Early retirement in Indonesia, my journey begins here...

Hello everyone, this is my first post on this forum and I have to confess it's really hard to choose on which section would be more appropriate to have this published once I have so many questions regarding moving to Indonesia in a near future. I hope you all don't feel I'm being selfish but my plan is to keep this single post to concentrate my questions instead of creating multiple topics and hopefully getting some mentoring from the ones willing to help me with their experiences.
   My name is Fernando, I'm from Brazil and for the past decade working as an expat in the Middle East, saving as much as I could aiming for my financial independence and early retirement. After lots of thinking I put a deadline of May/2019 to be my last day of work in this country (Qatar). My significant other is from Jakarta (we are not legally married) and because of this we narrowed ours options of early retirement to going back to Brazil or moving to Indonesia. As for today we are pretty much set to move to Indonesia because of financies and because of the violence back in my home country. My first struggle is to decide on which part of Indonesia we should move to, so far I've only been to Bali and Jakarta and I'm sure there are many other options all over the country. Although my significant other is from Indonesia she has not traveled the country that much and only knows Jakarta, Bali and part of Java, so it's being tough for her to give me useful tips. To help us make up our minds I was hoping to get some suggestions here and on next March we are planning to fly to Indonesia to check out the recommended places. To assist the ones willing to help with my journey I'd like to disclosure some personal informations about us and the things we are looking for when moving to Indonesia.
  I'm 40 years old and planing to "retire" from my current STRESSFUL job, my calculated income by the the time I retire will around US$ 4.400 per month or IDR 59.000.000 (I really need to get used to all those zeros! lol). For now will be only the two of us, and we are planing to rent a house at least for the first year. She might get a local job after we relocate and I'm planning to get involved with volunteer community services but for now we will be counting only on my income and moving to a place where she can get a job is not our priority, instead the most important requirement is to be by the beach, all these years working in the Middle East destroyed my health and I really need to live in I place where I'll recharge my batteries, get some exercise by the beach, eat healthy and reclaim my body. We don't want to be isolated from the world either, hoping for a town with good infrastructure specially for health, shops and internet. Now the last sensitive subject, which I hope I'm not offending anyone, is that after living in the Middle East for such a long time I was hoping for a place where the muslim culture is not determinant to my lifestyle. Don't get me wrong, I totally respect any kind of religion and don't really have a religion myself, but here in the Middle East although I'm not muslim I must comply with all the rules of the country which are based on the religion itself and this really takes a huge toll on my life style.
   So based on what I mentioned above I'm open for suggestion and really appreciate any help I can get from anyone on the forum. As the chat progresses I bring up more concerns regarding, visa, health care, etc....
  Thank you very much to take the time to help us.
Best regards!

Hi Fernando, nice introduction by the way and happy that you have chosen Indonesia for your future. I have lived and worked all over Asia (and Europe) and Indonesia is currently the place that I enjoy being the most.

You haven't mentioned if your significant other is your partner or your wife. Obviously if you are married then that would make things a lot easier to live here as far as residency is concerned.

Just edited the post and highlighted that we are not legally married, for now on the first phase of our lives this will probably remain this way unless the situation dictates papers to be signed. Nevertheless after deciding where to live I'll begins my struggle with the visa thing....

Thanks for the clarification.

The only reason I asked is that Indonesia is not the easiest place to retire, I mean at age 40, you probably wouldn't qualify for the retirement visa. But you would be eligible to stay long term under a wife-sponsored KITAS which is a one year visa that can be renewed annually and after several years could be changed to a KITAP which is a 5 year visa.

Also, if your wife is Indonesian and you have savings, I would certainly recommend doing some kind of business for income, of course this should be all in your wife's name.

I understand, my family lives abroad so I do have plans to leave the country twice a year so I'll look into others visa options that can me renewed oftenly. But sure having her as my wife would definitely make this part much easier. You answer got me puzzled when it comes to have a side business on her name, do you think 4.400USD is not enough for two people? I was hoping that living in Indonesia would free up my budget and allow me to give back via volunteer services instead of working for money, at least that's my plan...

No it was just a suggestion.

USD4,400 per month is enough to live on in Indonesia. Many expats live on a salary less than that.

you can choose belitung island,
a fairly quiet place, and you can rent a house not far from the beach,
belitung is friendly for tourists,
safe and comfortable

It would be pretty easy to get a wife sponsored KITAS with a provable income of Rp 60 million/month.
Your best bet as far as marriage goes would be to marry in Indonesia as that would make life a lot easier with the paperwork for the KITAS.
Get your birth certificate and so on legalised before you come here if possible as that could smooth the way.
There would be absolutely no need or you or your wife to work with that sort of income.
To give you an idea of what 60 million will do, local minimum wage varies from 2 to 3 million/month. As for housing, you could live in a nice hotel long term for 15 million per month if you negotiated with the management.
Volunteer work could be a problem as that could complicate matters a lot. Immigration tend to be strict but fair so, if you intend to do anything, make sure you inform immigration and get their approval before you engage.
Religious issues don;t really come to much here and you won't be expected to do much but society has a set of behavioural rules you really need to follow but there's nothing that's going to bog you down. Public displays of affection are limited to the point where holding hands with a lady in the street would raise eyebrows but not draw any comment as a rule.
Returning to where to live. I wouldn't recommend Jakarta or any other city but it is handy to be able to get a city easily. I wouldn't go for any of the islands, suggesting a medium size town instead.
One of my favourite places is Purwokerto as it's big enough to have everything you need for daily life, has easy access to Jogjakarta and Jakarta, but it's cheap to live there as the estate agents haven't managed to sent prices up to stupid yet. There are plenty of towns like that but I happen to know that one well as I lived there for a year or so.
Small houses in a new secured estate start at around Rp300 million but you'll have to get a prenup before you can legally buy as foreigners can't buy land here. Prices go up with the size of the house but aren't even close to the crazy prises in Jakarta. Renting is also easy enough and so cheap you'll hardly notice you've paid.

abdulkhalil wrote:

Also, if your wife is Indonesian and you have savings, I would certainly recommend doing some kind of business for income, of course this should be all in your wife's name.

The OP could run a business in his wife's name and it's highly unlikely immigration would much care as long as he kept his head down but his stated income and wish to avoid stress would suggest it might be a bad idea.
His income would be 10 times that of most lower middle class locals, so why bother with the hassle?

Reza11 wrote:

you can choose belitung island,
a fairly quiet place, and you can rent a house not far from the beach,
belitung is friendly for tourists,
safe and comfortable

That island is lovely and a great place for a stress free holiday but I'd skip living there as it has limited facilities and transport to cities is by air only.
I would strongly suggest not bothering with the smaller islands as a base .. but I can recommend Belitung for a week of 100% relaxation.

Thank you all for the initial thoughts, I really appreciated it. Belitung island looks a little too isolated to live in but definitely will fit into my vacation plans. Excuse my lack of knowledge about the country but the main island where Jakarta is located does not offer nice cities by the sea for an expat to live? I get many recommendations to look into the islands but never into the "main land", Anyer came up when talking to other people. Aside from the main island my initial research pointed into two different directions Bangka or Bali.... Any thoughts on those two? Any other tips?  Purwokerto looks big enough but fails to be by the shore if I looked correctly on the map....
Thank you all.

just got back from Anyer, a nice village but a few hotels are about all there is in that area.
A western chap lives in the area but I can't say I know him at all well.

Surabaya might be suitable as it is a city but has beaches and countryside and there is an expat community there. Of course Bali is nice, I go there a few times each year, and I used to live there for some years. Good shopping, beaches and lots of interesting culture there. Great food there too.

Makassar or Manado on Sualwesi are both on the sea front and are small but busy Cities. Fair few expats in each and developing and becoming bigger all the time.

All cities suggested here are already on a list and I'm doing research on all of them.... by the end of the month I'll be heading to the Indonesian embassy here in Doha and enquire about what kind of visas I could get being sponsored by my significant other, will let you all know what I come up with.
  One information that I can't get find is about health insurance, since I won't be working on the country I'll pay for my own. Any ideias on how that can be done? Where should I look for?
Thank you.

I'm unsure if an Indonesian has to be in this country to sponsor you but, assuming that isn't a problem, most start with a SosBud (60 days extendable).
Much easier if you're married as you'll get the one year KITAS without too much hassle.
No agent required so don't listen to agents that tell you agents are essential.

Try sigma or Prudential or AXA for insurance but they will try to get you the highest amount possible so make sure someone helps you as it will be all Indonesian. You won't get full cover for the first year as that's the rules but should search for quotes.

For Prudential a million a month means that's how much they will cover for a room and then its broken down into services. However dependant where you depends what you get for your money. For example hospital rooms in South Jakarta are more expensive than in the west of the city. Things like that.

Health insurance - The big banks all have products ranging from the quite cheap (but not that great) to 5* service stuff.
Avoid expat stuff as it's expat prices.

Hi.  I am born in borneo.spent high school and college and getting married in java. I am travel to some city .
I like give some advice for you ,from the story you wrote. I can tell you if good place for you is. Bali.
Or Batam. I can't tell you why .but I know how you feel about being rule about what you can.and cannot.
Good luck
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Thank you! Indeed we are both coming to a conclusion that Bali will be the way to go, at least for the first year. We are planning to go there again on vacation this March but this time not with a tourist eye, planning to rent a car and drive around the island looking for cities and neighborhoods we could be interested in. Anyone got a list of places by the beach we should definitely go check? Ubud at this time is out of question because is far from the coast, as I mentioned time near the sea will be needed to reclaim my health.
  Batam looks like a great option! Very close to Singapore which I love, will definitely gather more information about it. Can you tell me a little more about the place? Being a ferry away from Singapore isn't it expensive to live? How about the beaches, I really don't like Singapore beaches.... other than that sounds like a great option.
Thank you for your tips!

Hi, this post caught my eye as I was just discussing with my husband on our future retirement plan in Indonesia. One of our criterias is that location must be by the beach where we can dive & snorkel. As you go eastward from Java, the more beautiful it is and can be cheaper than Bali or Jakarta if you are okay living like the natives. The caveat is you may need to prepare living remotely. Once you have kids, you will need to consider the available education out there.

You had mentioned that you are not married to your girlfriend, so that may be something frown upon in smaller towns. And if you are ready to commit and marry under Indonesian law, make sure you have your prenup.

Good luck and I look forward to hear updates on your adventures.

Hi Kittikat, I guess we are pretty set to move to Bali initialy and later on maybe move somewhere else... next month we are taking a trip to Balu and planning to stay two weeks looking at cities and neighbourhoods to move in by next year. I really appreciate if anyone could suggest places by the beach to put on a list, still struggling on internet to compile such list.

Here's our list (dive spots biased):
- Lombok
- Labuan Bajo
- Alor
- Sumba NTT
- Tanjung Bira
- Flores
- Maumere
- Weda Bay
- Gorontalo
- Manado
- Raja Ampat (well this one is more for vacation plan but you must visit this place if you can).

You can see we pick mostly remote areas, which is what we want.
I think traveling for the first few months should give you a better picture.

If you plan to visit Bali in March of 2018, I would suggest you come up north to Singaraja.  Plenty of hospitals, supermarkets, shops, etc.  Singaraja population about 150,000. Lovina Beach is just to the west which is a resort area.  Quite a few expats up here and prices on housing are low (compared to the south side of Bali).  Wages are a bit different here as well.  You can hire a housekeeper for about 1 juta per month.  Beaches up north are black sand and pebbles and very uncrowded.  Life is much much much slower up here, unlike the gridlocked Kuta area down south.  As others have pointed out, your best option on a visa is to marry your Indonesian partner, but don't get married before you execute the prenup...very important!  When you visit in March, find a notary and get the ball rolling on that.  Let me know if you would like to get together near Singaraja and I can show you around up here. John

Thank you all, will definitely check Singaraja on a day trip north of Bali. After some research we are seriously considering Canggu, infrastructure seems pretty good including internet and housing still falls within our budget of 150.000.000 a year for rent.   The more I read about Canggu the more I feel it's the perfect spot for us, any thoughts concerning living in that area?

Fernando nice to meet you! My wife is from Jakarta and we have been in Ubud, Bali for 20 years. Come visit us in Ubud when you arrive in March, I'm sure Your thinking about Canggu I see it's a good place but the traffic to Seminyak and Kuta is crazy and ruins the experience when you want to go out and have some fun. Me personally I picked Ubud as it's the coolest town in Bali. This part of the island is where you can get really healthy as you stated you were looking for. Ubus is world famous for "Health and Fitness" and has hundreds of raw food and organic vegan restaurants. The weather is much cooler here than the rest of Bali, and this is where all the culture, music, dance and fun is.

Hi Retired Bali, thanks for your message and specially for your invitation! I have been to Ubud before and the place is really amazing, maybe in the future I should consider moving there but at this point of my life moving to a beach place is the number one goal and unfortunately Ubud does not fulfil this important criteria. I love water sports and anything related to the sea (fishing, boats, surfing, etc...) so at this time I see Canggu as a very good option. I've been checking Airbnbs and just waiting for my leave to be confirmed for March so I can close a deal on renting a property and living in this area for two weeks, I believe that will give me a small taste on what to expect if I go forward with my plans to move to Bali.
  Once again thanks for your reply,