The Top Three Best Places to Retire Overseas For a Low Cost of Living

Your quality of life could vastly improve if you retire overseas…and you could spend much less than you ever thought possible.

In IL’s Annual Retirement Index 2013, 23 countries are covered ranking the best places to retire overseas today.  Cost of living is one of eight categories in this Index and is an important factor for many who are considering overseas retirement.

Coming in at number 15 overall in the Index, the Philippines received a top score of 100 in the cost of living category.

In the Philippines, your dollar stretches (and stretches and stretches), and most expats live comfortably on $800 to $1,200 per month. This will fund a lot of luxuries, such as household help. In the provinces, the monthly salary for live-in maids is around $65. In a coastal town on Negros Island a haircut can cost as little as 77 cents.

In many places the monthly rent for two-bedroom apartments and bungalows is $200 to $300. Private health care is inexpensive and the Philippines is a popular destination for medical tourism.

The Philippines also has a special retiree visa. If you’re over 50 years old and have a monthly pension of $1,000, you can obtain permanent residency. Pensions and annuities are tax-exempt. And there are “retirement” options for the over-35s too.

Further up the list, coming in ninth position overall in the Index, Thailand is runner up in the cost of living category. Known as the Land of Smiles, it’s also the land of affordable living.

Thailand has a lot of living options. Some foreign retirees choose to live in the hubbub atmosphere of Bangkok. Some live in the north, where life is quiet, peaceful, and very inexpensive. Others choose the south for its beautiful beaches.

A one-bedroom condo in a modern building with all the expected amenities (plus some) will run $300 to $600 per month in many parts of the country. An “over-the-top,” luxury two-bedroom condo, with great views and 1,200 to 1,500 square feet, will rent for $1,000 to $1,200 per month.

A luxurious lifestyle for a couple is possible on $1,800 a month depending on your location, but you can do it cheaper. For far less than you’d pay back home, you get a year-round tropical climate and access to modern comforts and conveniences, including affordable, high quality medical care.

Motorbikes are a popular mode of transportation and cost about $800 for a new model and gas is just under $5 a gallon. Taxis cost $2 for a three mile journey and air conditioned buses cost 50 cents or less.

Malaysia comes in third position in the Cost of Living category…and also comes in third position overall in the Index. A former British colony, Malaysia conjures up all the mysteries of Asia. Beyond the high-rise skyscrapers of the cities, is a dramatic canvas embroidered with tropical beaches, mountains, dense rainforest, and vividly green tea plantations.

Malaysia is home to many foreign expats from around the globe, who live comfortably for less among the locals. It has a great infrastructure and foreigners are allowed to own properties freehold. The country has no inheritance tax, and places no tax on income repatriated from overseas. There’s no property capital gain tax either.

In Malaysia you’ll find excellent health care which is extremely affordable. Prescriptions here cost a fifth of what you pay at home and the cost of visiting a hospital here for a minor procedure is one tenth of what you would pay in the U.S.

The cost of living in Malaysia is low. Rent can be as little as $500 a month and entertainment as low as $100. You can have a comfortable lifestyle here including a maid service four times a week for $1,137 a month.

Retiring overseas can give you the opportunity to have a life that you only dreamed of back home. You can live better, with more luxuries and for less money than you would spend in your own country.

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