack of special residence options for retirees.

It also scored poorly in the Opportunity category (56) which examined how easy it is for expat retirees to set up a business in a country or whether there are options for retirees to supplement their income with freelance or online work – which in Thailand there is not.

Overall, Costa Rica (1st), Panama (2nd) and Mexico (3rd) made up the top three.

Costa Rica scored highly across almost all categories, but did particularly well in the Healthcare category where it scored 97 out of 100.

Of Costa Rica, the Index said:

“Earning the nickname “Switzerland of Central America” this peace-loving democracy shines in a region often plagued by political and civil unrest. Costa Rica abolished their army in 1948 and pledged that budget to education and healthcare. Resulting in a well-educated population and medical access for all citizens and legal residents.

“This republic is internationally known for its safety, neutrality, and commitment to the environment—with roughly a quarter of its land protected as national parks and wildlife refuges. The current democratic government, under Carlos Alvarado Quesada, is considered progressive and LGBTQ equal rights are mandated—officially legalizing same-sex marriage in May 2020. A rare policy to find in Latin America.

“Once you have acquired your residency, you pay approximately 7% to 11% of your reported monthly income into the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social healthcare system (Caja for short) and the national medical program is available to you without pre-existing exclusions or age disallowance. Residents have the option to blend public healthcare with private medical care either through out-of-pocket self-insuring or with the purchase of insurance policies. You can purchase these through familiar names like Blue Cross/Blue Shield, CIGNA, Aetna, or a Costa Rican private policy. All at a fraction of the cost compared to the U.S”.

The Index said a retiree expat couple could live comfortably in Costa Rica for around $2,000 a month.

The news comes as a study published on Thaivisa this week revealed someone wanting to retire to Thailand would need savings of approximately USD$390,000 in order to enjoy the same quality of life as they would in their home country.

Source: Thaivisa