Cost of Living and Salaries for Most Thais
The average salaries for Thais working in Thailand are considerably lower when compared with the west. The cost of living is lower as well, and therefore the lower salaries match the cost of living and everything is priced accordingly. There are additional factors that directly effect the amount of salary offered and these include location, qualifications required and the corporate entity employing.
Salary Levels in Thailand
Many professions in Thailand are poorly paid, especially when one considers the qualifications required to work in these positions. School teachers are a great example of this where a teacher employed in a government school may earn as low as 20,000 baht / month as a starting salary. Some choose this due to the other incentives such as cheap loans and provision of cheap accommodation.
Trades are poorly paid, as well as service staff. The salary of a convenience store worker is only slightly above 300 baht / day. Considering that the monthly cost to rent a small room averages at 4,000 baht / month, that does not leave much remaining for living expenses. This is the same story for many professions and types of employment. Labourers are paid the basic income and many jobs are now filled by other nationalities because Thais refuse to accept such low pay.
Some professions are well paid. Those with professional qualifications and employed by western companies can receive large salary packages based on western incomes. These are the jobs that all desire to obtain and few achieve. To obtain these jobs, one will need excellent English language skills well and above that learnt in school or university in Thailand. They will require significant firsthand experience with speaking the language to master it to a level acceptable for employment in companies where English language is the first written and spoken language.
Those employed in Bangkok and the other busy tourism destinations receive higher salaries due to the increased cost of living. Basic essentials are definitely more expensive in these locations and increases in basic salaries are required to offset this. Those on the lower salaries are forced to share accommodation to reduce costs.
Costs of Living in Thailand
As one would expect, national household debt in Thailand is climbing annually. For many, the increased costs of living and large increases in land values, have forced many into the category where government assistance for basic items is provided. This service is a form of food card where basic items can be purchased from certain outlets.
Many with employment have used credit as a form of easing financial duress and the repercussions of this are obvious. Many have multiple credit cards that are maximised and they survive by managing a form of payment reshuffles on a month to month basis. Others have accepted offers of government loans offered as part of their employment package and subsequently are unable to repay these debts.
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Costs of Living for a Foreigner in Thailand
For any foreigner deciding to make Thailand their new home, they will be pleasantly surprised by the costs of living. Many things are cheaper than the west and that includes homes, units, utilities and food. There is an overabundance of rental accommodation in every city in Thailand and the prices for renting is cheap. Renting has its own advantages and it allows quick moving to a different location for whatever reason. It provides flexibility and opportunities to move around until one finds that location that is most suitable.
For those that choose to purchase, the prices of houses and condominiums are significantly less than the west in all places, including Bangkok. Bangkok should be considered a different market and properties close to transport and other convenient services are considerably more expensive than properties outside that magic zone.
The cost of utilities in Thailand are cheap in comparison to the west. Electricity prices are relatively inexpensive and Internet / phone charges are competitively priced. The cost of food is excellent and the offerings are probably better than the west for most items unless it is a specific national product that one is seeking. For those wanting some exotic national dish that must be imported, the cost will reflect the high tariff for the luxury of it being brought to Thailand.
Fresh food and market food in Thailand is some of the best in the world. The prices are cheap and the food is top quality. Those that offer poor quality fail to remain in business for long and they are quickly replaced by another who will fill the void with a better product.
Cars can be both cheap and expensive in Thailand. The cost of SUV’s and pickups in Thailand is significantly cheaper than the west, but small passenger sedans and hatchbacks are the opposite. Insurances for cars are priced the same as the west. For foreigners, the highest level of insurance here is strongly recommended for health, vehicle and home / contents.