You have all seen the ads touting retirement in an exotic south seas location, but is this really a viable option for you?
The Retirement Village at Tegallinggah Quick Tips
Getting your money moved overseas can be a challenge. Luckily I have four tried and true methods to share to help you get your money into Bali. Some methods may work better for you than others, or you may find a combination of methods work.
Method One: Carrying Cash
Bring a year’s worth of money in a sack. One of the many drawbacks to this method are the limits set by customs. The United States, for example, requires you to declare anything above $9999.99 when leaving the country. Anything above this amount may flag you as a potential money launderer. If you do use this option, be sure to use new crisp one hundred dollar bills, to avoid hassles with money changers.
Upon arrival in Bali, you need to declare money brought into the country totaling above 100,000,000 rupiah (about $7500 USD at today’s exchange rates). To reduce the stress of keeping track of this much cash, it’s safer to bring your money as a cashier’s check that you can cancel if lost. The drawback to doing this is that it will take at least 30 days to clear the funds through an Indonesian bank. Additionally, if you lose the check, you will have to make another trip before getting access to your money in Bali, but at least you are able to cancel the check with the bank, so that you don’t lose all that money completely.
Method Two: Direct Deposit
Direct deposit your retirement check (i.e., your pension, social security, fund distributions, etc.) into your Indonesian bank. When moving overseas this common practice becomes a challenge. Taking social security for example: you have to fill out the form which asks, among other things, for your overseas address.
SSA needs this address to send out twice yearly "proof of life" requests which requires you to fill out and sign the card and return it to SSA within 30 days to continue to receive your check (oh, and by the by, Indonesian mail is very slow). If they don't get the card by this deadline (and this may be where the word deadline came from) you are considered to be deceased and your funds will no longer be deposited.
In fact, they will start harassing your spouse to pay back any overpayments. It then falls to you to prove you are still alive. Go to a SSA office in the US and get in the slow moving “deadline.”
Method Three: Credit Cards
Get a credit card with "no foreign transaction fees" and pay for everything with that card. Most businesses here accept Visa and/or Master Card—American Express is not accepted anywhere in Indonesia. Some smaller businesses will add the 2.5% fee onto your bill if you use a card.
You can take a cash advance (at BCA here in Singaraja you are limited to 3,000,000 rupiah per day, and the fee is 30.000…1%). Use your bill pay account at your home country bank to pay the bill for the credit card. Pay it ASAP if you take a cash advance, because as spelled out in that tiny print in your card agreement, they start charging you interest on not only the cash advance, but also the rest of your balance as soon as the cash advance posts.
Method Four: Wiring Money
Wire money from your home bank to your Bali bank. This works best if you only do it a couple of times per year. The fee will be at least $40 per wire. Many US banks require you to be standing in their lobby to do it, so be sure to ask at your local branch.
Some smaller banks use a big bank (like Bank of America) to do the actual wire, so there may be two fees.
I personally recommend option number three. I use a Capital One card, which also provides Travel Reward points. These points can be used to pay for any travel related charges on your card (flights, tours, hotel rooms, etc). I use it to pay for groceries at the supermarket which does not pass on the 2.5% fee. You can also pay for your neighbors groceries with your card, and get reimbursed in cash. A fee free cash advance with bonus points.
Hopefully you will find that one or more of these methods work for you. Talking to someone at your local bank is a good place to start. And remember, we are always here to help make your transition to paradise as smooth and seamless as possible.
Melaspas is an Indonesian ritual cleansing and purification of buildings recently completed or newly reoccupied, including a rumah (home), kantor (office), and others. Melaspas are carried out by Hindus in Bali, Indonesia.
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, a retiree in the United States spends an average of $40,938 USD per year for living expenses. Note that all amounts in this article are in US currency. If retiring in a more expensive part of the country—which is rapidly becoming a sizable chunk of the United States—this number could be at least twice as high.
What is a rupiah you might ask. Rupiah is the national currency of Indonesia, aka IDR (Indonesian Rupiah). $1 USD = 13.295 IDR (at the time of this writing). To check the rate, open Google and type USD to IDR and you will have the current exchange rate. When I first moved to Bali in 2012, the exchange rate was $1 USD = 9.800 IDR. That is better than 35% increase in buying power. Some might want to call that inflation, but if you use a bottle of beer as the standard, there has been no change.
Where is Bali? That’s the first question most people have after hearing about The Bali Retirement Villages. To answer the question; Bali is in the Indonesian Archipelago, nearly touching the island of Java, not so far from Komodo—land of real live dragons—and a short flight from Australia. Indonesia is a land that seems almost alien to most of the western world, it breathes as much diversity as it boasts islands (which are near innumerable). Bali is the island within Indonesia known for being a relaxed, tropical paradise. Indonesians, Australians, Chinese, and westerners alike come here for vacation. Most return, because in addition to its beauty, it’s also affordable.
Rice is the life-blood of Bali. It permeates every aspect of Balinese culture, and has for at least two thousand years. The current system of Subak Irrigation has been in use for at least 1000 years. This system is much more than a simple agriculture tradition, it is a tradition that is simultaneously spiritual and communal; deeply ingrained with Balinese culture. The very social structure within Bali is infused by this ancient tradition. You could even say that rice is Bali.
You've worked hard your whole life. You've put up with hectic schedules, the hustle and bustle of every-day life, and you are looking forward to spending retirement in comfort, and peace. You certainly deserve it.
As water scarcity becomes a global concern, sustainable irrigation is a topic not just for farmers, experts, and pedants; it’s a topic for the mainstream. In the United States, major aquifers are being drained at alarming rates, and there hasn’t been enough snow and rainfall to replenish used supply. Solutions to our current water crisis may be found in a Balinese practice going back to the 9th-century. Subak, a crossroads of culture, religion, and irrigation.
The cost of medical coverage in Bali is much lower than it is in a country like the United States, where 643,000 people per year declare bankruptcy because of unpaid medical expenses they will never afford to be able to pay, many of these retirees. Your retirement shouldn’t be spent worrying about running out of money, and having to declare bankruptcy. It should be spent enjoying the best years of your life. Maybe someplace tropical. Maybe somewhere like Bali.
In Ubud there is a magical forest teaming with rambunctiously friendly monkeys. There are literally hundreds of them living amongst three ancient Hindu temples enshrined by hundreds of different species of rare. This place doesn’t seem real. It’s like something out of an Indiana Jones movie. The verdant overgrowth amongst the statues spread across the grounds is nearly indescribable. You are overwhelmed with a sense of light-hearted joy, and peace here. It’s impossible not to enjoy this place.
The first thing I noticed was the absolute stillness. Entering the threshold into the temple was like entering into peace itself.