Singaporean Couple Retires In Penang, Enjoys Slower Pace Of Life
Preparing for retirement is a monumental task. But with the rising cost of living in Singapore, some are looking to retire abroad.
In a video posted on Thursday (26 Jan), Singapore-based Japanese YouTuber Ghib Ojisan visited a Singaporean couple who decided to retire in Penang, Malaysia and have been living there for 15 years.
The couple shared that after exploring several countries, such as China, Canada, and Thailand, they decided to settle down in Penang.
This was mainly because of the place’s affordability, infrastructure, and proximity to Singapore.
Couple retires in Penang beachfront condo
In a recent video, Ghib Ojisan visited a Singaporean couple, Charles and Lena, who have chosen to retire in Penang, Malaysia.
The couple lives in a condominium right next to the beach.
The unit measuring up to 2,900 sq ft is much larger than the sizes we are used to here in Singapore.
Their spacious home includes a master bedroom that has a balcony with a beachfront view. Even the guest bedroom has windows overlooking the beach.
In the video, Charles shared that when they saw the view, he and his wife decided to buy the house within 10 minutes.
When Ghib asked why Penang, the couple shared that they calculated and analysed many other locations before settling down.
Previously, they have lived in China, Thailand, and Vancouver, Canada.
They were also keen on England and places like Ko Samui because Charles loves the beach.
However, he said that the infrastructure there was inadequate for them.
“We needed to find a place near Singapore, and affordable,” he said.
Lower cost for the same quality of life
The couple decided to live their post-retirement life out of Singapore because of the cost of living and quality of life they wanted.
“The only reason we can live like we do… is because we have Singapore,” said Lena.
Our assets in Singapore pay for our life.
They shared that if they lived in Singapore, they could not afford the same quality of life they currently had in Penang.
That being said, there are things that Charles and Lena miss about Singapore, such as the public transport system, town planning, cleanliness and greenery in the urban jungle.
They also miss Singapore food. While Penang has the same delicacies as Singapore, Charles and Lena said the cooking styles and food quality differ.
Their personal favourites, like chicken rice, mee siam, mee goreng, and Hokkien mee, are “just not the same over here”, they said.
But they have also found food unique to Penang that has become their new go-to meals, like white curry mee.
Visa requirements under Malaysia My Second Home programme
Penang might appeal to many thanks to its slower pace and lower cost of living.
For example, Charles mentioned that for the price of an HDB flat, one could afford a landed property or a super-condo.
However, he said one of the most important things to consider when relocating for retirement is the visa requirements.
Currently, he is on Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme, a visa allowing non-Malaysians to retire and live in Malaysia for extended periods.
The visa is renewable every five years. But since they have lived in Penang, Charles said the requirements have become stricter.
For example, they must prove that they can financially support themselves. When Charles and Lena first arrived, the criteria was having at least S$3,095 (RM$10,000) a month.
As of January 2023, individuals must have liquid assets of S$464,244 (RM$1,500,000) and a monthly income of S$12,380 (RM40,000) to be eligible.
Nonetheless, Charles said there’s nothing stopping Singaporeans from buying a home in Penang and travelling to and fro on a tourist visa.
Had to reinvent themselves to get used to Penang life
But moving to Penang was not all roses and sunshine for the couple.
Lena shared that she was very bored when they initially moved there. She had to reinvent herself and pursue hobbies she was interested in.
Over the years, she learned to sew, embroider, and paint. But this was all for the better, she said.
Now, the couple’s day consists of running errands, going for walks, and reading.
She feels unencumbered and enjoys having more time for herself and Charles.
Despite the merits of living overseas post-retirement, the couple agreed that Singapore would always be home for them.
“Every time I return to Singapore, the minute I touch down at Changi Airport, I know I am home,” said Charles.
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Featured image adapted from Ghib Ojisan on YouTube.
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