Planning an affordable expat retirement

Planning an affordable expat retirement

Planning an affordable expat retirement

More and more retirees are realising you don’t need to be rich to enjoy your later years in your dream destination overseas.

Struggling on a meagre pension in the home country isn’t the way the majority of older citizens would like to spend their retirement years, and with the internet opening up information on various inexpensive locations overseas there are now many ways to avoid that fate. Planning for retirement is a complicated process fraught with uncertainty, especially for those who’re investment novices. Retirees are targets for unscrupulous financial advisors, and even honest brokers can be at a loss in these uncertain days of political upsets and fluctuating exchange rates. Taking your cash and investing in a favourite expat hub, living an inexpensive lifestyle and maybe getting a part-time job seem to be better alternatives nowadays.Online surveys give hints as to the best and worst places for retirement, taking into account the cost of living as well as the weather, house prices and the general friendliness of the locals as well as the expat community.

Living on a budget in a warmer country means no unpleasant shocks as regards the cost of electricity, and affordable internet connections enable you can keep in touch with friends and family in the home country. A recent study identified five countries which fit the bill for those with US social security checks of $1,404 a month, including one even suited to the UK’s meagre state pension of around £672 a month. Mafra in Portugal is set just 21 miles from the country’s capital, with an average cost of living at $1017 (£782). It’s a pretty beachside town with whitewashed homes set along cobbled streets, and living like the locals do brings the cost down still further.

Cuenca in Ecuador has an even lower cost of living and is a charming city crammed with colonial architecture overlooked by breathtaking scenery. Monthly costs for a single person are some $840 (£646), and it’s waiting to be discovered by UK retirees as well as being a long-term home for US pensioners. The cost of living in Costa Rica’s Central Valley is higher, but one person can live well on $1,500 (£1,150). The valley is full of villages in which expats and locals have lived together for decades. Panama’s laid-back beach town of Pedasi is another small town which welcomes older expats and has a similar cost of living to Central Valley. It’s stuffed with modern amenities as well as luxuries such as a housekeeper for $30 a day and gardeners charging $5 an hour.

Least expensive and fascinating is Cambodia, in which living on a social security cheque of $1,150 (£884) a month is extravagant, as the real cost is far lower, especially if you avoid the capital Pnom Penh, the major tourist hub of Siem Reap and the casino city of Sihanoukville. The country’s smaller, coastal towns and villages aren’t spoiled as yet, and living like a local is as ‘cheap as chips’.

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