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A retirement haven at a quarter of our cost of living?

Maximise our retirement dollars?

A reader asked me if I could try to write about retiring in another country, in order to make our money work harder in our retirement. After all, life may not just be about saving, accumulating, investing - but perhaps by making our “retirement” cost of living much lower to maximise our retirement dollars - life may be less stressful or more enjoyable.

Have you ever thought about retiring in another country?

Ranked 15th in Global Retirement Index

How about a country which now ranks 15th out of 194 countries according to International

Living’s 2013 Global Retirement Index. (Note: Singapore is not in the top 23 ranked countries)

Cost of living

Of course, one of the primary considerations for retiring in another country is the cost of living.

The principal appeal for retirement in this country is the lower cost of living (Generally, about a quarter to half of the cost of living in Singapore). Housing, food, and labour costs are quite reasonable. Foreign retirees can retire and enjoy not only the lower cost of living but also the very favourable currency exchange rate.

Financial requirements?

So, what are the financial requirements to qualify to retire in this country? As little as a deposit in a bank (currently the deposit interest rate is 1.375 per cent) of just US$20,000? If you deposit US$50,000 or more, you can also choose to buy a property or other investments, instead of a bank deposit.

How old do you need to be?

Are they easily affordable to even the average Singaporean or Singaporean family? Can even a young Singaporean (as young as 35 years old) qualify?
Although there are many different retirement schemes available, I shall just highlight one of the category of schemes.


  1. 35 - 49 Years Old - US$50,000.00
  2. 50 Years Old & Above:
  • Without Pension - US$20,000.00
  • With Pension - US$10,000.00

Note: Additional Visa deposit - US$15,000.00 per dependent in excess of two (2).

For those applying under the “With Pension” category - one must show proof of monthly pension (such as a CPF monthly annuity) remitted of (US$800.00 for single applicant and US$1,000.00 for married couples)*

  1. May be converted into investments.
  2. Total amount of Investment must be at least US$50,000.00 for conversion to be allowed.

Note: For investment in condominium or long-term lease of House and Lot, units must be Ready For Occupancy.

What are the fees involved?

As low as from just US$1,400.

  1. US$1,400.00 for the Principal
  2. US$300.00 for each Spouse/Dependent

Note: One-time payment only.

Any annual fees?

As low as from US$360 for a family of three.

  1. US$360.00 Annual Fee for Principal, Spouse, and (1) Child upon enrollment and every year thereafter.
  2. US$100.00 for each dependent in excess of two (2). How expensive is it to fly to this country, and often back to Singapore? Airfares start from around S$200 plus. (Source: And this country is - the Philippines.
Robin Han
Leong Sze Hian

Dr Leong Sze Hian is the Past President of the Society of Financial Service Professionals, an alumnus of Harvard University, has authored 4 books, quoted over 1500 times in the media , has been host of a money radio show, a daily newspaper column, Wharton Fellow, SEACeM Fellow, acting managing editor and columnist for theonlinecitizen, columnist for Malaysiakini, a Member on the CIFA International Advisory Board, executive  producer of the movie Ilo Ilo (8 international awards), treasurer of Maruah, and invited to speak more than 100 times in more than 25 countries on 5 continents. He has served as Honorary Consul of Jamaica and founding advisor to the Financial Planning Associations of Brunei and Indonesia. He has 3 Masters, 2 Bachelors degrees and 13 professional  qualifications.