The question of how does living abroad compare to living at home is a valid one. The fact of the matter is that a retiree will almost always find that living abroad is cheaper than living at home.
According to authoritative number crunching sites such as money.bundle.com and numbeo.com, popular retirement destinations such as Thailand, Mexico, Ecuador and Panama have a much lower cost of living than the United States.
However, finding an economical place to retire is more complicated than simply choosing a country with a cheap cost of living. A retiree who has a lot of family and friends living in the United States may find that living in Thailand is not the best option, as one will either have to buy expensive plane tickets back home or forgo seeing family and friends for extended periods of time. A retiree with a medical condition may find that a country with an overall low cost of living may not be able to provide adequate medical care for the condition. When choosing a retirement spot, one should consider all factors in the equation. Doing so will help one to find the best possible retirement destination.
Panama has topped International Living’s annual Global Retirement Index for six years straight and it is not hard to see why. The country not only makes it easy for a retiree to get a visa but also provides discounts on movie tickets and public transportation for senior citizens. While the United States has a consumer price index of over 82 according to numbeo.com, Panama has a consumer price index of only 53. As Panama is located near the U.S., it is not hard to find cheap flights. Furthermore, Panama has high quality medical care in the capital city, where hospitals are frequently affiliated with U.S. medical institutions.
A person who does not need or want to travel to the United States on a regular basis may find that South Africa is in fact an ideal retirement spot. This beautiful country has many tourist attractions such as wineries, beaches, mountains and safaris. According to Globalpost.com, the cost of living in South Africa is slightly cheaper than living in Thailand. Furthermore, all main cities in South Africa have high quality medical care. Private hospitals in Johannesburg, Cape Town and other large cities in South Africa treat thousands of patients from the United States and Europe every year, charging only a fraction of what a private hospital in the States would charge.
The question “how does living abroad compare to living at home?” is not easy to answer. A lot depends on what a person wants out of retirement. A person who wants to be close to family and friends should either retire to a cheap state in the U.S. or a country nearby. A person who wants to retire abroad but needs specialized medical care should find a retirement spot with not only a low cost of living but also high quality medical care. By taking all factors into consideration, an individual can find the retirement spot that is best suited to his or her needs and budget.
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Part II — How Does Living Abroad Compare to Living at Home