Affordability now crucial for choosing an expat retirement destination

Affordability now crucial for choosing an expat retirement destination

Affordability now crucial for choosing an expat retirement destination

Wherever you’re living right now and wherever you’re planning to live as an expat retiree, affordability is the number one criterion - unless you’re American!

For the vast majority of expats looking to spend their retirement years outside the home country, one of the major reasons is to stretch Social Security payments, savings and pensions as far as is possible. On a planet where soaring inflation seems endemic in all first world countries and a good number of lower-rated states, budgeting in retirement is now a necessity rather than a hobby reserved for those intent on saving the planet. However, during the search for your bargain-basement home from home, it pays to remember if there’s an upside there are also downsides, and ‘affordable’ for some may be unobtainable for others.

The Southeast Asian country of Cambodia is no stranger to the ‘cheap as chips’ syndrome, having been voted least expensive retirement destination for the last five years. It ticks quite a few boxes, including great beaches, Buddhist temples, rain forests, exotic animals and pretty French colonial towns. Sadly, it’s also been practically taken over by hordes of Chinese gamblers, an influx which has wrecked one of its best retirement destinations – Sihanoukville, formerly a favourite with the country’s elite. However, its government seems to now be putting the brakes on as regards China.

Vietnam stretches from China in the north to the Gulf of Thailand in the south and is at present everyone’s favourite SEA destination. Its economy is booming, its cost of living is still very low and its beaches are as lovely as Thailand’s used to be. The Vietnamese themselves are the key to the country’s ultra-rapid economic development and its popularity with both tourists and expats transferring from not-so-welcoming nearby lands. All told, Vietnam ticks the vast majority of would-be expat retiree boxes and scored second in the listing.

The three other top five countries may be more interesting for US expatriates, as they’re all on the other side of the world. Land-locked Bolivia is well-known for its welcoming locals and their vibrant indigenous culture, and the climate is moderate enough to attract those who’re not crazy about heat. Rents are cheapish and internet speeds are good.

Ancient ruins, colonial cities and pristine beaches qualify Peru as an expat retirement destination, and the smaller coastal towns are cheaper by far than the cities. Ecuador also ticks a good few boxes, but the US expat definition of ‘cheap’ seems to involve a monthly spend of around $2,000 – hardly qualifying as an inexpensive retirement destination for the average expat from Europe or the UK.

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