In Australia, Sydney, on a job site today, I started to develop friendships with the lads.
One forklift driver is head-to-toe old-school Aussie. He looks young with his scraggly, unkempt blonde hair, and a face so dirtied from years of hard labor, you would think from a distance he had an argument with a tall chimney laden with black soot.
The bloke drinks 24 cans of Jim Beam on the weekends.
In the final minutes of our workday, he came over to offer a helpful suggestion, before we found ourselves in a yarn.
The Value Of Australian Money In Asia
In a conversation around cars, he told me how his relative bought the new 2016 Lancer.
He said, “It was on one hundred and fifteen thousand.”
I exclaimed, “What? You mean Australian dollars?”
He clarified, “No, he bought it second-hand for seven thousand dollars, but it had one hundred and fifteen thousand kilometers on it.”
I scoffed, “Whoa! I was thinking one hundred and fifteen thousand dollars is one quarter of a down-payment on a house.”
The conversation turned to the value of money in Australia.
I told him, “For one hundred thousand dollars you can go overseas and live out the rest of your life happy, without any more worry.”
The Price Of Alcohol In Thailand
This prompted him to reveal he has a friend overseas in Thailand.
He said, “You know what my friend said? He asked me, ‘How much money do you spend on alcohol in Australia?’ I told him, ‘Two hundred dollars.’ He told me, “Yep. I only spent forty dollars to drink the same thing here in Thailand.’”
He was trying to tell me how comparatively cheap commodities are in Thailand.
I exclaimed, “What, you mean forty Australian dollars?”
He exclaimed, “Yeah! It costs forty Australian dollars to drink the same amount of alcohol that I drink here, but to drink it in Thailand.”
I said, “That is alright.”
The Cost Of An Australian Lifestyle
We both agreed that everything in Australia is expensive.
I said, “I know what you mean. Rent is expensive. If you are not living with your family and you are paying rent, then that is going to become one of the most expensive things in Australia.”
…”But the good thing about Australia is the amount of money that you can make from work. Two hundred dollars a day is pretty good.”
He chuckled at me, “You really think that is a good amount of money?”
I said, “Yeah. If you think about it in terms of how much that could be exchanged into another currency, compared to other countries that is a lot of money.”
…”I think the conversion rate over in Thailand is one Australian dollar equals 24 baht over there?”
Australians Have An Overseas Retirement Option
I always tell people, “You have no choice in where you were born, but you can decide which country you belong to.”
Naturally, I began to mention going overseas as a retirement option.
I told him, “I think Australian people are becoming aware of how cheap it is overseas.”
…”I reckon there will be a lot of us from Australia who – instead of retiring in Australia – will earn some money, take it overseas, and retire over there.”
…”Because nobody told us that we have to stay in Australia forever!”
He surprised me, to confide that was his actual plan.
He said, “That is what I plan to do. When I turn seventy, or maybe sixty, or fifty, I am going to take all the money I have saved up in Australia and go overseas to retire.”
…”Maybe I will find myself a twenty-year old girl. I am not going to tell her how old I am,” he chuckles,
From experience, I agreed in a very straight, sober voice, “That is possible. You can actually do that.”
Marrying A Filipino Webcam Girl
This emboldened him to mention, “My friend is talking to a Filipino girl on webcam. He is thinking about going over there to marry her. Do you know what she said to him?”
…”She said, ‘I can’t pay my rent this month. Can you help me?’”
…”He asked, ‘How much is it going to be?’”
The Filipino woman told the Australian male the amount in her currency.
…“Then he did some calculations and thought, ‘Fuck, it! It is only two hundred dollars,’ so he just paid it. He said the Filipino girl was looking at him amazed because to her, that it is so much money.”
Then he chuckles again, “But that is nothing for us over here!”
Living Costs In China
I mentioned China.
I said, “Living in China, it only costs me 4,000 RMB to rent for one month. That is about $600 dollars in Australia here, about three days of work.”
It made me remember a Chinese friend in Australia recently, who asked me what I did for work in China.
She exclaimed, “Oh! You were a teacher in China? 12,000 RMB is good money! But, in Australia, that money is nothing special.”
That is the truth. I could be on Australian government benefits and still earn more than 12,000 RMB per month sitting at home playing computer games in Australia, if I really wanted to.
So, imagine how much a degree qualified $120,000 AUD per annum job in Australia can exchange to in countries like Thailand, the Philippines, or China. I know in China, saving $120,000 AUD per annum will buy you a one million dollar property within two years.
Why would you spend 20-30 years to do the same in Australia?
Living Like A King In Asia
My colleague and I ventured off to talk about other countries, the value of Australian currency in other countries, the possibility of living in other countries, and enjoying the foreigner life.
We concluded that Australian people should have as a retirement plan. Especially if you are single and have a bachelor life, you can save your money, go overseas, and live like a king.
I was pretty surprised that us two laborers were having this global conversation. I figure, in Australia, our parents all immigrated from overseas, and we all have a friend who has been overseas and comes back to Australia with rich stories to tell.
We were not talking small-fry Australia.
In conclusion, for a Western person, if they really wanted to, they could save up money in Australia and then go to any other third-world country in the world, settle down, and retire.
You would have so many things on offer. The people in Asia are friendly, the culture is strong, the girls would be interested in you, as well as your money, and you can live like a king – or queen – and live happily ever after for the rest of your mid-life.
You can also get in on the experience when you are young!
The author of Diary Of A Mad Chaos from 1996 to 2018, The Lost Years book, Wubao In China (猎艳奇缘) book series, and Foreigner (华人) an exploration of race relations in Australia. Fluent in Chinese Mandarin, Macedonian, and English, the author currently resides in China, Guangzhou where he continues to make comparative analysis of the cultural differences between Eastern and Western societies.