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Retiring Abroad - Cheap Places to Retire Overseas

By Edited Dec 20, 2013 2 4

There is something so romantic about spreading your golden years relaxing on a seaside hut or in a quaint little foreign town. You worked hard for years to finally early the right to do nothing but relax in your twilight years. However, there are some more practical considerations to retiring abroad these days. In this age, many of the elderly lack the savings or the social security to even retire as it is. You may not be able to retire in the idyllic small towns in Italy or France, but there are loads of other, cheaper countries with enjoyable culture.  So instead of settling in Florida, consider changing planes there instead and heading overseas. Many countries overseas house a large expat community purely because it is beautiful and a dollar goes a lot further than it does in the United States.



If you are living on a budget in your retirement years, Ecuador is probably one of the better locations to consider when moving abroad. The cost of living in Ecuador is extremely low and their currency is tied to the dollar. Recently, I read a story about a couple who lives quite well on only $600 dollars a month. Ecuador has both quaint towns and sun soaked beaches and has earned the title of Top Rated Retirement Haven by International Living magazine. However, like all countries, there are some downsides. Like many other South American countries, there can be some crime rings and political stability. However, these are more so of a problem in larger cities. Though, living away from a large city also limits your access to quality health care, so it is a bit of a give and take situation.



Mexico has a reputation, especially among Americans, that you can take a handful of dollars and live like a king there. It is true if you lives along the coast of the United States, things will seem much cheaper. However, the cost of living will be similar, if not more expensive, than living in a small Midwestern town. However, Mexico does have its perks. It is a country where you can easily travel back to the United States to visit and houses a large expat community. In fact, Lake Champala in Mexico houses one of the largest communities of Americans, Canadians, British, and other Europeans in the world. So if you want to retire abroad, but want to be surrounded by slightly less culture shock, it is a good place to be.

Another benefit of Mexico is that you can import good tax-free. However, avoid the border towns in Mexico as they are home to very violent drug cartels and a variety of crime. The Mexican government is also very prone to corruption, but what government isn't these days?



Thailand is home to quite a few of those picture perfect beaches that you see in magazine or pictures. It is also a fairly cheap place to live. However, you have undoubtedly heard the stories of drugs and prostitution in Bangkok and figured that Thailand is more of an young person's country. Bangkok may be a young person's city, but the city of Chiang Mai in Thailand is a perfect and cheap place to retire. While there is a vibrant night life as well, it is much less shady in reputation. You can easily live well anywhere in Thailand for $1,000 a month. However, I have a friend that lives there on $200, though he doesn't particularly live well and makes a sport out of spending as little as possible. Regardless, there are many ways to save on spending and cut costs in Thailand if you have a strict budget. What is great about Chiang Mai is that you can easily take a day trip to the beaches, but the city houses many Western comforts such as restaurants. What is better is that you get affordable good healthcare and very quickly. Some countries like Canada have free healthcare, but the wait is a long time.



I know what you are thinking. "Nicaragua, really?" Those retirement age will remember Nicaragua as the battleground between the United States backed Contra and the Sandinista government, but that is so 1980's. Now Nicaragua has become an idyllic and cheap retirement destination for many the baby boomer generation. While Managua is still a bit run down looking Granada is thriving under its large retired expat community that lives, works, and volunteers there to make the city great. What is better, is that Granada is a city where you can easily live in $18,000 a year, whittling away your golden years. However, you won't find many retired persons just sitting around, Nicaragua hosts lush tropical forests and some of the best hiking for those who have waited 50+ years of working to finally have an adventure.



Like Thailand, it's close neighbor Malaysia is also a fairly cheap place to retire. However, probably the best thing about Malaysia is how cheap the healthcare is. Cheap doesn't always transfer into good though, but as long as you are in a relatively big city, you will find good doctors, clean facilities, and most of the doctors will also speak perfect English. Nothing says awesome like being able to get a check up for $12 dollars. You just can't get that in the United States, no matter how good the insurance.

Real Estate in Malaysia is a little more expensive, renting some place will cost you roughly $900 a month, but all the other amenities such as food, cable, internet, electricity are all fairly cheap. One of the best entertainment draws of Malaysia is their lively street culture. They, unlike the United States have a passion for festivals for music and religion. They are all very lively and a thrill to watch. Of course, like many Southeastern Asian countries, they have a variety of street food that you can get during festival times or otherwise, that make you never want to go back to cooking. However, if you do want to cook, you would be hard pressed not to find a market with the freshest produce and seafood you will ever see.




Aug 6, 2013 7:08am
I can identify with the article. I used to live in Las Vegas, but moved to Mexico. My apartment is 2500 pesos and I live 2 and a half blocks from the beach, food is super cheap, but electronics are more expensive. Overall I live a good life with my cats and a beach dog I adopted, and all I do is do my writing and have a few blogs as well as a mexicobeaches site which describes the beaches in the country. I do not live like a king, but I do what I love and live in a nice place for an amount of money I would have to live in a bad neighborhood for (not to mention have noodles for lunch and dinner lol)
Aug 6, 2013 7:08am
of forgot to mention 2500 pesos is like 210 dollars
Aug 20, 2013 6:24am
You have to add Bulgaria to the list. A single person can easily manage quite a decent living for 600-700 dollars a month. And after all the country is a member of the European Union. I think of writing an article about the place as many Americans know nothing of the country.
Jan 9, 2014 11:44am
Great article. I've heard good things about the Philippines and Belize as well.
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