Cost of Living in Ecuador

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In Ecuador, not only can you retire on little money, you can also live very well. A couple can retire on less than $18,000 per year, and this figure is based on a very comfortable lifestyle. Many foreign residents take advantage of this low cost of living to have their main home in the city, and also own a country home, a beach property, or even property in another country…a feat that would be impossible on a comparable budget in the U.S.

Additionally, the low cost of living in Ecuador allows retirees to increase their travel, take up new hobbies and generally enjoy a better quality of life. Ecuador offers something for everyone, and at prices unheard of in North America and Europe.

If you are 65 or older it gets even better. Members of Tercera Edad, which means “Third Age” in Spanish (a much better term than “senior citizen,” don’t you think?) enjoy many special benefits in Ecuador. Like discounted airfare on flights originating in the country—half-price public transportation and admission to sporting and cultural events—half-price utilities and a free land line if you own your home. Plus you are eligible for a refund on what you spend for your monthly IVA tax on all purchases. You even have your own line at the bank and grocery store!

Here is a sample budget for a couple living very well in the city Cuenca. The expenses are, of course, approximate. We’ve erred on the side of extra spending to come up with a budget that allows for a pretty luxurious lifestyle…for barely more than $20,000 a year for two people.

Sample monthly budget for a couple in Cuenca:

Housing (rental of a luxury three-bedroom, unfurnished apartment): $500

Utilities (including phone, water/electricity, internet, and DirecTV): $155

Maid (once a week): $75

Groceries (not including alcohol): $450

Maintenance and fuel for one car: $140

Misc. (personal items, etc.): $80

Entertainment (two people dining out six times a month with drinks): $200

IESS (social security) healthcare: $80

Monthly total: $1,680
Yearly total: $20,160

But you don’t have to spend that much. The truth is, you could rent a modest apartment for as little as $350 monthly, spend $50 on utilities, do your own cleaning, eat out less often, use public transportation…and you’d be living comfortably for closer to $1100 a month—that’s only $13,200 a year.

*Prices as of 2015

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