You won't retire cheap in Perth Western Australia

by Bruce
(Perth Western Australia)

We've loved living in Australia since immigrating here in 1996 but don't expect to retire here in a frugal fashion. True, there is good public health care and we have relatively affordable private health insurance to cover extra specialist fees and get access to private hospitals for 'discretionary surgery' - but the cost of living is rising rapidly and on many measures, living in Australia is very expensive.

The Australian dollar is known as a commodity currency meaning that it rises when commodity prices are strong and falls when they are weak - right now that means the Aussie dollar is at near historic highs against many currencies. We are selling some Aussie dollars and buying other currencies to preserve our purchasing power overseas in the event that commodity prices correct downward and the Aussie goes with it. We are preserving our future ability to buy goods/ services overseas because we expect to spend at least part of our retirement in South Africa (where we lived before moving to Australia) and part of our retirement in another 'affordable' country (e.g. Thailand, Indonesia, Uraquay etc).

As a couple, we currently spend about $5500 (Aussie) per month for all expenses except income taxes but we don't have any car repayment or rent payment or mortgage. We expect to be able to retire overseas and live a similar lifestyle for about $3000 (Aussie) per month. As an example, rent in Perth Western Australia for a 2 bedroom apartment in a good location (close to city and river) will cost about $1400 per month which equates to about R10,000 per month (South African currency is the Rand). The equivalent apartment in Cape Town seaside location would cost about R6,000-R7,000. And Cape Town is a high cost South African city due to tourist status and stunning beauty. A dinner for 2 in Perth will cost about $70 (no alcohol) per couple but would cost half that in Cape Town.

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