Best Places to Retire Overseas and Slash Your Cost of Living

A low cost of living is one of the most important factors for retirees who move overseas. You can live a  richer life overseas, probably for what you’re currently spending at home (or even less). Here are some of the top places where the cost of living is low, and the quality of life is high, according to International Living’s Annual Global Retirement Index 2014.

Guatemala is Attracting Expats Due to its Low Cost of Living

Guatemala scores a perfect 100 points in the Cost of Living category in this year’s Retirement Index. This is a beautiful and historically rich country on the Pacific Ocean, bordering Mexico and Belize to the north. A growing number of foreigners are attracted to the country due to its low cost of living. Many American couples live comfortably in the country on about $1,500 a month.

In Antigua you can rent a furnished apartment with a patio and rooftop terrace with volcano views for $350 a month. This includes electricity, water, cable and WiFi. A maid for four hours costs $6.50 and laundry around $0.75 a pound. Dining prices vary from local fare at street stalls for $1.50 to $15 at an Argentine steakhouse.

A couple can live on $940 a month in Guatemala. This includes rent, electricity, water, gas, phone, Internet and Cable TV. Groceries, entertainment, transportation, and a maid twice a week are also included.

Cambodia Ties for First Place for Affordable Living

Cambodia ties for first place with Guatemala in the Cost of Living category. Cambodia is located in Southeast Asia, bordering the Gulf of Thailand, between Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos.

Its capital, Phnom Penh, is called “the Kingdom of Wonder” and most expats can live comfortably on a budget of between $1,250 and $1,500 a month. You can rent one-bedroom apartments from as little as $200 a month, but for a good option in the center of town expect to pay $350.

Eating out is very affordable. A good Cambodian meal can cost less than $5 per person. Transport is also inexpensive—motorbike taxis offer rides around town for $1.

In the beach town of Sihanoukville, you can rent a comfortable studio apartment for less than $100 a month or a brick home for $250 a month.

A couple can live on $945 a month including rent, transport, electricity, heating, water, Internet, groceries and entertainment.

Nicaragua: Retire Well, Retire Early

Nicaragua’s lower cost of living does not mean that you have to sacrifice the quality of life you had in the U.S. or Canada. You will, in fact, probably be able to live here with more luxuries than you are used to, simply because everything is so affordable.

In Granada, Nicaragua, a couple can live comfortably on $1,445 a month. This includes rent of a  furnished, two-bedroom apartment, water, electricity, TV, phone and Internet. Groceries, entertainment, and a maid three times a week and a health care plan are also taken into consideration in this budget.

The Pacific coast is attracting a new wave of North Americans to vacation…or to retire…or at least to find a part-time escape from harsh winters. They’re drawn by the warm weather, the beautiful scenery unspoiled by large-scale development, and the low cost of living.

Expats report that they can spend as little as $1,000 per month per couple to live comfortably. Spend $2,000 a month and you live very well.

International Living’s Annual Global Retirement Index 2014 ranks the top retirement havens from all over the world across the most important categories for retirees. In the Cost of Living category, we consider not only the hard numbers (everything from the price of utilities, groceries, cable TV and a maid), but—critically—we interview expats to get the “ground truth” on these destinations.

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