For many ex-pats, both retired and working in Pattaya, 2014 has been a rather challenging year. Some have lost business, in particular if your services attracted Russian customers. Also the Baht has strengthened against the pound too recently, which always results in expat pensioners from the UK having less money to spend each month.
The big question is if times are tough for you in Thailand financially, should you stay or should you go?
Let’s look at the retired ex-pat to start with. If you have invested a retirement fund and have a lump sum in Thailand, the fluctuating exchange rates probably don’t adversely affect you. So it makes no sense for someone in this situation to go back to the weather beaten British Isles, unless you really miss family, friends and freezing cold winters!
Next is the ex-pat that has little or no money other than what comes from a UK or other state pension. It is possible to survive in Pattaya on very little money if you have cheap accommodation, don’t eat out at 5 Star restaurants and don’t have a family to take care of. A few beers a week at a shop house beer bar won’t break the bank and the weather is cracking here! It’s better for most to be skint here than skint back home, the only major consideration here is health care. As we get older we may well need prescribed medicines and hospital treatments. Pattaya’s private hospitals are very good, but also expensive. Medical insurance is highly recommended. Actually, it’s highly recommended for all ex-pats!
Younger guys still needing to work to survive have felt the pinch the most this last year. Anyone without a passive income will need to work for a living in Thailand. This requires a business visa and Work Permit to be legal. This can be costly to set up for a company that is required to employ 4 Thai nationals for every foreigner. Many people over the years have chosen to work illegally, the benefits being you are free to move around from cash in hand job to job. There are many issues with doing this. If you get caught by immigration you will probably be deported, with the possibility of being excluded re-entry for a long period of time. Also you tend to get paid less, because it is cash in hand and under the radar working. There is no job security, no contract and you will have to keep vigilant too when working. Not recommended for the feint hearted and also because it is illegal to work without a B visa and a valid Work Permit that is specific to the job you are doing. If you can afford it, you can set up your own Thai company and work legitimately. As an employed person if you lose your job you will only have a very short period of time before you will need to leave Thailand or get a new visa once your Work Permit has been cancelled. If you walk straight into a new job, happy days!
Let’s hope 2015 is a better year, especially for the guys working!