Retiring in Bali
Retiring in Bali
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Bali is one of those places where one visit is never enough! It’s not unusual to hear that people have holidayed in Bali 20 times or more over several years. For many hard-core Bali lovers, it is the ultimate dream to one day retire in Bali, either spending the whole year or part of the year on their favourite Island.
We get asked a lot about the cost of living when retiring in Bali, things that need arranging before retiring in Bali and what life is like as a retiree in Bali. Bali Buddies decided to catch up with Lindy Sutherland, who has recently moved with her husband Leigh from Australia to Bali to make their retirement dreams come true (Yes, it’s still possible, even during these crazy times in the world!)
Lindy and Leigh Sutherland arrived in Bali on July 21 this year. The pandemic added extra planning and costs to their move, including an eight-day stay in quarantine in Jakarta. However, ultimately retirement is still possible in Bali during this time (albeit a little more stressful than usual). Their decision to retire in Bali was twofold, one was their love for the Island, and the other was for financial reasons. With the cost of living in Australia being so high, retiring in Bali meant that they could live a retirement lifestyle that they just couldn’t afford to in Australia.
It took them around eight months to plan and execute their move (but they had been researching the idea for a couple of years before this). It included selling their house in Australia, setting up retirement visas in Bali and getting all of their affairs to make a smooth transition to expat life.
When they first floated the idea of retiring in Bali to friends and family four years ago, most thought it was just a pipe dream that wouldn’t come to fruition. As time went on, their desire to make the move only became stronger and they continued to make decisions to ensure retiring in Bali became a reality.
Moving during the pandemic made the goodbyes a little harder than in normal times as they didn’t know when they’d get to see family and friends again, but that day will come, hopefully in the not too distant future.
Cost of Living In Bali - Overview
Like Lindy and Leigh already mentioned, it is important to plan your finances before moving to Bali. We’ve been living on the island for several years now and one of the most frequently asked questions is: How much does it cost to live in Bali?
That’s when we’ve written a post breaking down the cost of living in Bali. Below you’ll find the summary. You can also click here to read the whole Cost of Living in Bali article.
|Visa|| KITAS: $550 USD per year |
B211 Visa: $500 USD for 6 months
|Health Insurance||$700 USD per person per year|
|Housing|| $300 USD per month for a simple homestay |
$8000 USD per year for a 2-3 bedroom villa
|Schooling|| $8000 USD per year per child |
Click for more info about Bali Island School
|Transport|| Basic bike rental: from $45 USD per month + $3 USD for a full tank of fuel. |
Car rental: $200 USD per month.
Driver with car: $450 USD per month.
Ride-hail apps: from $1 per ride to $7 for an hour.
|Food|| Local dishes from $1.50 USD |
Average restaurant meals start from $5 USD
Or a lot more if you're visiting fine dining restaurants...
|Utilities|| Electricity: $40 USD to $200 USD per month. |
WiFi: $30 USD per month.
Mobile phone: $7 USD per month.
|Staff|| Full-time domestic staff members: $200 USD per month. |
Gardeners: $80 USD per month
|Entertainment|| Starting from $15 USD per week. |
Gym membership from $35 USD per month.
Lindy and Leigh already knew they wanted to retire in the area of Sanur (great choice, it’s also where we chose to move our family five years ago when we left Australia!). Its community vibe, long beach path, easy traffic, and access to everything you need (groceries stores, health centres, spas, shops and more) makes it a popular choice amongst both retirees and families in Bali.
When choosing long term accommodation, the two popular options are to either take yearly rentals or purchase a long lease on a house/villa (foreigners can’t own freehold in Indonesia, but you can take out long leases on properties). Lindy and Leigh chose the latter to purchase a long lease on a property that they’d never seen in person!
Now, we wouldn’t recommend this option for everyone unless, like Lindy and Leigh, you have done a lot of research on prices and gotten to know a few other expats who can give you advice on things to be aware of when purchasing a lease sight unseen. “Villa Linleigh” is now their home. They bought a 28-year lease and were very happy to move in and finally see it in person in July.
To live here legally, Lindy and Leigh both hold retirement visas. To access a retirement visa in Bali, you must be over 55 years of age and meet a few other criteria to ensure you can fund your retirement here. This kind of resident’s visa does not allow you to work or earn an income in Bali, but it does allow you to live here legally, open bank accounts, buy cars and motorbikes and more. When asked about how long they plan to live in Bali, Lindy answered that there are no hard and fast rules, they will stay for as long as they are happy and their health allows. They imagine they will be in Bali for around 10-15 years but could be more.
One of the most significant differences Lindy has found being a resident is figuring out that pretty much everything can come to you in Bali! With apps, like GRAB, where you can order your shopping, deliveries and more, as well as home visiting doctors, spa treatments and even hairdressers, you don’t need to leave home at all if you don’t want to. When asked what a typical day in her retirement life looks like, Lindy made this list.
She said her typical days include some or all of the following:
Safe to say, Lindy is enjoying the transition to Bail expat life. We have been following her and Leigh’s journey since they arrived and have seen them make many friends and go on so many adventures already!
Finally, we asked Lindy about tips and advice for other people considering retiring in Bali. Lindy recommends “doing your homework!”.
She and Leigh researched for three years before putting their retirement plan in motion. Choosing which area of Bali you will base yourself in is a significant step, as different areas of Bali offer different experiences. Joining Facebook groups and chatting to other expats is also helpful to get ‘insider information’.
If you don’t fancy doing all the research yourself, we can recommend the services of Our Year in Bali – Relocation Service. The Founder Simone and her family relocated from Australia and spent two years living in Bali. Now that she is back in Australia, Simone helps other people who want to make the move to Bail. She helps with every aspect of your relocation from advice on visas, insurance, villas and more.
For those who are over 50 and considering Retiring in Bali, things can be made easy for you by connecting with the team at Bali Insight Living. They are based in Bali and here to help you ‘try before you buy’, if you would like to have a trial of living in Bali before you commit to a long term lease or long term visa, Bali Insight Living can help you! They also assist in obtaining retirement visas and can even help you to find your long term Bali home. This team are Bali concierge, right down to helping you find a circle of friends, to which handyman to use. If retiring in Bali is on your mind, definitely reach out to Bali Insight Living.
Final words from Lindy on making the decision to retire in Bali – “We absolutely love it and have no regrets at all.” We look forward to continuing to follow Lindy & Leigh’s Bali adventures, they are excited for when their friends and family can come and visit their new home.
Have you considered retiring in Bali?
TIP: Read our Cost Of Living in Bali article with a breakdown of costs you’ll have to consider when contemplating moving to Bali.
Bali Buddies Tips
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As one of top tips of things you need to do before your Bali holiday, we recommend downloading and setting your Grab Superapp account. This app will save you time, money and keep you safe while travelling in Bali.
We know holidays are a great time to relax & explore, but they can also be a great time to learn a new skill and find a new hobby too! Learning how to scuba dive and getting your PADI open water certification is a great achievement that can take you on underwater adventures all over the world, and the gorgeous water of Bali and surrounds is the perfect location to combine a holiday with getting your certification!
Are you visiting Flores? Take a boat trip and discover the Komodo Dragons, the gorgeous Pink Beach, and awesome underwater life.
With its buzzing nightlife and trendy boutiques, Seminyak is a holiday hot spot for international and domestic travelers alike. But go inland a little and you’ll find quiet Balinese streets, rice paddies, and cute local cafes. We recommend staying in this area if you want peaceful surrounds close to the action and excitement of downtown Seminyak.