Retiring abroad certainly has its benefits, such as cheaper healthcare, a refreshing change of scenery and a lower cost of living. That last detail is especially important for retirees who haven't saved as much as they had hoped. Fortunately, there are a number of countries where you can retire comfortably with a smaller nest egg. (For more, see: Retirement Funds Too Little? Retire Abroad.)
Living on the cheap is even easier when you're receiving Social Security benefits. As of 2017, the average benefit amount came to $1,360 for the typical retired worker. If you have $200,000 tucked away in a retirement plan, that, along with your Social Security payments, should be enough to last three decades in these eight international locales.
According to Numbeo, monthly expense for a person is $498.46, for a four person family it is $1,842 (without rent).
Expatriates flock to Ecuador because of its gorgeous landscape, superior healthcare system and the generous government benefits extended to retirees, including discounts on utilities and public transportation. Housing is a steal in the capital city of Quito, with the monthly rent for a furnished, 900-square-foot apartment start at just $486. Utilities run $69 a month on average. Overall, Ecuador has a cost of living that's 61% cheaper than New York City. (For more, see How To Plan Retirement in Ecuador.)
Cost of living in Nicaragua is over 72% lower than that in New York City, according to Expstistan.
Nicaragua is located in the heart of Central America, and it's a premier retirement destination if you're looking for an excellent quality of life without a high price tag. Rent for a 900sqft furnished apartment can start as low as $275 in the capital city of Managua, while gas is priced under a dollar a gallon. The Nicaraguan government offers a number of financial incentives to attract foreign retirees, such as a sales tax exemption on construction materials if you're building a home. You need to be at least 45 years old and have a minimum monthly income of $600 to qualify, which may be appealing if you're considering an early retirement. It's one of The 7 Best Countries for Retiring in Latin America, however, the U.S. State Department urges travelers to remain cautious.
According to Numbeo, monthly expense for a person is $554 while for a four person family is $2010 (without rent.)
If you're looking for somewhere a little more exotic, it doesn't get much better than Thailand. Retirement visas are available to seniors age 50 and above who meet the minimum income standards. Specifically, you'll need a monthly income of 65,000 baht (about $1,863 USD) or 800,000 baht (about $23,000 USD) in a savings account. Bangkok is one of Thailand’s pricier cities, but even so, it's still 50%–60% cheaper than Chicago, New York or Boston. (For more, see: Retire In Thailand with $200,000 of Savings?)
Monthly expenses could start from $1,619 according to International Living.
Monthly expenses could start from $1,619 according to International Living. Palm trees, blue skies and sandy beaches are some of the best reasons to retire in Belize, as is the fact that it's extremely budget-friendly. Housing in Belize City is dirt cheap, with a 900-square-foot furnished rental going for as little as $436 a month. The Qualified Retired Persons Incentive Program makes it even more attractive for retirees age 45 and up since any income earned from sources outside Belize is 100% tax-free. However, the catch is that foreigners must receive a $2,000 minimum and regular payment from pension or another business source outside Belize to be eligible for the program. (For more, see What Does It Cost to Retire in Belize?)
Monthly expense, according to Numbeo, for one person is $720, for a family of four is $2,630 (without rent).
Panama proves to be exceptionally welcoming for retirees from all parts of the globe who come in search of a tropical atmosphere. Prices in Panama City tend to be 36-40% lower than what you'd pay in the U.S., but you'll find that the surrounding smaller towns and villages are much more affordable. The Pensionado Program saves foreign retirees some extra cash by offering discounts on flights, hospital services, utilities and more. (For more, see 6 Reasons Why Americans Retire in Panama.)
Monthly expenses for one person add up to $666 while for a family for four (not including rent) could pay $2,459, according to Numbeo.
Costa Rica is popular with tourists, but certain areas, such as the Central Valley region and the southern coast, are ideally suited for establishing permanent residence on a shoestring. Even if you decide to set up shop in the capital city of San Jose, rental prices can go as low as $621 per month or up to $1,317, depending on the neighborhood. Utilities typically run between $124 and $198 per month. (For more, see What Does It Cost to Retire in Costa Rica?)
A single person could spend $452 in monthly expenses while living in Malaysia would cost a family of four $1,628 (without rent) per Numbeo.
Malaysia's people are just as warm as the weather, and this is the kind of place where outsiders are easily welcomed into the fold. As far as the cost of living goes, Malaysia is roughly 58% cheaper than the U.S. Housing is an especially good deal, with rent prices that are 80% lower than what you'd find here at home. Retirees can apply for a long-term visa through the Malaysia My Second Home Program. If you're 50 or older, you'll need at least 350,000 Malaysian ringgits ($78,687 USD) in liquid assets and 10,000 Malaysian ringgits ($2,248 USD) in monthly income. For those under 50, the requirements are slightly stiffer- 500,000 Malaysian ringgits ($112,410 USD) in liquid assets and 10,000 Malaysian ringgits ($2,248 USD) in monthly income. (See Retire in Malaysia with $200,000 in Savings.)
One person could live in Madrid for $694 a month, according to Numbeo, while a four person family would require $2,455(without rent)
Spain features a rich culture and heritage, not to mention a cost of living that's easily affordable on a modest budget. Compared to the U.S., the cost of living is approximately 26% lower and rent prices are slashed roughly in half. Qualifying for a visa isn't an overly complicated process; you must be able to show proof of residency, proof of income and be free of any illness that constitutes a threat to public health. (For more, see: Top 5 Retirement Cities in Spain.)