Are you one of the countless people sitting around dreaming about where you’d rather be right now? Do you want to make sure that all that hard work you’re doing today some day pays off? The fact is if you plan accordingly, your retirement can actually become the vacation of a lifetime. So how long is it before you’re on that golden sandy beach on the other side of the globe? Well, that’s up to you. According to Gallup Economy, the average age for retirement in the U.S. is 62. Yet, if you start saving and investing early (think NOW), you could be enjoying that long deserved time to yourself much sooner.
Retiring Abroad Doesn’t Have to Be an Adventure
“In fact, in some popular retirement havens, you can get by just fine without learning the local language and you can have dinner every night with other expats. You may have to wait longer for Internet service and travel a little farther to find a good hospital, but these emerging retirement destinations offer low living costs, natural beauty and a lifestyle you won’t encounter in the U.S.” – Places to Retire Overseas by m.kiplinger.com
Before we get into how exactly you’ll be able to retire in the land of your dreams, check out some of the most desirable, yet affordable, retirement spots around the world.
20 Not-So Boring Places To Retire (In No Particular Order)
“Retirement is a new phase of life, and, for many, a chance to consider new surroundings.” – forbes.com
Proximity to major airport: Malta International Airport, which sits just south of Valletta, the island nation’s capital, offers flights to more than 100 destinations, mostly in Europe.
Access to health care: Good hospitals and medical services—including the full-service Mater Dei teaching hospital, which opened in 2007—are widely available.
Cost of living: This archipelago, located about 50 miles south of Sicily, is more expensive than retirement destinations in South America and Southeast Asia, but compared to the rest of Europe, it’s a bargain. A long-term rental in Valletta runs from about $600 to $1,000 a month. A couple could live comfortably for $2,000 a month.
The draw: A Mediterranean climate, rich history and very little crime. English is widely spoken. The main island of Malta is cosmopolitan and densely populated. Retirees seeking a slower pace can opt for Gozo, the bucolic northernmost island that’s home to about 31,000 people, many of them European retirees.
2. Cayo District, Belize
Proximity to major airport: San Ignacio, the hub of the Cayo District, is about 75 miles inland from Philip S.W. Goldson International Airport, located just outside Belize City.
Access to health care: Health care is limited. There are two public hospitals and a private hospital in western Belize, but expats will want to head to the coast for most medical needs. There are well-regarded private clinics in Belize City.
Cost of living: A couple could live comfortably in western Belize for $1,400 to $1,700 a month. In San Ignacio, you could rent a two-bedroom furnished home for $500 to $600 a month, or buy one for $75,000. A two-bedroom home on 20 acres just outside San Ignacio was recently listed for $199,000.
The draw: English-speaking Belize is a popular destination for American retirees, though most stick to coastal communities such as Corozal and Ambergris Caye. The Cayo District in the country’s interior, home to scenic rivers, waterfalls, huge cave systems and Mayan ruins, is well off the beaten path. The type of person who thrives in Cayo enjoys a back-to-basics lifestyle (many residents rely on solar power). If you can’t live without cable television or high-speed Internet, Cayo is not for you. The fastest-growing area for expats is San Ignacio. Spanish Lookout, home to a large Mennonite-run hardware store, supermarket and dairy, is 12 miles away.
3. Guethary, France
Proximity to major airport: Biarritz airport, which offers several flights a day to Paris and other major European cities, is about five miles away.
Access to health care: Health care in France is considered top notch. There are numerous hospitals and clinics in the nearby cities of Biarritz and Bayonne.
Cost of living: Many retirees rule out France as a retirement destination because of the high cost, but the Basque region is surprisingly affordable. At current exchange rates, a couple could live there comfortably for $2,000 a month.
The draw: The Basque are likely the oldest surviving ethnic group in Europe, and their language and traditions continue in the towns and villages of southwestern France, as well as across the border in Spain. Guethary, a picturesque fishing village, has been around since the 12th century. The area is green and lush, and its beaches have won awards for cleanliness. While there are few American expats there, the region is home to a sizable community of British retirees.
4. Nuevo Arenal, Costa Rica
Proximity to major airport: Juan Santamaria International Airport in San Jose, the capital, is about a three-hour drive from the Arenal area.
Cost of living: A retired couple can live comfortably on $2,000 a month.
Access to health care: Health care in Costa Rica is well regarded and affordable, so much so that the country has become a destination for medical tourism. Residents can join the Caja, Costa Rica’s public health system, for about $50 to $150 per month. Since wait times can be lengthy with the public health system, many retirees (and many Costa Ricans) also carry private insurance, which can run about $2,000 a year. Even for those who pay out of pocket, most medical procedures cost a third or even 50% less than the same procedures in the U.S. There’s a health clinic in Nuevo Arenal and more-advanced medical care available in Tilaran, less than half an hour away.
The draw: Costa Rica’s quality health care system and political stability have made it one of the most popular destinations for American retirees. But the inland area around Lake Arenal, the largest freshwater lake in Costa Rica, remains relatively rural and secluded. The winds are strong enough to support windsurfing, and the lake is also a popular spot for boating, fishing and birdwatching. Most expats live in small, gated communities or individual homes.
5. Tagaytay, Philippines
Proximity to major airport: The international airport in Manila, the capital, is about 35 miles away.
Access to health care: Good, low-cost health care is available in Manila, where there are 51 accredited hospitals and more than 20,000 physicians.
Cost of living: The Philippines has the second-lowest cost of living of the 24 countries in International Living’s Global Retirement Index. A retired couple could live quite comfortably for about $800 a month.
The draw: Tagaytay is in a beautiful and mountainous region of Luzon, the main island of the Philippines. The town overlooks stunning Lake Taal, a popular tourist destination that has a volcano at its center. Manila, which offers numerous big-city amenities, is about an hour’s drive away. While the country’s national language is Filipino, most residents speak English. The Philippines offers numerous incentives to expat residents, including duty-free importation of household goods and sizable discounts for residents age 60 and older.
6. Antigua, Guatemala
Proximity to major airport: La Aurora International Airport in Guatemala City, the capital, is about an hour’s drive away.
Access to health care: Good health care is available at numerous private clinics in Guatemala City.
Cost of living: Guatemala tied with Cambodia for the lowest cost of living on International Living’s Global Retirement Index. Many American couples live quite comfortably on $1,500 a month, but it’s possible to get by on much less. A furnished apartment with a rooftop terrace costs $350 a month, according to International Living—and that includes utilities, cable and WiFi.
The draw: Antigua, a Unesco World Heritage site, offers colonial architecture, museums, art galleries and dozens of restaurants, from high-end bistros to local food vendors. The climate is spring-like year-round, and the views of volcanoes are hard to beat. And if you want to visit the grandchildren back home, you can fly nonstop from Guatemala City to Miami in less than three hours and easily connect onwards from there.
7. Tulum, Mexico
Proximity to major airport: Cancun International Airport, the second-busiest in Mexico, is about 90 minutes away. There are direct flights to numerous U.S. and international cities.
Access to health care: Tulum has three small hospitals where residents can get emergency care; two also provide facilities for minor surgery. For major surgery or specialized care, retirees need to travel about 40 miles north to Playa del Carmen or 80 miles to Cancun.
Cost of living: Tulum is more expensive than some other expat communities in Mexico, but it’s also not as overrun with resident Americans. A retired couple can live comfortably on a budget of between $2,500 and $3,500 per month. But for what you get, the cost of living is still less than it is in many parts of the U.S., says Ron Burdine, 48, who has lived in Tulum for seven years and plans to retire there. Housing prices range from $85,000 for a small two-bedroom house to more than $2 million for a beachfront hacienda. Monthly rents for a two-bedroom, furnished condo range from $550 to $1,200 a month. (For more information, check out Burdine’s blog at www.mexicoonmymind.com.)
The draw: Beautiful beaches, a reef system just offshore that offers spectacular diving, and the 1.3 million-acre Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve just south of town. Mayan ruins are nearby, including the well-preserved and often-photographed Tulum ruins overlooking the Caribbean Sea. The area has become a magnet for eco-minded celebrities, so there are lots of bohemian-style boutiques, yoga centers and spas. Tulum has also attracted a large number of creative chefs, so there’s no shortage of interesting places to eat.
8. Sihanoukville, Cambodia
Proximity to major airport: Sihanoukville International Airport, despite the name, offers only domestic flights. You’ll need to connect in Siem Reap or take a bus to Phnom Penh, the capital, for flights back to the U.S.
Access to health care: Limited. Most expats travel to Thailand for their medical needs.
Cost of living: Cambodia tied with Guatemala for the lowest cost of living on International Living’s Global Retirement Index. A couple could live quite comfortably on $700 a month. A furnished 2,000-square-foot house on the beach with free high-speed Internet and utilities costs about $150 a month. A three-course lunch costs about $5.
The draw: Beautiful beaches on the Gulf of Thailand that are nearly deserted. Cambodia has long been popular with expats from Australia and New Zealand, and it’s starting to attract adventurous Americans and Europeans, too. Sihanoukville, the largest town on the coast, has a small expat community of Americans who went there during the Vietnam conflict for R&R and returned when they retired. Foreigners can’t own land in Cambodia, but they can acquire leasehold rights for up to 99 years.
9. Coronado, Panama
Proximity to major airport: Coronado can be reached easily from North America, by way of Panama City’s Tocumen International Airport. It’s also just a short distance off the Pan-American highway, making it very accessible by car or bus from the nation’s capital, although the roads can sometimes be congested (particularly on weekends or around holidays).
Access to health care: Coronado also offers excellent routine health care and emergency services at its San Fernando Clinic. However, those who require more specialized care can find it with the local hospital’s affiliate, Clinica Hospital San Fernando, one of Panama City’s best.
Cost of living: Prices can vary drastically, depending on the property’s location and amenities, but a smaller home can be had for as little as $250,000. Rental rates could range from $700 on up to $3000 or more for some of the most desirable properties. While slightly more expensive than many areas in Panama, Coronado is still extremely affordable by North American standards. For expats who don’t mind being a bit farther from the action, you can find bargains on real estate in nearby areas such as the hillside town of Las Lajas, where you can find a modest home for under $200,000. But on average, a couple could live comfortably with a monthly budget of $1,800 with $600 going to rent.
The draw: Panama caters to foreign retirees like no other country in the world. Day-to-day living is affordable, the approach to taxation is favorable and property prices remain a bargain outside the capital city. The country boasts perhaps the world’s most generous incentive program for retirees and uses the U.S. dollar as its currency, meaning no exchange-rate risk for retirees whose retirement income is also denominated in greenbacks. Panama City is being remade in real time right now thanks to a myriad of public works projects, including the expansion of the Panama Canal. Panama also offers some of the most advanced medical care facilities in the region. Many Panamanian doctors are U.S.-trained, and Panama City’s hospitals are first-rate.
10. Languedoc, France
Population: 2.727 million
Proximity to major airport: The Languedoc is more accessible than ever these days: by high-speed train, it takes only three hours from Paris to reach Montpellier, the region’s largest city. In addition, five different airports service the area. Nonetheless, unless you live in a large city with great public transportation like Montpellier or Nîmes, you’ll need to have car. But given that by living in the Languedoc, you’ll have both mountains and beaches at your doorstep, an abundance of inexpensive and excellent regional wines, Roman ruins everywhere, and an average of 300-days of sun, it may be worth investing in one.
Access to health care: Excellent. French health care has been assessed as the best in the world by the World Health Organization.
Cost of living: Not cheap, but a comfortably frugal life can be had for $30,000 a year. Dinner out: $60 a couple. On the outskirts of one of the Languedoc’s most lovely towns, Pèzenas, there’s currently a fully-renovated, four-bedroom house of 1,603 square feet on the market for $160,000. In the heart of town itself you can find a 700-square-foot, two-bedroom apartment in a beautiful old stone building for $136,400. The unspoiled port town of Sète now has on offer a sunlit two-bedroom apartment of 775-square-feet for sale for $143,000. And in my personal favorite town in the region, the historic Sommières, there’s a pretty four-bedroom house of 1,237 square feet with excellent views of the Vidourle river on the market for $204,000. Houses with swimming pools and large gardens in Languedoc are going to set you back a bit more, running upwards of $320,000. Not bad when you consider that similar houses in Provence cost about a million dollars. But on average, you would need a monthly budget of $2,300 with $800 going towards rent.
The draw: The Languedoc-Rousillion region is the part of the south of France that hugs the curve of the Mediterranean coastline. Sometimes referred to as the “other South of France” or occasionally, “the real South of France,” the Languedoc offers the same beauty, charm and balmy weather as its more famous Provençal neighbor to its east, but with less crowds, less gloss and at half the price. Steeped in history, the Languedoc is just the place for those who dream of retiring to a slower life in a postcard-perfect South of France village with medieval stone houses, a simple shop to buy fresh baguettes, and perhaps a river nearby. The region is brimming with little villages and towns—and the homes are surprisingly affordable.
11. Cuenca, Ecuador
Proximity to major airport: With no international airport, there are daily local flights from and to Quito and Guayaquil. A taxi from the airport to the center should run about $3 -taxis are readily available in front of the airport. No taximeters are available, so make sure to set the price before taking the cab.
Access to health care: Cuenca’s low-cost for premium living extends right through to inexpensive, high quality health care, available at 18 hospitals and medical centers in the city, many of which are home to a large number of English-speaking doctors — something extremely important to both retirees and families! You can get four visits to a doctor per year for two people for $20.
Cost of living: Living in Cuenca is affordably low, with luxury, furnished rentals running around $650 a month. Factor in utilities, condo fees, cable, and everything else and you’re looking in the neighborhood of $900 a month — again for a furnished, luxury apartment in a desirable location. And the same goes for most anything else — eating out at a first-rate restaurant for two runs about $30. Buying groceries with plenty of grass-fed beef, fresh seafood and veggies will run you about $250 a month — or about $60 a trip to the market.
The draw: Cuenca, Ecuador is the city of choice for those people who dream of living smack in the middle of Paris or Barcelona within walking distance of historical, beautiful architecture, culture, and food — at a price that’s affordable for someone needing more living space than a studio apartment. The people in Cuenca like and are welcoming of foreigners and are happy to help make them part of the community. Many are fluent in English and the city has plenty of English-language bookstores, store owners, and people willing to accommodate non-Spanish speaking travelers and expats. And outdoor beauty is important because the weather will make you want to be outside — with year round temperatures averaging in the mid-70s Fahrenheit, getting just cool enough in the evenings for a light sweater or jacket.
12. San Diego (California), USA
Population: 1.338 million
Proximity to major airport: The city’s primary commercial airport is the San Diego International Airport (SAN), also known as Lindbergh Field. It is the busiest single-runway airport in the United States. It served over 17 million passengers in 2005 and is dealing with an increasingly larger number every year. It is located on San Diego Bay three miles (4.8 km) from downtown. San Diego International Airport maintains scheduled flights to the rest of the United States including Hawaii, as well as to Mexico, Canada, Japan, and the United Kingdom.
Access to health care: Though San Diego is home to UC San Diego medical center, which is ranked 37th in the nation for geriatric care. Long-term care typically costs $213 per day for a nursing home or $3,075 monthly for assisted living, which is similar to the rest of the country.
Cost of living: What makes it difficult to retire in the San Diego metro area, which includes Carlsbad and San Marcos, are the high housing costs. People 60 and older spend a median of more than $1,000 per month on rent and $1,971 monthly on their mortgage, although costs drop to $436 monthly for seniors who have paid off their houses.
The draw: San Diego is the eighth-largest city in the United States and second-largest in California and is one of the fastest growing cities in the nation. San Diego is the birthplace of California and is known for its mild year-round climate, natural deep-water harbor, extensive beaches, long association with the U.S. Navy, and recent emergence as a healthcare and biotechnology development center. San Diego is home to top public universities and hospitals, great and unique foods, and a rich and diverse cultural setting. It’s also home to our very own SprinkleBit headquarters!
13. Málaga, Spain
Proximity to major airport: The city is served by Málaga Costa Del Sol Airport, one of the first in Spain and the oldest still in operation. It is the international airport of Andalusia accounting for 85 percent of its international traffic. The airport, connected to the Costa del Sol, has a daily link with twenty cities in Spain and over a hundred cities in Europe. But no matter where you live in Spain, you’ll have easy access to the rest of the country—and to the rest of Europe, too. Modern, high-speed trains can get you from one end of Spain to the other in about seven hours. Or take the bus—fares are low, and bus routes crisscross the country. You can fly directly from North America to Madrid, Barcelona, and other metropolises. The many smaller, regional airports can zip you around Spain and to the rest of Europe (often on cheap, discount airlines).
Access to healthcare: Spain has a well-developed national health system that is available to all, even those from abroad, although there are some limitations to this latter group. However, the health service here does experience high demand for services and there are often long waiting lists for treatment and operations. Many people opt for private healthcare in order to avoid this and people who are seriously considering retirement in Spain may want to research the cost and availability of such care.
Cost of living: Spain remains a relatively cheap place to live, especially when compared with other western European nations, and will offer retirees a good standard of living for their money. Even before the recession, Spain was one of the least-expensive countries in Western Europe, and that remains true. Buying here is more affordable now than it’s been in decades. On much of Spain’s Mediterranean coast, for instance, you can buy a beach condo today for $150,000 or less—sometimes much less. Prefer to rent? Long-term rentals start at about $550 a month in Alicante and at about $850 in Málaga. Day-to-day expenses can be very low as well. Pick one of the many areas with a warm, mild climate, and your monthly utilities can run you $150 or less. Stick with a Mediterranean diet—the doctors’ favorite for good health—and your grocery bills will be as slim as your figure.
The draw: Malaga is a coastal city on Spain’s famed Costa del Sol. There are also many surrounding towns and villages in the area, such as Alhaurin de la Torre. The area is popular with tourists and retirees who come for its beaches and beauty, not to mention a relaxed Spanish way of life. For Europeans, the Costa del Sol is the most popular part of the Spanish coastline to buy, rent, or invest in real estate. Part of Andalusia province, its infrastructure is excellent: there are international schools, first-class medical facilities–and there’s certainly no problem finding real estate agents, doctors, and lawyers who speak English. But Spain’s biggest plus may be the people and the lifestyle. Warm and engaging, Spaniards believe in enjoying life, and they put a high value on friends and family.
14. Chiang Mai, Thailand
Proximity to major airport: Chiang Mai International Airport receives up to 28 flights a day from Bangkok (flight time about 1 hour 10 minutes) and also serves as a local hub for services to other northern cities such as Chiang Rai, Phrae and Mae Hong Son. International services also connect Chiang Mai with other regional centers, including cities in other Asian countries.
Access to healthcare: Medical care is very inexpensive and the quality is excellent. A basic examination is $7 and a blood test costs from $15.
Cost of living: Thailand is one of the cheapest places on earth to live well. You can buy a comfortable expat-standard house in Chiang Mai for as little as $100,000; however, as a foreigner, you cannot hold title to the land, only to the construction. Alternatively, you can rent a furnished house in the city for around $400 per month. If you own your place, the estimated monthly expenses you’ll incur will be of around $650, and of $940 if you rent. Don’t forget about the $1 Pad Thai lunches and sub-$100 4-5 star hotel accommodations throughout the country, which are hard to match elsewhere in the world!
The draw: Chiang Mai is an inexpensive place to live by almost any standard. With housing prices so low, it’s no wonder so many expats have chosen to make Thailand their permanent home. Unlike some cities, foreigners here are more likely to integrate with the locals and live in any area in and around Chiang Mai. One popular area is the neighborhood near the trendy Nimminhemin Road. Upscale condominiums are conveniently located near excellent restaurants and a good foreigner infrastructure, close to English-speaking dentists, internationally accredited hospitals, and within a short walk of the Old City.
15. Nha Trang, Vietnam
Proximity to major airport: Cam Ranh International Airport was made the new civilian airport of the city and is located by Cam Ranh Bay, 28 km (17 mi) south of the city of Nha Trang and is the fourth busiest airport in terms of passenger traffic in Vietnam.
Access to healthcare: Local doctors can treat uncomplicated ailments at a cost of about $10 a visit. There’s also a modern hospital here, opened in 2010, that receives strong reviews from expats and is similarly affordable. Dental care is good and affordable by any standard. A cleaning or filling runs about $5.
Cost of living: All things considered, Nha Trang, Vietnam, has one of the lowest costs of living of any city in Southeast Asia or the world. A person can lead a comfortable life for $500 per month, making it a wonderfully affordable place to retire. In this price, you can get a nice house, decent food and more than enough entertainment to keep you busy throughout your twilight years.
The draw: Yahoo! Finance recently named Nha Trang the #1 cheapest place to retire in the world. Nha Trang is a beautiful city which offers a wonderful landscape, awesome climate and friendly locals. The fact that the cost of healthcare is low and there is a new and modern hospital opened up in the city make it a hard to resist choice for anyone looking to retire. Additionally, the low food cost and a variety of food options like fresh fish, vegetables, herbs and fruits adds to the suitability of Nha Trang as a fantastic place to live.
16. Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Proximity to major airport: A more appealing aspect of Mexico’s proximity to the U.S. is the ease of access for those who wish to make it their retirement destination. Not only could you inexpensively travel back and forth as needed, but you’d have no trouble convincing friends and family back home to come visit. Now given the fact that Puerto Vallarta offers the same or better amenities than many desirable U.S. cities, you might have some difficulty getting them to leave. Luckily you won’t have to go far to drop them off at the city’s own international airport, which has direct flights to many major cities across the U.S.
Access to healthcare: The area offers quality healthcare, including modern hospitals, highly-trained English-speaking physicians, and even those practicing alternative healing methods.
Cost of living: You might be surprised to find out that you can get by on a mere $2,000 per month in Puerto Vallarta and that decent housing can be found for as little as $700 monthly. While this is still higher than the cost of living in nearby Panama, and certainly more than that of countries like affordable Ecuador, it’s considerably less than its U.S. counterparts. By comparison, this is a far cry from what you would pay for the same lifestyle in any U.S. city situated on the picturesque Pacific Coast.
The draw: Mexico is home to the biggest established populations of American expats in the world, making it a great choice if you seek adventure with the comforts of home. Mexico is no longer a super-cheap option, but it is a top pick for enjoying a luxury coastal lifestyle while still on a budget. Puerto Vallarta is more expensive than other places where you might consider living or retiring overseas, but in Puerto Vallarta that’s not the point. This isn’t developing-world living. This stretch of Mexico’s Pacific coastline has already been developed to a high level. Life here can be not only comfortable, but easy and fully appointed, with world-class golf courses, marinas, restaurants and shopping. This is a lifestyle that is available only on a limited basis worldwide, and is truly (not metaphorically) comparable to the best you could enjoy in southern California if you could afford it. Here you can afford it even on an average budget.
17. Ipoh, Malaysia
Population: 213, 578
Proximity to major airport: The Sultan Azlan Shah Airport is the only airport in Ipoh. It is near Gunung Rapat. Domestic flights (and limited international ones) are available. Firefly provides two daily flights out of Ipoh to Singapore Changi Airport, from which you can connect anywhere in the world.
Access to healthcare: The crime rate in Malaysia is generally lower than in most western countries. Health services are efficient and first class medical facilities are available in all the major cities with well equipped hospitals and clinics run by highly qualified staff. Medical costs are much lower than many other countries.
Cost of living: Malaysia is a low cost country to live in and if you are on a pension from a developed country you will find that it offers a much better standard of living here than in your own country. Many things are considerably cheaper in Malaysia than in most Western countries, including housing, domestic help, communications, local food, clothing, medical expenses and entertainment. A filling meal in a local restaurant will set you back $2.90, fuel costs $0.50 per litre (about $2 per gallon) and a live in maid charges between $120 and $240 per month. Furnished 3 bedroom apartments outside of Kuala Lumpur (KL) can be rented for as little as $250. In prime residential areas of KL, rent for an apartment of the same size can be as high as $3,000.
The draw: Malaysia is the best place to retire in Asia right now, and there’s no sign of that changing. Malaysia, situated in the heart of Southeast Asia, has one of the highest standards of living, yet maintains cheap cost of living. It has a great climate, facilities are excellent, roads are great, and transportation is cheap. The country offers a program called “Malaysia My Second Home,” which allows foreigners to stay on a social visa for 10 years and is renewable. Ipoh is an increasingly popular retirement haven among Malaysians, who claim its fresh air, clean water and relaxing lifestyle not only improve the quality of life but also promote longevity. Foreign retirees are beginning to take note. Despite having a population of more than half a million, Ipoh feels like a small town. You can expect first-world health care and a modern infrastructure but no overcrowded city center packed with skyscrapers and high-rises. Friendly locals speak English, making it easy to assimilate, and lenient immigration policies make Malaysia an easy country to live in full or part time.
18. Medellín, Colombia
Proximity to major airport: Medellín has one domestic airport (Olaya Herrera Airport) (EOH) and one domestic and international airport (Jose Maria Cordova Airport), which is located in the city of Rionegro, 29 km east of the city of Medellin.
Access to healthcare: Medellín is considered a top notch research city in medicine in Colombia, being an exponent of advance surgical operations in the country and Latin America. Health Clinics and Dental Centers in Medellín have become pioneers in offering high quality services in several medical areas.
Cost of living: A retiree could live comfortably on less than $1,600 a month in Medellín—while enjoying the temperate climate and having access to excellent health care.
The draw: Colombia is the world’s top up-and-coming retirement haven. Specifically, Medellin, Colombia’s city of flowers and eternal springtime, offers a very appealing and competitive retirement lifestyle option. Medellín is gaining a reputation as a pleasant, affordable place to retire. A new ranking lists the city as one of the top four overseas retirement locales for Americans (the other three being Cuenca, Ecuador; George Town, Malaysia; and Coronado, Panama). Medellín is a pretty place with strong Euro-undertones, meaning it’s a chance to embrace a sophisticated, cosmopolitan retirement on a modest budget.
19. Granada, Nicaragua
Proximity to major airport: Granada is located within a forty minute drive of the capital city, Managua. Air flights from Houston or Miami to the Managua International Airport take about two hours. There are shuttles from the airport available for $15. Most of the shuttle services will drop you off at nearly any point in Granada. There are also taxis available for around $35. Recently, the small airport at Granada has begun offering services between the town and the Managua airport.
Access to healthcare: One of the most modern hospitals in Central America is 45 minutes away. Most doctors speak very good English and an office visit is as little as $15. Medical costs are low enough to pay as you go, and prescriptions are less than the co-pay amount is for most major plans in the states.
Cost of living: Nicaragua’s low income base makes it one of the most affordable Central American countries to invest in, raise families, or retire. Although Granada is considered prime real estate, giving it a higher value than other locations within Nicaragua, the value of real estate and cost of living is still half that of the United States. With the exception of electricity and gasoline, expenses here are remarkably low. A good haircut can be had for about $2, and a filet mignon dinner at one of the nicer restaurants will cost about $10. Taxis will take you from one end of town to the other for 45 cents, and a cold beer will run less than a dollar. A monthly budget—which includes rent, utilities, food, medications and miscellaneous items—is about $1,800. For those who want something more permanent, property is readily available and easily bought.
The draw: Geographically, Nicaragua is blessed, with two long coastlines and two big lakes, plus volcanoes, highlands, rain forest and rivers. In this regard, it’s got everything Costa Rica and Panama have got, all less discovered and developed and available for the adventurer and eco-traveler at bargain rates. Architecturally, too, Nicaragua is notable. Its two sister colonial cities, Granada and Leon, vie for the title of Oldest City in the Americas, with impressive colonial-era churches, public buildings and parks to her credit.
20. Tuscany, Italy
Proximity to major airport: Similar to Spain and the rest of Europe, it’s easy to travel amongst European countries and within them. Tuscany has two international airports, the Pisa International Airport and Amerigo Vespucci Airport, also known as Peretola, in Florence. Located only 80 km apart, the Pisa airport is the larger of the two airports; both airports handle flights to major European cities. Pisa handles the bulk of European scheduled flights, so it might be easier to find flights into Pisa.
Access to healthcare: Italy is ranked second on the World Health Organization’s list of countries with quality health services and spends about 9.0% of its GDP for health care. The country has a national health care plan called Servizio Sanitario Nazionale. U.S. and Canadian citizens who are legal residents of Italy can apply to join the plan. Whether or not you are accepted will depend on certain criteria such as work permit (if applicable), your nationality, and so forth. If you are a resident and covered by the national health care plan, you will be provided all hospital services at no cost, as well as family doctor visits, medical treatment by pediatricians, treatment by specialists, drugs, medicines, and dental treatments. If you are not enrolled in this plan, you will pay your medical costs and then claim reimbursement from your insurance company.
Cost of living: Italy has one of the highest costs of living in the European Union though there is a large disparity between the cost of living in the prosperous north and the relatively poor south. You can purchase an apartment in a place in Anghiari, Tuscany for $230,904 that will have a living room with stone fireplace, bathroom, small kitchen and a bathroom and bedroom in the attic. But a couple could live a comfortable life on $20,000 to $25,000 a year. Dinner out: $40 for two.
The draw: Italy has much to offer – including some of the western world’s most famous sculptures, art, churches and archeological wonders – as well as good health care, beautiful beaches, seacoasts with a temperate climate and a whole host of great places to visit or stay for the rest of your life. It’s just no wonder that Italy is one of the world’s 10 best places to retire, especially Tuscany, known for its beautiful landscapes and rich cultural heritage. In fact, Tuscany is generally regarded as the place where the Renaissance began and has been home to some of Italy’s most influential artists and scientists. Tuscany has unique cuisine and is famous for its wines, including Chianti and Brunelio di Montalcino.
So How Exactly Can You Retire by 62
You’ve seen all the amazing places you could potentially retire, and you’re asking yourself, “Is this really possible?” and our answer is yes! Most, if not all, of the places listed above allow a couple to live comfortably for under $2,500 a month. And if you’re thinking of retiring around 62, $30,000 a year for at least 25 years comes to about $750,000.00, and taking into consideration inflation, $1,500,000.00 is the perfect number to live comfortably and still have room to splurge. Take a look at this chart showcasing exactly how to retire financially secure by the age of 62 if you start now!
If you start saving on average $5,139.00 a year from age 25 with no previous savings and an expected annual rate of return of 9.5%, you’ll be able to accumulate $1,500,000.00 towards retirement by the age of 62. Of course the information generated can be adjusted by current age, expected age of retirement, average salary income, current saving funds, etc. but this 40 year plan is the most feasible and reasonable for the average working American. To break it down even further, the annual contribution of $5,139.00 a year to accumulate $1,500,000.00 is as little as $428.25 a month, which is around a car payment.
And for the people hoping to retire earlier, lets say 50, the plan can be adjusted accordingly:
Again, this is taking into consideration no previous savings and if you start by the age of 25. For just $1,370 a month, you can have over a million dollars by the early age of 50 to spend the rest of your life in one of the above amazing places. You can go by our estimated plans or generate your own personal retirement plan with bloomberg.com according to your current age, expected age of retirement, average salary income, current saving funds, etc.
So now that you’ve seen our list of 20 not-so boring places you could retire someday and what your potential retirement plan can look like, where would you retire? Join the community at SprinkleBit to start investing in your future!
For ideas on destinations that are off the well-worn path, we talked to Dan Prescher, senior editor of InternationalLiving.com and author of The International Living Guide to Retiring Overseas on a Budget; Kathleen Peddicord, founder of LiveandInvestOverseas.com; and Betsy Burlingame, of ExpatExchange.com. We also consulted International Living’s Global Retirement Index, which ranks 24 countries popular with American retirees in eight categories ranging from climate to infrastructure.
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