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Retiring Abroad? 8 Countries Where You Can Live Less Expensively

Retirement is on the way, and you have some decisions to make. Living on a fixed income means finding a way to stretch the money you’ll have coming in from pensions and other sources. One solution is to consider relocating to a nation where you can live comfortably for less.

While factors like language and the presence of a significant number of expats will factor into the decision, consider how these eight countries would fit with the amount of money you’ll have available every month. One of them may be perfect for you.

tropical island

1. Costa Rica

Costa Rica offers a beautiful blend of urban areas paired with the rich countryside. If you like rural areas or prefer to be near a beach, there’s something for you here. The fact that the cost of living is so affordable makes it worth considering.

Depending on where you choose to live, it’s possible to secure a nice one-bedroom apartment for USD 400-500 a month. Affordable healthcare, easy transportation, reasonable food costs, and other basics will allow you to live comfortably for USD 2,000 or less each month.

2. Belize

While Belize does have pricier areas, choosing to live inland and outside the main population centers makes becoming a permanent resident much easier. Like Costa Rica, it’s possible to rent rather than buy a property and make the most of local services for around USD 2,000 a month. This fits in well with the government’s requirement of USD 24,000 annual income to maintain your eligible retirement status.

It’s possible to rent a comfortable home outside the main tourist areas for less than USD 500 per month. Utilities are readily available in most parts of the country. Access to healthcare is also simple and less costly.

Given the ease of setting up checking and other types of banking accounts, you could arrange for many of your expenses to be paid out of those Belize based accounts rather than having to remember to remit payments manually.

3. Mexico

There are areas of Mexico that rank among the most affordable places to live in the world. Healthcare is readily available, and rents for houses and apartments compare favorably with what you will find in Belize and Costa Rica. Eating out is so inexpensive that a couple can find places to dine that would cost less for two than the cost for one in many parts of the United States. For those who love to cook at home, access to everything you need is inexpensive and straightforward.

On average, expect to pay around USD 1,500 a month. For many people, this would mean living comfortably on Social Security is possible. People who lost much of their pensions and other retirement funds in the last recession will appreciate this.

4. Ecuador

In addition to beautiful weather and welcoming citizens, several locations have become popular with expats. The nice thing is that a single person who wants a comfortable but not lavish lifestyle can live here more cheaply than many places worldwide.

A lovely condo with two bedrooms and two baths could run less than USD 500 a month. Fresh fruit, vegetables, and fish are available year-round and typically inexpensive. You don’t need a car to get around in many areas as cities are laid out for walking with ease. If you do want to be driven, cab services cost little. You can also take buses for less than the cost of buying a candy bar in the United States.

beach on a tropical island

5. Panama

Panama has a lot to offer. Like many other nations on this list, English is one of the more common languages spoken. There are beaches, mountains, and metropolitan areas to enjoy. If you prefer something smaller, there are towns and other outlying areas to enjoy. Even if you stick with a bustling place like Panama City, it’s possible to keep your monthly living expenses around USD 1,700. That includes access to the amenities you’re used to, including healthcare.

Taxes are another perk of living in Panama. If you decide to work part-time and earn money generated by a job located outside the country, you don’t owe tax. Even if you pick up something locally, the taxes are among the lowest you’ll find.

6. Vietnam

A combination of the modern and the historical await you in Vietnam. Healthcare is highly affordable, and housing is plentiful. Living in larger cities will likely mean spending around USD 1,100 for nice housing and all of your other necessary living expenses.

Outside those areas, you could live frugally and get by on as little as USD 500 per month. People who want to live a little larger can pay more rent, but you still end up with a lifestyle that would cost quite a bit more if you remained in many other nations.

7. Portugal

Noted for being a friendly nation and offering a comfortable lifestyle, Portugal is considered one of the most affordable places to live today. Healthcare is among the best to be found and costs very little. Housing options are plentiful, with comfortable rentals and homes available at reasonable prices. Even if you choose to live in a major population center, around USD 2,200 for a couple will do the trick.

What about less populated areas? You can still enjoy the amenities you’re used to and live comfortably on around USD 1,400 a month. Combine that with the welcoming populace and the access to everything from plenty of food choices to lots of entertainment, and Portugal is easily a top choice.

8. Colombia

Colombia had gained more attention as a retirement destination since the beginning of the 21st century. Here you will find tropical weather paired with cooler climates as you approach the mountains. Amenities that you’re used to are found in smaller cities as well as the larger ones. The fact that obtaining a retirement visa is relatively uncomplicated makes Colombia worth considering.

In terms of the general cost of living, a couple could get by nicely on as little as USD 1,400 a month in many areas. Others who prefer more lavish settings may pay closer to USD 2,000. Single retirees can find themselves living comfortably on less.

Discover a New Home in Your Retirement

When considering these and other places for your retirement years, look closely at the factors that appeal the most to you. If possible, try to visit the country that seems to be a good fit and live there for a few weeks. That will help you determine if it’s a good fit for the way you want to spend your retirement years.

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