WASHINGTON, DC., June 18, 2012 — An increasing number of Americans are retiring abroad. And for good reason. In recent years, countries around the world have worked hard to lure retirees from the United States with major financial benefits.
Today, retires tend to be healthier and worldlier than their predecessors in years past and are thus more comfortable packing their bags for foreign shores. There are some immense benefits to living abroad as a retiree, not least among them a high standard of living, adventure, and variety.
Here is a list of the most popular countries Americans select when choosing to retire abroad:
One of the biggest perks is the menu of benefits available to retirees, which include 50 percent off transportation and utility bills. Major discounts are also given to seniors for cultural and sporting events. Expats are able to participate in the Ecuador Social Security medical program for $57 a month.
A couple that is careful with their money will spend about $800 to live well; even those who are less budget-minded will find it hard to push beyond $1,500.
Panama has one of the world’s fastest growing expats communities. One of the chief reasons is an organized program of discounts and perks called the “pensionado” that’s open to foreigners. This program offers discounts of between 20 and 50 percent on everything from food to movies, professional services to domestic flights to hospitals.
Residents need between $1,500 to $2,000 a month to fund their living expenses. Roomy beachfront condos sell in the $180,000-$200,000 range and rent for about $450 a month.
Malaysia offers a high quality of living for a low costs. For retirees interested in Asia, it provides one of the best deals in the region. There’s Internet access, quality roads and cell phone coverage.
The country has been drawing American retirees with My Second Home program, which allows foreigners to stay in Malaysia for as long as they’d like on a multiple-entry social visit pass without having to renounce their primary citizenship.
Nice residences in good neighborhoods rent for about $1,000 per month.
For the past ten years, Nicaragua has been gaining steam among retirees. As the population of expats increases, so too has the standard of living in expat communities, like Granada, where the country’s top hospitals are staffed with U.S.-trained doctors. Medical visits here cost a mere fraction of what they would in the States, with a typical office visiting running about $15.
To live well, in a rental home in a good neighborhood expect to pay about $700 in rent. Meals in local restaurants cost around $2 or $3 and good local beer runs about a buck.
Thailand holds a special appeal to American retirees because of the friendly people who generally speak fairly fluent English. Escape the cities and you are rewarded with vibrant beach communities that are magnets for expats.
Plan to spend between $500 to $1,000 a month in any beach community, depending on location and style of accommodation.
Much of Europe is expensive for expats. Although European countries may have decent pensions and benefits for citizens, outsiders generally are exempt from these benefits.
However, there are some good housing deals in out-of-the-way spots for retirees looking for a good cheap base in Europe. In particular, there are small villages in Italy that offer big rewards to expats on a budget.
Take the town of Calitri, for instance, where you can buy a mint condition house in move-in condition for about $65,000. Here, 6,000 local residents live among the olive groves about an hour inland from the Amalfi Coast.
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