The 5 Cheapest Places to Retire in the World

The 5 Cheapest Places to Retire in the World

Low cost of living and goods can make a world of difference for your retirement. That’s why we’re sharing the 5 cheapest places to retire in the world.

Keyword(s): cheapest places to retire in the world

If you’re one of the tens of millions of baby boomers looking forward to retirement over the next 10-20 years, you’re probably asking yourself two key questions.

Where do I want to retire? Where can I afford to retire?

The first question is really about your quality of life. If you’ve lived somewhere with weather you hate your entire adult life, your primary concern may be geographical. As long as a place has the right kind of weather, the town or city isn’t as important. 

The second question is more practical. A mansion on Miami Beach might sound great, but that doesn’t mean you can actually afford to keep it for 20 or 30 years. The ongoing uncertainty about Social Security’s solvency and the toll the economic crisis took on retirement savings makes the question of financing retirement more pressing.

It turns out that you can get great weather and reasonable cost. Let’s take a look at some of the cheapest places to retire in the world.

Cheapest Places to Retire Domestically

Let’s face it, no matter how cheap it might be to live abroad, living in the US makes some things simpler.

It’s easier to travel to see family. You understand the bureaucracy. You don’t have to mess with banking internationally.

So here are our two go-to domestic retirement options

Tampa, Florida

For many retirees, warm weather is a must have. Tampa will give you that in spades. It also gives you a beach and swimming is a great way to get that aerobic exercise your doctor is always advising.

On the housing front, a 900 square foot apartment goes for around $1200 a month. Other expenses are about on par with any other moderately sized city.

Tampa is home to numerous museums. Cruises abound. You can even take in the Yankees during spring training at the George M. Steinbrenner Field.

It’s also within reasonable driving distance to Orlando. So, you can indulge your inner child or your family with a trip to Disney World.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh probably isn’t the first place most people think of for retirement, but it has its charms. For the northerner that lived somewhere hot for career reasons, retiring there might even be the dream.

Pittsburgh offers the full change of seasons, but without descending into the cold, white misery of a true New England winter.

In terms of housing, you’re looking at around $900 a month for a 900 square foot apartment and average costs for food and utilities.

Pittsburgh has top-shelf medical care available, which can be a real boon for retirees. Sports fans will rejoice at all the options to see professional teams.

Cheapest Places to Retire in the World – International

For the dyed in the wool adventurer, living abroad is frequently a bucket list goal. You get to experience other cultures firsthand for an extended period of time. You also get to explore local historic sites and make everyone jealous with your ancient ruins selfies.

Here are our top three picks for international retirement options.

Santa Fe, Panama

For the sun seeker, Santa Fe offers the same kind of tropical climate as Tampa, but at a much more reasonable cost of living. It’s also one of the very cheapest places to retire in the world.

A 900 square foot rental will run you around $280 a month. In fact, just about everything from utilities to food is cheaper there. The one glaring exception is clothing, which cost more than domestic retail prices.

While a basic knowledge of Spanish will help you out there, Panama has its own dialect. So, be ready to upgrade your language skills to accommodate local pronunciations and vocabulary.

If you’re a nature person, you can explore the rainforests in the Santa Fe National Park or visit the many local orchid gardens. If music is your thing, think about picking up a handcrafted guitar from a local craftsman.

Chiang Mai, Thailand

If you have a taste for something more exotic, you can head east to Chiang Mai. Located in the mountainous north of Thailand, the temperatures there range from moderate to hot year-round. What it might lack in cool ocean breezes, it makes up for with reasonable expenses.

You’ll pay a little over $400 a month for a 900 square foot apartment. If you can live in 480 square feet, though, it drops to around $200 a month. Other expenses, such as utilities and basic medical care, tend to be substantially cheaper.

Think $20 a month for decent broadband and a $12 doctor’s appointment.

If you’re a little hesitant to become an expatriate in Asia, don’t be. Chiang Mia is a very foreigner-friendly place, with numerous language schools. An estimated 30,000 expats live there and even have their own club.

Valencia, Spain

If you’re looking for something foreign, but not too foreign, Valencia is an excellent choice. It offers the kind of luxuries you’re accustomed to and a culture that’s a little more familiar.

Valencia is located on the Mediterranean coast, so you’ll enjoy some very temperate weather. You’ll also have access to fresh seafood. Who wants Paella?

The housing costs are middling, but still excellent when compared to domestic rents. You can expect a 900 square foot apartment to run you about $600 a month.

If you love music and dancing, you’ll love Valencia. They are part of the warp and weave of the city. Don’t be surprised if you see kids dancing in the streets.

Are you a fan of architecture? Valencia has that too, some of it dating back to medieval times.

Parting Thoughts

Retiring means significant changes to your lifestyle. If recent economic realities put a dent in your retirement nest egg, it doesn’t mean you have to give up on your dream of moving somewhere interesting. 

Some of the cheapest places to retire in the world are also some of the most interesting. Whether you’re looking for tropical heat and rain forests or the most authentic Thai food possible, it’s available at a reasonable cost.

If milder weather and European culture are more your speed, you can pull a Hemingway. Go to Spain.

Who knows? You might even write a Pulitzer Prize winning novel while you’re there.

Mark Ghobril specializes in helping retirees develop online income while working part time. For more information or to get started, contact us today.

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