Americans Are Retiring To Vietnam For Better Standard Of Living
Vietnam is increasingly becoming a popular retirement destination due to its inexpensive housing, cheap healthcare, and a rising standard of living, according to The Los Angeles Times.
John Rockhold, a former enlisted petty officer in the Navy during the Vietnam War, worked as a defense contractor after his military career ended and first returned to Vietnam in 1992 to work on a program to help economic refugees. He settled in Vietnam in 1995 and married a Vietnamese woman in 2009.
More than 58,000 U.S. service members died in the war, which ended in 1975, but the rapid growth in Southeast Asia has created an attractive environment for aging American boomers.
Rockhold, 66, lives in a 20th-floor condominium that overlooks the Saigon River and the city beyond with his two children and wife, Tu Viet Nga. They bought the four-bedroom, 3 1/2-bathroom unit that measures about 1,840 square feet for about $250,000 in 2011.
Although the Vietnamese government has not said precisely how many American retirees live in Vietnam, interviews suggest that some are in Vietnam on one-year tourist visas, others are there for a season or two, and others have qualified for long residence by marrying Vietnamese citizens.
Frederick R. Burke, a lawyer with the firm Baker McKenzie is well-connected to the American expatriate community in Vietnam and said, “They want to come back and want to reconcile. Often they’ve married a Vietnamese woman, and their Social Security and veteran benefits go a lot further here than they do in Los Angeles.”
“The cost of living is so low,” Rockhold said. “It’s a communist country, but if I blindfolded you and put you in downtown Saigon, you wouldn’t know it.”