How to Retire Rich–Even if You’re Not – Malaysia

For many people in their 50s and 60s, their dreams of  retirement have been postponed:  squashed by the realities of higher living expenses, deflated investment portfolios and perhaps even job layoffs–thanks to the economic downturn.
But there’s a government voice promising luxury on a relative shoestring.  It’s suggesting that you might have enough money already, to live a retirement beyond your wildest expectations.  It’s calling to you:  suggesting that you may not ever have to work again.
You’re dreaming if you think that government voice is coming from the U.S., Canada, or a European country.  Listen carefully and check this out.  It’s coming from Malaysia.  And what this voice is suggesting might really open your eyes to something marvelous.

If you’re interested in retiring in a South East Asian country where the government is stable, where 90% of the population speaks English, where you can buy your own home, while offered government hand-holding to help you get settled, then Malaysia might be what you’re looking for.

Attempting to usurp its Thai competitors to the north as the region’s premier retirement destination, Malaysia offers everything from world renowned golf courses to first class shopping in Kuala Lumpur.  In Borneo, there’s an impressive eco-tourism industry where you can climb Mt. Kinabalu, view Pygmy elephants in the wild, and watch the human-like Proboscis monkeys swinging from vines in the jungle as you head down the river in a small boat.

 Malayasia also offers some of the world’s most beautiful islands and beaches—perfect for snorkeling, diving or just soaking up the sun.  And you can enjoy a perpetual summer–based on its 200km distance from the equator.
The government initiated organization called Malaysia My Second Home started with a few hundred expatriate retirees in 1997.  And the numbers have rapidly swelled to more than 13,000 to date—with the vast majority coming from the UK.  There are also large retiree numbers from China, Japan, Australia and Singapore.

Joining the program costs a one-time fee of $3000, which includes assistance with acquiring a 10 year visa.  They also help you find a medical insurance policy, they help set up a fixed deposit bank account for you, and they can guide you through the acquisition of a car and housing.
Peter Burstow first discovered Malaysia in 1965 when he was traveling there from the UK.  Eventually retiring there, he enjoys the warm, year-round weather, eating out 4 days a week and claims that the costs of living are 75% less than what he was paying in England.

The Malaysia My Second Home program allows foreigners to buy homes ranging in price from roughly $75,000 to $150,000.  Robert Harrison, from the UK, first visited Malaysia in 1999, and decided to recently buy a home and then renovate it.  The former architect bought a 5 bedroom, 3 bathroom home for less than $120,000.

In the popular vacation destination of Penang, you can buy a luxurious 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom condominium with a beautiful pool and a weight room facility, including tennis courts, for just $100,000.

Or you can settle into a 2 storey, 4 bedroom townhouse with 3 bathrooms for less than $110,000.

And if you choose to rent, prices in Malaysia are comparable to those in Thailand.

But if you’re thinking of trading in your snow blower for a surfboard, and heading off to warmer pastures, you’ll need to be aware of certain restrictions.  According to Adrian Lim, a representative from Malaysia My Second Home, you’d be required to take out a Malaysian medical insurance policy which—for the average 50 year old retiree—costs roughly $300 a year.  And, like Thailand, there are certain financial restrictions placed on your residency.

For starters, if you’re aged 50 or above, you’d need to deposit a minimum of $47,000 into a Malaysian fixed deposit account, or demonstrate a retirement income of roughly $3000 per month.

Changes to some of the rules appear to be what frustrate expatriate retirees the most, claims Lim.  If, for example, you bought a home a year ago in Malaysia, you were restricted to properties costing between $75,000 and $110,000.  But the maximum price you can now pay has risen to $156,000—upsetting some of the people who could have waited to buy a larger or more luxurious home than what they initially settled for.

But then, if you want to live like royalty, there’s no limit to what you could pay for a palatial rental property. 

Most expatriate retirees are focused around the capital city of Kuala Lumpur—near the country’s top medical centers and first class shopping areas.  Rental costs for 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom luxury condominiums with a swimming pool, weight room and tennis courts start at roughly $700 a month.

Regardless of where you end up, retiring in Malaysia can make you feel like a King or Queen—even on a middle class income.

Malaysia – More Info

Properties for sale or for rent in Malaysia:
More Info…

Malaysia My Second Home’s financial requirements:
More Info…

internaxx special offers for andrew hallam readers

Andrew Hallam

I’m a financial columnist for Canada’s national paper, The Globe and Mail, as well as for AssetBuilder, a financial service firm based in Texas. I’m also the author of Millionaire Teacher: The Nine Rules of Wealth You Should Have Learned in School (2nd Ed. Wiley 2017) and The Global Expatriate’s Guide To Investing: From Millionaire Teacher to Millionaire Expat (Wiley 2015). My mission is to educate, motivate and inspire people on basic retirement planning and best practices for investing, using evidence-based strategies. I'm happy to comment on your questions. However, please read the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and the Comments Policy.

You may also like...

3 Responses

  1. I love Malaysia! Some of the best food on Earth! Have you been?

    The only problem with Malaysia is the humidity. Killer. Other than that, it's one of my favorite places in the entire world.

    Best, Sam

  2. Andrew Hallam says:

    Hey Samurai,

    From where I'm typing, I can see the buildings of Johor Bahru. I live in Singapore and work near the border. I definitely prefer Thai food though!



  3. Eagertoknow says:

    Dear sir, i am 28 malaysian working at singapore. While i really enjoy the book, may you share your insight on the such index fund investment possibilities in Malaysia? Really thanks.

Leave a Reply

For your privacy we strongly recommend you do not use your full real name. While your email address will not be published, it may reveal your photo or a recognizable image if it is associated with It is strongly suggested you do not use a corporate or ISP email address. Before your comment is published you will receive an email asking you to confirm your email address. Select "Notify me of follow-up comments via email" to receive notifications of replies and be able to adjust your subscription. Published comments will not be deleted.

By clicking "Post Comment" you confirm you have read and agree to the conditions on the Legal Page; including the Privacy Policy, the Cookie Policy, and the Comments Policy.  We reserve the right to not publish comments that do not meet guidelines.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!