Getting older is a hot topic right now. Thailand’s society is ageing and real estate firm CBRE predicts that by 2022 over 20 percent of the country’s population will be aged over 60 years.
This will put pressure on services and in particular housing. Whilst many ageing Thais are likely to live with their family which is inherent of the local culture, there is an appetite for retirement living that is found in other countries across the globe.
From retirement villages to nursing homes providing round the clock care, there are varying types of housing for this demographic suited to individual needs.
Aside from the local ageing population, there are many non-Thais choosing the country for their later years once retirement kicks in. A stage of our life that we all look forward to, for some this is even the golden years as work well and truly takes a back seat.
Thailand has over the years become a popular retirement destination due to a combination of factors which developers are keen to capitalise on.
Many resort style developments have been built geared towards this sector in Pattaya, Hua Hin and Chiang Mai, but are mainly aimed at non-Thais who are attracted to Thailand’s climate particularly for retirees coming from Europe where the winters are long and dark. Many escape during these months which in Thailand are considered the best time of the year due to a cooler temperature and very little, or no, rain.
Thailand’s low cost of living is another big lure. For retirees, this means that their hard-earned cash can go even further allowing them a chance to a better quality of life than if they stayed on home turf.
Finally, retirees need only to be 50 years old in order to secure a retirement visa. This age limit is considered to be quite low helping to increase Thailand’s desirability as a place to retire.
As of 1 March 2019, the requirements bound to this visa have slightly changed. Applicants wishing to secure a retirement visa must still continue to prove that they can afford to stay in the country with either a salary of THB 65,000 per month or THB 800,000 in the bank. These amounts have not altered but the stipulations around them have.
The funds need to be held in a Thai bank account of the person (and not spouse) wishing to secure the visa and must have been held in the account for at least two months prior to applying for the visa.
Once the visa has granted the retiree must ensure this amount remains in their account for three months, thereafter they are only permitted to take out 50 percent. Whilst this is a means to consider the financial status of the applicant, some have questioned its viability since applicants need the cash funds for daily living costs.
Only time will tell if these changes will affect the numbers seeking a Thai retirement visa but their spending power should be not disregarded as they help to fuel the economy.
The applicants (“aliens”) must continue to maintain at least 400,000 baht at all times, and the visa must be renewed yearly.