BALTIMORE, Aug. 26, 2020 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- "Most
Americans don't realize just how expensive the United States is in many regards. So
they're pleasantly surprised to discover that, in the best-value
locales around the world, a budget that would have them pinching
pennies at home can, instead, bankroll a thoroughly comfortable
life," says Jennifer Stevens,
Executive Editor, International Living.
"On $30,000 a year or less, all
in, you could live a few minutes' walk from the beach in
Portugal... or in a UNESCO World
Heritage town in Mexico, for
instance. You could enjoy a slow pace of life, great food, lots of
cultural activities, solid healthcare, and weather that suits you
"Instead of fretting about a diminishing quality of life in
retirement, in the right places overseas, you can watch your
lifestyle expand—even on a Social Security check alone," Stevens
The editors at Internationalliving.com have identified five of
the best spots on the planet to retire on less than $30,000 a year.
According to International Living's 2020 Global Retirement
Index, the world's top 5 retirement destinations this year are:
Portugal, Panama, Costa
Rica, Mexico and
"Though many places are—at the moment—restricting travel inbound
from the US, that won't be the case forever," says Stevens. "So
now's a smart time to investigate your best options abroad and put
an escape plan in place. Fortunately, lots of good options
Long overlooked by North American travelers, Portugal takes the top spot in
InternationalLiving.com's 2020 Annual Global Retirement Index.
"Safety, quality affordable healthcare, a relaxing lifestyle, a
rich history and culture, savory cuisine, geographic
diversity—you'll discover all these elements in Portugal—on about a
third of your current budget," says Tricia Pimental, IL
contributor. "I know. It's where I've spent the past seven years
and I love it."
Every day feels like a vacation day in Cascais—there are so many
inexpensive, free, and fascinating things to do and see.
If you've had your fill of shoveling the snow from your driveway
in winter or dealing with sweltering, humid summers, Cascais might
be the answer for you. The town is blessed with a year-round
moderate climate, with temperatures ranging from 55 F to 77 F.
Golfing is nearby, and favorable sun and wind conditions make
sailing, kite surfing, and windsurfing—in addition to traditional
surfing—popular activities in this region whose economy hinges on
"To the north of Cascais is the wild and rugged surfing beach of
Guinch," says Pimental. "Further still is Sintra, famous for its
pastel-painted castle of Pena,
Moorish Castle, and Sintra-Cascais Natural Park. That's where you
can explore the majestic cliffs of Cabo da
Roca, the westernmost point on the European continent. And
Lisbon Portela International Airport is just 45 minutes away.
"These factors—pleasant climate, lovely natural surroundings,
accessible culture, and more—combine to make Cascais an ideal
A couple can live well in Cascais for $2,485 a month, or $29,820 a year.
"Panama has so much to offer,"
says Jessica Ramesch, IL Panama
editor. "It's one of few countries in the region that welcomes new
residents with attractive and inexpensive residence programs. It
boasts well-paved highways and potable tap water as well as
top-notch Internet and cell-phone connections. It's easy to
network, explore, and upgrade your lifestyle here, thanks in part
to the relatively low cost of living. The doctors are good and they
give personalized care, and on top of that many of them speak
"There's not one good reason that, year after year, Panama ranks among the top five best
retirement destinations in the world…there are over a dozen. Simply
put, Panama's amenities and
conveniences check a lot of boxes."
Panama offers many other
good-value locales like, Boquete. The town of Boquete has long been
considered one of the top places in the world to retire…and rightly
so. Thousands of contented expats already enjoy a laidback,
low-cost life in the area—surrounded by abundant wildlife, brightly
colored orchids, and fertile farmland.
Rather than having four distinct seasons, in Boquete the year is
divided into just two seasons. Summertime starts in December and
runs through April. This is the dry season, with less rainfall and
more wind. Wintertime starts in May and extends through November,
with more frequent rain and cloud cover. Though heavy downpours do
occur at times, fortunately, Panama does not have a monsoon season as in
some Asian countries. Even during the rainy season there's plenty
A comfortable life in Boquete is very affordable. Life here is
naturally inexpensive. Including rent for a two-bedroom house,
monthly expenses can total as little as $1,533 a month, or $18,636 a year.
"It is no surprise that Costa
Rica indexes in the top five for International Living's
Global Retirement Index," says Kathleen Evans, IL Costa Rica correspondent. "Not only does this
small, eco-friendly country have a stable democracy in a sea of
political unrest, but it remains one of the happiest places on
earth for expats seeking a healthier life overseas.
"Couple that with excellent healthcare, a straightforward
residency process, stunning beauty, favorable weather, unlimited
housing options, plus close proximity to North America and you have the formula for
many to fall in love with this emerging Central American
In Costa Rica's cooler-weather
Central Valley, in a town like Atenas, for instance, expats say the
warm and friendly locals and a very welcoming expat community
remind them of small-town America. No doubt the innate Costa Rican
emphasis on family plays a big role in that. As well as the
tradition of hospitality toward new neighbors. Atenas is also in
close proximity to the Juan Santamaria International Airport and an
hour bus ride from the capital, San
A couple a can live well in Atenas from $1,518 a month, or just $18,216 a year.
"There are 1 million+ Americans living in Mexico full or part time… and it's not hard to
see why," says Jason Holland, IL Roving Latin American editor.
"They enjoy a vibrant culture, friendly people, lower cost of
living, high quality/low cost healthcare, large and welcoming expat
communities, great weather year-round… and destinations ranging
from funky beach towns to resort hotspots to world-class cities to
colonial gems. Oh – and you can't forget…the food is to die
Holland and his family live in
San Miguel de Allende—a four-hour
drive northwest of the capital, Mexico
City. Located in the Colonial Highlands region, it offers a
lot of benefits: temperate climate, low cost of living, an active
expat community, welcoming locals, charming local cultural
traditions, and a focus on the arts. Its colonial centro is a
UNESCO World Heritage site.
American Capital of Culture 2019, San
Miguel de Allende has been attracting American retirees
since the late 1930s—expats make up about 10% of the 125,000
residents in the wider metro area. Typically, the population swells
during the North American winter, when Canadian, American, and
European "snowbirds" flock to town for the great climate. Here a
couple can live well on a budget of $1,660 a month, or $19,920 a year.
"Colombia has been a
front-runner in the IL annual retirement index since 2017," says
Nancy Kiernan, IL Colombia
correspondent. "It´s easy for me to understand why. I´ve lived in
Medellín full time since 2012 and have seen the country steadily
grow in the minds of expats who want to visit and retire.
Colombia was once an overlooked
retirement haven, but now is no longer a well-kept secret—word is
"While there are many reasons for this, a few jump to the top of
my list. First is easy access to affordable, high-quality
healthcare. According to the World Health Organization,
Colombia ranks #22 for its
healthcare system. That is better than Canada at #30 and the U.S. at #37. Secondly, I
enjoy a much lower cost of living than I had when I lived back in
Maine. As a matter of fact, I live
for 60% less than back in the States. And third on my list is a tie
between the amazing year-round weather and the stunning scenery.
Colombia is the second most
bio-diverse country in the world, so you can find whatever climate
suits you. I prefer the perfect spring-like weather in the Andes
mountains. But, if you are a beach person, then you can enjoy the
sun, ocean and tropical temperatures of Cartagena or Santa
Marta on the Caribbean
Medellín is a cosmopolitan city with a neighborhood feel. Set in
the middle of the Andes Mountains, Colombia's second-largest enclave is known as
the City of Flowers. Medellín has been transformed during the last
two decades and is now recognized as a city to watch. In 2013,
Medellín beat out New York City
and Tel Aviv to be named "The Most
Innovative City in the World" by the Wall Street Journal and
Citibank. The prestigious "Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize" was
bestowed upon Medellín in 2016 as recognition for its
transformation into a sustainable, viable city.
Medellin's cost of living is
remarkably affordable. Including rent, internet, a healthcare plan,
and a maid, a couple can live a great life in Medellin for $1,394 to $1,994 a
month, or $16,728-$23,928 a year.
International Living's complete 2020 Annual Global Retirement
Index, including more information on the winner and the other nine
countries that made it in to the top 10—as well as the individual
rankings in all 10 categories for all 24 countries included—can be
found at: The World's Best Places to Retire in 2020.
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About International Living
Since 1979, InternationalLiving.com has been the leading
authority for anyone looking for global retirement or relocation
opportunities. Through its monthly magazine and related e-letters,
extensive website, podcasts, online bookstore, and events held
around the world, InternationalLiving.com provides information and
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fun, save more money, and find better business opportunities when
they expand their world beyond their own shores.
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SOURCE International Living