Retire in Singapore or Malaysia? That is the big question I have to answer eventually. In fact, I think more Singaporeans are thinking of retiring in Malaysia due to the relentless price inflation in Singapore. Just look at the prices of public housing (which are suppose to be affordable) and cars. If you can afford an HDB and a 1.6L car in Singapore, you can retire quite comfortably in Malaysia.
I am currently a Malaysian citizen holding a Singapore PR. I have lived long enough in both countries to know their pros and cons.
Why retire in Singapore
Singapore has excellent infrastructure support. From public transport to amenities, you can’t get much better than Singapore. While excellent for stability, it also creates a less vibrant culture. Some even say the environment is too sterilize!
Explict rules of conduct makes it easier for anyone to settle down in Singapore. You know exactly what is acceptable behavior and what is not. In Malaysia, it is almost a wild wild west country where you can get away with anything. That makes it easier to seize business opportunities but also a bit less stable for those who want explict rules of engagement.
Education wise, Singapore as much more to offer relative to Malaysia. Singapore education has more resources devoted to constantly improve its curriculum and stay relevant in the 21st century. In Malaysia, you will be lucky to be enrolled in the national unversity of Malaysia as seats are reserved for the native Malays regardless of their results.
Why retire in Malaysia
The cost of living is definitely the most powerful pull. Many will say that money is not the most important thing but when you have insufficient of it to live a comfortable then I will say it is important. The good thing about Singaporeans retiring in Malaysia is the double advantage of (i) a stronger currency that effectively doubles your money and (ii) lower prices for big ticket items such as housing, cars and medical bills.
The pace of life is definitely slower in Malaysia which makes for it ideal for retirement. Added to this is the vibrancy (or chaos as perceived by some) and you have a nice way to enjoy life. When in Malaysia, I always enjoyed sitting along some roadside and just enjoyed the noise and people around me. It is a different kind of setting from a more polish cafe settings but it has its charms.
Another plus point is that Malaysia has more places to explore. That makes it ideal for short road trips that would not cost you a bomb. Singapore is seriously missing such geographical advantage and is something that makes Malaysia a more attractive place for a person like me who likes to travel.
Knowing where to retire is actually a big part of retirement planning. That is why you see folks searching for ‘best places to retire in Malaysia’ because they understand that the location can make a huge difference in terms of the money you need to retire. If there is no way for you to achieve a higher monthly income then reducing the retirement cost is the only way to go. For that, the location becomes the most important factor.
So, where should I retire? Malaysia or Singapore?