There seem to be endless claims that tout nearly free retirement living in this or that location. Many are unbelievably inexpensive, but what are the "hidden costs"? Making true apples to apples comparisons requires digging down a bit below the surface. Some of the hidden costs involve taxes, visa costs, travel costs and housing costs.
How does retiring in Bali—named the “World's Best Destination”—sound to you? If you are someone who’s hoping to retire in a warm and affordable paradise, then you should seriously consider Bali for your retirement.
You may wonder if it’s possible to have a bank account in the country you want to retire in other than your home country. If Indonesia is the country you are thinking of, the answer is yes. There are so many choices of banks in Indonesia that you may choose from. For this article, I am going to focus on banking at CIMB Niaga.
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.