After visiting for the first time, you’ll understand why so many expats decide to retire in Chile. It offers a first-world lifestyle at affordable rates so that your retirement pension can stretch further without feeling like you had to make too many sacrifices. Chile has run a smooth, and peaceful democracy since 1990 and promises a steady economy for those wary of involving themselves in a tumultuous or otherwise unpredictable market. This country is modern and safe, which is important for any place you’d want to call home.
Banking and Cost of Living in Chile
Chile’s currency is the Chilean Peso (CLP), which is sub-divided into 100 centavos. Those smaller coins were taken out of circulation, however, so you’ll find that Pesos are rounded up to the nearest number. It’s possible to open a bank account in one of Chile’s large banks before you move. The most notable banks for this are: Banco Central de Chile, Banco de Chile, Banco Santander-Chile and BancoEstado.
Opening a local bank account in Chile can be difficult, and usually requires that an expat has residency for two years before beginning the process. Many choose to simply keep their foreign accounts and let their banks know about their travel plans. Most major credit cards are widely accepted in Chile as well, so there’s always an option.
As far as taxes are concerned, expat residents don’t have to pay any Chilean taxes for the first three years of residency. After those three years have gone by, any income made within or without the country would have to be taxed. However, this does not include retirement pensions, which is usually quite a relief for many expats. It’s also good to know that the exchange rate from U.S. Dollars to the Chilean Peso would work in favor of the dollar. One CLP is equal to .0015 USD. Depending on where you choose to live, this can make Chile a very affordable option for retirement. On average, a one-bedroom apartment in Chile rents for under $500 USD/month, and a three-bedroom apartment rents for under $900/month.
While Chile is a thin country on the map, its length spans from the southern border of Peru down to the very southern tip of Argentina and all along Argentina’s border. The weather at the northernmost part of the state is dry. This is where the Atacama Desert is located, the driest desert in the world. Continue to move south from there and the weather grows milder and more fertile, and then continue to the very south of the country for snow-capped mountains. You can find any type of environment you’d want in Chile, with beaches and mountains all along the east and west borders. Those who choose to retire in Chile suffer no shortage of options in this regard.
You’ll find that most of Chile’s population is concentrated in and around the capital city of Santiago. From here, beaches aren’t too far away and you’ve got a good central location from anything you’d want to visit or see.
Life in Santiago would offer options for activities like dining, bars and nightclubs, as well as gyms, shopping and outdoor markets. There are also skiing opportunities in the mountains just outside of the city, and a canyon, Cajon de Maipo, for those who prefer hiking, biking and camping.
For those who would prefer to live near the beach, cities like Valparaiso, La Serena or Antofagasta can offer many of the same city advantages, but with more opportunity for beach activities like scuba diving, surfing, parasailing, fishing and boating.
Country life offers a more relaxed lifestyle with a small-town feel. The central valley of Chile has a Mediterranean climate, mild all year round, and life is slower and quieter there. For those who wish to retire in Chile and live in the countryside, it’s better to work remote, since jobs can be difficult to find outside of the cities.
Retire in Chile
Chile’s retirement visa requires proof of sufficient income, which can be earned in the form of a pension, savings account, social security, a stock portfolio or property ownership in Chile. This country doesn’t let you know ahead of time what amount of income will prove sufficient for this visa because it is based on where you will choose to live. You’ll have to do some extra research based on your city of choice to find out the right number for your own circumstances. A great place to start is to check out some of the most popular expat destinations and neighbourhoods in Chile.