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Retirees Live Well in Southeast Asia on Allowance of Two Million Won Per Month

Retirees Live Well in Southeast Asia on Allowance of Two Million Won Per Month

Posted September. 26, 2005 06:15,   


A married couple, Jeong Won-yeong, 61, and Kim Sun-ok, 60, who moved to Baguio, a mountain city located in the Philippines, after retirement, said, “We are enjoying a comfortable and satisfactory second life here.”

They also said, “The lives here are busy and pleasant,” adding, “We will stay here until we die and visit Korea a couple of times per year to see our sons and daughters.”

Hwang Ui-jun, 72, and O Hui-sun, 71, a married couple living in the suburbs of Kuala Lumpur, and participants in ‘Malaysia’s My Second Home Program’ organized by the Malaysia government with an aim to attract foreign retirees, said, “Here, we can enjoy various foods from all over the world at a low price. To epicures like us, Malaysia is a good place to live where we can select foods that fit our appetite.”

They also said, “My two friends are going to participate in this program and is preparing for a life here,” adding, “Their settlement will further enrich our lives in old age here.”

This is the outcome of a report on traveling through Southeast Asian countries for 17 days with the premise: “Can Koreans who don’t have a noticeable fortune enjoy comfortable lives in Southeast Asian countries with only about two million won per month that mostly comes from pensions and their real property lease?’

Koreans who are spending the rest of lives in the Philippines (Baguio and Angeles), Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur and Kota Kinabalu), Nepal (Kathmadu and Pokhara), and Thailand (Bangkok and Chiang Mai) turned out to be satisfied with their lives in foreign countries.

Kim Ho-un, 71, and Han Yeong-suk, 68, a married couple living in Chiang Mai, Thailand’s northern city, which is famous for sightseeing and cultural heritage, asserted, “Chiang Mai is the most satisfactory place we have experienced so far.”

However, on the other side, some complained about language difficulties and lonely, tedious lives in foreign countries.

The cost of living is, even though there is a little difference depending on individual cases, two million won per month in Philippines, from 2.2 million to 2.5 million won in Malaysia, 1.5 million won in Nepal, and from 2 million to 2.2 million won in Thailand. This cost includes traveling expenses to Korea (a couple of times per year), payment for hired domestic workers and playing golf.

How to spend the rest of one’s life more comfortably is the biggest issue to retirees and those who are facing retirement. While average life expectancy is increasing, the retirement age is lower. Their kids are no longer taking care of them. Under such circumstances, preparation after retirement is not the matter of others, but the matter of us.

Because of this, many people are considering moving to Southeast Asian countries that have lower living costs and have more favorable weather conditions and environments.

This coverage was made at the request of a number of subscribers, many of whom are older than late 40s, living in 32-pyeong apartment residences and expecting two million won income after retirement, mostly from pensions and their property lease.

They hoped to live the half the year in Southeast Asian countries, including winters, and spend the rest of the year in Korea when they reach old age.

Dong-Woo Chung forum@donga.com