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  1. #1
    Thailand Expat
    rickschoppers's Avatar
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    Rickschoppers in Retiring to Thailand

    The time has come to finish working and start a new chapter in my life. After over 34 years in health care, I have finished my last day at work and plan to retire in Thailand. This has not been a decision I have taken lightly. For over 30 years of my life, Mexico was going to be my choice to spend the rest of my days. Since I have been an avid fisherman all my life, it was only reasonalble that I pick a country where I could roll out of bed, jump into a boat and catch some world class fish.

    Starting at a very early age, I realized I could not afford to retire in the US unless I worked until I dropped or reached the 66 years retirement age to recieve my maximum Social Security benefits. Mexico was a logical choice since I started fishing, surfing and camping there at the age of 18. I liked the layed back environment and the people were friendly and pretty honest back then. I travelled the entire length of Baja California to find a perfect spot and finally decided on Los Barrilles at the tip of Baja between San Jose Del Cabo and La Paz. I spent a lot of time in Cabo San Lucas in my younger years when it was a sleepy little fishing village, but as time marched on, it turned into a tourist town that I learned to hate. This would play a large part in my ultimate area where I am now heading.

    By the early 1990's I had a fifth wheel trailer, a reliable fishing boat and a new Dodge Ram Cummins Diesel 3/4 ton truck. Everything was paid for except for the truck which I had planned to pay off as soon as possible. Prior to this, I was married for 13 years, had three kids, got divorced and was paying healthy child support until my youngest turned 18 in 2008. Needless to say, there was not a lot of extra money to invest into a retirement program. I would have to rely on my Social Security payments to support my retirement and that alone confirmed I would not be able to retire in the United States.

    About 10 years ago I was taking a lot of fishing trips to Baja and the whole picture seemed to change. Mexico was becoming too "Gringonized" and learning how to rip off everyone who came from another country to vacation. The local police also started ripping off the tourists and I had several run ins with their corrupt and intrusive ways. This was after spending over 34 years of enjoying an unspoiled country that I had intended to make my future home.

    Now I had to sit down and make a decision on where in the world could I live and began looking at every country to see what would fit that bill. I first looked at many of the Latin American countries since that was what I was familier with. Costa Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua, Belize, Panama and others were on the list. Most were already starting to get too expensive and I could see how they were following Mexico's lead on ripping off the Gringo.

    I then stated thinking of South East Asia. From 1984-1986, I worked in Saudi Arabia and spent some time in Thailand and remember really enjoying the country. In 2005, I took a trip to Koh Samui and the light came on to try and retire in Thailand. The following year I found a nice teak beach house for a reasonable price and began negotiating with the owner to buy. At this point, I was totally ignorant of the land owning laws in Thailand and I began researching the pitfalls. All the laws stating that a foreigner could not own land concerned me, but not enough to buy the beach house in Koh Samui. I took a month off and went to Thailand to close the deal. Soon I was paying for my retirement home in a compound that was fully maintained and the house would be renting when I was not there.

    I took a 3 month sebatical in 2005 and stayed at the newly purchased beach house in Koh Samui. During this stay, I started having some buyers remorse since the island was one big constuction zone and I pictured Koh Samui becomming another Cabo San Lucas. About the same time I met a food waitress from the Udon Thani area (no hanky panky). She told me about her home town and that she had a younger sister visiting and wondered if I would like to meet her. I said sure and there was immediate chemistry. I had no intention of hooking up with a constant girlfriend, but things happen and we started spending a lot of time together. Her mother had passed away a few months prior to my meeting her and she was still mourning her death. Her father had passed away when she was young. She spoke very little English and I had to rely on the sister for translation, but things continued to go well.

    To make a long story short, I sold the house in Samui and banked the money until I could find a better option. I took a trip to Udon Thani and saw that it was a town I could tolerate since there were not that many foreigners there at that time. Her village was about 10 kilometers outside Udon toward Nong Bua Lamphu. Her family was very friendly and I entered the relationship with caution since I had heard all the negative stories about not looking before you leap. All seemed reasonalbe to me and I started going back to Thailand every 5 month to build up some sort of relationship.

    I know that is a long prelude, but I though it would be good to give some history on my experience and why I picked Thailand as a place to retire. After travelling back and forth for 5 years, it was time to think seriously about retirement. At the age of 62, I decided to pull the trigger and applied for Social Security. Since I was not full retirment age of 66, I would only recieve a percentage of my full benefit. It was still enough to live well in Thailand, but I did not have the savings to build a house. The money I had saved from the Samui house was used to buy 2 large plots, a car and a couple of motorbikes. After much thought and discussion with my lady, I decided to work another 2-3 years and save the money needed for the build. I still travelled to Thailand and spent anywhere from 3 weeks to 3 months at a time there. This was always on a tourist visa which is very easy to obain through the Royal Thai Consulate in Los Angeles.

    About 2 years ago, my lady started talking about having a child. Since I already had three grown children, I remained neutral. I told her I was not even sure if I could make babys anymore, but that it was definatly fun trying. She went off the pill and the first month became pregnant. I guess that answers the question whether I am shooting blanks or not. This happened during one of my three month trips and it was hard to come back and work while she was in her current condition. Al this time, I was still thinking about working another 2 years.

    Our son was born on June 30, 2010 (the year of the tiger). I missed her delivery by 1 week since she went into labor a little early and I had planned my trip around her delivery date. It was not fun hearing from her sister that her chances were 50/50 of surviving according to the physician. Being in health care, that is not good new, but it seems the Thais use that term all the time. To this day, I do not know how bad she was but it would have been much better if I had been there.

    Around the middle of this year, I decided to pull the plug and picked September as a retirement month. That would be the end of rainly season and we would be able to start the house shortly after my arrival. I started selling off my personal property in June of this year which consited of 3 cars and 3 motorcycles. I am down to 1 car and two bikes and if I do not sell them, that is OK with me. I can always will them to my three children in the States.

    I had applied for a Non-Immigrant O visa on the grounds of having a child with a Thai national and would be finacially supporting them. Originally, I had planned on a retirement visa, but that requires 800,000 baht in the bank, or total yearly income and a few more pieces of paper. With my visa, I only had to show 400,000 baht in the bank or a yearly income of that amount. Since my Social Security is more than that, there was no problem. I threw in the money that I had saved for the house build for good measure and received my Non-Immigrant O visa in 2 weeks.

    I will be heading over to Thailand on October 12th and am looking foward to not having to return. I have my one way ticket, my O visa and enough money to build a house in the Udon area. That was my goal all along and it feels great to have achieved that goal. There are a lot of members on this site that are retired and I think they would agree that you need to have a plan before saying you will retire in Thailand. You have to have enough income to qualify for all the different visas. You also need to have an understanding of the people, particularly the women if you are a single strait male and their families. Knowledge on land ownership is essential and how the building is different here versus your homeland. All this can be found somewhere in this site and I have used everyone's advice to increase my knowledge of Thailand, even SoCal's.

    Before you think about retiring in Thailand, spend some serious time reading this website and try to learn as much as you can about the county. It will make the transition much easier and more than likely save you a lot of headaches and money.
    Last edited by rickschoppers; 27-09-2011 at 02:52 AM.

  2. #2
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    Great post, Rick. Thanks for that. It's nice to see someone going in wth a good plan, and talking about the plan. All thebest to you, now that you're only 2 weeks away. Please keep us posted during your move and in your new life in Thailand.

    I was just out with a friend today and I was talking about how much I miss Thailand now. My husband and I have plans to go back to live in the next 10 years or so, but I want to work on something that can have me working there some of the time and in UK some of the time.
    Last edited by natalie8; 27-09-2011 at 01:12 AM.

  3. #3
    Fuck it
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    Good luck to you mate

  4. #4
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    May I wish you, your wife and son all the very best mate and hope you have a happy and long retirement in Thailand.

  5. #5
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    My very best wishes to you and yours

  6. #6
    Thailand Expat jandajoy's Avatar
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    Good on ya Rick. Well done and all the best.

  7. #7
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    Well done Rick, I hope you enjoy your retirement.
    I am in a similiar situation to you and hope to make the move in early 2012. I have learnt a lot from reading threads like yours and those from others. I hope to learn a lot more in the following months before I make the move. Thank you.

  8. #8
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    Best wishes n all the best...
    Be lucky!

  9. #9
    Thailand Expat
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    Quote Originally Posted by natalie8 View Post
    Great post, Rick. Thanks for that. It's nice to see someone going in wth a good plan, and talking about the plan. All thebest to you, now that you're only 2 weeks away. Please keep us posted during your move and in your new life in Thailand.

    I was just out with a friend today and I was talking about how much I miss Thailand now. My husband and I have plans to go back to live in the next 10 years or so, but I want to work on something that can have me working there some of the time and in UK some of the time.
    Yes Natalie, it is always important to have a plan and even more important to have a plan B.

  10. #10
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    Satonic, Loy Toy, Bower, JJ and Airport Two thank you very much. I have enjoyed all of your posts and am hoping we have many more years of the same here on TD.

  11. #11
    Thailand Expat
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    Quote Originally Posted by palexxxx View Post
    Well done Rick, I hope you enjoy your retirement.
    I am in a similiar situation to you and hope to make the move in early 2012. I have learnt a lot from reading threads like yours and those from others. I hope to learn a lot more in the following months before I make the move. Thank you.
    XXXX, thank you and I wish you luck in your upcoming retirement. I think they should make TD required reading for anybody thinking about investing in or retiring in Thailand. Maybe it can become a class in our universities to show those students interested in sociology how different nationalities can work toward a common goal.
    What do you think Dirty Dog?

  12. #12
    ความสุขในอีสาน
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    Well done Rick I,m in a similar ( ish ) position should be joining you in a similar area to in about 3.5 years time . Along with you I dont want to work untill I drop , I enjoy life too much outside my work , here in the UK there are more and more people just working to make ends meet , instead of retiring.

    All the best mate to you and your family and mabe bump into you later in the Issan region
    I'm proud of my 38" waist , also proud I have never done drugs

  13. #13
    Thailand Expat
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    Thanks for that Nigel. Once you get over here for good, you are more than welcome to come over for a cold one.

  14. #14
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    Congratulations on your new job.

    New country, new baby, new house and garden!

    Have fun and look forward to more of your posts.

    Your have found your Nirvana, eh.

  15. #15
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    Good luck Rick, I hope everything goes well for you.

  16. #16
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    Nice post Rick - all the best on your new venture. Best of luck to you and your family.

  17. #17
    Thailand Expat
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    Thanks OhOh and right now, it does look like Nirvana to me. I will let you know if anything changes since I have adopted TD as my internet family.

  18. #18
    Thailand Expat
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    Thanks isanmick and Tickiteboo.

  19. #19
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    Well done mate! I will be doing the same as soon as I've sold my business in Cairns. My wife awaits me in Bangkok as does my second life!

  20. #20
    Thailand Expat
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    Quote Originally Posted by poyai111 View Post
    Well done mate! I will be doing the same as soon as I've sold my business in Cairns. My wife awaits me in Bangkok as does my second life!
    Good luck with that and I am sure you will be very happy with your second life. It has been a breath of fresh air for me and taken me out of the doldrums of a mondane life in the US.

  21. #21
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    May your decision to retire here in Thailand be exciting and filled with sunny times ahead for you Khun Rickster. May you experience peace, good fortune, and happiness with your new retired life in Thailand. As you say, there are many participating on the forum who have crossed the pond and experienced making the transition to a different life style. Good Luck!

    One Question: how will the living up in Udon affect your appreciation for deep salt water fishing? I'm guessing that some lake fishing might do the trick or with completion of the house, do you have some other hobbies or activity of interest to occupy your time? I ask only because I find myself taking on many different activities to remain engaged in events, physically active, and mentally fulfilled.
    "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff....and it is all small stuff"

  22. #22
    Thailand Expat misskit's Avatar
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    Congratulations on your retirement and escape from the USA. Well done, rickschoppers!

  23. #23
    splendid and tremendous
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    Lovely post and good luck, Rick..

  24. #24
    R.I.P
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    Nice story and lovely name Rick

    I have friends in Udon but unfortunately they only go fishing for golf balls. Have a great life with your family in Thailand and maybe we'll hear/see a lot more from you when you start building that house. (one of TD's more popular threads)

    Good luck

  25. #25
    CCBW
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    Congrats and come over my friend, the water is just fine here in Thailand. When we meet up for some US stories I will buy the first round of Leo's, I am a cheap bastard ya know...HAHAHA

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