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Semi-Retiring in Bali

semi-retiring Bali

There is no doubt that the world we live in is a different place to what our grandparents experienced. Traditionally, people would finish school and work non-stop until they reached retirement age. The whole nature of “work” has changed and is going to change even faster as AI replaces even more jobs.

It is not surprising that many people are not content waiting until they reach a certain age to then retire. Tim Ferris in his “4 Hour Work Week” book came up with the idea of taking “mini-retirements”. Added to this is a growing number of younger people who have found that they can take up careers where they do not have to work from an office or specific location and can work online.

Bali has become an attractive place to take a “mini-retirement” or to semi-retire. So what are some things people need to consider if they wish to take a very extended vacation in Bali?


Probably the most essential consideration of taking any form of retirement is having the financial means to do so. While some places allow foreigners to take up part-time employment, this is a big no-no in Bali. Working while not having the correct visa and permit can see you detained, fined and deported. It is best to have an income from outside of Indonesia. Indonesia does have fairly attractive interest rates, but that, of course, carries a risk in currency exchange. Buying or leasing a property and renting it out on Airbnb seems like an option for some people, but setting it up to be legal is not an easy or cheap process.


Indonesia has a retirement visa program for people aged 55 plus. You are required to show proof of a source of income, like a pension. For anyone under 55, the potential visa options include social visa or business visa. It should be noted, that while Indonesia doesn’t seem to a problem with back to back visas, Singapore has started to take issue with foreigners living in Indonesia who travel to their country to reset their visa – a so-called ‘visa run’.


The tourist boom and demand for upmarket villas has pushed rental prices through the roof, especially in areas like Seminyak and Canggu where most foreigners seem to want to live. If you don’t mind living a bit further out than the prime tourist areas, prices are much more reasonable. Remember that most properties require at least a year commitment and the rent needs to be paid in full in advance.


If you have children still in school, education is going to be an important consideration. Bali has a number of international schools catering to the expat market, but they come at a hefty price and quite often more expensive than schooling in your home country where is often funded or partly funded by your government. Standards and facilities vary between the schools. Homeschooling is an option of course, but it does require a strong sense of motivation both by the students and parents – something which might not be so easy when you probably want to be hanging out at the beach.

What about you are you considering semi-retiring in Bali? What might be holding you back? Let us know in the comments below.



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