If you are to believe what you hear in a beer bar you could very well believe that if you choose to work and live in Thailand it is because you have traded a lifestyle gain against earnings potential. As always, it got me thinking – is this true?
So I have lived in Thailand over 10 years and slowly but steadily I have grown my business and my salary is now well above the UKs national average and more aligned to an upper management position. So maybe I have got to a position where there is no trade off. I have worked hard to ensure I get the best of both worlds.
But then I thought about it a bit deeper. I have worked my ass off to get to this position and I was senior management before I hit thirty in the UK anyway. If I were doing the same job in the UK I could more than double my current salary and there is always that nag in my mind about what could have become of me if I stayed working in the rat race back in the UK. So perhaps, in reality, I have traded lifestyle against earning potential trade off.
The fact is there are so many conundrums and variables that it is impossible to know your real position. That is, what would have been if you chose another life path, impossible to know.
I recently went back to the UK on business and it was very cold and it was also dark – you would wake in darkness and by 5pm it was dark again. In Thailand we have year round sunshine and this is wonderful, it really is a mood enhancer and sets you up for the day when you go to work.
So, is it easy to make money in Thailand?
It seems to me you have two tiers of expats working here; those flown in by their company on a good package and then the rest who need to really work hard to command anything deemed to be half decent. There is good money to be made in Thailand for the right person in the right industry.
If you came to Thailand because of the lifestyle and then went looking for the job or set up on your own then you need to accept its going to be a hard ride to generate a good salary. I think that is the good rule of thumb. The other issue is when you do a job that is not aligned to your skill set from your domestic country. Maybe you were a carpenter and then found yourself working in real estate or behind a bar? You are putting yourself up against it from day one. In this case you have certainly traded lifestyle against your earnings potential.
But isn’t it cheaper to live in Thailand?
The other argument is that for any income shortfall it is compensated by a cheaper cost of living. My question is what level of living do you expect? Shopping for Western foods in the supermarkets here in Thailand I find more expensive than back home.
Others may say that you can eat cheaply with Thai food from the market and food stalls – but that goes against the spirit of this blog, in that there is a trade between lifestyle and earnings.
For me Thailand is getting more expensive each year to live, yet back in the UK the supermarkets are getting cheaper and cheaper. The gap is closing. People in the UK told me it was expensive to eat out, from my visit I disagree – it is very reasonable.