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Jonathan over at MyMoneyBlog had a very interesting post about retirees who live solely off of social security. Taking into account that the average benefit is only $963 a month, that’s not very much. I’m just wondering why the people who are living off SS alone didn’t better plan for their future. I’m guessing the majority of them didn’t make enough to make ends meet as it was, let alone save for retirement. But if you have some time, read the article that he references, or read his summary at least. It really motivates you to obtain the financial means necessary so you’re not living off bug-infested food when you retire (or at least it did me). Above all, you better hope you retire healthy.

I’m with one of the commenters, who favors getting rid of SS all together in favor of comprehensive nationalized health insurance. IMO, that would be taxpayer’s money better spent.

Based on another one of the comments by “sipbkk”, I may be tempted to retire in Thailand:

“I think a lot of people are hung up on retiring in the US – doing so is the reason people have to choose between their buying medicine or paying rent, or to eat expired, infested food from the co-op or pay the electricity bill.

Location Arbitrage is the way to go. I’m currently living in Thailand – I pay about $250 per month rent for a new, fully furnished 914sq ft Condo. You have the option as a foreigner to purchase something similar for ~$49,000+ at the current exchange rate – but I may decide to move and don’t need the hassle of trying to sell the place.

My SS and pension are set up for Direct Deposit into my US bank. I can withdraw locally from the thousands of the ATM machines in the Kingdom, and should I need a larger amount, I can wire from my US bank to my Thai bank.

Everything is cheaper, including medical care – for example, I spent $17USD, 5 minutes in the waiting room in the Ear Nose and Throat center, 35 minutes with the doctor being attended to at Bumrungrad Hospital for a problem I had last month – they even take American Express. :-)

My Doctor graduated from Columbia University in NY. HE talked to me in English about my problem, HE checked out the problem, HE treated me, prescribed some antibiotics and followed up by telephone several days later. — No Nurses, No PA’s no Interns, no paperwork – none of that BS, but An actual Doctor.

Traditional Thai Massage – you can get 2 hours of muscle stretching and bone cracking goodness for around $7 – Foot massages around $4.

Haircut? $4

You can eat for pennnies a day. A large plate of Pork Fried Rice, papaya salad and a drink will run you about $1. Inexpensive Seafood from a dockside restaurant in say Hua Hin, a resort area about 2 hours from Bangkok can be had all day for a few dollars. Local Beers are cheap – ~$2.00 (Bud Light is an import here, and it’s about $7 a bottle!) :-)

Of course there are downsides just like everywhere else on the planet – Horrendous traffic, bad pollution and continual VISA rule changes,military coup (although voting starts tomorrow on the new government), brand new gleaming skyscrapers right next to tin roof shantytown settlements. But I personally would rather continue (even improve) the western lifestyle that I had become accustomed to over the last 58 years, than to sleep in a hovel without heat in the winter, eating canned dog food and having to share my living space with the rats and cockroaches.”

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