Author Topic: Anyone retired to India?  (Read 5238 times)

KaizenSoze

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Anyone retired to India?
« on: February 12, 2015, 10:33:48 AM »
Exploring retirement options. My wife is from India and all of her family is there. There was a thread about retiring overseas but I didn't find anyone who had picked India. Opinions?

Pros:
Low COL
Near Family.

Cons:
Infrastructure. Infrastructure. Infrastructure.
  - Regular power outages.
  - Bad traffic
  - Lack of safe water

CowboyAndIndian

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Re: Anyone retired to India?
« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2015, 11:35:47 AM »
I thought about it and rejected the idea for several reasons
  • My kids are American and will not move there with me. Without my kids, I would be in the same position as my parents, all alone with annual visits by kids
  • It is low COL, but compared to 20 years ago, it is not such a great deal. Real Estate is very expensive
  • Which place in India would matter a lot. My parents live in Mysore (about 80 miles from Bangalore) and in my opinion that is great place with great weather and great people. North India can have extreme heat in the summer.
  • Maids etc were easily available 20 years ago, but with more industrial jobs, you cannot get the help you need

You can get around the issues that you have mentioned. My parents have a couple of battries (large 12 volt truck type) with a couple of solar panels and other than the fridge stopping, you do not know that the power has gone off. No one drinks tap water, everyone I know has a UV based water purifier at  home.

If you specify the area of India you are thinking about, I could maybe help you more.

ABC123

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Re: Anyone retired to India?
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2015, 11:39:57 AM »
The only "experience" I have with India is from watching The Amazing Race.  I admit, that alone makes me want to not go there at all.  But I'm sure there are lots of areas there that are nothing like what they show on tv.  Seems like it would depend a lot on where you would be living.  Having family there would certainly help with the adjustment.

CowboyAndIndian

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Re: Anyone retired to India?
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2015, 11:48:39 AM »
The only "experience" I have with India is from watching The Amazing Race.  I admit, that alone makes me want to not go there at all.  But I'm sure there are lots of areas there that are nothing like what they show on tv.  Seems like it would depend a lot on where you would be living.  Having family there would certainly help with the adjustment.

The Amazing Race shows only parts of the country that it feel will make an impact with the audience. There are rich parts which are so over the top (e.g. one Indian billionaire has his own skyscraper, reportedly costing $1Billion http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antilia_%28building%29)
There are slums which are the other extreme.

This is an extremely old civilization which got bled dry by the pillage of the British, Portugese etc. Give it another 20 or 25 years and it will bounce back.

klystomane

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Re: Anyone retired to India?
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2015, 11:50:00 AM »
Exploring retirement options. My wife is from India and all of her family is there. There was a thread about retiring overseas but I didn't find anyone who had picked India. Opinions?

Pros:
Low COL
Near Family.

Cons:
Infrastructure. Infrastructure. Infrastructure.
  - Regular power outages.
  - Bad traffic
  - Lack of safe water

Seems like a fairly open-ended question but I'll take a shot.

I regularly go there for business trips so I have a bit of experience with the "real" India.

Low COL applies if you're willing to lower your standards (i.e. quality of food, life, air, etc.). You can get a plate of rice for $0.20, but you should see the "kitchen" they cook the food in...and what are you really eating?

If you have a certain standard of living that you need to maintain, then you need to spend. I don't believe India is one of those countries where you can live well cheaply.

As an example, I believe Thailand (maybe parts of Taiwan or Malaysia) is a country where you can live quite well cheaply (safe food, good people, air, etc.).

Just my two cents.


KaizenSoze

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Re: Anyone retired to India?
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2015, 12:32:57 PM »
Strangely the food part does not bother me as long as it's cooked. My relatives are all strict vegetarians. Vegetarians food in India is much safer than meat.

Plus, all my relatives are great cooks.

I was just hoping someone had found a place with less issues than where my relatives live.

yandz

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Re: Anyone retired to India?
« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2015, 01:18:31 PM »
Not retired, but spent a fair bit of time there (South of Chennai and in Kolkata).  It is a wildly different culture, as you are aware. But for me, I felt equally at home. The periodic (daily) power outages just didn't bother me - I just found something else to do that didn't require power at that time. Drinking water - I just made it a daily habit to boil water and put it in a large water jar (and always carry a bottle when out and about). Most of my transport was walking or buses so traffic wasn't a daily bother. It was just a lovely, slower pace of life while I was there. I had a couple very American moments where I would feel fussy about something (usually it was a introvert thing where all the people would stress me out and I just needed to be alone for a minute...er, couple hours), but in general, I loved it. I would totally consider retiring there. The differences need to be acceptable as your new norm.

But if your experience is that the day-to-day of it grinds on you (this was true of a friend of mine) when you are there, you may want to think twice about it.

Retire-Canada

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Re: Anyone retired to India?
« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2015, 01:33:28 PM »
Exploring retirement options. My wife is from India and all of her family is there. There was a thread about retiring overseas but I didn't find anyone who had picked India. Opinions?

Pros:
Low COL
Near Family.

Cons:
Infrastructure. Infrastructure. Infrastructure.
  - Regular power outages.
  - Bad traffic
  - Lack of safe water

I have spent months in India and lived with relatives. It was pretty awesome. I drank tap water in Calcutta and had no issues. I ate food from street vendors and had no issues. I think some of the safety/health issues are over blown. With North American incomes you can resolve any of these type of problems.

What you need to be able to enjoy Indian culture and Indian friends. I liked all the Indians I spent time with, but it was really nice to run into Canadians and feel more at home.

Maybe this feeling would change if I stayed in India long enough and planned to make it my home?

I think India is a great place to travel so maybe take a 1 year trip there and see what you think. If you love it move and if not you had an amazing trip and you go home to Canada or the US.

-- Vik

vagon

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Re: Anyone retired to India?
« Reply #8 on: February 12, 2015, 04:22:21 PM »
I think India is a great place to travel so maybe take a 1 year trip there and see what you think. If you love it move and if not you had an amazing trip and you go home to Canada or the US.

+1 to this, why not test it out first?

iamlindoro

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Re: Anyone retired to India?
« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2015, 04:32:28 PM »
Probably the single biggest deciding factor here is going to be how important "close to family" is as a positive.  There are so many places with low COL and rapidly developing infrastructure that you could choose instead-- that's not me trying to convince you, just something to consider.  I also am interested in my options when it comes to retiring abroad and my current fascination is parts of South America (specifically I'm very interested in Medellin, Colombia).  There are cities there that are approaching first world cleanliness and quality of life as local and foreign investment begins to pour in.

As was just suggested, I think trying it out for a year (or heck, six months) is a great idea.  Another option might be another low COL area within 1-2000 miles, of which there are many in Southeast Asia.  Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, etc. are options where for the right (still relatively inexpensive) price, you can have a first world standard of living and be just a few hours plane ride away from family in India.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2015, 04:36:31 PM by iamlindoro »

Exflyboy

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Re: Anyone retired to India?
« Reply #10 on: February 12, 2015, 04:34:31 PM »
My Wife went there for a month last year to visit friends.

The answer was a firm NO, in terms of a place to retire to. Property rights was the big issue, next doors house could be built withing 6 inches of your back door almost overnight.

I certainly wouldn't be buying property there.


Beric01

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Re: Anyone retired to India?
« Reply #11 on: February 12, 2015, 04:49:33 PM »
Like some of the other posters in this thread, I have genuine concerns about health and safety living in India, not to mention the legal system. But there's really no problem with just trying it out for a bit.

You can also look at other nearby alternatives in Southeast Asia that may be more developed, such as Malaysia/Thailand/etc.

rpr

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Re: Anyone retired to India?
« Reply #12 on: February 12, 2015, 05:14:20 PM »
We are from India but live in the US now. I occasionally feel like maybe it would be cheap to move back (could be FI). The main reason that I want to move back to India is the same as DWs reason to never move back -- we both have lots of family there ;) DW likes to keep her distance from these people.

My in-laws keep mentioning that it is definitely getting more and more expensive to live in India. Recent inflation rates have been close to 10%. They have a paid-off house and I think their regular monthly expenses run into $300-400. They live reasonably conservatively.

In Chennai, my home city in India, property is expensive to buy but rents are still a bargain even though they keep increasing. House Price/Annual Rent ratios are around 50 (yield of 2%). Middle and upper-middle class Indians are property crazy. Some have two or three apartments. Land prices are astronomical.

Health care costs are cheap. Standards vary. A few years ago, my dad had an accident resulting in cerebral hemorrhaging requiring surgery and  was in ICU in coma for almost two weeks and in one of the better hospitals for another two weeks in a nice room with round the clock service.  Total cost for the four weeks was less than $15K (no insurance). For most Indians, this is almost unaffordable. But if you have the $ you can afford it.

Also train travel in India is cheap if you are willing to sacrifice a little in quality and are not in a big hurry. The safety factor can be important in trains.

It depends. Sometimes, I have this fantasy of retiring there (could be FIREd right now living cheaply <$1500/month) and rent an apartment from my brother or sister. And be closer to them and others. But my DW will kill me for sure if I do that. At the very least, papers would be served!!

okonumiyaki

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Re: Anyone retired to India?
« Reply #13 on: February 12, 2015, 05:23:03 PM »
Also note tax rates can be pretty high in India

CanuckExpat

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Re: Anyone retired to India?
« Reply #14 on: February 14, 2015, 01:29:06 AM »
It seems that "retiring to India" could be pretty broad.. I mean you could go settle down in Goa, live on a beachfront resort, probably have no real problems with infastructure or health and be spending tons of money if you wanted

marty998

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Re: Anyone retired to India?
« Reply #15 on: February 14, 2015, 05:08:57 AM »
India? Mosquitos. Lots and lots of mosquitos.

mustachianism_is_aredpill

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Re: Anyone retired to India?
« Reply #16 on: February 19, 2015, 02:09:29 PM »
I'm wary of it because I expect water problems to get worse as time goes on.

Most cities don't have 24/7 municipal water supply. The water comes on once or twice a week and residents have to fill it up and get by till the next time it comes. Most apartment buildings have a water tank on the roof to supply water to the building in this manner. If your building runs out before the next time the water comes back on, the building buys water from private suppliers and you see it on your next housing society (equivalent of HOA) bill. If you own a single-family home, you'll have to sort out this arrangement yourself. As the population and per capita water usage go up, this will inevitably be a harder and harder problem to solve.

Additionally, climate change predicts India to get hotter and drier (so even less water), but with more intense monsoons. A lot of the "good" places to live (Mumbai, Goa, Chennai, Cochin) are on the coast and will need to deal with rising sea levels. Mumbai has had flooding every monsoon season for the past 10 years, a combination of terrible drainage, and building encroachment on swamp lands, lakes and rivers (environmental planning takes a backseat when there's sweet sweet cash to be made).

Other issues (that I expect will eventually be resolved):

Only south Mumbai and the ministerial residence district in New Delhi have anything close to a 24/7 power guarantee. I have relatives that live in far-flung suburbs of Mumbai that have power cuts (known locally as load-shedding) lasting 6 hours a day. It's even worse in smaller cities and towns. You'll probably need to have some sort of UPS.

Road safety is a massive issue. Indian drivers are by-and-large unsafe (as evidenced by the highest fatalities per driven kilometer in the world) because the driver's licensing authority's testing is nonexistent and any joker can get a license sometimes without even needing to get behind a steering wheel. The roads are largely of poor quality; a combination of heavy monsoons, heavy traffic and (possibly) shoddy work by crooked contractors. I'm willing to bet that riding a bike in India will give you a statistically shorter lifespan than driving. Gas prices are 1.5x American gas prices, because of which many cars and buses are diesel or natural gas powered.

Another commenter wrote about property rights issues, and I concur. If you're lucky/know the right people, nothing might ever happen to your land. If you're not/encroachers know the right people, you might have bites taken out of it by someone building a small extension to their restaurant here, a little shop there. The legal system is hopelessly backlogged so good luck bringing anyone to court over things like this. Civil cases sometimes drag on for so long that all the parties in the case might be dead by the time there's a verdict (that's not hyperbole).

A lot of this sounds bleak, I know. But they are just things to consider if you're living in India long-term. The outsider-looking-in perspective of "warm weather, cheap healthcare, live like a king" needs to be tempered with some of the realities also. And a lot of the problems I've pointed out apply to other Western expat retirement destinations (Phillipines, Thailand or Indonesia).
« Last Edit: February 20, 2015, 12:14:26 PM by mustachianism_is_aredpill »