Catch these cheap expat destinations before it’s too late

Published:  27 Mar at 6 PM
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As the global expat community soars, it’s inevitable that costs of living will rise, even in the most economical destinations.

Not everyone who leaves the home country for a future overseas has a generous salary plus perks or a gold-plated pension, with many of the world’s best-loved retirement destinations also some of the least expensive as regards costs of living and housing. It should be borne in mind that pensions paid in home country currency might be affected by the ups and downs of the currency exchange marketplace, but events such as the 2008 financial crash are thankfully rare.

Once known mainly as a haven for British retirees, Portugal is now becoming a favourite with American expats for its stunningly beautiful Algarve region as well as its pleasantly warm weather. Rentals as well as property prices are still on the inexpensive side, although how long that will continue is anyone’s guess. Expats who register with the local healthcare authority as legal residents can take advantage of the country’s more than satisfactory public health care, thus saving a good deal of money on expensive private health insurance.

It’s now Vietnam’s turn to wear the crown as the most popular Southeast Asian country for expats, whether retirees, small business owners or entrepreneurs. Its economy is growing at an amazing rate, and its beachside towns are still quietish, beautiful and packed with friendly locals. A basic budget of around $500 a month buys all that’s needed, and eating out is cheap enough to be possible every night. For a very ‘different’ expat retiree haven, Belize is a good choice due to its fascinating Mayan history, lush rain forests and unspoiled coral reefs. It’s the epitome of a peaceful Caribbean hideaway, with English spoken almost everywhere.

For eco-friendly expats who don’t mind European-style winters, Slovenia’s small capital city of Ljubljana is the place, with its car-free streets, green parks and sustainable environment all major plus points. The Dutch environmental group Green Destinations crowned this pretty place as the world’s greenest city, and it’s still an affordable destination for those on less than generous pensions. For USA retirees, Panama offers a lifestyle easily afforded on the average USA pension, with the advantage being there are no expat exchange rate blues as the dollar is its legal currency.
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