Living Overseas on Your 401K

According to Fidelity Investments in 2012, those aged 55 and older had an average balance of $143,300 in their 401k account. But is this enough to retire on?

Maybe not in the U.S., but retiring overseas can be much more affordable than retiring in the U.S.

Many countries have special benefits for retirees such as the Pensionado program in Panama. Cost of living in Panama is quite low, but the Pensionado program has some extra discounts to make living there even easier and more affordable for retirees.

Resident pensionados are entitled to discounts including 50% off entertainment, 30% off public transport, 25% off airfares and 15% off hospital bills…plus many more perks. This can make your 401K stretch a little further.

In the Philippines, most expats can have a comfortable lifestyle on $800 to $1,200 a month. Here also there is a special retiree visa for those over 50 years old, pensions and annuities are tax-exempt.

A couple can live a luxurious lifestyle in Thailand for $2,000 a month but you can also live for much less depending on your location in the country.

There is also a low cost of living in  Malaysia with a monthly expense of $1,137 for a couple that includes a maid service four times a week.

Ecuador has a vast over-65 program of discounts and perks. The program is open to foreigners, guaranteeing them the same rights as citizens and these discounts really make a difference to your bottom line. Discounts include 50% off public and private transport, 50% off electric and water bills and free landline phone service. There are tax incentives, too.

The Qualified Retired Persons Program (QRP) in Belize gives retirees an exemption from tax on all income derived from sources outside of Belize. To qualify you must just prove that you can deposit $24,000 a year to a bank in Belize done in one deposit or spread out monthly.

If you choose to retire in Mexico you will find that there is excellent health care. In the past, expats with a valid residence visa could sign up for the national health insurance coverage, called IMSS. However the new visa system has left it unclear whether this privilege will continue. Please assume that IMSS access may depend on the IMSS  branch and the local immigration office.

Once your 60 years old you can apply for an INAPAM card which entitles you to discounts on a range of goods and services including medical care, airline tickets and entertainment.

Nicaragua’s retire benefit program includes tax incentives and duty-free importation of household goods.

These retiree benefits can significantly lower your cost of living stretching your 401K and allowing you to retire comfortably in a beautiful setting.

Editor’s Note: Learn more about these and other countries in IL’s daily postcard e-letter.  Sign up to IL’s free daily postcards here and immediately receive a free report on the World’s Top 10 Retirement Havens.



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