Japan – the Land of the Rising Sun – is a special place. If your dream of living and retiring in Japan seems out of reach, think again.
It’s true that Japan has, in recent years, been an incredibly expensive place to live. But, times are changing. Make no mistake, living and retiring in Japan is still a financial challenge. You can do it, however, if you plan ahead.
Full Speed Ahead Retirement Planning
It doesn’t matter where you’re thinking of retiring, some things stay the same. Developing safe retirement strategies is still the most effective way to prepare for retirement, but is even more important if Japan is your destination.
Retirement planning, achieving your financial goals and understanding what you need to do to live a financially secure retirement in Japan before you go is vital. Consider meeting with a professional financial manager who can help you develop a plan.
Where to Live?
Renting an apartment in Japan is costly. Apartments in Tokyo, and other major Japanese cities, are probably smaller than you’re used to and a whole lot more expensive. Living outside of city centres will help keep costs down somewhat. Utilities are also expensive in Japan, but just like anywhere else, save money by monitoring and cutting back on water, electrical and gas usage.
Japan is free of regulations when it comes to foreigners buying real estate. That’s great if you have the cash on hand. It’s not so great if you expect to finance your purchase through a Japanese institution. You’ll have to meet stringent requirements to do so. Your best bet is to secure financing elsewhere or pay cash.
Guarding Your Health
Japan’s health care system is innovative and advanced. You will be required to register with one of Japan’s two public health insurance options: the National Health Insurance or the Employee’s’ Health Insurance. You’ll pay monthly premiums, the amount of which is based on where you live and your income. In addition, you’ll pay approximately 30 percent of medical costs yourself. Private insurance options are also available.
Save Money & Live Better
Japan is a land of mystical wonders. Filled with 18 World Heritage Sites, scenic beauty, ancient culture, epicurean delights, historic monuments, castles and natural hot springs, it’s no surprise that 2 million expats from around the world live, work and retire in Japan. Retiring well in Japan means planning ahead and learning to live on less. Once you’re there, follow these tips to save:
- Get around using local rail or tram services. If you’re planning a day of shopping or sightseeing, you’ll save more if you purchase a Day Pass.
- Regional rail passes are an affordable way to explore specific regions of the country.
- Long-distance buses are less expensive than bullet trains. Of course, the trip will take three to four times longer, but Japan’s long-distance buses are roomy and comfortable.
- Tour the free sights. There are plenty of free attractions you can visit no matter where you choose to live. Public markets, Shinto shrines, dazzling architecture and beautiful parks are just a few of the choices you’ll have.
- Avoid tourist traps when eating out. Eat at affordable, local eateries. Tipping is not a custom in Japan, so you’ll save a little there, too.