Retire in Singapore? Any Ex-pat retirees out there?

Discuss about life in Singapore. Ask about cost of living, housing, travel, etiquette & lifestyle. Share experience & advice with Singaporeans & expat staying in Singapore.
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RobSg
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Retire in Singapore? Any Ex-pat retirees out there?

Post by RobSg » Mon, 28 Apr 2008 2:10 pm

I lived in Singapore about 20 years as a teacher. I'm a Singapore PR from the States with 9 years left on my PR before I renew it. I was told last year that when I renew it, I only need to come in, show my passport, and that's all. Apparently when you are retired, it's quite easy to renew.

I left last year to teach in another country. I planned on returning to North America to semi-retire in a few weeks. I always thought that Singapore was not really the best retirement destination. However, I miss the place.

I have a pretty comfortable retirement plan. I'll just say it's more than S$5,000/month with a COLA. I know Singapore inside out, and have always felt it as my home, but that was when I was busy all day and worked my tail off. Now it would be completely different. Are there others out there that are from the States or Canada that have retired in Singapore after working there? I am single, and maybe that makes it easier or more difficult.

I appreciate your comments.

Regards,
Rob

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Post by QRM » Tue, 29 Apr 2008 12:14 pm

how about looking at malaysia my second home programe for retirerees. It will stretch your retirement fund.

Who know with this IDR developmet in Johor might be viable option to live on the otherside of the causeway.

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Retirement in Singapore

Post by RobSg » Wed, 30 Apr 2008 2:20 am

I get the idea that since there is only one response to my inquiry, Singapore is not really the place an expat chooses to retire. I know very well about the Malaysia retirement visa, and that is an option, but I prefer Singapore.

Most of the posters here are only in Singapore to work, and I it was my experience in the 20 years living in country that generally people just didn't choose to retire here, even if thery were PR. They worked a few years and left. Maybe I can start a trend :)

Regards,
Rob

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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 30 Apr 2008 7:02 am

I've spent a little over a quarter of a century here, and I can tell you, I WON'T retire here. Retirement is "Relaxation" and with Singapore's pace and frenetic activity it's too much for "retirement". I'm going back to my waterfront farm probably in another 3-5max.
SOME PEOPLE TRY TO TURN BACK THEIR ODOMETERS. NOT ME. I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW WHY I LOOK THIS WAY. I'VE TRAVELED A LONG WAY, AND SOME OF THE ROADS WEREN'T PAVED. ~ Will Rogers

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Post by ChicagoMike » Wed, 30 Apr 2008 10:26 am

Of what I understand, Singapore is definitely not a common retirement locale. Doesn't mean it's not possible to retire here, just saying that the number of retirees here seems low (in comparison to other places). But if you can afford it, and feel at home here, then why not? Could at least give it a go for a year or two...

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Post by QRM » Wed, 30 Apr 2008 10:52 am

sundaymorningstaple wrote:I've spent a little over a quarter of a century here, and I can tell you, I WON'T retire here. Retirement is "Relaxation" and with Singapore's pace and frenetic activity it's too much for "retirement". I'm going back to my waterfront farm probably in another 3-5max.
SMS,

You will be back....,

A lot of my friend’s parents and my own parents spent more time in Asia than their own home country, we worked out I lived longer in the UK than my father. On retirement they all bought houses in New Zealand, UK, and France. Only to find that they have become so alienated from the way of life in their own country.

To quote my chums father on his fellow countrymen in the UK, “A bunch of miserable grey old farts, always moaning about the weather and how the high street has become a war zone with the youth”

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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 30 Apr 2008 6:36 pm

I guess it's always possible but I doubt if very seriously.

I was a wee bit different that most. I never became "homesick" until about 7 or 8 years ago. Most get it in the first 2-5 years. After more'n two decades here the farm started pulling at the heart. Where I'm from, the "City" is 70 miles away. I've never been a city boy and it's only since I bought my flat here that I felt the need to escape this seething cauldron of teeming humanity that surges to and fro twice a day 24/7 as the saying goes. I lived for 15 years in Seletar Camp. I could have stayed here if I could have stayed there but the constant tearing up of anything over 30 years old here put paid to that. I have to listen to noise 24/7 anymore. At least when I go back to the farm all I hear are the crickets at night and the gurgling of the river around the pilings of my pier. When there is no moon it is absolutely dark and you wouldn't believe the amount of stars in the sky. I miss my deer hunting, and duck & goose hunting as well.

Nah, once I leave, I doubt if I'll be back (although I might go back offshore) but transit from the farm and not live in Asia. I don't think I'll miss it at all as I've been getting more and more cynical as the past few years have gone by. I think I've passed my use-by date several years ago and I know it.
SOME PEOPLE TRY TO TURN BACK THEIR ODOMETERS. NOT ME. I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW WHY I LOOK THIS WAY. I'VE TRAVELED A LONG WAY, AND SOME OF THE ROADS WEREN'T PAVED. ~ Will Rogers

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Retiring in Singapore

Post by RobSg » Wed, 30 Apr 2008 11:14 pm

SMS, I really appreciate with what you say. I guess I need to hear what others feel about retirement in Singapore.

It's not that I would totally retire, but just that I'd get a part-time job to fit my life style. As for the frantic pace of life in Singapore, my attitude is that when you are retired, you simply ignore the chaos of life around you and get into your own comfortable niche.

I'll give North America a try and see if country living appeals to me. I can always return to Singapore. I do agree with one of the posters here that when you are gone for so long from your own country, you tend to lose touch with your own culture.

Regards,
Rob

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Post by taxico » Sat, 10 May 2008 6:27 pm

here's a child's take on it... (those with older parents know what i mean)

my folks are american and have worked in the region for a long time. i've been in singapore and i think it's a nice little place.

now my dad's semi-retired in singapore and loves it (my mom's not worked for a long time, but they're there together and enjoying it).

a lot of the insecurities that pop up as people age can be exacerbated in any other country but singapore seems to take most of that worry of my mind.

one of the main things that sealed the deal for me was that despite singapore being a rather typical "selfish" modern city, their confusian type teachings still shine through - my parents have been helped by many a young (teenaged through to mid-30s) singaporean strangers whenever they've had problems.

quality healthcare's always available, everything's efficiently run. the weather's also good for old folks as it's not too damp or cold.

if you don't mind driving a decent "normal" car, a corolla can be had for 10 years at US$33k - cheaper if you go second hand or a korean marque.

on a retiree's budget, renting a place to stay or even buying a place to stay shouldn't be a big problem either.

food's plentiful and cheap and widely available at all hours of the day. and most importantly for me, it's safe for them to do almost whatever they please, whenever they want.

the singapore tax laws are good too, and whatever issues that country has can be laughed or gossiped off, and are not a big issues for retirees.

i'm not saying it's a perfect place (not everywhere is "elderly friendly" and communication problems can sometimes be had with bus and cab drivers), but it's where my parents chose to retire and i think they made a great choice.

they've decided to also apply for the "2nd home" reitree program in malaysia so when they want the country life, they can drive on over for a lil bit to a quiet place they (intend to) own...

and malaysia's an even cheaper place for food! but it's unlikely they will permanently leave singapore for malaysia, or anywhere else. but they do travel!

travel to most parts of the world is also quite affordable from the singapore hub, and my folks take regular trips abroad every few months.

for me, my parents retiring isn't just about them living a tranquil life but also being able to enjoy the golden years in a place that's safe, not overly expensive and help/care/assistance comes when you need it.

i only worry now when they leave singapore.

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interesting response, taxico

Post by RobSg » Sat, 10 May 2008 7:07 pm

That was a very thorough response on why Singapore is just fine for retirees. Like your parents, I am about to semi retire. I was in Singapore almost 20 years. I'm 61. My pension is a minimum of S$5,000/month but could be as much S$8000/month if I took the full pension. I will take the lower amount.

I think I will most likely live in Singapore three months a year at the start and see how it goes. The rest of the time I already have a home in Montreal. Mostly I will live in Singapore a very few months each year to escape the Canadian winters, and also take care of health physicals and dental care. It's actually worth it.

As for whether I would want to be there after 65, I'm not sure. The Medicare (for which I qualify) we have in the States basically means free medical care for those over 65. You might have to pay a premium for the higher level of care, but it's still pretty cheap. I like being close to the States at that time.

You mentioned the "Malaysia- 2nd Home Program". I believe that you need to deposit US100,000 (maybe a bit less) in a bank in Malaysia, and frankly I think I'd prefer having that money more available to me. If you have a state-side pension, unfortunately you are still required to have that pretty large deposit in a Malaysian bank.

Your response was nice to hear. Thank you.

Regards,
RobSg

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Post by maneo » Sat, 10 May 2008 7:59 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:I've spent a little over a quarter of a century here, and I can tell you, I WON'T retire here. Retirement is "Relaxation" and with Singapore's pace and frenetic activity it's too much for "retirement". I'm going back to my waterfront farm probably in another 3-5max.
I guess compared to some farm back in the US, SG might be considered frenetic.

However, people from Shanghai come to Singapore to relax.
Still having trouble trying to "downshift" even after a few months of being back.
It's all a matter of perspective.

We'll probably pay off the mortgage and maintain a retirement home here to stay part of the time when it's time (looking ahead about ~5 years or so).

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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Sat, 10 May 2008 11:14 pm

maneo wrote:
sundaymorningstaple wrote:I've spent a little over a quarter of a century here, and I can tell you, I WON'T retire here. Retirement is "Relaxation" and with Singapore's pace and frenetic activity it's too much for "retirement". I'm going back to my waterfront farm probably in another 3-5max.
I guess compared to some farm back in the US, SG might be considered frenetic.

However, people from Shanghai come to Singapore to relax.
Still having trouble trying to "downshift" even after a few months of being back.
It's all a matter of perspective.

We'll probably pay off the mortgage and maintain a retirement home here to stay part of the time when it's time (looking ahead about ~5 years or so).
Agree on the matter of perspective.

I'll probably do the same, at least initially as my mortgage will also be paid off here in about 4 more years. There is no hurry to sell it as my daughter may well decide to stay here (she's 24 now) and if she does, as it's a 4-BR flat it'll be good for visiting for a couple of months (escaping the winter - but not until duck & deer season is over I can assure you) My farm is smack in the middle of the southern end of the Atlantic Flyway. :wink:
SOME PEOPLE TRY TO TURN BACK THEIR ODOMETERS. NOT ME. I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW WHY I LOOK THIS WAY. I'VE TRAVELED A LONG WAY, AND SOME OF THE ROADS WEREN'T PAVED. ~ Will Rogers

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Re: interesting response, taxico

Post by taxico » Sun, 11 May 2008 7:39 am

WARNING: skewed view ahead!
RobSg wrote:Mostly I will live in Singapore a very few months each year to escape the Canadian winters, and also take care of health physicals and dental care. It's actually worth it.

As for whether I would want to be there after 65, I'm not sure. The Medicare (for which I qualify) we have in the States basically means free medical care for those over 65. You might have to pay a premium for the higher level of care, but it's still pretty cheap. I like being close to the States at that time.
i think you're wise to take it a step at a time. i've known of american expats who have been in singapore/asia a long time but made the bad choice of returning to the states to retire and regretting it later (they can't return for whatever visa/paper reasons).

some have had to move to hicktown, arizona (!!!) to get away from the damp/cold/wet. most have had their personal safety threatened regardless of where they stay.

but i've always liked canada. i think it'll make for nice living!

yet be warned that the north american winter months more or less coincide with the monsoon in asia, so getting wet may be a little unavoidable! especially with the global warming and all the weather systems with latino names!

but i won't agree that medicare is a good system (i'm an MD no longer practising in the US but i did serve in that lovely system about 1.5 years before leaving) and must warn you that there're almost 80 million boomers creeping towards eligibility.

i might end up typing in caps if i went on blabbering about why each part sucks, so i won't, but what i will say is that the canadian medical system is better than the american and it is my opinion that what you pay is what you get.

my (mid 60s) parents have budgeted a smaller sum than your S$5,000 (they were self-employed previously) for retiring, and they use a mix of private (urgent/serious) and public healthcare service in singapore and i am quite pleased with the result overall.

i would advice you not stay permanently yearlong in singapore too, so any form of travel's always good!

wherever it is you will be at, i hope you have a good retirement ahead and please keep active both mentally and physically - that will cut your medical bills down (if any) drastically.

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Post by maneo » Sun, 11 May 2008 10:39 am

Good perspective.

Easy to forget in the planning stage that which becomes a significant expense as we age -- health maintenance (e.g. medical bills, etc.).
Got to factor it in.

Problem is, how much to plan for and how it changes as time goes on?

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Re: interesting response, taxico

Post by Jeppo » Mon, 12 May 2008 10:53 am

RobSg wrote:You mentioned the "Malaysia- 2nd Home Program". I believe that you need to deposit US100,000 (maybe a bit less) in a bank in Malaysia, and frankly I think I'd prefer having that money more available to me. If you have a state-side pension, unfortunately you are still required to have that pretty large deposit in a Malaysian bank.
The amount is RM150,000, but if you can prove you have a foreign pension of RM10,000/month, then no deposit is required.

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