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How easy is it to retire in Singapore

How to obtain Singapore retirement visa for US citizens?

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Singapore is a very small country made up of 64 islands clustered around the end of the Malay Peninsula. It is one of the most well-developed countries in Southeast Asia. It is also home to several, human-made wonders, including massive skyscrapers, one of the biggest artificial waterfalls in the world, and an international airport that is generally regarded as the best in the world.

When it comes to retiring in another country, Singapore is an excellent option. It has an excellent healthcare system, a lot of modern amenities, and open-minded people.

Pros and Cons of Retirement in Singapore

When you are considering retirement in another country, it is easy to get in your head and imagine smooth sailing all the way. Sometimes, it does turn out that the grass is greener on the other side, but any experienced traveler will tell you that every location has its positives and negatives.

So, if you are still on the fence, and can’t decide whether a move to Singapore will be good for you or not, here is a helpful list of pros and cons.

Accommodation:

When you are traveling, one of the biggest expenses and impacting features of your trip is your accommodation. It is even more important when you are choosing to relocate indefinitely to another country.

In Singapore, much of the housing comes in the form of high rising condos and apartments. Getting a large home is very rare, and those who do live in free-standing homes rarely have a backyard. Still, there is a lot of greenery, and parks around the island to make up for that.

One of the best things about Singapore is that whether you want to rent a condo or a more affordable government-owned flat, you will have a lot of options. There are many new apartment buildings springing up every year in Singapore, and most of the new, privately owned buildings have several modern amenities, like swimming pools, gyms, and playgrounds on-site.

You can also get homes in the suburbs if you are willing to spend some extra cash, and there are many options there as well.

As mentioned earlier, Singapore isn’t the biggest country. Land and space are limited on the island, and therefore, rents can be expensive.

Places closer to the city center, and other desirable locations like Orchard Road, Holland Village tend to be more expensive. However, if you are willing to live a little further away from the main cities, you can get a better deal.

Transportation:

Singapore might be a small country, but its transportation system is quite extensive and well-developed. Whether you use the Mass Rapid Transport (MRT) or busses, getting around is quite easy in Singapore.

Getting around in Singapore is a piece of cake. There is an extensive MRT and Bus system, which also happens to be very cheap.  The MRT system is also being expanded, and new lines will also be added to the already huge system, which will make even the furthest islands of Singapore easily accessible.

Cabs are also quite expensive, and if you are in a pinch, you can also use a ride-sharing service like Uber or goJek.

In Singapore, a majority of people use public transport. It is more convenient, affordable, and better for the environment. Owning a car in Singapore can be a very expensive thing. You have to pay heavy custom duties, insurance fees, and taxes. Wherever you go, you’ll have to pay for parking, and fuel isn’t that cheap either.

However, the public transport system is so efficient that you really don’t even need a car.

Travel from Singapore:

Though the flight to Singapore might be quite long, once you are there, a lot of incredible travel destinations are close.

Though Singapore is a small location, it is an ideal spot for travel. Many incredible Southeast Asian destinations like Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Laos are close by, and the flights are also quite affordable.

Security and safety in Singapore:

When choosing a retirement destination, safety is one of the most important factors. You obviously want a place where you can live comfortably, without worrying about street crime, road safety, and personal security.

When it comes to personal security, Singapore is a very safe country, in fact, it has a crime rate much lower than many western countries. Law and order are maintained strictly in Singapore, and there is a zero-tolerance policy about drugs.

Though crime rates are low in Singapore, you may need to watch out for cyclists who may also use the same sidewalk as pedestrian. Therefore, make sure that you use crosswalks wherever possible, and be careful when crossing the road.

Society in Singapore:

The people in Singapore are quite friendly and making friends here is easy. There are several leisure clubs and golf clubs that you can join for lounging, and making friends. There are several clubs and societies dedicated to ex-pats and retirees like the American Association and British club in Singapore that you can also join.

Finding like-minded individuals is quite easy in Singapore, so, don’t worry about feeling alone.

This is more of a concern for those who are retiring young. If you want to attend parties, and enjoy the nightlife of Singapore, bear in mind that it comes at a price. Alcoholic beverages can be quite expensive, especially at the nicer clubs and bars.

Healthcare:

Healthcare is a serious concern for most retirees. When you go old, it is important to get regular health checkups, and most people in their old age, have to deal with one health condition or another. Therefore, the retirement destination that you choose needs to have a decent healthcare system.

Singapore has one of the best healthcare systems in the region. There are several public and private hospitals, with qualified and well-trained staff. The hospitals are also well-stocked and have modern equipment to ensure high-quality healthcare.

You can also get insurance in Singapore, which will cover most medical treatments.

Though Singapore has a reliable healthcare system, it can be expensive if you don’t have insurance. Even if you do, in some cases, the hospital, or clinic you visit might not accept a direct bill settlement with your insurance provider.

In such a care, you may have to pay all the fees, including hospital bills, prescriptions for medicine, and consultation fees. Though your insurance will refund you for the charges, the upfront cost can come as a shock and put a pin in your plans if you are living on a budget.

The climate in Singapore:

Many people who are thinking about visiting Singapore, or moving there for retirement, are concerned about the weather. Well, there is a good and bad side to it.

The temperature stays almost the same all year round, the days are warm, and the weather is perfect for swimming most of the time. The heat won’t bother you too much either, because most properties have air conditioning.

So, you don’t need to pack any coats or jumpers when you move to Singapore.

Like most countries in the region, Singapore also gets its fair share of rain. The humidity levels here are usually around 70%, which can take some time to get used to. Monsoon season is especially wet, as rain can start suddenly, and last for entire days without stopping. So, keep in mind that you should never be too far from an umbrella.

How much do I need per month to retire in Singapore?

Singapore is notorious for being one of the most expensive cities to live in. however, the cost of living here is still more affordable than most major American cities. Still, when you compare prices with other counties in the same region, they can be quite high.

One of the major expenditures for an expat living in any destination is accommodation. Rent can take away a significant part of your monthly budget.  Apartment rents in Singapore are expensive, a single-bedroom condominium inside the main city can cost you somewhere between $1,500 and $3,000, depending on the type of condo and the location you choose. On average, you should expect at least $2,000 for a decent apartment.

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Condos outside the main city center are a bit more affordable and can range from $1,000 to $2,000. So, getting a one-bedroom condo outside the main city center is the better option in my opinion.

After accommodation, utilities like electricity, water, and waste disposal bills can take a chunk out of your budget. Depending on the kind of apartment building you are living in, and your usage, you may have to pay somewhere between $75 and $200 for utilities. Getting an internet connection can cost you around $30 to $50 a month.

You should set aside at least $200 to $350 for groceries, and if you plan on eating outside, a meal at a local Kopitiam, hawker center or food court can cost you about $5 to $25. Whereas, at premium restaurants, you can expect to pay between $40 and $90 for a meal.

So, Singapore is in no way the cheapest place to retire, and you’ll need a minimum of $3,000 per month to retire in Singapore.

Best place to retire in Singapore:

Well, there aren’t many places inside Singapore, as it is just one city; however, there are several regions within the city that you can consider. Obviously, when it comes to everyday amenities and other facilities, all of Singapore is the same; however, here are some parts of the city that are suitable for ex-pats.

Orchard road area:

If you want to live in the center of the high-paced life in Singapore, Orchard is probably one of the best parts of Singapore. It has a lot of luxury malls, restaurants, cafes, and other amenities. There is a lot to do in this part of the city and to overcome the crowded streets, there is also a lot of greenery and trees, which can be quite refreshing. However, accommodation in this region comes in the form of high-rise apartments and the price is also quite high.

Holland Village:

Holland village is located to the west of central Singapore, and it offers a much less crowded environment than central. This part of Singapore is away from the hustle, yet it is close enough to the city that all the amenities are still at your doorstep.

The Singapore Botanical Gardens are also nearby, and there are multiple expat clubs that you can visit. There are several properties available in Holland Village for both buying and renting, and apartments here are cheaper than in the main city.

There is also an MRT station, which makes transportation to the main city very convenient and affordable.

Woodlands:

Located at the North of the Island, Woodlands is a calm place, with a large expat community. It is only a 40-minute drive away from the main city, and accommodation here is more affordable as well.

Most modern amenities are available here, so you won’t have to go to the city often.

Eldercare for retirees in Singapore

Singapore has one of the most reliable healthcare systems in the entire world. In fact, according to Knoem’s healthcare efficiency index, which takes both the life expectancy of a country and health expenditure into account, Singapore has the second-best healthcare system in the entire world.

However, unlike some other countries in the region, healthcare isn’t free in Singapore. Healthcare insurance can cost up to $300 per month. That may be a little steep, but if you feel like you need to visit the doctor frequently, which is the case with most retirees, getting insurance is the better option.

As far as medication and pharmaceuticals are concerned, it is easy to get any medication that you need. However, the cost may be a little higher if you opt for western brands instead of local ones.

What are the requirements to retire in Singapore?

Unlike some other countries in the region, Singapore does not offer any kind of retirement visa to foreigners. However, there are several options for retirees to obtain residence in Singapore.

If you have gotten a work visa to Singapore, before the age of 50, you have the option to continue that visa into retirement. On the other hand, if you are moving to Singapore after 50, applying for an entrepreneur’s pass is a good option. However, this requires you to start a company, based in Singapore, with paid-up capital of $37,000 at least (ref: smartasset).

After two years of getting an entrepreneur’s pass or residency in Singapore, you can also apply for citizenship.

Apart from this, the only way to get permanent residence in Singapore is by marrying a Singaporean citizen or making a major investment in the country.

How easy is it to retire in Singapore?

As far as the immigration and visa process is concerned, retiring to Singapore isn’t too hard. However, when you consider the cost, it can start to feel like a problem. As we have mentioned before, the cost of living in Singapore isn’t cheap. Where it may be lower than someplace like New York City, or LA, you aren’t going to be saving too much by retiring to Singapore.

However, there are a lot of properties that make Singapore an excellent and easier retirement destination than others. For one, it has one of the best healthcare systems in the entire world, and it is an ideal destination to use as a base for traveling.

There are several incredible business opportunities in Singapore, and the quality of life is also quite high. Therefore, the punchline is that, if you have the budget for it, Singapore can be an incredible and easy retirement destination for you.

Final Thoughts

Retirement can be a difficult time for most people, everyone wants to enjoy their post-retirement life, and relax, but only a few are able to. However, a great way to step away from all your hectic problems and have the retirement you have been dreaming of for so long, is to relocate to another country.

Southeast Asia has become a hotspot for retirees since most countries over there offer low cost of living, and the tropical environment offers the perfect backdrop for a leisurely and relaxed retirement.

However, most countries in Southeast Asia, while being super affordable don’t have all the amenities that you may be accustomed to. However, Singapore is an incredible option. It has a high quality of life, and while it is more expensive than other countries, it makes up for it by being one of the best retirement destinations in the entire world.

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