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An Expat Talks about Retiring in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

Feb 04, 2019


Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

A retiree in Ho Chi Minh city talks about returning to Vietnam after serving there during the war. The cost of living, friendly Vietnamese people and the relaxed lifestyle all brought him back to HCMC.

What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

Ho Chi Minh

Why did you choose to retire abroad?

I was an Army pilot in Viet Nam in 1968. I certainly did not like the war, but I liked the Vietnamese people and the country was really beautiful.

I looked all over Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean for a retirement destination. In 2004 I came back to Viet Nam and started coming back once a year. I travelled to every country in Southeast Asia and I liked Viet Nam the best.

Travelling within Viet Nam is also a hobby. I've been from Sa Pa in the north to Ca Mau in the south, and also to Vin Pearl and Phu Quoc. The beaches in Viet Nam are superb.

The "American War", as the Vietnamese call it, is ancient history and the people welcome Americans, even if you were a war veteran.

Are you retired abroad all year or part of the year?

All year

Why did you choose the country you retired to?

Read above.

Did you ever live abroad before you retired abroad?

No, just travelled to about 80 countries.

How long have you lived abroad since you retired abroad?

5.5 years

How many countries (other than your home country) have you lived in as a retiree?

one

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What have been the most challenging aspects of being retired abroad?

Being embarrassed by the current American President.

What have been the most rewarding aspects of being retired abroad?

The relaxed lifestyle and the economic freedom that living in Viet Nam offers me. The Vietnamese are a warm and friendly people, and many speak English. The food is very good and also healthy. The Vietnamese eat many fruits and vegetables. The diet is much better than in the US. You can also get almost any type of food in restaurants downtown.

What would you do differently if you were just starting the retire abroad process?

Nothing.

What is life like for a retiree in your city and its surroundings? (Is there an active expat community? Cultural Attractions? Recreation? Nightlife?)

My days are spent going to the gym, playing golf, swimming and many bike rides. (Bicycle) There is much to explore also in HCMC. Restaurants, clubs, museums and shopping are all available.

What residency documents or visas did you need to obtain to retire in your host country? How difficult was this process? (Please describe)

Married a Vietnamese woman. Got a 5 year visa and then a 3 year ID Card. Very easy process.

Did you buy a home or apartment, or rent one? Is this a difficult process? (Please describe)

In 2013 I retired and moved permanently to Viet Nam. I had met a Vietnamese woman and married her in 2014. I purchased a 4 story, 4 bedroom 3 bath home in HCMC for $140,000 and I have been living here happily ever since. I live in a Vietnamese district where there are very few foreigners, but I have met some at the pool I go to and at my gym. I also have a number of Vietnamese friends.

Financially, has living abroad in your host country met your expectations? Exceeded them?

Exceeded them. I live on half of my retirement income and I live very well. It is possible for a married couple to live well on $1,200 per month.

What are the most important financial considerations for retiring to your host country?

I can live on half my monthly retirement income.

How much can a retiree live on comfortably in your host country?

A single person could easily live on $1,000 per month.

Do you have access to quality medical care? (Please describe - is it close? Expensive?)

Healthcare is available, and their are also clinics and hospitals for foreigners. Dentistry is good and very cheap. Close and inexpensive.

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Is there a lot of crime where you live? (Please describe)

NO.

Describe available transportation where you live. Do you need a car? Is there access to safe public transportation?

I have a bicycle and buses work great. Taxis and motorbike rides are also inexpensive.

Is there high-speed internet access where you live?

Yes, and fairly reliable. Internet + cable is $17 per month.

Do you have any other thoughts you would like to share about retiring abroad?

Southeast Asia is way better than Mexico or Central America and much safer!

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