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Retiring in Vietnam

Aloha trying to get some information that seems to elude me after reading hundreds of posts. All information will be greatly appreciated, in particular the negative.
I'm 63 living off my Social Security and pension, >$1300 USD, plus the net income off my house in Hawaii as a security or bail out fund.
Some of the questions are simple, like how much does fresh, literary off the boat cost? Like grooper, octopus, moray eel, lobster.
What things are either non existent or prohibitively expensive that a person should bring?
What things would a local person would appreciate as a gift that one could also bring?
Chinese goods can they be imported by a foreigner?
How would you describe VN Customs taxes, any examples?
Any information will be greatly appreciated.
Aloha and Mahalo nui Los
( Goodbye and thank you so much)

$1300.00 USD for a one person retirement in Viet Nam is doable. But, it will be a bit Spartan and unless you have Medical Insurance, all of your medical expenses will also need to come out of that $1300.00 USD. While, it is an unusual case, my Wife's medical bill is over $70,000.00 USD. But, as retired military, I do have medical insurance.

Unless you are familiar with Viet Nam and/or know people here or speak Vietnamese, getting started could be difficult.

Havaianu :

I'm 63 living off my Social Security and pension, >$1300 USD, plus the net income off my house in Hawaii as a security or bail out fund.

You must be scraping by on social security in Hawaii. Living is lots cheaper in VN. Suggest you try it for a year before a long commitment. Studio apts of western standards in Saigon start about $350 and you get more for your money in small towns.

Havaianu :

Some of the questions are simple, like how much does fresh, literary off the boat cost? Like grouper, octopus, moray eel, lobster.

Food in real wet markets is quite cheap. I would guess my wife's family of 6 spent less than $300/month, but that is cooking Vietnamese style at home every day. And not exotic reef fish so I didn't answer your question.

Havaianu :

What things are either non existent or prohibitively expensive that a person should bring?

There are various things suggested to bring, see other 'moving' threads. From Hawaii you are probably already paying full retail for western consumer products, which you will pay here in malls. I wouldn't worry about it, pick up things you miss on your next trip back 'home'.

Havaianu :

What things would a local person would appreciate as a gift that one could also bring?

Sounds like you have a friend here.  :cool:  Viets I know see Hawaii as a paradise. So hula dolls, puka beads, hawaiian shirts. See also warning threads about bringing expensive gifts for new friends (don't do it).

Havaianu :

Chinese goods can they be imported by a foreigner?

There have also been threads by importers here. Everything is already imported from China though, and average Vietnamese only make a few $hundred/month. I think importing Hawaiian stuff (made in China!) would be more unique!

Thanks a million to all. If rent starts at $350 that would leave about a $1000 for everything else, if food is so cheap no medical issues whatsoever except for some needed dental work, why would it be Spartan, Mr. 70 year old? I am choosing Vietnam first and foremost for food, especially seafood. The French/ Asian fusion but totally local style I will mostly eat where the blue collar worker eats with occasional splurge of haute cuisine but always as pure as Vietnamese food I will be able to find, some possibility through this blog, but never western food. Again Mahalo plenty to all

About importing, just for personal use not business. I have bought many an item from China from here in Hawai'i

Gobot lots of good info. While here I do work partime freelance work in construction and agriculture. My idea is to check out HCMH and use it as a base to get to know places like Bai Xep, Han Oi, Hue, Phu Quoc. What are the most artsy/ fun type of neighborhoods in HCMC?
Thanks for taking the time

Havaianu :

Thanks a million to all. If rent starts at $350 that would leave about a $1000 for everything else, if food is so cheap no medical issues whatsoever except for some needed dental work, why would it be Spartan, Mr. 70 year old? I am choosing Vietnam first and foremost for food, especially seafood. The French/ Asian fusion but totally local style I will mostly eat where the blue collar worker eats with occasional splurge of haute cuisine but always as pure as Vietnamese food I will be able to find, some possibility through this blog, but never western food. Again Mahalo plenty to all

@Havaianu

I like your attitude. I used a Japanese Dental Clinic in TP HCM that did excellent work and was reasonably priced. As to Spartan, that is largely in the eye of the beholder. The only time that I visited Hawaii was in 1969 on a port call while serving in the US Navy. So, I have no feel for how far $1350.00 USD goes in Hawaii today. If memory serves my Cardiologist here makes closer to $1,000.00USD/month than $1350.00 USD/month.

Anyway, after you get accustomed, you will find that outside of the expat zone rents for a decent apartment run more like $150.00 to $200.00/month USD for a two bedroom. But, you will need to be able to speak Vietnamese. Food is also cheaper.

Mahalo Mr 70 (not so) old man. I've already have a plan. I'm going to offer to pay gobot's family rent in exchange for a room. Gobot is going to say : Sorry bro I wish I could help but we already way too crowded.
I will sweeten the pot and offer to pay for the rent and the food, $550, $200 rent and $350 for now 7 mouths to feed.
Gobot as no choice, the family will make him sleep outside on a hammock and save the food and rent money to buy their own place.
Transportation if Gobot's family has anyone reliable that needs a job and wants to be a moto taxi, I buy the bike he or she makes a living and I get a guide and ride ....  lol...just kidding folks... but on the serious side I hope to make symbiotic friendships, win/win situations. Aloha

???   ..what's wrong with this picture..?

You sound like an experienced expat already with that open mind, attitude and ability to roll with the dice.   Translated as knowing how the real world works.

We need you more than you need us.        :idontagree:

Welcome, Havaian-you.   You are already a Winner.  In Caps.

I would also suggest the negatives you cannot find exist only in other minds.

We need more self-aware people here who can think.    Outside the square...

I am surprised that nobody has brought up the subject of visas since it is an overarching topic on this board.  If the one year tourist visa for Americans goes through (and that is still an if,) you could probably get by with one trip out of the country a year.  By contrast both Thailand and the Philippines have actual retirement visas that are longer than one year.  There are some requirements for cash in the bank but as you have home equity, you should be able to meet them.  You could probably find out more by checking in on the respective pages of this site.  Visa hassles, even for those married to Viet citizens,  are the big impediment to retirement in Vietnam.

If you are not a big drinker, girl chaser, and won't be eating at western styled cafes/restaurants, your 1300usd is plenty. I lived in Saigon for 5 years and lived on roughly 800usd a month. I am not a big drinker and didn't eat at western style places. I also lived out of the expat areas where everything is much cheaper. I cooked at home which makes a big difference, it adds up quickly when eating out each day/ night.

THIGV :

I am surprised that nobody has brought up the subject of visas since it is an overarching topic on this board.  If the one year tourist visa for Americans goes through (and that is still an if,) you could probably get by with one trip out of the country a year.  By contrast both Thailand and the Philippines have actual retirement visas that are longer than one year.  There are some requirements for cash in the bank but as you have home equity, you should be able to meet them.  You could probably find out more by checking in on the respective pages of this site.  Visa hassles, even for those married to Viet citizens,  are the big impediment to retirement in Vietnam.

There is a one year business visa which is popular at the moment and no you don't need a sponsor. It's cost is about 450usd and can be applied for through numerous agencies. How long this lasts, who knows? Once the guys and gals in Ha Noi decide it's time to change the rules again anything could happen.

Thank you for the input. It seems like a day trip to Combodia would meet the visa requirements. I've read posts that folks talk about renewing the visa indefinitely, three months at a time. Does it sound correct to you? Both the Cambodia trip or renewing the visa time after time without even leaving the country.
Many countries allow three months on the way in, three months automatic extension and then the tourist has to leave and not come back, minimum six months. In my case if that happens I will go hang out in Thailand or Cambodia, since I will be renting with no intention of buying.

Not a drinker, no western food or western most anything. Now the ladies, well I haven't made celibacy a part of my life yet... But for sex I would go to Brazil not Vietnam. Maybe I will meet somebody, but the thing I've learned is this:
Either way ladies don't come for free.... just that one way the guy pays and hopes, the other way the guy pays and is guaranteed some.

No mention of free, but seen many a guy lose a bundle of cash on girls who they thought were decent girls, even if their friends had already warned them to keep away. If you can see it for what it is, then you will be fine, but some guys come here and get seriously caught up with young girls who have one motive.

Got curious as to how much we are pumping into the Vietnamese economy. At a rough estimate; it cost our medical insurance, our income and savings, what the kids pitch in, maintaining our real estate and helping nieces and nephews with their education is about $7,000.00/month USD to $8,000.00/month USD

Realistically, considering my wife's condition, I expect that it would cost 5 to 10 times as much in America. Except, i doubt that she would have been able to live nearly as long as she has been able to here.

Research "orphan diseases"

That's a load for sure. I'm glad you are in a place that you can provide for your wife's needs at a cost you seem to be able to handle. Best wishes for your wife and yourself

Colin some of us do most of our thinking with the wrong head. I'm a bit too long on the tooth to get " head over heels" over a lady, or so I bs myself into believing. The other problem is that flaming redhead Irish ladies are in short supply in Vietnam... he,he. No offense to the local ladies, they probably prefer blond guys and I'm not...

Havaianu, I'm "head over heels" over a lady, who became my "war buddy" when we were both assigned to the same USN duty station 46 years ago and later my wife of 43 years in a couple more weeks. Yes. She is Vietnamese.

Congratulations, sincerely. Married for almost fifty years and still in love, that is something few people can be proudly of. She must be a special lady, they must have made only one, for otherwise I may fall head over heels. Best wishes and much health to you both, that you may be still in love fifty years from now.

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