You save up for retirement throughout your whole working career. You get so used to saving your money that now, when it comes time to spend it, you don’t feel ready. You still want to save! While you expect to have to live on a budget to make your savings last, you don’t necessarily have to give up on the quality of life that you’re used to living. If you consider retirement abroad options outside of the United States, in countries where the cost of living can be much more affordable, you can have your cake and eat it too, so to speak.
Consider first how much it costs to get by month-to-month on your regular working income in the United States. It’s likely much more than $1,200 – $2,000 per month. That’s including any rent or mortgage payments, groceries, activities, gym memberships, etc. What if you could have all of that, plus beach living, and stay right in the price range mentioned above? It may come as a surprise that the idea isn’t out of the question. There are a few countries in Central America that can provide everything you’re looking for, and more, for a much lower cost than what you’d imagine. Let’s talk about three of them.
Although real estate values in some of the more popular areas in Belize are rising, the cost to live there comfortably can still be below what you’d have to pay to live the same type of lifestyle in the United States. The cost of imported food can be relatively high on the islands, unless you choose to eat like the locals, which would mean a diet consisting of the very freshest local fruits and produce. What would be bad about that?
If you live near enough to the beach, you can allow the breeze to come through the windows and simply use ceiling fans to relax, rather than needing the use of the air conditioning (still, it’s there if you need it). Property taxes are rarely over $100-$200 annually, and you can find rent for anywhere between $300-$800 per month, if you’d prefer not to buy any property. You don’t need a car, you don’t need auto insurance or parking, and you don’t need a seasonal wardrobe. You can relax every day by the beach if you’d like. You can go fishing and visit the market places for fresh produce. Would you really feel like you were giving anything up?
In many cities in Nicaragua, you can rent a small apartment for $300 to $500, or a family-size home for $700. Groceries only cost a fraction of what you’d have to pay in the United States, and going out to eat for a nice dinner can cost as little as $15. Think $10 haircuts and $30 massages…$1-2 for a taxi. You can easily live a comfortable life for two for under $1,200 per month. What makes it even better? The climate, the beach access, and the fun sightseeing in this country.
In Nicaragua, there’s no shortage of things to do. There are beautiful colonial cities, nature escapes, volcanoes and, of course, pristine beaches. Take boat trips to visit local islands and day trips to Granada. You’re more likely to improve your quality of life with this kind of overseas retirement.
Venture off the beaten path for a slow, relaxed beach life in Panama’s rural areas – you’ll have the ability to enjoy everything you need to live comfortably for a humble budget of only $2,000 per month. Rentals generally cost about $600 and homes right on the ocean can go for around $130,000. The population speaks predominantly English, and there are some pretty favorable locations in Panama for U.S. and Canadian expats. You’ve got access to some of Central America’s finest beaches in Panama, and there are substantial discounts for retirees living on a budget. You’d get 50% off entertainment costs, 30% off transportation costs, 25% off airline tickets, discounts on medical expenses, and so much more.
All you need in order to relocate to Panama is good health, a current passport, and a monthly pension income of $1,000 per month for an individual or $1,250 per month for a couple, plus $250 per each dependent accompanying you. Not bad!
If you’re heading toward retirement and worrying about giving up some of your favorite things for life on a budget, it may not be a bad idea to consider a comfortable retirement abroad, south of the United States border. Just think of all the beaches!
Image credit: https://pixabay.com/en/panama-city-centre-church-palace-1148315/