Retiring to India

I just watched an absolutely enchanting movie - The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, after enjoying Outsourced, and given our bucket list of visiting India I have been watching movies set in India when I see them on TV or online.

Is it actually possible to retire to India on a limited income, as is shown in the movie? Are there really ‘retirement hotels’? I know that there is a booming business of going to India for medical procedures, having read about them previously.

Not sure about this movie, but here’s a financial comparison by somebody who moved from NYC to Mumbai. In fairness, comparing NYC to a city in the midwest might yield similar numbers.

I definitely wouldnt go to Mumbai for retirement, but a small town or village would be perfect. You can practically live for nothing… The only thing, is you would be leaving family and friends behind. Plus an Indian village would be boring for busy western mind.

Yes, (parts of) Mumbai and Delhi can easily be just as expensive to live in as a major western city.

The setting shown in Marigold Hotel, however, is Jaipur, a city of about 3 million—not a small town or village by any means. (And, speaking as somebody who lived there for about a year, hardly boring!)

Anyway, to address the OP’s question, there’s actually at least one website ( that goes into a lot of the details:

The couple who set up that website both have family in India, so it’s not quite the same situation as it would be for us pasty-white videshis, but still very informative.

There are a number of nice villages in Himachal Pradesh and I met a number of retirees who had purchased property when I travelled through that part of India.

I’ve looked into being an expat. I’m not an expert by any means but what I came across is some things like health care or personal assistants (maids, etc) are dirt cheap compared to the US. But both are labor intensive, so I guess that is expected.

Real estate is cheaper, but you can get something in the midwest for comparable or slightly more money. That article talks about $900 a month for an apartment in India. You can get a lot of apartments for $900 a month in the US. My current apartment in Indiana is $500 a month and it is a 2 bedroom. For $900/month you can get the mortgage for a 150k home and still have money left over for repairs, insurance, etc.

Unless you have expensive health care problems and require a lot of care, I don’t know if retiring to a foreign country makes a lot of financial sense as opposed to just moving to a less expensive town in the US. A nursing home in the US costs 40-70k a year, an Indian one is 5k.

I spent some time in New Delhi training people to do tech support for Dell. I left the Hotel once. ONCE! Yuk! What a disgusting place. I can’t imagine ever living in such a horrible place. Perhaps away from the cities may be okay but I can’t imagine how it could be.

The people I know in the US that are from India don’t speak very favorably of the country either.

The mother of a friend of mine moved to India when she retired claiming that her Swedish pension lasted much longer there than in Spain. It might have helped that she had lived there previously.

Very interesting. I am going to check out, thanks for the link =)

I need a certain amount of medical support as a diabetic with a cardiac condition, but in general I am well controlled medically and have been for years [30 years as a diabetic, 4 years with the heart thing.] The views of Jaipur were fantastic. though I think we would be happier on the outskirts instead of city center!

I have to admit, I have no problem with going with a cell phone, but I really do like dependable broadband internet. And mrAru could work in the call center +)

You will not be disappointed. By next year end we may have one of the cheapest 4G networks in whole world.

Well, there’s a lot both to hate and to love about India. I’ve lived there off and on in various cities for a cumulative total of about two years, and I’m always eager to go back. But not every day is easy or enjoyable.

I can forgive Delhi almost anything just for the sake of the Central Cottage Industries Emporium on Janpath, though. Oh my lordy lordy lord lord lord. And I don’t even LIKE shopping, at least when I’m not in India.

Rest assured, we shall endeavour tirelessly to approach your high standards, in all manner of things.

To the OP, if you’ve got money, India can give you a very comfortable lifestyle indeed, but I wouldn’t underestimate culture shock. Also, India is a very big and very diverse place. I wouldn’t base any judgments on a movie. But then again, I’m sure you wouldn’t either :slight_smile:
Healthcare and domestic help are both very cheap, but you may find domestic help a bit…variable, especially since you probably don’t speak the local language.

Also, I don’t know the basis on which you’re worried about broadband internet. In most(all?) cities you can get wired 10 - 20 Mbps connections for very reasonable rates. In the city I live in, a 20 Mbps unlimited data plan costs 50 USD per month.

ETA: How hot are the places you’re used to living in?

Well I lived in Tidewater Virginia for 8 years, and my husband is from Fresno originally so he is more used to heat than I am, I think it averages 100-130 fahrenheit [but again it is a dry heat:D:smack:] I am pretty happy at Pennsic which I have seen hit a very muggy 100 if I have shade, icy drink and a fan.

I was more wondering about the outskirts/suburbs of the city of Jaipur [I liked how it looked much less crowded than the stuff I have seen filmed in Mumbai] In one Entitlement Whores International [House Hunters International] the real estate agent mentioned brownouts and blackouts, interruption of utilities [water] and I could see the normal kitchen they were shown was fairly different from mine, it tended to be 2 gas hobs and a toaster oven and a microwave with a tiny fridge. I can deal with that type of kitchen, I managed to feed 9 people with 2 functioning burners, a toaster oven and a mostly working refrigerator =) [mrAru and I lived in a very old and sort of almost functioning house as we renovated it.]

And I am willing to learn Hindi or whatever the common dialect is locally, I am a quick study when I have someone to chat with. I don’t really expect to have much in the way of servants, maybe a cleaning lady a couple times a week.

I’ve been to India, and I think it’s definitely doable. Oh, and I loved the movie!

(But I would prefer Sri Lanka, myself, for a retirement fantasy. Just a personal preference!)

I’ve also met people that retired to India in my travels. They were definitely not your average sort and didn’t need much in the way of western comforts.

Goa, Gokarna, Karnataka also has cheap living beautiful beaches, forests etc. The people I met spend half the year in Goa and went up to Himachal Pradash for the monsoon, renting rooms by the month. Thats fine if you’re healthy and able to travel on the trains independently.

The issue is will India still be cheap in 10-20 years time given the way the world is going?
If you’re prepared to keep moving to cheaper countries as India gets more expensive then maybe not a problem.

One of the most important assets you can have in retirement is a community. It can be your children, other family, friends or even institutions like your church, Meals on Wheels or Hospice. When you relocate to a place like India, you leave all these behind. To be sure, you may gain some community there (especially if there is an expat community) but that is not guaranteed. Look into what is available there in the way of community before you relocate. That is far more important than the cost of living.

Also remember that one of you will die first. Couples often rely on each other exclusively for community. That can disappear in an instant. Talk about that with your significant other. How will you feel when they take you to a foreign land and leave you stranded? Many people never discuss death when it is imminent, even fewer when death is (seemingly) many years away. Do it now.

130 F? Google tells me that’s 54 C. That sounds…like a mistake. If it isn’t I’m very impressed. You could hack India easily! Jaipur is definitely dry heat, and on average 7-8 months in the year will see temperatures around/near 100 F. In two-three summer months temperature will cross 110 regularly. I haven’t lived there myself but I have visited. It is a crowded place. Not as crowded as Mumbai, but crowded. Then again, all places in India are crowded. I personally think that’s the biggest difference between India and other countries. Also, in Jaipur, 900 USD would rent you a massive house. Even in Delhi 900 USD would get you a very nice two bedroom apartment.

Brownouts/Blackouts, usually referred to as power cuts in India, are indeed common, but they typically disrupt only household electricity, for which most people have backups like inverters or generator sets. If you live in a modern apartment block, you will usually not be able to tell that you’re experiencing a power cut unless you try to turn on the air conditioning. Also, the problem is much worse in some states/areas than others. The large cities will also typically not be among the ones that are badly affected.
Having servants is a good idea IMO. India’s much dustier and much cheaper than you’re expecting. The cleaning lady would charge you around 20-30 USD a month to come in everyday and sweep he house and wash the dishes. It isn’t like they have other jobs to do, and they make good use of the money, as long as their husbands don’t get in the way. My (muslim) cleaning lady cum cook is putting her two daughters and one son through school.

54C, yes. While it sounds high for a yearly average, those temps aren’t unheard-of as month-long highs in some southern Spanish cities in the summer (and during that time, at night the temps don’t go anywhere near, much less below, 36C…).

T© = {[T(F)-32]*5/9}

No, mrAru’s entire military retirement pay is $1000 a month. I would guess that we could scrounge another $1000 from social security once we hit regular retirement age. We theoretically have military retirement medical for life, and he has VA as a 20 year retiree. I could see a small 2 bedroom bungalow, or even having something built like this cracker shack modified slightly by ramping instead of steps, and no fireplace. Instead of sliding windows, jalousie windows with a 5 foot overhang all the way around.

Modern, as I said good solid broadband connection, air conditioning would be spectacular, importing the batteries, inverter and solar panels is an option to level out the power grid =) As long as I could manage to charge a power chair, I can get around.

In a power chair? I’m not seeing it as so doable, all of a sudden. Why would you leave out that detail? It seems kind of important. You do know there’s a monsoon, right?