There are various powerful reasons why many people choose to live or retire abroad. Besides the change of scenery and the chance to experience a new culture, the possibility to live in a place with lower cost of living is extremely attractive for most. You can experience a better quality of life at lower costs than in your home country by choosing to move in one of the following countries. They are the cheapest countries in the world to work or retire in.
Due to a lingering economic crisis and a weak economy, Portugal has become one of the cheapest destinations in Europe. Working and retiring in Portugal is a great deal, considering that for half the cost of living in France or the UK you get all the advantages of leaving in a historically and culturally rich European country, with a mild climate and hundreds of miles of coastline. A middle-class lifestyle is very affordable thanks to the low real estate prices.
Most probably the cheapest country in the whole continent of Europe, Bulgaria is highly attractive for those who love green scenery, historical hotspots, and picturesque towns. A two-bedroom apartment in Veliko Tarnovo can be rented at 230 euros a month while a one-bedroom apartment in Varna, one of Bulgaria’s largest coastal cities, is around 210 euros. Since many Bulgarians work and live abroad for higher wages, real estate is incredibly cheap in the country. Food and consumer goods are also the cheapest in the region.
Besides being a cheap place to live where westerners can save more than a third of their monthly expenses without being frugal, Romania is a great destination for location independent workers. The country some of the fastest Internet speeds in the world, at an average cost of $10 per month. A one-bedroom apartment in the capital city of Bucharest is about $350 a month. Although more expensive than Bulgaria, Romania is more attractive to expats thanks to the idyllic life in rural towns of Transylvania, large coastline, medieval castles and fortresses, and much more.
South and Central America
Despite its troubling past, Colombia has become in recent years a generally safe destination not just for tourists, but also for retirees and other expats. A couple can lead a more than comfortable life in Colombia on $1,200 a month, which seems feasible considering that a one-bedroom apartment in Medellin is priced around $140 a month. At a great bargain, expats can live a luxurious cosmopolitan life in a country with a lovely climate and beautiful landscape.
According to visitors, Nicaragua is as attractive as its neighbor Costa Rica, but because it is less discovered and developed, it represents a cheaper alternative. Especially in the beautiful colonial towns, the thriving expat communities live a comfortable life at low costs, while still enjoying plenty of activities. A retired couple can expect monthly costs of around $ 1,000 to $ 1,500 in a city such as Granada. Nicaragua is also a great destination for expats looking to open a business because the costs involved are a fraction of what they would be in the United States. The healthy lifestyle, fresh produce, and fantastic beach opportunities are great advantages as well.
- Costa Rica
Already a popular vacation destination, Costa Rica easily convinces many of its visitors that a year-round stay is worthwhile. Expats can enjoy a greater quality of life at a significantly lower price of living. Attracted by the cheap rentals, amazing diversity of nature, and healthy living, many foreigners choose Costa Rica because it is also the safest and most stable country in Central America. There are plenty of opportunities to explore and to enjoy a peaceful, laidback life. The transition is easy and all the modern comforts are available. The retirement program requires an income of just $1,000 per month that covers both the applicant and the spouse. Rent starts at around $400 per month for furnished apartments or homes.
With a monthly budget of $1,500, a couple can have a very comfortable life in Guatemala, living in a lakefront villa at Lake Atitlan, enjoying the affordable services of a gardener and cleaner, and eating out daily. The quality of life is great due to the agreeable weather, cheap and fresh food, plenty of outdoor activities, and charming cities and towns. Healthcare is also very affordable and you can visit a doctor for just $25.
Ecuador has been a popular retirement destination for years, and it recently became a hotspot for digital nomads as well. Although tiny, Ecuador has excellent weather and it provides great variety in landscape, with a wide range of attractions, including beach resorts, quaint villages, open-air markets, and much more. A modest couple can live comfortably with less than $1,500 a month even with oceanfront housing. Retirees benefit from huge discounts and residency is easy to attain, especially for Americans, since the income requirement is a low $800 per month. Moreover, the currency of the country is the U.S. dollar.
At a low cost of living, Panama offers the loveliest settings for stress-free living. Although things such as mild weather, affordability, and healthcare options can be found in other countries as well, Panama stands out because it provides all the comforts of a modern, developed country and it is very welcoming to foreigners. Besides being the friendliest destination in the sunny tropics, it also has a great retirement program with plenty of discounts on travel, healthcare, and more. The residence is easy to obtain.
Thailand is another Asian country that provides great value for money to expats. A person can have a comfortable life in a city such as Chiang Mai on just $1,000 per month. At this price, you also get the chance to live in a historically rich place, with a distinct culture and friendly locals. You can visit an English-speaking doctor for just about $20. With an established expat community, Thailand makes it easy for foreigners to adapt. Add the delicious food and tropical climate, and Thailand seems to have it all.
Southeast Asia is already popular as a cheap expat destination, but Cambodia offers great affordability even for the region. You can rent a one-bedroom apartment for just $200 a month, paying less than $20 per month for utilities. With a monthly budget between $1,000 and $1,500, you can enjoy the best of Cambodia, including pristine beaches, outdoor adventure, historical landmarks, and cheap and delicious street food.
Malaysia is not only cheap but is also one of the few places in Southeast Asia where foreigners can buy property freehold. Besides the low cost of living, Malaysia comes with other perks such as great healthcare, high-quality and inexpensive food, clean and modern cities, efficient infrastructure, and numerous cultural attractions.
- The Philippines
The Philippines is an incredibly diverse tropical country, where you can find the same gorgeous beaches and laidback culture of a hotspot such as Thailand, but at around 50% cheaper prices. Rent and consumer goods come at the most affordable price in the region. An American could live just as comfortable here as in the United States, spending only between $700 and $1,200 a month.