Alert
Close

   

Enter the Family Fun Travel Sweepstakes. No purchase necessary. See official rules

Highlights

Open
AARP Family Vacation - Photo Contest

Driver Safety

Piggy bank on the road - AARP Driver Safety

Take the new AARP Smart Driver Course!

You Could Choose Your Dream Vacation
Happy African American couple

AARP Books

Visit the Money Section

Enjoy titles on retirement, Social Security, and becoming debt-free.

Jobs You Might Like

most popular
articles

Viewed

Ask Sid

For Affordable Retirement, Think Abroad

Study: Americans can live well in other countries

En español | Q. How much cheaper can it be to retire in a foreign country — and which countries are the most budget-friendly?

A. According to a recent study by International Living, Americans could retire 10 years earlier — and enjoy a higher standard of living — by moving beyond our country’s borders.

Sign up for the AARP Money Newsletter.

To where? In a comparison of 19 foreign countries, Ecuador is the overall winner, with the lowest cost of living and real estate, reports the 2012 Global Retirement Index. The South American country places second (after Panama) in “special benefits” programs for retirees. Panama offers the pensionado, which provides foreigners with 30 percent discounts on public transportation within the country; tickets for cultural and sporting events, including movies; and 25 percent off restaurant bills. And in Ecuador, folks older than 65 pay lower income tax and get free domestic landline phone service.

Bottom line, says the magazine that has been tracking retirement abroad for 30 years: A budget-watching couple could live well on $800 a month in Ecuador and be pressed to spend more than $1,500 monthly. Other leading overall choices include Panama, Mexico, Malaysia, Colombia and New Zealand.

Of course, there are barriers such as language, cultural acclimation and distance from family. If you’re considering a move abroad, English-speaking countries such as Belize, Ireland and New Zealand may top your short list. But you can get by in your native tongue in parts of Panama, Ecuador and Mexico, says International Living.

In all 19 countries, health care in the larger cities and capitals is usually on par in quality with that in the United States, according to the survey’s findings — largely pooled from foreign-living retirees — but much less expensive: A visit to a physician (and many trained in the United States) at a modern facility costs about $30 in Panama (at low-income hospitals you’ll pay as little as $5) and only $15 in Nicaragua. Ecuador guarantees access to no-copayment or deductible health care and medication to American retirees for a low fee: A typical 60-year-old male, for example, will probably pay about $70 a month in insurance premiums. International Living has more details.

You may also like: Traveling abroad? Protect yourself from diseases.

Sid Kirchheimer writes about consumer issues for AARP.org.

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Advertisement

The Cheap Life

Jeff Yeager Cheap Life Ultimate Cheapskate AARP YouTube web series save money

Catch the latest episode of The Cheap Life starring Jeff Yeager, AARP's Ultimate Cheapskate. Watch

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

member benefit aarp financial service auto insurance

AARP® Auto Insurance Program from The Hartford offers members no-cost quotes.

AARP Credit card from Chase

Members can get cash back rewards on purchases with the AARP® Credit Card from Chase.

Woman holding smartphone in city, Google map tool

Members can find discounts on the go via the AARP® Member Advantages Offer Finder app.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.

Advertisement

Advance your skills. Transform your career.

Explore your learning possibilities.