Los Angeles Times Article About Americans Retiring In Vietnam

This published on December 25, 2019 in the Los Angeles Times:

Americans-are-retiring-to-vietnam-for-cheap-health-care-and-a-decent-living-standard

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Questions?

That seems about right. The cost of living in the US for people who are retired or wanting to retire doesn't allow many retirees a comfortable standard of living unless they own their home outright. The government is about to change the laws for retirement savings due to people living longer or more likely having to work longer to maintain a normal standard of living even after they have reached their retirement age.

That's why people are looking elsewhere for a better quality of life on a fixed income during retirement. I've looked at Mexico where some retirees go when they retire but I don't want to have to worry about drug cartels even though that's a slim chance but still a chance. Then I thought about VN when my mom passed away and yearning to reconnect with my roots after 40+ years of being away. First went back in 2017 and then again in 2018. Will go back in March hoping to see my dad again before he passes but unfortunately he recently passed away. My plan is to retire by age 55 and there's no way for me to do that comfortably in the US with the cost of health insurance without my employer's contributions and the overall cost of living, taxes for everything, car insurance, mortgage/rent,...

A very well written story.
I liked it.

Can not read it, have to subscribe to see article.
Wadey

Wadey :

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Wadey

You may have already read a free article from that site this month.

They give one or two free reads and then make you subscribe.

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Wadey :

Can not read it, have to subscribe to see article.
Wadey

The article is well-written but is basically a puff piece focusing on one veteran who seems to bit rather more well-off than the average expat (he "sits on several boards") and has been here since 1992.

Another veteran, who is a volunteer teacher, is also briefly mentioned.

An American lawyer is then quoted: "...remarked on the number of veterans living in Vietnam. 'They want to come back and want to reconcile,' he said. 'Often they’ve married a Vietnamese woman, and their Social Security and veteran benefits go a lot further here than they do in Los Angeles'.”

Some other countries such as Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, are mentioned, and then some benefits of living in Vietnam (healthcare has vastly improved, one of the safest cities in the world, the cost of living is so low) close the article.

The main flaw of the article is that it doesn't include a single disadvantage of living as an expat in Vietnam.

johnross23 :
Wadey :

Can not read it, have to subscribe to see article.
Wadey

The article is well-written but is basically a puff piece focusing on one veteran who seems to bit rather more well-off than the average expat (he "sits on several boards") and has been here since 1992.

Another veteran, who is a volunteer teacher, is also briefly mentioned.

An American lawyer is then quoted: "...remarked on the number of veterans living in Vietnam. 'They want to come back and want to reconcile,' he said. 'Often they’ve married a Vietnamese woman, and their Social Security and veteran benefits go a lot further here than they do in Los Angeles'.”

Some other countries such as Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, are mentioned, and then some benefits of living in Vietnam (healthcare has vastly improved, one of the safest cities in the world, the cost of living is so low) close the article.

The main flaw of the article is that it doesn't include a single disadvantage of living as an expat in Vietnam.

And it really doesn't give a very balanced view of the American/English/Canadian/Australian Expat population, IMHO.

I run into far too many drunks too early in the day here in Vững Tàu.

OceanBeach92107 :
johnross23 :
Wadey :

Can not read it, have to subscribe to see article.
Wadey

The article is well-written but is basically a puff piece focusing on one veteran who seems to bit rather more well-off than the average expat (he "sits on several boards") and has been here since 1992.

Another veteran, who is a volunteer teacher, is also briefly mentioned.

An American lawyer is then quoted: "...remarked on the number of veterans living in Vietnam. 'They want to come back and want to reconcile,' he said. 'Often they’ve married a Vietnamese woman, and their Social Security and veteran benefits go a lot further here than they do in Los Angeles'.”

Some other countries such as Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, are mentioned, and then some benefits of living in Vietnam (healthcare has vastly improved, one of the safest cities in the world, the cost of living is so low) close the article.

The main flaw of the article is that it doesn't include a single disadvantage of living as an expat in Vietnam.

And it really doesn't give a very balanced view of the American/English/Canadian/Australian Expat population, IMHO.

I run into far too many drunks too early in the day here in Vững Tàu.

try living in Thailand, hahaha, people drinking in the morning hahaha, beer for breakfast! I was in pattaya, expats there have no sence of time, drinking when the sun comes up, thousand yard stares, nfortunately, many expats simply have nothing to do with their time.. Never seen such a sorry bunch as pattaya.

It's sad to see retirees anywhere, simply with no hobbies, doing nothing in their golden years. I think it's important mentally to keep yourself somewhat busy, or at least have something to fill you're day beside sitting in the bar.

I had this exact discussion with my brother yesterday.  He just doesn't get why I would want to do it.  And, his wife is Filipino.  They are coming to visit the Philippines next year.  Maybe he will see it first hand.

johnross23 :
Wadey :

Can not read it, have to subscribe to see article.
Wadey

The article is well-written but is basically a puff piece focusing on one veteran who seems to bit rather more well-off than the average expat (he "sits on several boards") and has been here since 1992.

Another veteran, who is a volunteer teacher, is also briefly mentioned.

An American lawyer is then quoted: "...remarked on the number of veterans living in Vietnam. 'They want to come back and want to reconcile,' he said. 'Often they’ve married a Vietnamese woman, and their Social Security and veteran benefits go a lot further here than they do in Los Angeles'.”

Some other countries such as Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, are mentioned, and then some benefits of living in Vietnam (healthcare has vastly improved, one of the safest cities in the world, the cost of living is so low) close the article.

The main flaw of the article is that it doesn't include a single disadvantage of living as an expat in Vietnam.

You're absolutely right, but if any journalist has a smattering of truth, count your blessings and call it a day.
Half the stories about Vietnam are written by people who have never been.

OceanBeach92107 :

Comments?

Good luck to anyone that wants to do it. I see absolutely nothing wrong with moving to a new country for a better lifestyle, or even if you just fancy a wild change.

Wxx3 :

Half the stories about Vietnam are written by people who have never been.

Only half?
Journalists tend to be, in general, as truthful as politicians, and have similar morals.

Canman62 :

It's sad to see retirees anywhere, simply with no hobbies, doing nothing in their golden years. I think it's important mentally to keep yourself somewhat busy, or at least have something to fill you're day beside sitting in the bar.

You're describing *exactly* what I was planning to do here when I retire. You've just ruined my plans for the future. Now I'm going to have to think of something worthwhile to do  :lol:

These days, I think VN is mostly benefiting from the fact the most of the neighboring countries in the region are still relative "basket cases". So, in spite of the negatives (minimal fun factor, unimpressive cuisine, noise/air/water pollution, overcrowding and over-development, etc.), when you ask yourself if the quality of life will be better in Myanmar, Cambodia, the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, China, etc,, the answer is generally "no".

In terms of cost of living, friendly locals, safety, level of development, and relative stability, there's not much in the way of good alternatives, which is quite a shame.

Other tropical areas of the world in South Asia, the Middle East, Africa and South America don't look very promising, to say the least.

Anyway, I imagine more and more folks will be coming as the idea of living in VN goes more mainstream. I'd guess we're just seeing the beginning of the influx of massive numbers of expats from both the west and the east.

In terms of cost of living, friendly locals, safety, level of development, and relative stability, there's not much in the way of good alternatives, which is quite a shame.

I cannot understand why people here are always talking about friendly people and high security.
Maybe in expats strongholds like Vung Tau or Saigon District 2 this is the case.

I have lived in Saigon D1, D2 and Binh Chanh and now near Binh Chanh in Long An.
Except in D2 the people were mostly rude, arrogant and aggressive.
And it's not because me, because my wife sees it that way too. I often watch the people when I am waiting for my wife. So I also see among each other the people here are very spiteful. My wife is often insulted in traffic, although she does everything right. Just today a man on a motorbike insulted a woman because it almost came to an accident, although the man suddenly turned off without blinking.
In Binh Chanh the outside mirrors of many cars in my residential area were stolen 2 times.
Here in my neighborhood something is stolen all the time. About half a year ago several motorbikes were stolen in our street. One week later they came over our wall in the night and wanted to steal our motorbike. Because they could not immediately crack the Vespa ignition lock, our neighbour became attentive and called my wife. Because my wife could not sleep after that I installed a security system with cameras and motion detectors.
My wife bought pepper spray, a stun gun and a taser, because she is afraid to come home in the dark.
Especially before TET a lot is stolen, but the police is busy with traffic controls to make as much coffee money as possible. And my wife keeps showing me reports of abducted babies.
There are a lot of alcoholics and drug addicts who are very dangerous (also in the traffic). This is not from me, no my wife tells and shows me such stories all the time.

The reason I'm here is because of my wife and the low cost of living.
Certainly not because of the nice people or the security.

AkaMaverick :

In terms of cost of living, friendly locals, safety, level of development, and relative stability, there's not much in the way of good alternatives, which is quite a shame.

I cannot understand why people here are always talking about friendly people and high security.
Maybe in expats strongholds like Vung Tau or Saigon District 2 this is the case.


The reason I'm here is because of my wife and the low cost of living.
Certainly not because of the nice people or the security.

This is a very good point as levels of safety can certainly vary throughout the country depending on the area you are located in. I was mostly speaking about the level of perceived safety compared to some other ASEAN countries, such as Cambodia and Myanmar, etc.

Of course, not all VNese are foreigner friendly and there is rude behavior, cheating, crime, theft, violence, counterfeit booze, etc. Road safety is a major concern and you will meet many who have been in accidents and possibly be injured yourself at some point. Motorbike theft, dog napping, phone snatching are all common.

So, yeah, you;re right. People shouldn't get the impression that VN is a relaxing worry-free paradise, but just that it's a bit better than other places. People planning to move here need to consider the potential dangers as well.

I agree that Vietnam is safe, apart from snatch-theft of iPhones, bags etc. We lived in KL before moving to Saigon, and were always in dread that our five-year-old daughter would be kidnapped where we lived in the expat haven of Bangsar (several cases for ransom while we lived there). In D7 in Saigon, however, we were perfectly happy for her to ride her bicycle around the area. One day she got lost, and after scouting the area we asked the neighbourhood guards. Within 10 minutes they found her in an area across the busy main street (yikes!). So, another slab of beer for Tet at the local guards' office.

My American boss in Saigon from a hicksville town in Alabama said that his family didn't understand why he would want to live in such an 'unsafe', "carmunist" country as Vietnam. He said he explained to them that the strict no-gun policy in VN made him feel a lot safer than in the States. Yes, the country is very strict about a lot of things, especialy politics, but if you steer clear, there probably isn't a safer country in South-East Asia than Vietnam.

As I have already noticed, expats areas like D2 or D7 are quite safe.
But here in the countryside (at least in our area) it is different. Incalculable.

Some of the thieves who had stolen some motorbikes in our street and wanted to steal our bike were caught by the police. They were young men from our street.
I think it was a mixture of boredom, alcohol and drugs and laziness to work that drove the young idiots to steal.

Also such a young tattooed wannabe gangster once asked the neighbour for my wife's phone number.
A relative of my wife who knew who the guy was had a word with him and made it clear that he should leave my wife alone. Since then she never saw him again.

Canman62 :

It's sad to see retirees anywhere, simply with no hobbies, doing nothing in their golden years. I think it's important mentally to keep yourself somewhat busy, or at least have something to fill you're day beside sitting in the bar.

I think hobbies are key wherever you live. At the moment I am spending six months in Vietnam and six "summer" months in Ireland. I play guitar, sing, read a lot, paint a little, cycle and swim and it's just nicer in Vietnam in the winter. I never go to bars, maybe one beer with my lunch or dinner.
I know lots of retired people in Ireland and the U.K. who watch daytime TV and drink too much every day.

I grew up in Chicago.  There is nowhere I've been in Saigon that felt as unsafe as many Chicago neighborhoods, and I'm talking about the good ones, too.  I'm living in Binh Thanh, and I feel no qualms about taking a walk to the convenience store at 2-3 am.

There is crime in every big city, but violent crime is much less than many other cities I've been to.

I haven't encountered unfriendliness, either.  Just a lot of bad driving.

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