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Cheap Countries to Retire for Less than $2500

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Black older black man sitting on the beach looking at the waves

How much in annual income do you think you will need to retire comfortably? $30,000? $60,000? Or even $100,000? 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Americans aged 65 and older spend an average of $48,106 per year, or $4,008.83 a month  in retirement. Is that less or more than you expected? If it’s more than you would budget for retirement and you have always wanted to retire abroad, this list is just for you.

In these 10 countries, you can retire for way below the American national average spending. 


  1. Ecuador 

Central America and South America are popular places for American expats. The region is close to home, relatively inexpensive, and beyond stunning.  In Ecuador, a couple can live for about $1650 to $1825 a month, which is incredibly affordable compared to the states. 

Ecuador’s diverse landscape includes the Amazon jungle, Andean highlands and of course the ever fascinating Galapagos Islands. So it’s safe to say you will never run out of places to explore. And for US citizens, you do not need to even be a resident to own property in Ecuador. Ecuador is so affordable to some foreign retirees that they manage to have a house in the city and another place in the country or by the beach. 


  1. France

Ok, when we say France, don’t focus on Paris. Everybody knows how expensive it is to travel to and live in Paris. But France has much more to offer than the glitz of Paris. France’s countryside has affordable regions where retiring on a budget is very possible. A couple can live comfortably in these countryside regions for $2000 to $2500, according to International Living. 

But gaining long-term residency to retire in France won’t be as easy as Ecuador. There is a long list of documentation that will be required. Once you have all that settled, explore some of the cheap real estate markets outside of the big cities where you can get a house for less than $100,000. As a bonus, France also has the best health system in the world according to the World Health Organization. 


  1. Vietnam

Vietnam is one of the least expensive countries on our list to retire in. A couple can comfortably live on less than $1500 here. Vietnam has also become a hot travel destination over the last decade. The county has gone through a huge transformation with new high-rise condos, gated communities, and even private yacht clubs. Healthcare is also extremely affordable in Vietnam. 

Acquiring residency in Vietnam is not as straightforward as some other countries. You even need a visa before arriving in the country as a tourist. But you can apply for a business or investor visa, which could allow you to remain in the country as a resident.  Note that foreigners are restricted from owning land in Vietnam and your only option will be leasing land from the government. However, you can buy property in certain condo developments in bigger cities if your goal is to own real estate. 

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  1. Portugal 

This European country has recently become a popular place for Black expats, as featured in our video of countries where African Americans are relocating to. It is a beautiful country where a couple can retire for less than $2000 a month outside of its big cities. Metros like Lisbon, Porto, or Cascais are a bit more expensive, costing around $3000 a month. 

Portugal is a great location for those who love endless sunshine, excellent seafood, and diversity. The Algarve region in the south of Portugal is especially popular with retirees. The most common way to attain residency is to first get the 120-day stay visa as a tourist. Then you can apply to extend the stay and the government allows you to apply for a one-year residence permit. From then on, that permit can be renewed every two years. 


  1. Costa Rica

You probably expected Costa Rica to be on this list because for decades, it has been a very popular country for American retirees. Proximity to the US, low cost of living, affordable medical care, and the tropical climate are just some of the things that make Costa Rica a retirement heaven. 

There are several ways to gain residency in Costa Rica and one of them is to seek a Pensionado Visa. With that type of visa, you need to prove a minimum income of $1,000 from a qualified pension, retirement account, or from Social Security. Once you have lived in Costa Rica for three years, you can apply for permanent residency. Another thing that makes this country attractive is the many different options to purchase real estate, many of them being beachfront properties. 


  1. Malaysia

If there is one country you might not have thought of as a retirement destination, it is probably Malaysia. What makes Malaysia a great selection for Americans and others from English speaking countries is that English is the unofficial first language in the country. Besides that, low rent, affordable healthcare, and the very warm climate also attract retirees from around the world. A couple can comfortably retire in Malaysia for less than $2000 a month. 

Malaysia is also popular for its proximity to other Asian countries if you choose to continue to travel in your retirement. Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur is an international travel hub. In less than 2 hours, you can fly to Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, or Indonesia. How incredible is that! 


  1. Mexico

Mexico is another top destination from retirees and expats from the United States for the obvious: Mexico is our neighbor! It’s our warmer, cheaper, and arguably more beautiful neighbor. Mexico also gives you a lot of variety in landscape and climate. 

Another attractive aspect of retiring in Mexico is the options in real estate. You can buy land and build your dream home or purchase an old colonial to restore it to its original glory. For those ready to relax from day one, you have plenty of low maintenance condos to choose from in almost every corner of the country, including the coveted beach front properties. 


  1. Malta

Malta is probably another county you have never thought about retiring in, but one look at this incredible Mediterranean island will have you dreaming about relocating there immediately. The average temperature here is 72 degrees Fahrenheit and a couple can retire here for around $2,300 a month. 

When looking to acquire a permanent residency visa to Malta, applicants need to have a net worth of at least $40,000 or an annual income of at least $26,039. Besides sunshine and sand, Malta is also consistently ranked as one of the safest countries in the world. The proximity to both Africa and Europe also makes Malta the perfect place to live for the travel enthusiasts. 

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  1. Colombia

Colombia is another South American nation where retirement for less than $2,000 is possible. In fact, you only need a monthly income of $758 to qualify for a Colombia retirement visa.  Global Living ranked Colombia as the number six best country to retire for pensioners due to its affordability, climate, and diversity. 

Majority of expats in Colombia live in Bogota, Medellin, or Cali. Another appeal this country has is its biodiversity. For those who love sand and a warm climate, the tropical Caribbean coastal cities of Cartagena, Santa Marta, or Barranquilla are ideal. But for those who prefer a more temperate climate, the mountains would be preferred, like the city of Medellin. 


  1.  Panama

There is a lot to love about Panama, but the best thing just might be its affordable big-city amenities that would be much costlier anywhere else. Panama also makes it so easy to retire there, with various tax exemptions for those choosing to move in. 

Retirement in Panama will cost a couple between $1500 and $2500 on average depending on where you choose to live. Living in Panama City, the country’s capital, would obviously be much costlier than living in the countryside or in a smaller city. Panama is also one of the safest countries in Central America, making it popular among expats and international businesses. Panama also has zero tax on foreign income.