For those who are willing to live far from family, retirement overseas allows for a fulfilling lifestyle with a touch of adventure, less expensive healthcare costs and an affordable price tag.
If your vision of retirement includes living in a big city with easy access to cultural events, fine dining and not being dependent on driving, you might want to think about retiring global-style, says a report from International Living. The report, featured in Think Advisor’s recent article, “5 Foreign Cities to Retire on $37K a Year or Less,” makes a clear case for the economics of retiring overseas: the cost of retirement in Washington, D.C. for about $63,568 a year vs. less than $37,000 a year in a world capital.
“An urban retirement holds an increasing appeal for baby boomers keen on the idea of staying active and aging in place. In big cities like Washington, D.C., retirees can easily access theater, dance, museums, restaurants, doctors and grocery stores without getting in a car,” Jennifer Stevens, executive editor of International Living, said in a statement.
“However, all that comes with a high price tag—especially for living and housing costs. The median household income in D.C. is $72,935, but experts say you need more like $90,811 to live there comfortably as a working person.”
However, retirees can gain all the same benefits of a cosmopolitan, urban lifestyle in the best-value capital cities overseas—for much less. The International Living report gives us five capital cities in Europe, Latin America, and Southeast Asia where a retired couple can live very nicely on less than $37,000 a year:
- Hanoi, Vietnam: Hanoi has one of the lowest costs of living of any major city in Southeast Asia. A couple can live a comfortable lifestyle there on a budget of $905 per month or less, or $10,860 a year.
- Lisbon, Portugal: Home to half a million people, Lisbon is a spot where retirees can “enjoy a European lifestyle at Latin American prices,” according to the report. A couple can live well here for $3,065 a month, or $36,780 a year. The report claims that Lisbon is one of the most affordable capitals in Western Europe.
- Panama City, Panama: A couple can rent a two-bedroom apartment in the central city for $1,765 a month, or $21,180 a year. For American expats, Panama is also convenient because the currency is the U.S. dollar.
- Phnom Penh, Cambodia: This city has plenty to offer expats, like a stunningly low cost of living, bustling markets and a thriving food scene. All this comes with colonial French architecture and temples. According to International Living, a retired couple can enjoy a good life here on $1,837 a month, or $22,044 a year.
- Quito, Ecuador: Located in the Andes mountains at 9,350 feet, Quito is one of the highest capital cities in the world. Quito has everything expats look for in a big city, at a fraction of the cost of living in North America. You can live quite comfortably in Quito for between $1,650 to $1,825, or a yearly total of $19,800 to $21,900.
Is an overseas retirement for you? Experts suggest trying out living in a foreign country for a while, before making a commitment to become a permanent resident. You should also factor in the high cost of returning back to the United States to visit with family and friends. One thing is certain: it’s not your grandmother’s retirement!
Reference: Think Advisor (September 13, 2018) “5 Foreign Cities to Retire on $37K a Year or Less”