The Pros and Cons to Retiring in Indonesia

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When it comes time for you to retire, you are most likely hoping to move to a warmer, quieter place. A new place to call home that won’t break the bank, but will also allow you to live comfortably. You may not immediately think of Indonesia as a place to retire, but consider that there are many positive things about living in this country. Keep reading to find out more information about retiring in Indonesia.

A Little Bit About Indonesia

Indonesia is located in Southeast Asia, right between the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea. Bordering the country is Malaysia, Papua New Guinea and Timor-Leste (East Timor). It is made up of thousands of islands (over 13,000). The larger islands are Sumatra, Java, Borneo, Sulawesi and New Guinea. As of 2020, the population of Indonesia is 273,523,615 individuals. The official language is Bahasa Indonesia as well as English and Dutch. Their official currency is the Indonesian Rupiah. They are known for their production of petroleum and natural gas, textiles, shoes, mining, rubber and food. As the climate is tropically warm and surrounded by water, it is a popular tourist destination as well. If you are looking to visit this country, the best way to get there is either by plane or boat. 

What Are the Pros and Cons of Retiring in Indonesia?

There are many benefits to retiring in Indonesia as it is one of the fastest growing countries in Asia. With so much history, culture, music and dance, there is much to be experienced and explored. The growing economy offers many opportunities for those new to the country. Below are a few pros to living here:

  • Travel: Retiring to this country gives you the opportunity to explore many different countries within Asia, such as Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines. Within Indonesia there are also many islands to explore, such as Bali, Sulawesi and the Komodo islands. If you are interested in learning a new hobby, consider surfing, as there are several opportunities to do so here. For outdoor enthusiasts, there are also several national parks to explore as well as volcanoes and highlands. 
  • Food: With the vast variety of islands, there are many cultures to explore. You can never be bored by the different food prepared by the locals. If you are especially adventurous, there are several dishes to try like redang, nasi gorgeng and satay. There are many Indonesian delicacies that have been ranked as some of the world’s most delectable dishes. 
  • Good Standard of Living: Most individuals will find Indonesia to have affordable living. If you prefer to hire domestic workers, wages are reasonable and therefore help is more affordable. If you happen to have children, note that education is more expensive. 
  • Easy Language: As Bahasa Indonesia is similar to English as it uses the same alphabet, you will find it one of the easier languages to learn. Note that verbs are not conjugated in the same way, so you will need to practice as much as possible. 
  • Nightlife: If you enjoy a night out then you will appreciate Indonesian’s nightlife culture. There are many nightclubs to visit. If you enjoy dancing, take advantage of dance performances that you will find within hotels or nightclubs. 

As with any area, all countries have their drawbacks. Below are a few cons to living in Indonesia:

  • Corruption: One of the major issues of Indonesia is the corruption within the civil and justice systems. It has been something that the government has been trying to combat for a long time. 
  • Traffic: Unfortunately, roads in Indonesia are not maintained well and can be difficult to travel on. The city of Jakarta has some of the world’s worst traffic as the roads are not large enough to handle the amount of vehicles on the road at one time. 
  • Imported Products: Many stores have imported products, which means that the prices are more expensive. If you desire to purchase imported goods from the grocery store, for example, be prepared to pay a higher grocery bill.
  • Healthcare: Most illnesses can be treated within the Indonesian healthcare system. Yet, you may still be directed to Singapore if you are in need of certain specialists. Indonesian standards of cleanliness may not be what you are used to, and so dengue fever and diarrhea are commonly spread throughout their facilities. 
  • Conservative Environment: Indonesia is home to the world’s largest population of Muslims. More recently, there has been a shift towards conservative Islam. This has had a large impact on the culture. 

How much do you need to live comfortably in Indonesia? 

To live comfortably in Indonesia, you will need to budget about 900 US dollars (RP 13,415,843) per month as a single person. For a family, a budget of about 2,000 US dollars (RP 29, 846,962). However, for cities such as Jakarta, Bali and Surabaya, living expenses tend to be higher. If you prefer living in a larger city, such as Jakarta, you could be looking at spending $250 per month for a one bedroom apartment. A three bedroom could be anywhere from $700 to $2000 per month. It is important to keep this in mind when searching for places to live. 

Working and Purchasing Property in Bali

If you are only semi-retired and still wish to work while in Indonesia, it is important that you obtain the proper work permit. If you work in Bali, that company will need to apply for a KITAS (Kartu Izin Tinggal Sementara) which is a temporary stay permit card. If you are a foreigner looking to purchase property within Bali, you will want to do so in a safe way. Make sure to purchase land through a foreign-owned company (PT PMA), then obtain a “Right to Build” certificate. Once you have a PT PMA, you are entitled to a Right to Build certificate. 

Why would you want to retire in Indonesia?

Consider the benefits of living in a warm climate with plenty of culture and nightlife to participate in. Remember that there are negative aspects to living in any country, and ask yourself if you could handle heavy traffic or a healthcare system that may not meet all of your needs. Retiring in Indonesia could be the adventure of a lifetime!

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