Retired US expats can live the good life on a budget

Published:  21 Aug at 6 PM
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As prices increase across the USA, more and more retirees are becoming expats enjoying a better quality of life at far less cost.

Americans, it seems, aren’t great at saving for retirement. A recent report released by the Economic Policy Institute suggests the average American retirement nest egg is as low as $5,000. Those getting close to retirement are doing slightly better with some $17,000 but, with prices rising month by month, that’s not exactly a comfort zone. Whilst costs in the USA do vary across the states, it’s now obvious that basic necessities such as healthcare and long term care are becoming more expensive every year. However, many older people are finding a comfortable retirement is far easier outside their home country.

Whilst personal preferences vary, one retirement dream is common across all types of retirees – relaxing on the beach of a tropical island sipping a favourite alcoholic drink and watching the world go by. Kingston, Jamaica is deservedly popular for its low cost of living, delicious island cuisine, a lively music scene and plenty of new friends. A large, furnished apartment costs around $700 a month, with smaller condos in less pricey areas fetching an average of $300.

The historic Mexican city of Chihuahua has charming architecture and glorious mountain views as well as a plethora of shopping centres and malls. Low healthcare costs are a big bonus for retired expats, and many local hospitals advertise American healthcare standards. It’s possible to take advantage of Mexico’s social security system at a cost of $300 a year once you’ve established your residency, Apartments in expensive areas cost less than $450 a month.

Adventurous expats could do far worse than head for Manila, the capital of the Philippines, for its large expat community and the welcome news that English is widely spoken. Slightly more expensive than the two options above, it’s still affordable, with condos in less affluent areas renting for $350 a month and larger units in upscale areas at around $1,000.

Romantic Italy is the perfect retirement hub, with the hidden gem of Turin famous as the country’s food capital. Inexpensive healthcare is covered by private health insurance at a far lower cost than in the UK, and is of good standard overall. Rental costs are low, ranging between $450 a month in less exclusive areas to larger apartments in upscale locations at around $850.

Visiting your chosen destination for a few weeks will give you an idea about the wisdom of your decision – if it’s negative you can just move on to your next choice and try again.
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