A guide to finding the right country for you to retire to based on your own personal affordability criteria
The thought of retirement can bring about very mixed emotions for many of us; on the one hand the thought of not having to get up in the morning for work every day can bring about feelings of unadulterated happiness! But on the other hand, knowing that you will possibly have a fixed and therefore restricted income to live on in the form of a pension can bring feelings of panic or at least concern.
We’re constantly advised by whichever government is in power that we have to take responsibility for our retirement savings – and then we watch as our incentives to save are eroded. We hear every year about the numbers of pensioners living on or below the poverty line, we understand that the likes of the winter fuel allowance are a lifeline for some people – and all the while we’re ever hopeful that that won’t be us in retirement, i.e., we won’t be the ones struggling to survive on a measly pension…
However, at the same time it certainly makes a lot of sense to think seriously about how one can achieve the perfect blend in terms of quality of life on the one hand, and cost of living on the other when it comes to retiring. In our working lives perhaps we are restricted in where we can live by our job – but another positive thing about retirement is that we will be totally unfettered by such restrictions then, so it makes sense now to ask where are the cheapest countries to retire in…and then to think seriously about perhaps moving to live there in retirement so that our pensions will go that much further.
The thing is, as we have discussed in a previous article entitled ‘The 5 Cheapest Countries to Retire to,’ ‘cheap’ and ‘affordable’ are relative terms with what constitutes ‘cheap’ to me perhaps meaning ‘unacceptably rubbish’ for you! So you need to look closely at each nation we list and any country you personally consider for an affordable retirement to ensure it will indeed offer you the balance between a low cost of living and a high enough standard of living.
The following 3 countries are locations where Shelter Offshore contributors live or have lived, they have therefore been personally vetted and assessed and are examples of where in the world you can live relatively well on a relatively tight budget in retirement if you so choose. However, one or more of these countries may not appeal to you – so tomorrow we’re going to publish a report into how you can find your own cheap and ideal retirement destination according to your own personal preferences and criteria. We will help guide you in assessing each nation on its own merits so that you end up having found the perfect personal retirement haunt by the time you come to retire.
In the meantime, how about one of the following three countries: -
Retire to Cuba
- Until very recently Cuba wasn’t even considered a suitable holiday destination let alone a suitable place to retire abroad, but with the easing of America’s aggressive position on this tiny Caribbean country and the increase in its positive profile internationally, a handful of intrepid expatriates have now decided to call Cuba home.
What they have found is a relatively peaceful country where integration is perfectly possible as long as you speak Spanish, and where the cost of living really is incredibly affordable. Healthcare in Cuba is universally free – and the country has one of the highest doctor to patient ratios in the world! Yes, facilities can be poor and supplies limited at times, but life expectancy in the country is on a par with that in America and so medical needs should not be a factor against Cuba as a retirement destination abroad.
The climate is excellent for most of the year, the landscape is stunning, culturally and historically Cuba is rich and blessed – but perhaps the one thing not in its favour is the level of poverty suffered by some. Cuba has a lot going for it – but you should take a closer look before you commit.
Living in Bulgaria in Retirement
- According to Eurostat, in 2008 Bulgaria enjoyed the lowest prices for goods and services across all EU member states; and although it is now seeing some producer price inflation, the nature of the economic situation across Europe and particularly within the eurozone means that prices are remaining restricted in Bulgaria.
The country is accused of limiting its own development by the excessive amounts of red tape and bureaucracy in place that have restricted investment to date – and whilst this can be seen as negative for those who want to advance their living standards and see improved levels of employment in Bulgaria for example, it is not such a bad thing for would-be retirees attracted to Bulgaria by its still low prices.
The cost of living outside the main towns and cities is cheap by most people’s standards, with real estate still available for rent and to purchase at acceptable levels as long as you avoid the summer or winter resorts. Bulgaria also has accessibility from the UK in its favour for those retiring Brits who still want to keep in touch with home.
Retire Abroad to Malaysia
- You may have a fairly fixed preconception about Malaysia, most people do – too exotic, too foreign, too tropical, too expensive, too far away? However, the one thing about Malaysia that is universally true is that you have to see it to believe it. And to see it you have to visit, travel and stay for an extended period of time – only then can you get anywhere close to seeing the many sides of this incredible destination.
It is a vibrant, beautiful, peaceful, exotic, tropical, accessible and relatively affordable country to live in. You have the fast pace of life in the cities like Kuala Lumpur and you have the tourist-dominated resorts such as Langkawi – great to visit, but not ideal to retire to if you want affordable peace! So, step off the beaten track and what will you find? A people who learn to speak English at school from a very young age – well-educated people who have access to superior medical facilities in urban areas, and who can live on very little and very limited budgets the further away from urbanisation you move.
You will find stunning tropical beaches that you will previously only have ever dreamed of, incredible flora and fauna, a rich cultural heritage, cheap property and a growing number of expatriates lured not only by the lifestyle but by the tax incentives of the Malaysia My Second Home Programme – you will perhaps find your paradise on earth. And you won’t know until you visit!
We hope the above countries will have given you some food for thought in suggesting new nations for you to explore as you go in search of the perfect country to retire to abroad. Cheap and affordable may be deciding factors for many retiring expats when they look at countries to retire to – but as I hope we have shown they needn’t be limiting factors. There’s a whole world out there – a world of opportunity when it comes to lifestyle.
Tomorrow’s report will help you match up your lifestyle and affordability retirements with the perfect place to retire if the above suggestions aren’t suitable for you…
When it comes to retirement, affording the best lifestyle is key. Those who want to retire abroad should consider getting offshore financial planning advice early on so that they can explore all their options. There may be tax advantages to transferring a pension offshore for example. From QROPS to offshore bank accounts we cover everything an expat needs to know.
If you want to retire abroad you will probably discover that you have a whole heap of questions that need answering! From concerns about healthcare, pensions and property laws to worries about your pets, family and friends we’ve got your top 10 concerns covered…
The dampened fiscal state of the nation is doing nothing to deter British retirees from wanting to move to live abroad – if you share the desire to retire overseas you cannot risk making the move before you’ve understood these 3 critical considerations…
Some nations are geared up for foreign retirees, and life living abroad in retirement can be great – other countries have too many negative aspects and can turn the dream of retirement into a nightmare for expats. We urge would-be expat retirees to do their country research carefully and to ditch the rose coloured glasses when it comes to Turkey for example.