RETHINKING TRADITIONAL RETIREMENT
Because the “new economy” has erased much of their retirement savings, many baby boomers are exploring bold new notions of just how to match their desires for a retirement home against the hard realities of savings and expected retirement income. For some, that bold notion is: Pack up and move overseas where retirement dollars can be stretched farther.
STRETCHING RETIREMENT DOLLARS
A recent study reported in U.S. News & World Report examines retirement costs in 13 countries, all locations where Americans can get more retirement living for their pinched dollars. It underscores the hard fact that where we decide to retire and live will dramatically impact our budget. We’ve known for years that it will cost retirees more to settle down in Palm Beach than it would Corpus Christi, but what is the difference between living in Panama City (in the country of Panama….not the pan handle of Florida!) and somewhere else up the Pacific Ocean coast within that same country?
Just as in the U.S., costs will vary wildly depending upon the precise locations you consider; but there are solid options that will allow almost anyone to live comfortably on their Social Security retirement income. Within the country of Panama, (where their currency is also the U.S. dollar), a rental could cost $1000 – $1500 in a nice neighborhood in Panama City. But you could slash that to just $300 – $500 a month if you picked a nice rental home just a short walk from the Pacific Ocean beach in the town of Las Tablas, or even as little as $150 a month for a nice place in that country’s Veraguas Province.
The cost of your retirement home is just one aspect of your retirement budget. Your food, travel and entertainment will also significantly vary depending upon location, even within any given country, just as it is within the United States. But anywhere you choose will bring you options just as you have here in the States.
As you would figure if you selected any American city, living in a foreign land also requires a budget for items such as: health and other insurance, grocery, utilities, internet/cable TV, transportation, and personal items. And when figuring transportation costs, you now have to consider the occasional trip home to the States, if that’s also something you want.
COST OF LIVING OVERSEAS MAY BE LESS
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.
An American could move overseas and live in many locations for under $1000 per month. The projections above place you in major cities where lifestyle options are more varied, but usually at a higher cost than typical in outlying areas. Just remember to “try your dream on”, before buying. If you are able, the best plan would be to visit considered locations before sailing off in relocation.