Friday, February 14, 2014

Budget Retirement Choices

Check out today's Huffington Post ( for one writer's views on the two best budget retirement places in the world. She chooses two colonial cities in Latin America, Granada, Nicaragua and Cuenca, Ecuador.

Both have a low cost of living, and a couple can get by on about $1,000 a month if they choose to go native, or $1,500 for a more comfortable lifestyle. The main reason costs are low is that real estate is cheap, both to rent and to buy.

In both these cities you can rent a decent apartment for about $400 a month, or buy a nice place for under $100 per square foot. Granada is a better choice for small colonial houses that may need a lot of work, while Cuenca has more choice in new construction and is a much bigger city. Both places have established expat communities, Kathleen Peddicord says, and it is relatively easy to meet the requirements for residence as a foreigner.

Both places do look attractive. She does not discuss medical care, usually a big concern for retirees, but I assume it is adequate and available at considerably lower cost than in the United States. I recently spent some time in Florida and needed to get a simple blood test, which would be free in Canada under Quebec Medicare. There it cost $600. I was astonished--I thought it might be $100 or so.

Unless you qualify for U.S. Medicare (based on having worked in the U.S. for 10 years or more) or for the new insurance available under the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, forget about retiring in the U.S. as an expat. Costs for real estate can be comparable to those mentioned in Granada and Cuenca, but the cost of medical care could bankrupt you rather quickly.

In any case, the two cities mentioned in the article sound like places to consider if you are willing to relocate to Latin America.

Even with U.S. medical insurance, there are often high deductibles and extra costs


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