Here Are The Most Inexpensive Places To Retire

Published on 09/18/2020
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These places offer safety, scenery and lower living costs than the U.S. American retirees receive average monthly Social Security payments of $1,503 in 2020 or just $18,036 per year. It’s hard enough for a decent life, especially when older people encounter out-of-pocket health care costs of more than $13,000 a year. And yet, what if you didn’t retire in the United States? In other countries, health care, housing and day-to-day costs are significantly lower. We count down our picks for the safest and the least expensive countries that retire outside the United States, places where even $150,000 or less in retirement savings would suffice to live on comfortably. Our recommendations reflect the local cost of living, visa change and political developments. And also don’t forget, by talking to an expert, you still have time to prepare. Facet Wealth certified financial planners have retirement strategies — they are legally bound to put your interests first.

Here Are The Most Inexpensive Places To Retire

Here Are The Most Inexpensive Places To Retire

Czech Republic

Ancient castles, medieval towns, beautiful architecture and local beers make the Czech Republic famous. The country is an increasingly popular retirement destination because of its low living costs and growing ex-pat population. Due to the influx of people, every day more shopping, businesses and services open up in Czech cities. Apartments in Prague are cheaper than in other European capitals, although foreigners are often excluded and have to pay more for rented apartments. A real estate agent can simplify apartment hunting at the cost of one month’s rent. The high-quality healthcare system is cost-effective; both public and private health insurance must be provided by a Czech health insurance company registered with the Czech National Bank.

Czech Republic

Czech Republic

How To Retire In The Czech Republic

There is no specific retirement visa offered by the Czech Republic. In order to stay longer than 90 days, you must apply for a visa that can be issued for a period of up to one year. According to the experts at Move To Prague Relocation Services, this visa requires you to have an official, active residence purpose. American retirees may apply as self-employed individuals intending to work in Prague or for academic purposes, in particular language classes. After one year, you may apply for a long-term residence permit for the same “purpose.” You may also apply for permanent residence after five years of legal residence in the Czech Republic.

How To Retire To The Czech Republic

How To Retire In The Czech Republic

Bolivia

For years, the landlocked South American nation of Bolivia has attracted ex-pats with its beautiful weather, unique geographical features and extremely low living expenses. If it sounds like a good time to explore the mountains, the salt flats, the charming colonial towns and the lively cities, then you can just retire to Bolivia! Public health is still under development in Bolivia, so in private clinics, you will find better care. Expenses can be covered by health insurance. Expats can live a comfortable life of about $1,000 a month in affordable Tarija. In Santa Cruz and La Paz, many foreign retirees also visited and settled happily. Knowing Spanish would help you to blend in.

19. Bolivia

Bolivia

How To Retire In Bolivia

You must enter a country with a “specific purpose visa” which requires a letter indicating your intentions and showing evidence of your economic situation and a check of your police record if you wish to retire in Bolivia. However, before you take a big step, you’ll probably want to check the place. You’ll need a Bolivian Consulate tourist visa to visit. Calculate how much more you need to save each month from reaching the goal of your retirement fund, and if you need help making a retirement plan, consult a certified financial planner.

How To Retire To Bolivia

How To Retire In Bolivia

Belize

With its Caribbean vibes, beautiful nature reserves and beaches, and an affordable, slower pace of life, Belize has become increasingly popular with international retirees. It’s an English-speaking nation; the second most common language is Spanish. The Placencia Peninsula, a 19-mile swath of land lined with white sand and blue waves, and the Ambergris Caye Island, are popular with ex-pat towns. These are among the most expensive areas in Belize, but rental properties as low as $700 per month are still available. You would want to stay away from the border towns, remote areas and Belize, as a crime in these areas is much higher. Most hospitals in Belize are not fully equipped to address serious health issues. By comparison, ExpatExchange reports, health care is improving significantly in Mexico, Nicaragua and Costa Rica.

18. Belize

Belize

How To Retire In Belize

You can easily become a resident of a country if you’re in good health or just want to move to Belize for a few years. You can apply for a residence if you can prove that you can transfer $24,000 to a bank account in Belize every year after your stay in Belize for the required 50 weeks. It costs $1,000 for the application. Keep in mind that officers prefer to see a combination of social security benefits, pension plans and/or a 401(k) or IRA for your income stream.

How To Retire To Belize

How To Retire In Belize

Vietnam

Vietnam, which is rich in culture, quickly becomes a popular retirement destination in North America. And what’s not to love with its French colonial architecture, endless natural pursuits and amazing street food? The beach town of Nha Trang and the bustling town of Da Nang, where about $1,000 can cover your living costs for one month, are particularly affordable expat-friendly destinations. Nha Trang has a growing ex-pat community, and services to westerners and locals are expanding. Da Nang is modern, international and welcoming, and its beautiful weather will allow you to enjoy the city’s parks, beaches and riverfront all year round. English is becoming more commonly spoken in Vietnam’s cities and tourist centers, and the government has put more emphasis in schools on English classes. But in smaller towns and rural areas, you will need some knowledge of Vietnamese to communicate.

17. Vietnam

Vietnam

How To Retire In Vietnam

Vietnamese healthcare is good for basic needs, but for specialized care or surgeries, the country doesn’t score high. Vietnam does not have a retirement visa, but US citizens can get a one-year visa that needs to be renewed. Therefore, once every 90 days, you have to leave the country.

How To Retire To Vietnam

How To Retire In Vietnam

Ecuador

Ecuador is one of the most popular retirement destinations for US ex-pats for years, and most of the foreign retirees in the country are Americans. There’s something for everyone in Ecuador with its pristine natural surroundings, busy cities, charming historic towns and low living costs. You’ll spend around $440 a month in the capital, Quito, to rent a one-bedroom apartment in the middle of the town. The same thing will cost you about $360 a month in the picturesque, friendly town of Cuenca, reports the Numbeo Living-Costs website.

16. Ecuador

Ecuador

How To Retire In Ecuador

It is only possible to stay for 90 days for retirees to consider applying for a pensioner residency visa at an Ecuadorean consulate in the U.S. The visa requires proof of receiving of a retirement fund of $800 or more per month, says the International Living magazine. You will have to sign up for public or private health insurance once the visa is approved. These days, the political forecast of Ecuador is looking quite sunny. At the beginning of 2018, citizens voted to restore the presidential term, separating the country from the more troubled nations of the region, such as Venezuela.

How To Retire To Ecuador

How To Retire In Ecuador

Ireland

Move in here, and you’ll find welcoming people, amazing culture and castles, and travel options nearby in the U.K. and Europe inspiring. Ireland can be relatively inexpensive. Although housing prices have always been high in major cities like Dublin, the Emerald Isle still has a number of perfect spots for low cost and low retirement. Homes sold for about $100,000 in communities like Mohill, Edgeworthstown and Ballymore. Hospitals are generally well-equipped. You are not a European Union citizen, so health insurance will cover your medical care costs.

15. Ireland

Ireland

How To Retire In Ireland

In contrast to other countries on the list, if you are not EU national, Ireland has no option of a visa for retirement. Therefore, you would have to apply for a “D” visa to stay for three months. Then you should apply to stay as a “independent means person” and show clear evidence that you have sufficient resources in Ireland to cover your living costs. That can mean an annual income of € 50,000 per person as well as emergency savings and large expenses like home or car purchases.

How To Retire To Ireland

How To Retire In Ireland

Chile

Chile is famous for its beautiful beaches, its beautiful mountains, its busy cities and its warm and hospitable people. Chile is one of the most stable countries in South America and offers the opportunity to experience a safe, medium-sized lifestyle at a fraction of the cost of US pensions. Everywhere in the country, you can cover a living and basic cost of about $1,000 a month. Spend a little more, and you can eat, walk, and move to the heart’s content.

Chile

Chile

How To Retire In Chile

You need a regular tourist visa to enter Chile in an attempt to retire from Chile and then apply for a pension or income visa. To apply for permanent residency, you must stay in Chile for 180 days a year when your Temp Visa is approved. No official minimum income requirement. However, for the first or two years of completing the visa process and setting up your Chilean home, Spencer Global Law Company estimates you need at least $ 1,000 per person. A certified financial planner can prepare you.

How To Retire To Chile

How To Retire In Chile

Uruguay

Uruguay is one of South America ‘s richest countries with strong democratic rule, modern infrastructure, white sandy beaches and four temperate seasons. Living costs are higher than in other countries in Latin America — but food, housing, and clothing are still far cheaper than in the US. In Salto, Uruguay’s second-largest city, you can comfortably spend $800 a month. Mutualism is Uruguay’s most popular health option. It costs about $100 a month, provides access to private hospitals and clinics, and addresses most health care needs.

13. Uruguay

Uruguay

How To Retire In Uruguay

Uruguay has a number of retirement visas that could work. The first of these is the rentista visa, which requires proof of a single applicant’s monthly income of $1,500. To import duty-free personal goods, there is also a retired foreign visa. But it’s harder to get through this visa, and you would need a lawyer to help. It should be noted that while it is simple enough to be allowed to reside in Uruguay, it does not usually want to give citizenship to foreigners.

How To Retire To Uruguay

How To Retire In Uruguay

France

France is not the first cheap retirement destination, but some of its smaller towns are renowned for their affordable housing. Located on the Spanish border, Pau has mild winters and summers, and a one-bedroom apartment in the city center is rented for about $531 a month. It’s about $53, according to Numbeo, to have a good dinner for two. Montpellier’s lovely Mediterranean university town is also very affordable. Renting a one-bedroom apartment costs between $500 and $700. Pau and Montpellier both have excellent hospitals and health services.

12. France

France

How To Retire In France

France does not have a special retirement visa, so you should apply for a long-term visa at the US-French consulate, International Living reports. The consulate will want you to be able to finance your trip and to have French health insurance. Social security statements, bank account details and investments can all help demonstrate your financial situation. Long-term visas can be renewed annually, and renewal requires current financial information.

How To Retire To France

How To Retire In France

Thailand

Surely your retirement inspections will go further in Tropical Thailand. You can live comfortably anywhere, including rent, from $1,500 to $2,000 a month. Chiang Mai ‘s affordable town is full of modern amenities like health clubs, shopping centers and quality (though cost-effective) health services. Koh Samui ‘s beautiful, sun-drenched island haven provides economic livelihoods. Even busy Bangkok is affordable, with some of the country’s best private hospitals. Political climate in Thailand is quite stable, and police are active, especially in large towns and tourist centers.

11. Thailand

Thailand

How To Retire In Thailand

Thailand offers the possibility of extending a one-year pension visa. Ex-pat retirees must save at least 800,000 Thai baht, and their annual income should be around $24,000. You would also be required to report to the Thai immigration authorities every 90 days. Want to save more on your retirement? A month to achieve your goal and get some advice from a certified financial planner to save.

How To Retire To Thailand

How To Retire In Thailand

Italy

If you’re one of the many people who’ve been in love with Italian regional cultures, the mouth-watering people and the fantastic climate, you’ll be glad to hear that it’s cheaper to retire than you think. You can buy modest homes for around $32,000 in a small village in the southern region of Basilicata. You can rent a one-bedroom apartment in the charming historic town of Matera for around $625 a month. Living costs are much lower in the eastern part of Puglia, famous for its sunny beaches and fresh seafood.

10. Italy

Italy

How To Retire In Italy

Italy doesn’t have a retirement visa, so applying for an elective residence visa is your best bet. Your annual pension income, 401(k) or other liquid assets must be provided. The current minimum is one-person $35,000, two $40,000, and two $70,000. You should also show proof of rental contract and medical insurance. When you live in Italy, which ranks second in the World Health Organization, you’re eligible for the national health system. Costs vary by region, but a person can easily pay less than $400 a year.

How To Retire To Italy

How To Retire In Italy

Peru

Adventure-seekers know that Peru has a fascinating ancient culture, a magnificent beach and a magical Machu Picchu. Life costs are a major attraction for pensioners: a couple can receive $1,500 a month, according to International Living. The one-bedroom apartment in Arequipa and Cusco is available for about US$ 200 a month, and the meal is nice for about US$ 10-12. Public health is also cheap, although ex-pats prefer private clinics and health insurance. High altitude sickness is a major health concern for newcomers to Peru.

9. Peru

Peru

How To Retire In Peru

The country offers an infinitely renewable retirement visa called the rentista visa. You must prove that you have a monthly permanent income of $1000 per person plus $500 per employee. Anyone who holds a visa for rent is exempt from paying tax on other Peruvian visas, which is quite good.

How To Retire In Peru

How To Retire In Peru

Slovenia

In Eastern Europe, Slovenia become known as a beautiful and affordable retreat destination. You’ll find beautiful historic villages, a living four-season climate and a variety of outdoor activities in this hidden gem. Renting a one-bedroom apartment in Ljubljana’s state-of-the-art capital costs about $600 a month, Numbeo says, and food and staples from the area are reasonably priced. The compulsory state health insurance must be paid to all residents, giving them access to very adequate medical services. Expat and its residents often add private, local health insurance to their additional services.

8. Slovenia

Slovenia

How To Retire In Slovenia

Slovenia does not have a national retirement visa from the European Union, so you should start your retirement plans by applying for a one-year temporary residence permit before you leave the United States. The license needs to be renewed annually. You can apply for a permanent residence in Slovenia after five years with this visa. In order to apply for temporary residence, you must show that you have a minimum income equal to Slovenia’s current basic minimum income of about $1000 a month.

How To Retire To Slovenia

How To Retire In Slovenia

Spain

European citizens have long seen Spain as a warm and sunny retirement haven, and Spain remains one of the most popular cities on the continent. Spain is an excellent base for pensioners who are hungry for travel around Europe, with low food costs, natural beauty and almost no winter to talk about. Keep in mind, rents in major tourist centers such as Barcelona are comparable to those in the USA. A single bedroom apartment is available for $630 a month in small towns like Valencia.

7. Spain

Spain

How To Retire In Spain

It is important to provide proof that you have an income of at least $2,500 per month or $30,000 per year to apply for a “retirement visa” in Spain. You should also show that you have a health insurance policy in Spain. It may be necessary to get your foreign visitor number (NIE, which is necessary for everything from opening a bank account to set up the internet in your home). Still, after that bureaucratic absurdity, the rest is gravy.

How To Retire To Spain

How To Retire In Spain

Portugal

Portugal has won the hearts of travelers, and every year more people decide to move there. The nation offers less living costs than nearby Spain, sunshine for more than 300 days a year and all the historic castles and fresh seafood you might want. In addition, politically, it’s pretty stable. The best bet for affordable retirement in a smaller town is to rent an apartment. Portuguese public health care recently acquired some weather, so there is strong support for private health care amongst international residents.

6. Portugal

Portugal

How To Retire In Portugal

In order to apply for a residence permit as a retired person, you must visit the Portuguese Consulate in the United States to present a valid passport, proof of income and health insurance and show that you have undergone a criminal history check. All of this would allow you to apply for permanent residence after you arrive in Portugal. Requirements for either temporary or permanent resident applicants are not specified, but you need to have sufficient income to sustain you in your chosen region over the long term.

How To Retire To Portugal

How To Retire In Portugal

Malaysia

Malaysia has a lot to offer, from cool weather to affordable food, retirees and many English-speaking services. For under $600 a month, Kuala Lumpur offers lower-cost rentals than U.S. cities. If you’re interested in island lifestyle, check out the colorful Penang, where one bedroom costs $225 a month average. Malaysia has a world-renowned two-tier health system, and best care will be found in private clinics. For retirement savings, calculate your monthly savings amount and discuss the best strategy with a certified financial planner.

5. Malaysia

Malaysia

How To Retire In Malaysia

International Living says that the country offers a 10-year visa that is renewable for those 50 or older and can provide at least $2,495 in monthly income or about $87,300 in liquid assets. In general, Malaysia is quite safe, but small thefts are prevalent in tourist resorts, and when houses are empty, home break-ins may occur. Due to violent activities and kidnappings, the State Department recommends that the Eastern Sabah region be avoided.

How To Retire To Malaysia

How To Retire In Malaysia

Malta

Malta is a temperate, cultured country with lower livelihoods than other Mediterranean countries in the EU. The island is rich in history and natural beauty. For North American retirees, English is one of Malta’s official languages to make things easier. According to the WHO, the health system of the nation is among the top five in the world. Northern Gozo Island rents usually cost less than $500 a month, and there’s a lot of beaches to keep you busy. It takes only 20 minutes to get to Malta’s larger mainland.

4. Malta

Malta

How To Retire In Malta

The residence permit programs of Malta live up to the reputation of being open and peaceful. The country offers a number of visa options to non-EU residents, including one-year, endlessly renewable visas for pensioners and people who want to live and work in Malta.

How To Retire To Malta

How To Retire In Malta

Panama

For many years, Panama has been known for its high quality of life, fair tax legislation and excellent health care for retirees and investors. Living here comes with all the glorious sunshine, culture, and natural beauty you might want to retire. Spanish is the first language, but English is widely spoken in big cities. Panama City is surprisingly affordable. The city center can rent a one-bedroom rental for less than $1,000 a month, internet costs about $52 a month, and two nice mid-range dinners are around $50, Numbeo says.

3. Panama

Panama

How To Retire In Panama

The retirement program in Panama, known as the Visa Pensionado, is very pleasing to the eye. You must prove $1,000 a month of lifetime retirement income from a recognized U.S. source. If you get less than $1,000 and more than $750, you can get at least $100,000 in Panama, and your monthly pension is reduced to $750. This visa offers a range of discounts on medical care, travel, utilities, loans, and more. Visa requirement requires no minimum or maximum age.

How To Retire To Panama

How To Retire In Panama

Mexico

Another major retirement destination, especially the Yucatan Peninsula, in Mexico. Considered the safest area for international pensioners, Yucatan is home to white sandy beaches, fantastic wildlife, and Chichen Itza’s legendary Mayan complex. And you’ll also see lots of familiar businesses in town, from Starbucks to Petco and Walmart. One-bedroom apartment centrally located in the city of Merida, Yucatan, for about $250 a month. But, as Mexico is so close to the United States, many retirees retain home health insurance and sometimes pay for medical needs in their pockets.

2. Mexico

Mexico

How To Retire In Mexico

Potential residents are recommended to apply for a temporary resident permit that allows up to four years of freedom of movement within and outside Mexico. You would then be required to apply for a permanent resident visa. Temporary resident applicants must have a monthly income of approximately $1,550 or savings of approximately $25,880 over the past six months. International Living reports, permanent resident applicants must provide a monthly proof of at least $2,388 over the previous six months or savings of $103,500 over the previous year.

How To Retire To Mexico

How To Retire In Mexico

Costa Rica

With its famous Pura Vida lifestyle, safety and stability, and fantastic travel opportunities, our top pick among the world’s affordable retirement spots in Costa Rica. The Pacific coastline of Costa Rica, known as the Southern Zone, is very popular with ex-pats from North America. Offering a sunny beach near the amazing biodiversity of the region, southern cities such as Dominical, Ojochal and Uvita have many amenities, including restaurants, markets, and public and private medical clinics.

1. Costa Rica

Costa Rica

How To Retire In Costa Rica

To obtain and maintain a pension, you need to demonstrate at least $ 1,000 in monthly income from a recognized source, such as the Social Security Fund or the State Pension Fund. Note that IRAs and 401(k)s are unrecognized. You should also pay the public health system a percentage of your monthly income. Most expatriates choose better private healthcare at extra cost. Costa Rica is stable due to its tourist dollars, and living conditions are safe as long as there is common sense. 

How To Retire To Costa Rica

How To Retire In Costa Rica

There are still plenty of great places to retire in the good old U.S. of A. In compiling our list, we have taken into account the key needs of major retirement: cities offering great weather conditions, fair living costs and high-quality health services.

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