9/29/2011 6:08 PM ET|
Retirement costs in 13 countries
If you're considering spending your golden years abroad, take a look at your options. Where you choose to live can dramatically affect your budget.
One of the many benefits of retiring to a new country can be the opportunity to lower your cost of living, perhaps dramatically.
It's hard to say by how much you might reduce your monthly expenses. It depends on where you're coming from, where you move and how you choose to live. But your cost of living anywhere is highly controllable. While some costs are set, many expenses, including those that constitute the majority of your budget, can be scaled up or down. (Are you saving enough for retirement? Find out with MSN Money's calculator.)
A retirement budget for anywhere in the world, including in the United States, includes the following expenses:
- Homeowners association fees if you live in a building or a development where one is charged.
- Health insurance.
- Utilities (gas, electricity, water).
- Telephone (land line or cellphone).
- Cable (if you want it).
- Travel (within your new country and return visits to the U.S.).
- Household help (if you want it).
- Miscellaneous (haircuts, dry cleaning, cleaning supplies, etc.).
In addition, you have housing costs, including property tax, homeowners insurance, and the costs of maintenance and repairs if you own your own home, or rent if you don't.
Some of the costs on this list, such as cable and Internet, are negligible in the scheme of an overall budget. So when trying to determine which overseas retirement havens you could afford on the retirement budget you have, focus on the costs that make a real difference: rent, transportation, health insurance, food, entertainment, travel and household help.
I strongly recommend that you rent rather than own when moving to another country, at least at first. It will cost you $1,000 to $1,500 per month to rent a nice two-bedroom apartment in a good neighborhood of Panama City. But you could rent a two-bedroom house within a few minutes' walk of the beach on Panama's Pacific coast near Las Tablas for $300 to $500 per month, or a two-bedroom house on the Pacific coast of that country's Veraguas Province for as little as $150 per month. Your cost of housing in Veraguas could be one-tenth your cost of housing in Panama City, and that would make a substantial difference in your budget overall.
Expenses for food, entertainment and travel can also vary dramatically from one country or even region of a country to another. Your entertainment budget in Paris could be 10 times our entertainment budget when living in a small French country town. Your weekly visit to the local farmers market in Otavalo, Ecuador, could yield you a cornucopia of interesting, healthy, tasty foods for, again, a fraction of the cost of a trip to the supermarket in Quito.
Transportation costs also vary widely depending on the choices you make. You can take the local buses from one end of Panama City to the other for 25 cents or a taxi across town for $5. The bus ride from Boquete to Panama City costs $17.25, while one-way plane fare is $122. It's a balancing act between how you want to live and what standard of living your monthly retirement income will afford you.
Here are sample budgets for the cost of living in 13 overseas retirement havens.
- Buenos Aires, Argentina: $4,000 per month.
- Cayo, Belize: $2,200 per month.
- Maceio, Brazil: $2,700 per month.
- Medellin, Colombia: $2,000 per month.
- La Serena, Chile: $2,500 per month.
- Cuenca, Ecuador: $2,000 per month.
- Bearn, France: $3,000 per month.
- Abruzzo, Italy: $2,400 per month.
- Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: $1,600 per month.
- Puerto Vallarta, Mexico: $2,500 per month.
- Panama City: $2,500 per month.
- Chiang Mai, Thailand: $1,200 per month.
- Atlantida, Uruguay: $2,300 per month.
These budgets should serve as a starting point for the cost of living in each of these countries. It's not going to cost you exactly $2,300 per month to live in Atlantida. Your cost of living could vary dramatically from these figures, depending on the spending choices you make.
While you could spend more living in any of the places listed here, you could also spend less. These budgets include generous allowances for rent and assume a one- or two-bedroom apartment in a central location. They also include the cost of in-country health insurance, entertainment, in-country travel and regular household help. To further cut costs you could rent someplace less central and nice, spend less on entertainment or do without household help. You could also reduce your in-country travel budget to zero if you had to. You can build these costs up or scale them back, controlling your cost of living according to your circumstances and priorities.
It is possible to make a move overseas on a strict and fixed budget of less than $1,000 per month. You could live on this budget easily in Thailand, by paring back allowances for household help, entertainment and travel. You could also manage a comfortable, interesting life on a very modest nest egg in parts of Panama (outside Panama City), parts of Ecuador and in Medellin, again by scaling back on nonessentials and renting an apartment outside the central and expat-popular neighborhoods used for the budget calculations above.
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Ironic, isn't it. While legal citizens who have worked and lived in the U.S.for generations are eager to leave this poorly managed country, the illegals are fighting to stay
Perhaps that means the U.S. is rapidly moving into a welfare state as revenues disappear into a corrupt political system
Corporations have already moved their base operations overseas where the grass is greener and cheaper.
After reading some of these comments I gotta know when did this country become a country of whiners? Oh the illegals are taking over, Oh we're becomming a third world country, Oh the government is doing this too me, oh no the corporations are screwing me over....booo damn hooo hooo.
First off this list is a list of foreign retirement locations less expensive then comparable cities here in the United States. If you want adventure and to retire while maintaining or improving your lifestyle on the cheap then here you go. US citizens have been retiring to cheaper foreign locations for YEARS. But no.....You poor vicitimized American citizens are crying because why should I have to move out the country to retire? News flash...YOU DON'T. There are plenty of locations in this country that are cheap enough to retire and live. You may not be in a cosmopolitan location but you'll be able to live comfortable.
Let me also address one of the most idiotic statements that I constantly here from Americans that is just asinine. "This country is rapidly becomming a third world country".........This statement iritates me to no end. The fools that utter this can't even begin to comprehend what it means to live in a third world country.......If they had to survive in a third world country they would go to bed sucking their thumbs and crapping in their pants.. If they had to live in a third world country where the government can literally make you or your family disappear for your politics they wouldn't know what to d....I also find it amusing that many of the people making this statement have never even been out the country and don't even own passports.
Last but not least....Get off your butts and do something about the current situation if you don't like it.....Say what you want about the Tea Partiers and Occupy Wall Street folks.....At least they got up let their voices be heard and did something about a situation they don't like. Go to elections and elect and hold public officials accountable. It's funny that despite folks crying that all members of congress should be voted out...many of the same people keep getting elected to office time after time after time.......So next time you b%&ch and moan about people in congress take a look in the mirror if you want someone to blame for them being there and doing the things they're doing.
You say that living in any third world country is dangerous, and any country south of the U.S. border is also. Tell me, where exactly do you get this information? I have traveled for well over 3 years in the following countries and can absolutely guarantee that you have zero idea what you are talking about:
Belize, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Mexico, Bolivia, Peru, Venezuela, Ecuador, Thailand, China, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar (Burma), Malaysia, and Indonesia.
I'm in Thailand as I write this, and my Thai wife has been with me to all the Asian places I list as well as Ecuador.. Having retired from U.S. Federal law enforcement, I can safely say that many places in the U.S. are far more dangerous that nearly anywhere in those countries. And my travel there was taking local buses and trains to cities and rural areas, and not just staying at the Hilton.
I honestly don't understand how some people can run their mouths so much about a topic that they have absolutely no idea what they are talking about. Sure, I would not want to be seriously injured out in the middle of nowhere, but as a remote area backpacker, I also would not want that injury to happen in a wilderness area of the U.S. or Canada.
Sorry, but as an EXPERIENCED traveler I will take a more interesting life in most of the third world counties I have seen instead of withering away in ANY U.S. state. Maybe you should try visiting an area before writing about it!
Ladies and gentleman, it's a sad day when a plethora of disgruntled US citizens are ready to leave this country (myself included) because of what one blogger previously stated, you have thieves and leeches on both the high and low end crippling this country. The bureaucracy is insane. No one is safe, if your not working for the loathsome state, your working for the greedy corporations. It's a catch 22. The immigration issue is horrendous, but many of us allowed this to happen and fester for a long time, turning a blind eye. Save your money under your mattress, research your expat locations well, if you can obtain dual citizenship somewhere else I would do it just in case you have to leave the country permanently. Lastly, never mention it to Uncle sam. He's not in your family!
I will vouch for the $1,200 per month in Thailand. I lived there for 10 years and plan to retire there.
I bought a 1 bedroom condo for $20,000.
HOWEVER, before planning on retiring there, you need to check on their immigration policies, which may require a larger income or large bank account balance (in a Thai bank- no interest).
I get around it because I have a Thai wife.
Retire outside of the US- If you mean Move out of the country?
Our fine gov't has tucked away a law in the patriot act that states they can take half of your "property".. Yep thats right all you peple who make loads of money in the US will pay dearly if you leave our fine country- So How much does that add up too? Alot more than your meager savings to live in a 3rd world. It's their way of keeping tax dollars in the country- pretty damn sad actually!
I'm still considering selling the farm myself, in my dreams...
I'm so sick of the Bushes and Obamas and all the other corupt mofo's in our govt- Makes me wanna puke! Bunch o fek sellouts!
The cheapest of the places was $1200 a month. You can retire in the US for that. With my home paid for I can live on $800 a month. Get out of the cities and move to rural mid america you will be suprised at how cheap it is.
I have traveled the world... Been around 5 times.. COMPLETELY!!! I've had a beautiful career in the Navy that has allow to to do this... My first three years in I've lived in Japan and circled the globe twice leaving San Francisco and flying through to NYC... I was an ambassador finding locations to build future US embassies... After that, I spend four years in a small town in Spain called Rota. One thing I have to say; if you are thinking of retiring to a foreign country do your homework. Second, know and understand the culture there. The Spanish loved my there because I worked at the fire dept with them ate their food and most of all I learned their language off the street. NO FORMAL CLASSROOM.. Any country I have gone too I did as they do. So when is Rome do as the Romans do. I never needed anything because my Spanish follow firefighters saw to it that I had it. I worked on their farms on my long KELLY days(firefighting term meaning: five days off) and just enjoyed it. The Spanish wives would teach some receipts and how to shop for the items I needed. The best was; I had to cook on one of my days off "the dinner meal" which was the toughest... I am going back there to live for a while in the same town; because I still know some of the people.. I spend a week of my honeymoon there in 2009 with a current/new wife.. It was her first time off of the country and in Europe and she loved it. She was impressed how I handle my self there especially how well remember the language.
So if you want to retire aboard.. Go ahead get the experience. Try it out for two weeks to learn then if you don't like it well come back to the USA; however, if you do extend for a month and so on. I LOVED IT.. And she did too.
If Americans plan to go abroad for retirement, they may be surprised to find out about some of the thngs that are considered "basic" here, that don't exist over there. I've always though that we take too much for granted, especially about the good things, one of which is, not only do most of us manage to talk to each other in ENGLISH but we mostly manage to get along, despite our enourmous differences. It can still be said that by and large, most people are honest - hard working and trying to do good things. It's the FEW that are ruining it for everyone else and making it seem like it's impossible. We should boldly respond to those who would rob us of our hopes & dreams and particularly who would rob us of a problem free, worry - free, peaceful life, no matter what form they should come in - whether they be wealthy merchants or desperados.
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