SUNNY DAYS: Hua Hin, the Royal Resort town on the Gulf of Thailand, three hours from Bangkok, is laidback enough to feel like a beach town but has all the modern conveniences of a Western city.
SUNNY DAYS: Hua Hin, the Royal Resort town on the Gulf of Thailand, three hours from Bangkok, is laidback enough to feel like a beach town but has all the modern conveniences of a Western city.

Your retirement ticket to affordable beach living

A PLANE ticket could be the answer to Australia's spiralling cost of living which makes you think you can never afford to retire in comfort.

According to News Corp's 2017 Ready to Retire Study, more than 50% of Baby Boomers anticipate having to work beyond 65, and one in 10 don't think they'll be able to afford to retire at all.

Global wealth and retirement consultant Mercer similarly found more than 60% of retirees face running out of money before they die, with most people's savings only enough to last 14 years beyond retirement.

Charities say that many pensioners are already struggling to meet their everyday bills and put food on the table.

But the solution might not be so unpalatable, with internationalliving.com/au suggesting overseas retirement can significantly cut costs and it's possible to have "a laidback retirement in the sun on a budget of as little as $1325 a month".

"Look in the right places and you'll discover Baby Boomers can retire - and retire well - in idyllic beach towns, for less than the cost of daily life back home," International Living's executive editor Eoin Bassett said.

They have put forward three Asian locations in which expat retirees report they are enjoying healthy, fulfilling lifestyles on a modest budget - Da Nang in Vietnam, Sanur in Bali and Hua Hin, Thailand.

Da Nang is central Vietnam's biggest city and lies on the coast of the Eastern Sea.

Despite a population of about one million people, it is clean, modern and progressive, boasts a 28km-long beach with promenade and numerous parks and is generally considered the most liveable city in Vietnam.

Gary Stapleton, 64, has been living in Da Nang since 2013 on a budget of about $1300 a month.

He rents a three-bedroom furnished house in An Thuong District, less than 1km from the beach, for which he pays $470 a month rent.

"Honestly, after living here, going back to Australia full-time would be disappointing," he said.

"People here have a great deal of respect for older people - I like that.

"Vietnam is also much more vibrant, entertaining and interesting - plus, I love the beaches and the laidback lifestyle here."

International Living states a couple could live comfortably in Da Nang on a budget of around $1325 per month, including rent, utilities, food, frequent meals out and incidentals.

Sanur, on the south-east tip of Bali, is described as "just the right balance of familiar Western comforts and Balinese culture".

According to International Living, a couple can live on as little as $1500 a month in this small beachside town with its good restaurants, quiet cafés and white sand beaches; $2500 if you want to live the high life.

Gold Coaster Josephine Brierley and her husband Rob fell in love with Bali in 2004, holidayed there repeatedly, and moved there 18 months ago.

"Days pass easily, beginning with a long walk on the beach," Josephine said.

"We make time to discover new places and there is never a month when we don't have family or friends in town."

Sanur also has a big expat community, and Josephine said Bali gave them a simpler, less cluttered life to enjoy the little things like reading, talking and relaxing.

Hua Hin, the Royal Resort town on the Gulf of Thailand, three hours from Bangkok, has a beach lined with hotels and restaurants and boasts year-round temperatures in the mid-20s.

With its population of about 85,000 people, it's laidback enough to feel like a beach town but has all the modern conveniences of a Western city, including health care.

Michael Cullen and his wife Vivien moved there from Brisbane in late 2015, having decided they were ready to retire but facing another 10-15 years of work to be able to afford to do so in Australia.

They have embraced the beach lifestyle, verdant countryside, ancient ruins, cuisine and culture, as well as the friendliness of locals and expats alike.

"We bought our own home here for $140,000 and live very well on a budget of about $2500 a month which allows us to continue to pursue our passion for travel," Michael said.

After Seniors Newspapers last spoke to Michael he had a number of people contact him directly, with one couple returning for a second visit in February, and another "well down the path of evaluating Thailand as their retirement destination".

For more ideas, go to internationalliving.com/au.


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