How much money do I need to live in Thailand? I have an answer, but there are so many variables that there really is no one answer.

First there are the initial costs. Let’s assume you’re a single guy with an average budget. You have to get here. A one way ticket from the West may run $1000. A one month stay in a hotel while you look for a place to live is $1000. Food and entertainment (first month is going to be like a vacation) will be $1000. You’ll need to put a deposit on a place, let’s say $500.

You’ll need a phone. Cell phones are a different proposition in Thailand. You buy the phone and then choose a carrier. The least expensive plan with Internet access, runs about $15 a month. The monthly charges are minimal with the big expense being the initial cost of the phone. iPhones are $500 and up. You can buy cheap phone for $20. All the Android phones are available. I’m an iPhone guy.

Once you find a place to live you’ll want an Internet connection. My Internet connection runs $20 a month. Faster speeds are $30 and up. There is a deposit on the wifi router.

You’re going to need transportation. You can rent a motorbike for $150 month. You can buy a used Honda Click (the most popular bike) for $1000 or a new one for $1700. These bikes are cheap to repair and never seem to wear out. The Honda PCX is a smoother, bigger and more comfortable for longer trips. The PCX is $2500. These bikes are inexpensive to operate and very good value. A word of caution, they may be hazardous to your health. At least do something the locals rarely do, wear a helmet. I’m one of the few people in town who always wears a helmet.

If you would prefer to drive a vehicle, small sedans start about $16,000. Used cars hold their value, so it’s difficult to find good used car that isn’t overpriced, compared to what you can buy in the West. It doesn’t make sense to buy an overpriced used car when a new car is a better value. You’ll have to jump through a few hoops, but they can be financed. Pick-up trucks are given favourable tax incentives because they’re considered working vehicles. Stretch-cab pickup trucks start around $20,000.

I suggest you purchase a health insurance, to cover major medical expenses. A 60 year old might pay $1600 a year for a million dollars’ worth of coverage. Believe me, that’s a lot of medical coverage in Thailand. The payment may be broken out into quarterly payments.

How much savings do you need to live in Thailand? It depends on how much money you have coming in. A monthly budget of $2,500 is a reasonable figure. You’ll be able to figure it out with the help of a financial adviser or some online study, using that monthly budget figure. Everyone is going to have a different level of risk they’re comfortable with, for generating income from investments. You may have pension benefits that affect how much you need.

The other thing to keep in mind is to have enough money over and above what you need to live on, an emergency fund. You may need to have money to return for a family emergency, for instance. Have enough in reserve for the unexpected, like the Boy Scout Motto, “Be prepared”.

You won’t be able to work in Thailand with a retirement visa. You’ll need to be self-sufficient.

To get set up and comfortable here in Thailand, your initial expenses may run $5000. That of course doesn’t include buying a car.

How much money do you need to live in Thailand? I’ll name a figure and let the reader decide if it’s relevant. My answer is $300,000. That’s my figure for living on an average budget and collecting social security. You can use that figure of $2500 a month, to work backwards for your own answer.

I love living in the Land of Smiles. I can’t imagine a better place to live.