Retire Earlier, Live Better, Spend Less – It’s Easy Overseas
“My husband Keith and I find we spend about a third of what we did to live in the States,” says Tricia Pimental from her adopted home in Portugal. “For example, a simple lunch of soup, main course, beverage, dessert, and coffee runs about $10. A taxi start is about $4. Monthly utilities for a two- or three-bedroom apartment average $100 a month. We pay just $1,000 a month for a four-bedroom, four-bath home half an hour from Lisbon.”
“I am literally steps from a perfect, Caribbean beach…and while the visuals of my current life are enviable postcards, they can’t convey the sense of freedom that comes from a retirement without borders or the lack of pressure that accompanies zero financial worries,” says Donald Murray, enjoying a retirement he never dreamed he could afford—in Mexico.
While all three of those folks have retired to different places abroad, their experiences reflect a common thread: They aren’t just spending less, they’re living better. You could, too.
In the States today, few people have saved enough to fund a comfortable, long-term retirement. The experts usually advise: work longer, sock away more, and dial back your expectations.
In Fact, You Have Other, Better Options
In the right places overseas, you can slash your cost of living while you expand your quality of life—often exponentially. And it’s something you can do in Latin America, in Europe, in Southeast Asia… in safe, warm, welcoming, low-cost escapes all over the world.
In the best-value spots, you can afford to trade up in retirement—hire a housekeeper, put a pool in the yard, eat out five times a week, travel anytime the urge strikes. And you could do all that on less than it would cost you to stay home.
Retiring Overseas is an Incredibly Flexible Option, Too
Maybe you’d like to winter over somewhere warm and for the price of your heating bill alone at home, live well on the beach for three or four months every year.
Or maybe you’d consider heading abroad for a sabbatical of two to five years. You could live well on less than $30,000 annually, and thus push out the date at which you claim your Social Security benefit so its value has time to grow.
Or maybe you like the idea of going overseas full-time for the long term. It’s a way to effectively double, or even triple your disposable income in retirement so that instead of cutting back and worrying you’ll outlive your nest egg, you could relax in the knowledge that it’ll go the distance.
Of course, just because a place is cheap doesn’t make it a worthy locale for retirement living. That’s just one criterion to consider. And that’s why we, at International Living, created our Annual Global Retirement Index—to help you compare, contrast, rank, and rate your 25 best options abroad today.
You Can’t Beat Advice from Locals
We keep correspondents based all around the world and their on-the-ground input informs our Index, which considers not only the cost of living in the places we like best, but all sorts of other categories too—from buying and investing to healthcare, fitting in, climate, and nine more.
In the country that takes the #1 honor this year, for instance, you could live on a palm-fringed coast with a view out over the Pacific… or choose a spot tucked into a lush green valley along a stream… or maybe you’d prefer a fast-paced, eclectic city with all the cosmopolitan offerings of a thriving urban center—jazz festivals, great ethnic restaurants, museums.
Whatever you choose, your dollars stretch. For instance, I recently spotted a three-bedroom, two-bath oceanfront condo with a pool and lovely water views from the windows and balconies on offer there for just $150,000. In California, you’d be hard-pressed to find a comparable place on the beach for under $1 million.
On a budget of $2,000-$2,890 a month, a couple can live very comfortably in this well-established haven. And it’s easy to settle in. The nation actively courts retirees with an incentive program offering not only tax benefits to foreign retirees, but also discounts on everything from phone bills to airfares, which further lowers already-affordable costs.
This article by Jennifer Stevens with International Living was originally published on Sixty and Me.
Healthcare is first-rate with state-of-the-art facilities and many physicians trained in the States—and costs a small fraction of what you pay today. But you needn’t go far for these benefits. A three-hour flight will have you back on U.S. soil.
Expats living in our #1 pick are happy. As Connie Loller put it, “We live a life we couldn’t have had back home. If we were in the U.S., we’d both be working, at least part-time, and constantly worrying.”
Instead, they’ve retired early, they’re living at the beach, and, as Connie says, “Our stress level is like 10% of what it used to be.”
We’ll help point you to the spot on the planet that makes the most sense for you.
Have you ever considered retiring abroad? Do you know anyone who has retired in another country?