Retirement at 50? Maybe in Taiwan

Overall it’s the complete opposite of rural.

Hualien would be a good choice

Kaohsiung is relaxing plus it has warm climate with awesome sunsets daily and very affordable standard of living.

I think it depends on the quality of life you want. People will paint whatever their current lifestyle is on to your amount of money, for me especially to live somewhere nice and be able to do some thing other than eat and sleep and ride a bicycle, that amount of money is nowhere near enough in Taiwan, even for me personally, let alone as a family.

But I think that until you’ve lived in a place, you have no idea what it’s like, and so you are questioning whether Taiwan is the same as it was eight years ago, have you considered that Penang is probably not the same as it never was, since you’ve never been there?

You can’t really paint the whole country into one part of it that you’ve never been to and assume you know what life is like there. You may have a sense of the general flavor of it but compare where you’re from to Toronto or Charlottetown or Iqaluit, Very different styles of life.

Even that extra $800ish Per month from working another five years, I think you are the only one who knows your own lifestyle situation (requirements and standards) and how much comfort you have with living paycheck to paycheck.

I’ve been to all three places you mentioned, even Penang specifically, which to me is much different from KL for example, and if I had to spend the rest of my life between only those three places I could probably get the highest standard of living in Taiwan for the amount of money you’re talking about, because even if things are more expensive and maybe you don’t have a nice apartment or can’t really eat out often (except for hole in the wall places, or ones with tiny chairs, street buffets, etc.), the overall societal quality-of-life is better by a pretty huge margin then the other two places.

I want to caveat by saying I’ve only read your first post, but I can’t really say what I would do in your situation, because I disagree with your analysis that this is your only option. At the very least, you are sitting on a good chunk of money that you can look at investing to pay you well in excess, if you do it right, of what your pension would earn you. If I was you, except that I refused to be entrepreneurial or believe that there are other career options where I could make more money, I would use that pension as a safety net (although not for the sake of being irresponsible) and look into how I could invest that saved money to maybe get some better options on my plate.

Set a goal for what the successful investment of that money would look like at the end of five years (based on research), then work back three years and one year and make a plan that brings you there. Then at five years with a lot more investing experience and understanding of how money works under your belt, you can say OK, my money is likely to do this type of thing in the next 5 to 10 years, and so I can retire now and live with this pension and that can bring me through until when I start getting much better yields, or I can choose to keep working another five years and get that much more of a safety net, as well as that much more I can invest into this thing that’s hopefully working by then.

Then, what is presently your Lifeline, which I am proposing you can initially start thinking of as a safety net, then becomes play money, with a much higher standard of living, and probably in a place where you don’t have to be thinking about the sacrifices that you’re going to make in one area of your life (like your child’s schooling) to another.

You really should read the entire thread - a lot has happened since March 2018. We have now been to Penang, and it wasn’t for us. But we have also been back to Taiwan, and we still love it.

I have a fair amount (10 years or so now) of investing experience, and the money that is “savings” in the TFSA is not at all savings, it is all invested in (primarily) equities. Our thinking is much akin to yours with the “safety net” idea (becoming much more than that) and we really have no intentions of retirement in the traditional sense. My TFSA will likely (fingers crossed) be quite a bit above my initial projections, and will definitely allow us a fair amount of cushion room. We also have a small online business that we currently run that should be (relatively) easy to transfer to Taiwan with the Gold Card Visa. That, combined with my pension, and some part time work, will likely bring us to the 100K NT / month range, which we are happy with. In truth, after investments are taken out, we live on just over $30000 Can per year in Canada. So doing so in Taiwan for us would be much, much easier.

The real issue for us is that we love Taiwan , have friends there, and well, it still feels like home after nearly a decade away. And, at least for 4 more years, we are stuck in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada until I am able to retire. We just need to be patient- but hey, 2 years have passed since this thread began, so time flies!!


Then enjoyably do whatever you want to do in Canada or North America before moving to Taiwan in a few years.

Just curious what didn’t you like about Penang? I haven’t been there yet.

You were not asking me but I’ll throw in my 2 cents since my family is deciding between moving to Penang or Taipei next year. (If you’ve read my other posts you know we are 99% set on Taipei and I’m basically acting like it’s a foregone conclusion, but these two cities were our final two choices after years or vetting and technically the pendulum could swing in the next year)

The primary drawback of Penang for me is that it is several orders of magnitude smaller and therefore a bit more provincial, far less vibrant, and has much worse transportation infrastructure/walkability/bikeability. Just to put things into perspective, Taipei metro area has a population of 7 to 8 Million, and that number could be much higher if you include some farther out cities and towns that are certainly still within its sphere. The population of Penang Island, which would be the area most folks would stick to if they live there, is around 750k, so just 1/10th the size. The entire state of Penang gets you close to 2 Million. Yes there is a large share of expats, but they are mostly retired and drawn to the beach so not as active in the city life.

That’s actually pretty much it. Penang’s COL is lower, I love the local cuisine the most of anywhere (well tied with Singapore) and then for me personally I have more friends and family there than Taipei. There’s also the issue that ethnic Chinese (like my family) are a bit disadvantaged in Malaysia and would perhaps be treated better and have more opportunities in Taiwan, however Penang Island being majority Chinese makes it one of the places where that discrimination is somewhat shielded.


Thanks Ill go back and read your other posts about Taipei vs Penang

Oh I don’t think I have written any other posts comparing the two. I just wanted to clarify because most of my posts on this site are about how we are moving to Taipei, never really mentioning that there is a chance of anything else.

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Ok got it

For me definitely Taiwan over Malaysia, linguistically, culturally and culinarily.

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My take was very similar to @projectmaximus. It was a bit too small for our liking, and the expat community was way too old (mostly retirees). It is a nice place, with a low Cost of Living, with ok beaches and everything (and great beaches nearby), and fantastic food. And it is not a bicycle or pedestrian friendly place (there are no sidewalks in some places even[and there are dangerous, deep open sewer holes all over], and there is no MRT, but one is in the planning stage). We are looking for a place to live where we can focus on a healthy lifestyle, running, yoga, etc., while enjoying the Arts, Music and culture of an Asian metropolitan city - IMHO Penang definitely does not fit that bill - Taipei most definitely does.


Somebody is moving to Kaohsiung :grin:

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You’ll never guess!

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what’s your target year to infiltrate this fine city?

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As soon as convenient!

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You guys, oy. Can’t remember which poster asked about the 300000 dollars and how long it will last. Don’t ever spend the principal. Work out what you can yield off the amount and then do what you have to do to make up (or not) any difference between what the yield is and what your requirements. This advice is free, but it’s worth money.

Graham answers this very well.

Good video, but nothing new for me. But I have been on the FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early) bandwagon from the early days of Mr. Money Moustache, so no surprise there.

Personally, I am (well will be) a strange hybrid of Lean/Barista/Coast FIRE. That is because I get a pension I can take at 50, but although it is ok ($30K Canadian per year or so), it needs a bit of supplementation to allow us to travel etc… However, our investments will be around $230K when we retire/move to Taiwan (along with a fair amount of cash etc., elsewhere for some cushion). This will have 15 years to grow, until we are 65. We will use it then, at which time we will also get about $15000 Can in government pensions annually. So after 65 is no problem, it is really just coasting from 50-65, doing what we want to do.

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