If there’s one truth about pensions, it’s that they rarely seem to go quite as far as you thought they would when you first looked at your retirement planning. Back then, you may have had visions of travelling the world and enjoying a laid-back lifestyle. Is it out of reach now? Maybe not!
Many pensioners live abroad for at least part of the year, and apart from fulfilling their dreams of international travel, they’re also making their pension go further thanks to a lower cost of living. Of course, you will have to do some preparation before heading off on adventure - for instance, you need to check whether you have international health insurance before taking the plunge. But with basics taken care of, the world could be your oyster.
Discovering which countries will deliver a great lifestyle that’s also low-cost means doing your homework. Wondering where to start looking? These three countries are popular with pensioners for all the right reasons.
Portugal proves the point that living abroad to make your pension go further doesn’t mean leaving civilization behind you. This Western European country is renowned for much more than its relatively low cost of living.
There are beautiful historic cities like Coimbra, and since it’s a bit off the beaten tourist track, you can soak up the ambiance without constantly battling queues and tourist crowds. As for the cuisine, it leaves nothing to be desired - and if you’re a fan of seafood, you’re sure to be in for a treat.
If chilling out on some of the world’s most beautiful beaches is on your retirement “to do” list, you won’t be disappointed either. From gorgeous rugged coastlines to sandy beaches, Portugal has a lot to offer residents and visitors.
Between majestic sights, and leisure opportunities, you may be tempted to look no further, but if you do, it will only highlight the reasons why Portugal tops our list. Fantastic infrastructure, and one of the world’s lowest crime rates mean that you’ll be able to make yourself at home just about anywhere in Portugal.
Panama often tops lists of desirable countries for retirees. There are many reasons for this, not least the affordability of just about everything. Some sources say that you can expect living costs to be up to 46 percent lower than they are in the United States. Besides that, the country is eager to welcome pensioners. Those able to get a retirement visa enjoy a ton of benefits including tax reductions and some awesome reductions on public transport fares and even hotel rooms. To crown it all, importing a new vehicle is tax free - provided you have that visa and do it more than once every few years.
Apart from the cost savings. Panama offers great infrastructure and amenities, a close-knit expat community, and a pleasant climate. Need to nip home for a family visit? Flight times are relatively short - a definite plus when those special occasions call for a trip home.
3. Costa Rica
Rainforests, beaches, national parks: there’s more to Costa Rica than it’s famous coffee. Interestingly, the US State Department rates Costa Rica as one of the safest countries US nationals can visit and the country does much to protect that reputation, particularly in areas frequented by international visitors.
Cost savings are, once again, substantial. Recent statistics cite basic consumer prices as being around 24 percent lower than they are elsewhere, and property prices, including rentals, are cheaper too. Meanwhile, enjoying the climate and exotic sights will become par for the course once you’re there. What that climate will be is pretty much up to you. From the cool Central Valley district to the tropical Carribean coastline, the weather conditions are as varied as the landscape.
And, while most visitors go to Costa Rica to take in unspoiled natural wonders and miles of fabulous coastline, there’s still no shortage of good infrastructure and services on offer. The healthcare system is excellent too. Back in 2000, the World Health Organization ranked it one notch above the USAs healthcare system and rated Costa Rican healthcare as the very best in Latin America.
Living for Less Doesn’t Have to Be Depressing
For those of us who have come to the realization that we simply can’t afford the lifestyle we once had owing to financial constraints, there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Living for less doesn’t necessarily mean giving up on dreams of an interesting and varied retirement. Too good to be true? The good news is that living in amazing countries and saving at the same time is a reality that others have already explored and benefited from. It’s not unchartered territory, and there’s nothing to stop you from giving it a try.