The following is a guest post by Lisa, full-time blogger and part-time firefighter, at Home Insurance Comparison, an Australian personal finance blog created to help readers to save money on their home insurance.
Move over Florida… some of the cheapest places to retire are abroad! Between the economy, taxes, and the Social Security system hovering in a questionable state, many frugal minded individuals have become complacent with the fact that their golden years may not be all that rich. But life is what we make it… and it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way. Retiring abroad isn’t a new concept: in recent years there have been a growing number of people who have consolidated what they own in the states and moved lock, stock, and barrel to scenic locales in France, Italy, Asia, and numerous other locations. Read on to determine whether retiring abroad is a concept which may work for you and your family.
Imagine living year-round in a sunny climate, surrounded by luscious fresh fruits and abundant vegetables – a place where walking down the street to the corner grocer is more common than the need to maintain a vehicle. The best places to retire can include the cheapest options – as long as they are safe, convenient, and still afford the same quality of living you’ve become used to. Some of the perks which lure Americans to retire abroad are the prospect of free medical care and inexpensive health insurance. Another fact: in a country where the cost-of-living is cheaper, you may find your way clear to employ a full-time housekeeper or gardener on a Social Security budget.
Shop Around and Compare
According to CBS Moneywatch, nearly half of Americans nearing retirement age don’t have enough money in savings to support their retirement years. That’s where finding cheap places to retire abroad can be helpful! Moneywatch ranks the best place to retire abroad as Cuenca, Ecuador, followed by locations in Mexico, Panama, Uruguay and Italy. Cuenca is a sunny, sophisticated city near the equator. At 8,000 feet elevation, Cuenca may be compared to Aspen, Colorado, altitude-wise. As Ecuador’s third largest city, Cuenca boasts beautiful weather year-round, shopping in the modernized suburbs and all the comforts Americans may desire. Americans who live there have reported doing so – living comfortably and worry-free – for about $17,000 a year.
In taking a closer look at the best opportunities for retirement living abroad; it is important to consider where your dollar will go farthest, where the best health care may be found, and which country is the safest. Some countries want American citizens to become part of their communities, and are willing to offer incentives so you will spend money in their country. Cash is king and you will be treated as such if you consider setting up residence in the Philippines, Mexico, Panama, Belize, or Malaysia. Attractive financial breaks may include tax incentives, free importation of goods, an easy path to a residency visa, and retiree discounts – potentially including plane tickets within and out of the country. Other exciting retirement options may exist in Costa Rica, which utilizes a retirement structure that does not tax retirement income. Pair that fact with a sunny, tropical climate, gorgeous scenery, outstanding quality of life. Austria remains one of the European countries to live in, according to Best Places to Retire. Austrian residents enjoy fishing the countless rivers and lakes, walking or hiking the trails of Alps, and skiing. Most retirees fall in love with the more traditional, slower paced Austrian culture.
Before you take that leap of faith, it is recommended that you visit the city or region you’re considering – several times. Take into consideration: you may have to travel and undertake a considerable amount of research in order to find a suitable place to retire abroad. You may also need to learn a second language in order to integrate into the culture there. And – same as retiring in the U.S. – many retirees still face the need to continue working in order to make ends meet. Fortunately, the age of Web 2.0 has allowed people to work from anywhere in the world to earn an extra income with online business, trading or stocks, via computer or even mobile phone. If living well in an exotic locale throughout your retirement years sounds more intriguing than playing 18 holes of golf in Florida, retiring abroad may be for you.
What are your thoughts? Where do you plan to retire, and do you see retirement begin affordable, based on your current situation?
retirebyforty’s thought: My early retirement will be in the United States, but after we both retire, all options are open. I have family in Thailand so that is a great option for me. We also love Italy and it would be unbelievable to live there for a few years. Maybe we could move every few years and experience new cultures and adventures constantly. That would be a great retirement especially if it’s more affordable.