The Most Affordable Places in the World

The country that takes the number-one spot in the Annual Global Retirement Index 2012 is also the clear winner in our cost of living category. A couple watching their spending here can live well on $800 a month. And even if you push the boat out, you’ll find it hard to spend more than $1,500.

Patricia Farmer and her husband Ron retired to “Number 1’s” Pacific Coast. After 10 months living there, they know what things cost. And, they report, it averages out to be a fifth the cost of life back home. “We enjoy a very comfortable lifestyle—even more luxurious than we had in California. You can live on less, no doubt, but our current budget is $1,500 a month,” says Patricia.

But it’s not just our winner that’s cheap. In our first runner-up, there’s a highland haven where expat Robin Cook rents a three-bedroom apartment for $450 a month. On the Pacific Coast here, you’ll eat out for $7. Even in the heart of the more-expensive capital city, $1,700 covers you for everything…

In the country that comes seventh overall in the Index, expats in one colonial city are spending around $1,200 a month. A small house can be $500 to $1,000 a month to rent. You can get a fantastic steak dinner in the finest restaurant for around $13. Regular fare at typical restaurants runs about half that and a “local” meal is $2 to $3. The local beers, which are good, cost from $0.75 to $1.50.

On the white-sand beaches of the 19th best place in the world to retire, according to our Index, a budget of $2,000 a month means you can live in a luxury apartment, have a maid, access good heath care…everything. And of course, you can live there comfortably for less…

For more on costs of living in our Index countries, see the current issue of International Living magazine.

Apart from the lower costs, it’s almost shocking just how many special benefits, discounts and breaks you can gain access to as a retiree overseas. In many countries in our Index, you’ll get discounts on public transportation, utilities, importing your household goods and more. But some countries stand out for the amount and quality of benefits they offer.

Our second-place country overall tops this category with an organized program of discounts and perks. The program is open to foreigners and with it you have money off that makes a big difference on the bottom line. Like 50% off for movies, 25% off the price of food eaten in a sit down restaurant; 15% off in hospitals and private clinics; 25% off domestic flights and more.

Our number-one country, too, has excellent benefits, though they’re not in an organized package. You get 50% off public and private transportation within the country; 50% off tickets for all cultural and sporting events, including movies; 50% off electric and water bills; and free domestic landline phone service. You’ll also get 50% off international airfares. And there are tax incentives too.

And there are other countries with special programs designed to attract foreign retirees. Every country on our Global Retirement Haven list offers some “retiree benefits.”

For full details, read the current issue of IL magazine. You can get instant access right now for just $1.

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