Retire to Asia’s Cost of Living Calculator – A Real-life Example

Andrew Leeson


Retirement Calculator

We’ve been teasing the arrival of our Cost of Living Calculator for some time, and rest assured, it’s coming soon.

To whet your appetite, we’ve included a real-world example below. This will give you an insight into how this tool can assist in planning your relocation to Southeast Asia, be it a brief couple of years or a longer stay. Stay tuned for this practical tool designed to simplify your move to SE Asia. 

Retire to Asia Comparison Calculator

As we have stated previously, it will answer three questions: 

  1. How much cheaper it can be to live in SE Asia,
  2. How much savings you can achieve over time, and
  3. What would your equivalent SE Asia retirement budget be.

The answers to these three questions will be answered by providing two tables and three graphs, with accompanying commentary to explain the outcomes.

We feel this tool will be extremely useful for you. You will be able to alter the input data to see how different scenarios may affect your own personal financial situation.

Retire to Asia


I thought this week I would provide you with a sneak peek of the tables that answer questions 1 and 3 above by using a real-life example:

  • A married couple living in Newcastle Australia
  • Looking to live in Phuket for a few years (before coming back home)
  • The retirement budget in Australia is $40,000 pa
  • Will rent out home while overseas for $30,000 pa
  • Both have Australian Private Health Insurance paying total $4,000 pa
  • They will place this cover on hold while overseas
  • They will take out International Private Health Insurance at standard rates of about $3,500 each pa
  • Their property budget in Phuket is $18,000 pa or about $350 pw

Outcome Question 1:
How much cheaper can it be to live in SE Asia?

Table 1 R2A Calculator

The above table basically consists of two separate outcomes:

  1. The first section alone is the basic living cost difference (ex-property) between Newcastle and Phuket. Basically, spending $40,000 pa in Newcastle on general living expenses (ex-property) is equivalent to spending about $20,031 pa in Phuket.

    So, you could save $19,969 pa by moving to Phuket.

    I must point out that this is for a comparable lifestyle and not spending as if you were on an extended holiday. Which does happen, particularly in the first year of living in SE Asia

  1. The very bottom line of $28,769 represents the annual savings you could achieve after accounting for your unique property and insurance costs for both SE Asia and Australia.

    Note that the $4,000 Australian Private Health Insurance is a saving because they chose to pause this cover whilst living in Asia, so is added as a positive saving in the table.

    This means that for the same lifestyle living in Phuket as if they were living in Newcastle, this couple could in fact save about $28,769 pa. 

Outcome Question 2: What’s your equivalent SE Asian Retirement Budget?

Table 2 R2A Calculator

There are four figures I would like to explain here:

  1. Australian Retirement Budget: $40,000 pa. This is the couple’s stated retirement income if
    they were living in Newcastle.
  2. Adjusted Retirement Lifestyle Budget: $48,800 pa. After inputting their unique property and insurance information they have a net increase in spending power.
  3. Their retirement spending power has increased to $48,800 pa.

    They receive more in Australian rent received than rent they will pay in Phuket. But they will
    pay more in International Private Health Insurance than they can save by pausing their
    Australian Private Health Insurance.They have a net cashflow increase of $8,800 pa if they move to SE Asia.

  4. Equivalent Retirement Lifestyle Amount in Phuket: $97,445 pa. This figure represents the
    equivalent spending power of $48,800 in Phuket. Spending $48,800 in Phuket is like
    spending $97,448 in Newcastle.
    In this scenario this couple can choose to spend the $48,800 pa and have a far better
    financial lifestyle or spend less and save more.
  5. Extra Equivalent Retirement Lifestyle Income: $57,445 pa. This is the extra Australian
    equivalent spending power above their stated $40,000 Australian Retirement Budget they
    would have by moving to Phuket, after inputting their unique set of circumstances. 


We are very happy with what is being produced and we hope that you will find this tool useful in planning for a retirement in SE Asia.

In addition to the tables, the three graphs will show how these savings can extend over time, with one graph in particular showing how your savings will grow over time by allowing you to add your own risk profile (investment returns) and inflation figure.

I will be heading to Asia early/mid-October. The rush is on to go live before I leave.
(Our programmers read these blogs 😊

How will I know when the retire to Asia calculator is ready?

You can check in on our website, the calculator tab is on the top right of the page. Or you can sign up to our newsletter here to receive our updates and SE Asian news.

Join our Facebook Community Group

If you would like to be informed of the calculator sooner, please follow us on Facebook and join our Facebook community group. We will be providing the information there first.

If you’d like more information or have any questions, please feel free to call 1800-961-377 or email in**@re**********.au and let the team at Retire to Asia help make your dream lifestyle a reality.

Andrew Leeson

Andrew Leeson

Over 20 years of experience helping people live a better life in SE Asia. Having worked in financial services in Asia I understand the challenges when moving to and living in a new country. I have travelled extensively throughout the region and experienced what SE Asia has to offer to retirees.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Cookie Settings

‘Retire to Asia values your privacy. Our website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Please refer to our privacy policy and terms and conditions for more information’.