One Retirement Strategy You Haven’t Thought About: Living Abroad

Written By Mary Beth Eastman
Last updated April 28, 2020

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November 30, 2018

Simple. Thrifty. Living.

When people plan for retirement, they usually think about investing in IRAs or 401(k) plans. If you’re lucky, you might even have a pension in addition to Social Security payments.

Unfortunately, most Americans don’t have enough money to retire comfortably. That could change if you continue to save money, invest wisely, and consider moving to another country after you retire.

If you’re interested in living abroad, you should consider these four countries with low costs of living.

Mexico has plenty of lovely coastal towns where you can spend your retirement lounging on the beach, learning to surf, and chasing big fish. As long as you do a little research before moving to Mexico, you can choose a safe, attractive location that feels like home.

The exchange rate from U.S. dollars to Mexicans pesos will also help you save a lot of money. Prices vary from place to place, but you can live a full, fun life on about $1,000 per month. You won’t find many American cities where you can live comfortably on such a small amount of money.

American tourists have traveled to Costa Rica for decades because they want to save money while enjoying themselves as much as possible.

In Costa Rica, you can expect a dollar to go a little further than it will in Mexico. Additionally, you can save on health care costs by enrolling in the country’s national health care system, Caja. A couple can join the plan for about $100 per month. You’ll never find a deal that good in the U.S.

Moving to Costa Rica will help you stretch your retirement savings. It will also give you a chance to experience some of the most beautiful places in the world. Costa Rica has mountains to hike and beaches to lie on.

If you don’t mind traveling farther, consider moving to Spain during your retirement. It costs more to live in Spain than Mexico or Costa Rica, but you benefit from Europe’s excellent infrastructure. From Spain, you can visit any country in Europe without spending a lot of money.

Don’t forget that Spain has a culinary culture that will delight your senses. When you live there, you get to take your time trying wines, seafood, and other dishes from around the country.

If Spain seems slightly too expensive for you, then head to Portugal. Portugal offers a similar lifestyle, but you’ll spend a little less money. For the best real estate prices, avoid Lisbon, the capital of Portugal. Instead, focus on rural towns where people live cheaply without sacrificing quality.

Where you live plays an important role in your retirement funding. Look outside of the U.S. to find great deals during your retirement.

About the Author

Mary Beth Eastman

Mary Beth Eastman serves as the content manager for Simple. Thrifty. Living, where she is dedicated to helping readers use money and credit wisely. Mary Beth believes that access to the right financial information paired with a growth mindset are essential tools for getting out of debt and building wealth. Mary Beth has a degree in Journalism from Bowling Green State University and has focused her 20-year journalism career on putting readers front and center, carefully considering their concerns and presenting information that will help them in their everyday lives. She has won numerous statewide journalism awards. Her writing on personal finance as been featured on numerous websites in addition to Simple. Thrifty. Living, including Huffington Post and Lexington Law blog. Mary Beth resides in Pittsburgh, Pa., with her family and two rescue dogs.

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