Retiring? Bring all your money!

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Dear Hillary,

I am looking at retirement in Thailand.  I have been there a couple of times before on holidays, and I like the climate and the living over there.  Should I buy a house or a flat (condominium)?  There is just me, my wife having died some years ago.  Some people I have met over there say a house, while others say a flat.  I suspect that they had one for sale, and that is why I thought you might be able to give me an unbiased advice.

Harvey

Dear Harvey,

I am not a real estate agent, Petal, but I do know one thing – you are not allowed to buy a house in your own name, but you can own a condominium in your own name.  This is where many first-timers come a cropper.  House goes in some Thai person’s name and you have lost control of it.  Goodnight and goodbye!

These are life-changing events, Petal.  What you should do is to leave your money in your home country (in a bank, not in a sock under the bed) and come over here and live for six months, renting.  In that six months you will be able to find out just how you can get around the foreign ownership problem, and also see if this is really where you want to be in your old age.  Don’t rush into anything, and don’t hitch your wagon to the first girl who says, “Hello sexy man.”