Bargain Cities to Retire to in India

November 13, 2015 — 5:01 PM EST

There’s good news and better news for Americans seeking to stretch their retirement savings in India. The good news is that the country ranks among the least expensive in the world when nations are stacked up on a cost-of-living basis. The better news is that certain regions are significantly more economical than the national average.

The breakdown of these costs is addressed in How Much Money Do You Need to Retire in India?

Consider that nationwide the average monthly disposable salary after taxes in India comes to about 31,144.38 rupee (approximately $469). Clearly, this presents an attractive financial environment for Americans seeking to stretch their retirement dollars. (For more, see What Does Retirement Abroad Cost?)

Such costs trend a little higher in Mumbai and Delhi, India’s two largest cities. According to the cost-of-living site Numbeo, the average monthly disposable salary after taxes in Mumbai is 45,877.38 rupee (approximately $694).  In Delhi it’s slightly lower: 37,461.45 rupee (approximately $567).

However, there are several prime locations in India for retirees where living expenses are even lower than the national average.

Less Expensive Options

Some of the lesser-known cities and regions offer reasonable costs for those on a fixed budget. In fact, in five such areas it costs less to live than in India on the whole. Consider these locations:

• Coimbatore. This district is well known for its tourist attractions, including natural wonders such as Monkey Falls and a series of dams, as well as watersports and the Kovai Kondattam amusement park. Coimbatore enjoys a temperate climate year round and is an attractive retirement spot for those not interested in living in a major city. The cost of living makes this location even more attractive – the average monthly disposable salary after taxes in Coimbatore is 21,000.00 rupee (approximately $318).

• Dharamsala. This city is perhaps best known as the home of the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government in exile. It also offers solitude and hiking along the Dhauladhar mountain range. In Dharamsala the average monthly disposable salary after taxes is 20,000.00 rupee (approximately $303).

• Goa. The quality of life is high in Goa, a favorite vacation destination. Activities include watersports, hot-air ballooning and the detoxification therapy of Ayurveda; the area also offers cruises and casinos.  As for costs, the average monthly disposable salary after taxes in Goa is 26,888.89 rupee (approximately $407).

• Puducherry. This historic city (and modern vacation spot), better known outside India by its former name, Pondicherry, boasts of offering a “mix of modern heritage and spiritual culture.”  How expensive is life in "Pondy," as  many call it? Less expensive than in most of India, as the average monthly disposable salary after taxes there is 19,500.00 rupee (approximately $294).

• Shimla. Located in the northern section of the country, Shimla is steeped in history as the former summer capital for British colonialists. It also hosts year-round tourism, from winter sports to summer fishing.  At the same time, this is one of the least-expensive tourist destinations in India. The average monthly disposable salary after taxes in Shimla is 20,000.00 rupee (approximately $303).

The Bottom Line

Many Americans – even those who have vacationed or traveled in India – may only be familiar with the country’s two largest metropolises, Mumbai and Delhi. Nevertheless, there are a host of smaller and lesser-known locales that are attractive options for retirees to consider. What’s more, these alternative locations also offer more-affordable living accommodations.

Note: All currency conversions calculated through XE Currency Converter, effective 6 November 2015. Obviously, these rates can fluctuate on any given day.