Spending your golden years abroad could save you big bucks while you retire to beautiful locales.
As health care costs soar and the cost of living keeps rising, many Americans are looking to retire elsewhere — where the living is not only cheap but the surroundings are beautiful and life is easier.
Considering that the average monthly costs for Americans over 60 is $3,500 a month — not including medical emergencies — and the state of Social Security is looking shaky at best, life elsewhere is looking more attractive by the day.
According to the International Living Retirement Index (ILRI) and U.S. News & World Report — many other countries have affordable health care and a low cost of living, plus a dollar can stretch for decades longer than it can at home. These are the top places to move to on a budget, where you can upgrade your life for half of what you’re living on now.
Average local salary: $17,000
Forty-five years after the Vietnam war ended, Americans are once again invading the southeast Asian country — this time to retire. According to the Los Angeles Times, “Aging American boomers are living a lifestyle reminiscent of Florida, Nevada and Arizona, but in Vietnam” at a fraction of the cost. “Monthly expenses here rarely exceed $2,000 … including the help of a cook and a cleaner.”
Average local salary: $26,000
Spain has some of the highest standards of living in the European Union — as well as beaches, great food and delicious wine. Combined with low living costs and a stable government, a couple can live comfortably for $2,500 a month. Also note, according to U.S. News & World Report, Spain “has a “golden visa” program that makes residency permits easier to obtain for those who spend at least 500,000 euros – about $600,000 – on property in Spain.”
Average local salary: $45,000
Melania Trump’s homeland is gorgeous and cheap. According to U.S. News and World Report, a couple that retires to Bled, Slovenia, will have a monthly budget of around $1,255. Surrounded by Triglav National Park, there are thermal pools, campsites and biodiverse forests nearby.
Average local salary: $8,200
While Thailand has been popular with retirees for decades, the cost of living has gone up in recent years. Head out of Bangkok and go north to Chang Mai where, according to U.S. News & World Report, “for $330 a month, you could rent a two-bedroom bungalow with a garden, and for $830 monthly, you could settle into a three-bedroom villa with a private swimming pool.” There is also an active and thriving international community so you’ll never get lonely.
Average local salary: $14,500
While capital city Lima can get expensive, the rest of Peru is a financial dream. With miles of untouched coastline, mountains and Macchu Picchu, there is plenty to do and you’ll never get bored. Even better, ILRI notes: “A couple could easily live on a budget of less than $2,200 a month in most areas of the country.”
Average local salary: $42,000
Portugal has exploded on the tourism scene over the past two years becoming a popular expat destination due to its “affordable lifestyle” with beaches and beautiful towns where a couple can live comfortably for around $2,500 a month.
Average local salary: $41,000
According to ILRI, “getting a visa to retire and live in Colombia is also pretty straightforward — all you need to do is prove you receive $770 of annual public pension income or that you have $2,500 of monthly income (per couple).” You’ll enjoy the favorable weather and warm beaches.
Average local salary: $29,000
Living in Penang, Malaysia is beautiful and affordable. “A couple can live here comfortably in Penang (with sea or mountain views) for roughly $1,990 a month, rent included,” ILRI notes. “A family of six can dine at a decent local Chinese restaurant and order 10 dishes for less than $6 per person — beer included — and a man’s haircut will set you back a mere $3.”
Average local salary: $44,000
Closer to home, Ecuador is a viable, safe option A beach house on the Pacific coast can cost around $144,000 and you can always skip over to the Galapagos whenever you want.
Average salary: $47,000
According to ILRI, a couple can live over the border for $1,600 to $3,300 a month, depending on the location. That figure includes rent and medical care. Even better, if you’re over 60, you’re entitled to a national discount card for seniors, which is good for discounts on a plethora of goods and services.
Average salary: $40,000
Costa Rica has long been known for it’s security, beauty, good banking and progressive views. It’s also a great value — where you can live relatively cheaply although its popularity in recent years has caused costs to rise.
Average salary: $66,000
Panama City is chic, navigable and comes with a great price tag. According to ILRI, “you can easily rent a house with sea views there for less than $1,400 a month — and if you venture a little farther outside of Panama City itself, the costs are even more affordable.”