10 Cheapest Countries to Retire Without Leaving the Americas

This is going to be a fun article to write, and hopefully to read. And just to make it clear, these will not be the 10 absolute dirt-poor, cheapest places in the whole world. This article is about the 10 cheapest countries to retire, in the Americas. So Europe and Southeast Asia will have to wait for another article.

Why the Americas?

Here is a list of important reasons to consider Central America and South America – at least those countries that are safe for US Citizens. In our experience, this is a wonderful part of the world in which to live as a US Expat – Retiree.

  1. Travel to/from the US and Canada is much quicker, easier, and less expensive.
  2. Because of #1, you will get many more visitors.🙂
  3. Only one language to learn – Spanish (This is why Brazil has never been on our list.)
  4. Cost of Living is 1/5 to 1/2 compared to the USA.
  5. Weather in the mountains is just right.  A/C and heat are not needed.
  6. For beach lovers, you have access to thousands of miles on 2 coasts. But you will need A/C.
  7. Good to very good, low-cost healthcare.  Total cost is often less than deductibles in the USA.
  8. Adventure, beauty, lots of new experiences waiting for you.
  9. In many places, a car is optional.  That can save a ton of money.
  10. Within a year or two, you will have many new, very good friends for the rest of your life.

A Few Things I Want You To Know

I just want you to know that I have no hidden agenda; I have no sponsor paying me to say this or that. The large websites like to alternate the top cities every year to keep all their sponsors happy. That is not what you will read here. And although I will admit to having a clear bias towards Medellin, Colombia, I promise to give you facts, not my opinions.

To write this article, I gathered rankings from 4 different sources. These sources say they consider many factors, of which cost of living is only one. To write this article, I felt I had to give more weight to published indices that compare the cost of living factors, including rental costs, eating out, etc. The site Numbeo.com publishes data that allows for these comparisons. So I added two more lines of data to determine what I call “The Cheapest, Best places to retire in the Americas.

Living in Central and South America for the past 3 1/2 years has been a marvelous adventure for us. This blog post is designed to share as much information as possible. My goal is for you to have the facts you need to make an informed decision. To the extent beneficial to you, some of this will be based on our experiences or what we have heard from friends. The rest will be from searching for everything I could find. You can decide for yourselves.

Since the Table of Contents gave away the order, let’s start with the best and move through to number 10.

#1. Mexico – Largest, Closest, Most Familiar

10 Cheapest Countries to Retire-Chichen Itza, Mexico
Chichen Itza, Mexico

Mexico is probably the most familiar to people in North America. And it has an incredible range of places to visit or live in retirement. There are destinations with large, active Expat communities, and obtaining residency is very fast and easy. Mexico is #1 of our 10 cheapest countries to retire because most publishers rate it as one of the top 3 places for North Americans to retire. Several of these publishers score it as their number 1, and its Cost of Living + Rent is 4th lowest on our list. So even though it might not be the cheapest, there are other important factors to consider. One of which is how much less it will cost to fly to/from North America.

Mexico’s Best Sites are “Household Names”

10 Cheapest Countries to Retire-Cancun, Mexico on the Caribbean
Cancun is near the top of the Yucatan Peninsula and known for its beautiful beaches and fancy resorts.

You will already be familiar with many of the names because Can Cun, Puerto Vallarta, Cabo San Lucas, Acapulco, and Cozumel are all world-famous. But there are also wonderful places you may not know about that are great places to live either part or full-time. Here are a few for you to consider:

  • San Miguel de Allende
  • Ajijic on Lake Chapala
  • Merida
  • Playa del Carmen
  • Mazatlán
  • Huatulco

Mexico offers every type of destination – Pacific and Caribbean beaches, mountains, very large cities, and places for solitude. And you will not be too far from an International Airport for easy trips to the USA, or other International destinations. And don’t forget the wonderful tacos!

Other Considerations

Mexico is very popular with North American Retirees. There are many large and small Expat communities to provide new friends and experiences. And you also have lots of choices for where and how you want to live. If you want a beachfront luxury condo in Acapulco or Cozumel, you aren’t looking for cheap! But in most places, a couple can live very comfortably for $2,500 per month or less. All-in-all, a great choice.

Travel Size Kits for Any Occasion!

#2. Ecuador – Diverse, Beautiful, and Inexpensive

10 Cheapest Countries-Chimborazo Volcano - The Highest Peak in Ecuador at 20,580 feet
Chimborazo Volcano – the highest peak in Ecuador at 20,580 feet

Ecuador, specifically Cuenca, has been creeping near the top of several lists for a few years. But when you add weight to the economic factors, it rose just enough to edge out number 2. Ecuador’s cost of living plus rent is an astounding 27% of USA/NYC. But surprisingly, this is only 4th best among our countries. If you combine that low rate with no need for a car, you can start to understand how much we saved when we lived there. We did very well on our monthly Social Security.

We have an interesting story to share about healthcare. A friend of ours was visiting Cuenca, and she fell while walking downtown and broke her shoulder in 4 places. Within about 45 minutes, she was checking into the hospital, the surgeon was on his way. The surgery took place later that evening. Eventually, when she returned to the US, she had a doctor double check just to be sure. The doctor told her the surgery was perfect.

Cuenca – Cultural Capital of Ecuador

10 Cheapest Countries to Retire-"New" Cathedral in Cuenca , Ecuador. Completed 1870
“New” Cathedral in Cuenca, Ecuador. Completed in 1870. Across the Main Square from the “Old” Cathedral which was completed in 1650.

We lived in Cuenca, Ecuador for 3 months. I could ride a bus anywhere in the city for 12.5 cents. We had a beautiful 3 bedroom furnished apartment which cost only $650 per month. And I could walk practically anywhere I needed to go. We also had two of the best hospitals in the city within walking distance.

For us, there was only one problem – the altitude. At 8,500 feet, the air was a little thin, and we were cold most of the time. Average temp is between 55 and 75 F). We could not wear shorts. So, blue jeans and long-sleeved shirts with a light jacket became our standard “uniform”. It sounds silly because we were just slightly south of the Equator!

Guayaquil and the Pacific

10 Cheapest Countries to Retire-Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Guayaquil is the 2nd largest city in Ecuador with a population of 2.6 million. It is the main port and is considered the “Commercial” capital of the country. Located on the Bay of Guayaquil, it is not actually on the coast. But once there, you can easily catch a bus to the popular beach communities, such as Salinas, Monteverde, or Puerto Lopez, where you can catch a boat for a day trip to Isla de la Plata, a home for the Blue-Footed Boobie. While in Monteverde, we took some great videos of the red sun sinking slowly into the Southern Pacific Ocean.

Ecuador is a beautiful place to live, and the Expat community in Cuenca was very supportive. We had many opportunities to visit and spend time together. And it is the only place we have visited that has a part of the city called “Gringolandia”!

 Nomatic Life on the Move

#3. Colombia – Cheapest and Our Current Home

If you hear the word, Colombia, chances are you immediately think cocaine and Pablo Escobar. The notorious Escobar was killed in 1993, and that was the beginning of the end of the “Cocaine Wars”. Colombia is now a much safer and calmer country. We have lived here for a year, and have never felt unsafe. And Colombia has been seeing both increased tourism and increased new residents from North America as well as the rest of the world for many years.

Destinations

10 Cheapest Countries to Retire-Medellin Colombia's beautiful Santa Fe Mall with its retractable roof open
This is the beautiful Santa Fe Mall in Poblado Barrio of Medellin, Colombia. Santa Fe is 2 blocks from our apartment.

Medellin, Colombia, 2nd largest city in Colombia is now our home. And we intend to stay here indefinitely. Colombia is number 1 of the 10 cheapest countries to retire in this article. It has the lowest cost of living in all the countries in this post. Cost of Living + Rent is 20% of USA/NYC. That means your retirement income will go 5 times as far. And that is our experience.

Bogota is 3 times the size of Medellin, and it has a large International Airport with flights to most of the popular international destinations. So even though Colombia is the cheapest, you aren’t giving up modern conveniences to move here.

A few weeks ago, we visited an area called “The Coffee Triangle”. Of course, you know Colombia is the home of “Juan Valdez” and his burro. Colombia grows some of the best coffee in the world. It is a beautiful part of Colombia, and we look forward to many more trips to visit our new home country.

Other Important Information

Obtaining a Resident Visa is easy and very inexpensive. Public transportation is cheap and readily available. The Metro Train system in Medellin would be the envy of most large US cities. For about 75 cents I can ride between the southernmost and northernmost parts of the city with connecting buses everywhere. We do not need or want to own a car. You should put it on your shortlist of places to visit.

#4. Panama – Don’t Let The Small Size Fool You

The new addition to the Panama Canal. Panama is #4 of the 10 Cheapest Countries to Retire in the Americas.
Huge container ship entering the Panama Canal on the Caribbean side at the new Agua Clara Locks

Panama has been ranked at the top of almost every list for at least the past 10 years. It is #4 on our list of the 10 cheapest countries to retire in the Americas. The tiny country of Panama has been attracting citizens from North America, I guess since we built the Canal over 100 years ago. And there are many good reasons why Panama is so attractive.

The cost of living in Panama is not the cheapest, which is why it is not number 1 on this list. But at a CLI +Rent of only 39% compared to the USA/NYC, living here can still be very affordable. It is an excellent place to retire, and there are many choices available for you to reduce the cost. And one more nice benefit – Panama’s currency is the US Dollar.

Boquete in the Mountains

Boquete, Panama was our first choice both before and after we visited. It is in the mountains (3,000-6,000 feet) which cool things off a lot. Boquete is beautiful, everything grows well there, and it has the most active Expat community of all the places we have lived and visited. It is tiny – only about 30,000 people in total. Having a car is almost mandatory to be comfortable. Those walks uphill can be exhausting.

Panama City on the Pacific Coast

Panama City, Panama Skyline. Panama is one of the 10 cheapest countries to retire in the Americas.
Panama City, Panama

The largest city in Panama is Panama City. There are lots of things to do and see. Also, public transportation is readily available, and there are many more choices for restaurants. It is at sea level which makes it quite a bit warmer than in the mountains. It is much less expensive to live there than in Boquete mostly because of lower rent and not needing a car. But if you intend to travel, it is very convenient. Tocumen International Airport (PTY) has flights to destinations all over the world.

In between Panama City and Boquete are many other choices. Panama is shaped like an “S” lying on its side. This makes for a long narrow country with two long coastlines, so getting close to the water will not be a problem. It also has mountains, including the 11,000-foot Volcán Barú. We lived in Boquete for 17 months and were very content. But our quest for adventure eventually won out.



#5. Costa Rica – The Land of “Pura Vida”

Costa Rica (“CR”) is one of the most popular countries in Latin America. In most years it tops lists of best places for North Americans to retire. However, our focus on the cost of living dropped it to #5 of the 10 cheapest countries to retire without leaving the Americas. Many people compare the Northwest Coastal area with Southern California. The good news is that CR is much less expensive than Southern California. However, it is one of the most expensive countries on our list. We lived in San Jose for a month, and I came away from that experience believing we could live cheaper in Houston than in San Jose. Here is a link to another of my articles about Costa Rica.

10 Cheapest Countries to Retire-Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica
Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica

Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. The articles I found said a retired couple could easily live in parts of CR for less than $2,500 per month. An individual could cut that to $1,500. But each couple is different. As always, I recommend an extended visit of 3 months on just your Tourist Visa. Then maybe do the same in a few more places that caught your interest. After a year, you will have much more information on which to base a decision.

CR has two coasts to choose from. The “Gold Coast” is the Guanacaste area in the Northwest part of CR along the Pacific Ocean. Surfing is very good and very popular here. Then there is the Caribbean coast area around Puerto Viejo de Talamanca. There won’t be as much surfing there, but the water should be much clearer and allow for good snorkeling.

There are also mountainous areas. Check out the pic of Arenal Volcano. When we were there, the top was covered with clouds. So you can live at sea level or you can choose higher elevations. Costa Rica is a good choice, but I would check out some others before making a permanent move.

#6. Peru – High Altitude Living

We had never considered living in Peru, but when we visited in 2016, we found several places that could be comfortable. Whether you live there or just visit, you will find breathtaking examples of Incan engineering and construction expertise.  At #6 on the 10 cheapest countries to retire in the Americas, it is well worth a visit.

Six hundred years ago, the Incans perfected the art of constructing and living at seriously high altitudes.  When you land at Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport in Cusco, you will be at almost 11,000 feet.  So you need a day or two just to acclimate to the altitude.  Machu Picchu is built at about 9,400 feet.  And at one point during our trip from Arequipa to the Colca Canyon, we hit 16,050 feet – on a bus!

Cusco, Peru was the Headquarters for the Incan Empire

The Incans are especially well known for the thousands of terraces they built into the mountains.  And they built them to last because they are still standing to this day.  Their irrigation systems were amazing!  How did they know how to get just the right amount of water to all those terraces?  You will see excellent examples all over the country.  Peru is a beautiful, yet stark land and we encourage you to plan your visit soon.  Machu Picchu should be on your “bucket list”, but there is much more to see.  We stayed for almost a month.  If we had not already made our travel arrangements, we most likely would have stayed at least 3 months.

Paulette and Steve Thousands of Feet Above the Sacred Valley Outside Cusco, Peru
Our friends, Eric and Wanda Ruple took this excellent picture of us at a stop on one of our tours. Below is the beautiful Sacred Valley near Cusco, Peru.

Lima – On the coast, but cooler than we expected.

Beautiful Lima Peru Pacific Coastline
The Pacific coastline of Lima, Peru is beautiful and unique.

Lima, on the Pacific coast, is a huge city with almost 10 million residents. The cost of living is very low so it is well worth some research time and possibly a visit.  You will not go hungry. We spent a week there, had some great food, and enjoyed the views of the Pacific and the Paragliders buzzing us at the mall.

The rent seems quite a bit higher than other places in South America, but that may just be in the most expensive areas. There is plenty to do so you won’t get bored. The best suggestion I can make is to do what we called a “check-it-out visit” for 3 months. By that time, you should know whether it is for you or not.

Arequipa helps make Peru one of the 10 cheapest countries to retire

Belgian Pipe Organ in the Basilica in Arequipa
This Pipe Organ is located in the Basilica on the main square of Arequipa, Peru. This beautiful instrument was built in Belgium and shipped to Arequipa in 1854. Many years later during a massive earthquake, a large section of the roof collapsed and just missed the pipe organ by 10 feet.

Arequipa was a total surprise. We had never heard of it, but our friends had selected it for a visit and we tagged along. It is a delightful city with modern hotels, apartments, and shopping malls. Much like Medellin, we had two modern shopping malls within a few blocks of our Airbnb apartment, which was beautiful and comfortable. But again at 8,500 feet average elevation, with desert-like conditions, I’m not sure how comfortable we would be long-term.

We met a wonderful young couple, Kyle and Hannah Shreve.  They were Baptist missionaries to Arequipa.  Kyle spent several hours with me giving a tour of the Christian School and explaining their mission.  We left Arequipa with another great new Christian friendship.

Colca Canyon and the Condors

From Arequipa, we took an overnight tour to see Colca Canyon.  During the bus ride, our tour guide mentioned repeatedly how we had to be careful and prepare ourselves for the altitude.  The number one suggestion is Coca leaves.  That’s right, the basic ingredient of cocaine.  They suggest you either chew the leaves or drink a tea made with the leaves.  Don’t worry, you won’t get high on the leaves.  In fact, just the opposite.  The leaves will clear your throbbing head and help you breathe at the seriously high altitude.

On that trip, we had to cross over a mountain chain.  At one point, we reached 16,050 feet – on a bus! One of my friends asked if we had to share the oxygen molecule.  And during that trip, we saw many more examples of the terraces built by the Incans that are still in use today for farming.

In looking for AirBnB’s in Peru, everyone made a big deal about hot water, as though it was a luxury. With that and the altitude, I would be concerned about living there. And there is also a question about internet dependability and speed. So be sure and check that out.

#7. Paraguay – Your Happy Place

The primary reason Paraguay is on this list is that it is the 2nd of our 10 cheapest countries to retire in the Americas. Totally land-locked, Paraguay has had more than its fair share of political drama. Despite that, Paraguay has twice been voted “The Happiest Country in the World”.

Destinations

Asuncion is the largest city and the Capital of Paraguay. It is also one of the oldest cities in South America. The weather is quite warm in the summer, so you will have to factor in the cost of air conditioning. The country gets 100% of its power from hydroelectric, which is a very clean source of energy.

Other Considerations

Iguazu Falls, Paraguay. Despite being one of the 10 cheapest countries to retire, it is still very scenic.
Iguazu Falls on the border of Paraguay, Brazil, and Argentina. Don’t miss it!

The Cost of Living index is a mere 21% of USA/NYC, so your retirement check will cover most, if not all of your living expenses. And if you go, you absolutely must visit Iguazu Falls!

#8. Bolivia – An Undiscovered Jewel

When I started my research, I didn’t think Bolivia would get anywhere near the top 10. But after learning so much more about this large land-locked country, I believe it just might be a place to seriously check out. That is one of the things I looked forward to in retirement – going to a place and staying for several months instead of 1 or 2 weeks.

First, to focus on the title of this article, Bolivia is very affordable. Its COL Index is 23%. The comments I have read say a couple can easily live in one of the major cities for $2,000 or less. Rents, restaurants, groceries, and taxis are all super-low. With the very high Andes Mountains and the Amazon rainforest, you have your choice of weather and scenery.

Destinations

La Paz is the capital and its metropolitan area boasts a population of 2.4 million. It is located in a valley within the Andes Mountains at nearly 12,000 feet, making it the highest capital city in the world. It is located 42 miles southeast of Lake Titicaca, which Bolivia shares with Peru. This lake is huge, the size of Puerto Rico, and is the highest lake in the world at 12,500 feet. Because of its location and altitude, average temperatures are significantly cooler than many other destinations in South America.

Cochabamba is another city further south. Like Medellin, Cochabamba is called the City of Eternal Spring. But at 8,400 feet it has similar altitude and weather to Cuenca, Ecuador.

Other Considerations

Bolivia looks to be a very rugged country that will challenge retirees. I found mixed comments about the quality of life issues. Healthcare doesn’t appear to be nearly as strong as some other countries on this list. And poverty is a serious issue. So I would recommend a personal visit of at least 3 months to be sure it is the right place for you. But you can afford to live there.

#9. Uruguay – European Flavor in South America

Rambla Beach at Montevideo, Uruguay, # 9 of 10 cheapest countries to retire in the Americas.
Rambla Beach at Montevideo, Uruguay

Uruguay is very unique. It is much different than any other country on our list. It is located on the Atlantic Coast south of Brazil and East and North of Argentina. Montevideo, the capital and largest city sits at the southernmost point of Uruguay on the Atlantic Coast where the Rio de la Plata flows into the ocean. Over half the population lives there. About 88% of the population is of European descent, mostly from Spain and Italy.

Uruguay is one of the most expensive countries on our list. But its COL + Rent factor is still only 38% in comparison with USA/NYC. It is about half when compared to our hometown of Houston, Texas. So there is still some significant savings in living here, just not as much as many of our other countries.

Another unique fact is there are no mountains in Uruguay. The highest point is only 1,618 feet. It has 4 distinct seasons, where many of our countries have only 1. If you would like more information on Uruguay, you may click this link.

#10. Guatemala – It Is Larger Than It Looks

To prepare this blog, I watched a video titled “10 Things That Shock Tourists”. One point was particularly appropriate. “Guatemala has two mountain ranges and 33 volcanos. It will take longer than you think to get places.”

Destinations

Guatemala is the last country on our list. But don’t despair. At a Cost of Living Index of only 28% of USA/NYC, your Social Security check will go a long way here. Guatemala City is the largest urban area in all of Central America with a population of almost 3 million. But it is dwarfed by the huge cities in South America.

The two most popular areas for Expats are relatively close to Guatemala City. The first is the historic city of Antigua, only 25 miles from Guatemala City. And Lake Atitlan with its many volcanos and Mayan villages is only 75 miles from Guatemala City. Being that close gives you great access to the best healthcare facilities and the International Airport.

Other Considerations

So far, we have not had the opportunity to visit Guatemala, but we want to. All those volcanos have to be worth seeing. And I am a sucker for spectacular waterfalls. And living there is incredibly affordable. So I think Guatemala deserves serious consideration.

Final Thoughts

I’ve shown you 10 countries where you can afford to live, and which could provide a high quality of life for your retirement. My wife and I have been living outside the USA for 3 1/2 years, and we love it. Give it a try and please let me know. And please add a comment below. Thanks for your visit.

Steve and Paulette Tuggle

12 thoughts on “10 Cheapest Countries to Retire Without Leaving the Americas”

  1. Wow, that’s an amazing article to read. It is true that the cost of living in the US is high and I believe we must always travel around the world, there’s beauty everywhere, whether the cost of living is cheaper or expensive. 

    It seems like you currently live in Ecuador, I know it’s a beautiful place to live. My only concern while living outside is it’s LANGUAGE, have you ever faced language issue in other countries? 

    I live in India and the cost of living is cheaper here as well. $300-$500 p.m. is all you need to live in a good metro city.
    Thanks a lot for sharing this interesting information. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

  2. Excellent information about retiring to these countries.  This has inspired me to write something similar about which states are the best to retire to.  This also made me want to travel to these destinations.  Since it won’t quit snowing in the high Rockies this spring, I really am longing for palm trees and sand.  I like that you included cost of living,  That is definately a concern for retirees.  Thanks for the info and the writing ideas!  Rhonda

  3. This is a brilliant article!  I love the insightful perspectives shared given you’ve personally checked some of these places out.

    I am quite torn in trying to decide because each place seem to very intriguing.  I think I need to think through a very strong checklist of what I need to have when considering each place so that I can narrow things down.

    But hey, who says I have to pick one place?  With attractive Cost of Living rates across all, maybe I should country hop during my retirement! 🙂

    That’s why I find your article brilliant … you’re making me look forward to my retirement! 

  4. Hello! Steve and Paulette,

    Thank you for the information of retiring outside USA. Honestly, I never thought about that but now i thing this is the greatest thing one could do especially the way the cost of living here in the USA is rising.

    All I knew about some of the places you mentioned were for tourism and could be very expensive. Glad you are the example because you are living in one of those places.

    Indeed other places are good but the language problem. Learning one language is great. Very true, with the technology now, transferring money from the USA to other countries is not a problem anymore.

    I will share this very important information with my wife. This has given me ideas. I will continue to get more information from your website. We could start planning now and when time time comes we can explore and see whats best.

    Once again, thank you very much for the information

    Best regards

    Smart

  5. Thanks for this great and informative post!

    I’ve been to several of the countries you’ve mentioned here.  They are beautiful, I’m particular to Cartagena myself.  That said, all of my visits have been while on vacation.

    My current retirement plan is a place in Alaska during summer and a sailboat in the Caribbean, but that’s not really an inexpensive option and I’m still trying to figure out how to achieve it.

    These top 10 destinations are looking pretty sweet.  The cost of living comparisons are quite alluring.

    Thanks again.  You’ve definitely given me food for thought!

    Scott

  6. I don’t know your name, and for some reason the WA site doesn’t give me your WA profile name.  Really not sure why that is, but I hope you won’t wait too long to retire.  It is a lot of fun, and country hopping was our plan until we found Medellin, Colombia.  This place is perfect for us.

    Based on the article, please tell me which two are your favorites and worth a visit.

  7. Rhonda, I appreciate that comment.  And I look forward to reading your article.  Check out Arkansas.  I really hope many people find my post and start thinking.  You simply can’t afford much of anything in the US on social security.  But in most of these countries, the average wage is under $1,000 per month, and they somehow figure out how to make it work.  If they can, then smart Americans can do the same. 

  8. Scott, you are welcome.  If you would, please tell me which two are most appealing to you.  Oh, and two of our close friends here lived on their sailboat for 11 years.  Started in Texas, moseyed around the Gulf to the other side of Florida.  Then they struck out across the Gulf to a tiny island close to Cancun.  Eventually ended up in Guatemala where they sold the boat and moved here to Medellin.

  9. Akshay, thank you very much for your thoughtful comment and question.  I lived in Ecuador for 3 months, but I’ve been living in Colombia for a year.

    As far as language issues, it was not a problem in Roatan and Panama because there were so many English speakers.  But in South America, there are very few who speak and understand English.  We keep telling ourselves that it is time to concentrate and learn Spanish.  And it is not a hard language – not nearly as hard as it is for foreigners to learn English.

    But we get by with our Google Translate.  And if we have a real dilemma, we have a lady who helps us with many things and makes it easier to live here.  So don’t let language talk you out of a terrific adventure.

  10. Hey Smart, thanks for the comment.  Please tell me which two countries are your favorites based on my article.  It took me about 5 days to write it and add the images.

    I hope you and your wife will catch these ideas.  When you retire and you’re trying to figure out how to live on your retirement income, remember this article.  You can do it here, but I know of no place in the US where you can, even if your house and cars are paid off.

    Does anyone else agrees or disagrees about living on Social Security?

  11. Steve, wonderful article that reflects such great personal experience and, clearly, much research.

    With costs continuing to climb, retirement abroad will appeal to larger numbers of retirees annually. Rents are just ridiculous in the US now and homeownership is infected with rising home insurance and property taxes along with maintenance costs. Even with a property paid for, the 3 continuing costs may out price many retirees living only in social security.

    For me, the hardest part of living abroad is the language issue. I just struggle learning a new language. Thankfully, there has always been someone nearby who can help out. Google Translate worked so well in Medellin; however, in places like Honduras, where the language is so full of slang and is not a formal or more proper Spanish, the computer gives some really wonky translations. My cleaning lady asked for something. Google said it was “trout” like the fish. She actually needed a cleaning solution! We were worlds apart on the language!!

    Healthcare availability, cost, and quality is my largest concern for a retirement spot. Places like Bolivia may be off the “live there” list but I would not hesitate to visit on an extended visa.

    Thanks for the insight on each of the ten locales!

  12. You see, Debbie, that’s why we came to Roatan, so you would have someone who spoke “Southern”!

    And you are right on about the cost comparison. Even our meager social security is 3-4 times the average monthly wage earned by Colombians in Medellin. We live in a fairly small apartment, but we’re only 2 blocks from 2 modern shopping malls. And we have at least 200 restaurants within a 5 block walk. I can’t imagine what a location like that would cost in the States. And I’m not sure where you would find such a place, especially with the amazing weather we have.

    As far as the language, we occasionally run into a situation we can’t handle with Google Translate. But we have a secret weapon. Her name is Angie. We call her our “facilitator”. She arranges transportation, she helped us sign up for health insurance, and any time, I have a “language emergency”, I call her and she talks with the person and solves the problem. Of course, we pay her for this service, but it is a small cost for what she is able to achieve. We recommend her to everyone.

    So of the 10, which were your 2 favorites?

Leave a Comment