Finding it too expensive to stay in North America and northern Europe, some retirees are moving to tropical destinations where they can live on less than $40 a day. Many countries in South America and Southeast Asia feature low costs of medicine, affordable housing, and large English-speaking retirement communities.
Dan Prescher, an Ecuador-based special projects editor for International Living magazine, says that he has seen more and more retirees moving to warmer climates in recent years. He also notes that “it’s pretty easy to cut expenses in half” by retiring in those parts of the world.
Kris Cunningham, a retired registered nurse originally from Sarasota, FL, provides a great example of how an American retiree can find bliss – and budget-friendliness – abroad. She moved to Panama with her husband Dave in 2012, and the couple lives in the country for just under $1,250 a month.
“If I stayed in the States, I’d be working until I was 70,” Cunningham says. Instead, at 61 years of age, she gets to have an affordable quality of life in Panama while remaining geographically close to her children back in the U.S.
Life abroad doesn’t come without its challenges, though. While the prospect of living in the tropics seems enticing, it can have drawbacks such as a lack of adequate healthcare, corrupt law enforcement, and poor infrastructure. Prescher recommends testing the waters first before committing to a permanent move abroad.